The Portable Plato by Plato
(Portable Library)

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Synopsis

Writing in the fourth century B.C., in an Athens that had suffered a humiliating defeat in the Peloponnesian War, Plato formulated questions that have haunted the moral, religious, and political imagination of the West for more than 2,000 years: what is virtue? How should we love? What constitutes a good society? Is there a soul that outlasts the body and a truth that transcends appearance? What do we know and how do we know it? Plato's inquiries were all the more resonant because he couched them in the form of dramatic and often highly comic dialogues, whose principal personage was the ironic, teasing, and relentlessly searching philosopher Socrates.

In this splendid collection, Scott Buchanan brings together the most important of Plato's dialogues, including Protagoras, The Symposium, with its barbed conjectures about the relation between love and madness, Phaedo and The Republic, his monumental work of political philosophy. Buchanan's learned and engaging introduction allows us to see Plato both as a commentator on his society and as a shaper of the societies that followed, who bequeathed to us a hunger for the ideal as well as a redeeming habit of humane skepticism.


 

About Plato

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Plato was born c. 427 B.C. in Athens, Greece, to an aristocratic family very much involved in political government. Pericles, famous ruler of Athens during its golden age, was Plato's step-father. Plato was well educated and studied under Socrates, with whom he developed a close friendship. When Socrates was publically executed in 399 B.C., Plato finally distanced himself from a career in Athenian politics, instead becoming one of the greatest philosophers of Western civilization. Plato extended Socrates's inquiries to his students, one of the most famous being Aristotle. Plato's The Republic is an enduring work, discussing justice, the importance of education, and the qualities needed for rulers to succeed. Plato felt governors must be philosophers so they may govern wisely and effectively. Plato founded the Academy, an educational institution dedicated to pursuing philosophic truth. The Academy lasted well into the 6th century A.D., and is the model for all western universities. Its formation is along the lines Plato laid out in The Republic. Many of Plato's essays and writings survive to this day. Plato died in 347 B.C. at the age of 80.
 
Published March 1, 1977 by Penguin Books. 708 pages
Genres: History, Law & Philosophy, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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