Mark's Reviews > The Dialogues of Plato

The Dialogues of Plato by Plato
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's review
Aug 14, 2007

did not like it
bookshelves: other
Recommended for: no one
Read in January, 2006

Socrates says "The unexamined life is not worth living." Yet this book actually shows that an examined dialogue is not worth believing. The general format of the Socratic dialogues is:
Socrates: Incorrect fact #1.
Friend: Obviously, Socrates.
Socrates: Correct fact #2.
Friend: Of course, Socrates.
Socrates: 1 + 2 = 3. And a half.
Friend: You are so wise Socrates.

Since the arguments are so blatantly made up, it is hard to give any credence to the conclusions. Which is a shame because he espouses some noble sentiments. Maybe the book would be more successful if it showed Socrates living his principles rather than blathering on about them. As it is, the book is really only useful for a discussion of different types of logical fallacies. Suggested new title: "How to Lie with Rhetoric".
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11/12/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Jesús Andrés It's a shame you didn't understand the Dialogues.


message 2: by Mark (new) - rated it 1 star

Mark Okay Jesús, I view the Dialogues as a series of arguments. This seems to be a pretty standard view. Therefore to me it is crucially important that the arguments are illogical.

How do you view the Dialogues in a way that the fact that the arguments are illogical is unimportant? Do you perhaps see them as a commentary on avoiding people like Socrates that use verbal trickery to coerce people into accepting their beliefs? Or do you just see it as a historical document that we can look at and say "Ha Ha, those ancient Greeks sure were dumb, weren't they?"


message 3: by Edward III (new)

Edward III I would agree in large part with this review. I have heard many explanations and excuses for why there are so many poor arguments in Plato, but none of them satisfactory. The bottom line is that some dialogues are magnificent (Apology, Parmenides and parts of a few others), but like the Beatles, they are seminal & influential yet incredibly overrated.


message 4: by Yakub (new)

Yakub Medici I think you may have missed the point of some of them, even if I agree that the Socratic dialogues are very contrived. Meno, for instance, is all about knowledge, how knowledge can be attained, and what knowledge is. That wasn't the argument that was happening, but the argument was just setting the scene for the commentary on knowledge. The purpose of a dialogue isn't always immediately apparent and the precise points that were made shouldn't be picked upon because they really aren't all that important compared to the subtext.


message 5: by Paul Michael (new)

Paul Michael It is a dialogue that leads to an impasse, the idea is that this impasse will stimulate you to further thinking on this problem. Plato/Socrates job is not to stick ideas in your head, rather to push you to think for yourself.


message 6: by Tomás (new)

Tomás Seems like people don't understand the need for validity and good justification for philosophical assertions.

"Yet this book actually shows that an examined dialogue is not worth believing."
Now let's not generalize things. An examined and faulty argumentation.


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