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Free eBook Dialogues of Plato download

by Erich Segal

Free eBook Dialogues of Plato download ISBN: 0553211706
Author: Erich Segal
Publisher: Bantam Classics (May 1, 1986)
Language: English
Category: Social Sciences
Subcategory: Philosophy
Size MP3: 1644 mb
Size FLAC: 1988 mb
Rating: 4.4
Format: lit doc txt mobi

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Dialogues of Plato book.

Other dialogues create a rich tableau of intellectual life in Athens in the fourth century . and examine such timeless–and timely–issues as the nature of virtue and love, knowledge and truth, society and the individual. Resounding with the humor and astounding brilliance of Socrates, the immortal iconoclast, these great works remain powerful, probing, and essential.

Contributor(s): Segal, Erich, 1937-. Material type: BookSeries: Bantam classic. Publisher: New York : Bantam Books,Description: xxii, 342 p. ; 18 c. SBN: 0553213717 (pb. Subject(s): PhilosophyDDC classification: 82. 3 Online resources: Publisher description Contributor biographical information Sample text.

In these dialogues, Plato begins expressing his own views, in the . com and are not necessarily endorsed by this site.

In these dialogues, Plato begins expressing his own views, in the guise of Socrates. The Symposium and Republic are the most important works in this period. The later dialogues are deeper developments of the philosophy expressed in the earlier ones; these are the most difficult of Plato's works.


An excerpt from The Dialogues of Plato. Translated by Benjamin Jowett. Plato, with Socrates and Aristotle, is the founder of the Western intellectual tradition. Like his mentor Socrates, he was essentially a practical philosopher who found the abstract theory and visionary schemes of many contemporary thinkers misguided and sterile. He was born about 429 BCE in Athens, the son of a prominent family that had long been involved in the city's politics.

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Plato, with Socrates and Aristotle, is the founder of the Western intellectual tradition. He was born about 429 . in Athens, the son of a prominent family that had long been involved in the city's politics.

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Plato's dialogues attributed to Socrates
User reviews
The Symposium is the second most famous of all of Plato's diaglogues- second only to The Republic. I will be reviewing R.E. Allen's translation and commentaries, a black book published as part of a series by Yale University Press.

The first hundred-or-so pages consist of commentary given by R.E. Allen. I have previously read volume one. In that volume, the commentaries were presented at a uniformly introductory level. They served to introduce specific Greek concepts untranslatable into English, and they gave cultural background necessary to understand the dialogue. In Volume 1, I would expect any reasonably bright university student to be able to understand the commentaries on a first read even without a philosophy background. The same cannot be said about Volume II.

The commentary in this volume is considerably more advanced, and to be honest there were portions in which I was lost. R.E. Allen does of good job of tracing the increasing complexity of the dialogue, and he often draws from modern (or near modern) perspectives on theories of love to shed light on the dialogue. Allen compares the Greek conception of Eros to the Christian concept of love, and eventually to psychological treatments of love from Freud.

That's all fine and good. However, there are segments of the commentary where Allen seems to be diverted from the main discussion. For example he writes a multiple-page diversion on the epistemological foundations of Freudian psychology. Or he'll write a substantial commentary on the metaphysics of love. While I understand that these may be related to the topic of Eros and love, I was lost. Moreover, as someone who has not yet studied metaphysics and epistemology, this was much beyond my understanding.

It is for this reason that I have detracted a star. However, I am also willing to concede that I may not have been sufficiently prepared. It may be that I come back to these commentaries in several years and greatly appreciate them. Please compare my comments with the other reviewers who have given this volume uniformly perfect reviews.

As for the dialogue itself, if you have read The Republic, or Volume I of this series, this dialogue should not be a problem. It is Plato's treatment of Eros, or sexual love/passion. The setting is a drinking party, where everyone gives an encomium to Eros. As the participants give their speeches, in turn, the view of Eros becomes increasingly sophisticated. The first two speeches are hollow rhetoric- drunk on their own style without any regard to substance. The famous comedian, Aristophanes, gives a poetic description of Eros which feels surprisingly relevant, humans were originally a single spheroidal creature, with two heads. The gods separated us, and Eros is a longing for completeness. Here, we have poetic resonance without any

The encomiums build up to Socrates' speech. If you know about Plato's philosophy in general, it won't surprise you to learn that Plato views Eros as a drive towards the Form of the Beautiful. There is a Ladder of Love, where appreciation of physical beauty drives humans towards contemplation of beauty itself.

All in all, it's a fluid translation that isn't very difficult to understand at face value. I recommend this volume, with the reservation that beginning philosophy students may have difficulty with the commentary at times.

The story tells what some seriously bibulous party-goers said at a celebration of a big win for the handsome Agathon, in the 416 BC contest amongst tragic playwrights. He'd feasted his performers the night before, and wine did not run short. The more select group he invited for a following banquet thus decided not to drink after practically every sentence, but as they pleased. Symposium means literally, "drinking together" ---not for the abstemious! Drinkers took it in turn to improvise on a topic suggested by the Master of Ceremonies, who selected in this case, the praise of Eros. A symposium was a celebration not only of an event, but also held to honor a god or gods, bringing together the sacred and more profane.

Six of the praises are reported by a narrator, Apollodurus, who is telling a companion what he heard from someone who was actually there, Aristodemus. Aristodemus, however, had plead intoxication and the capacity to recall only what he considered the high points. So enter into the spirit of the tipsy occasion and into the purposes of Platon who probably made up the whole of it.


The six speeches wonderfully reflect the characters, voices, and quirks of the men.

Phaedrus the philosopher, he of the silver-gilt hair, most handsome himself, speaks well, imaginatively, and proposes Eros is a god who inspires the lover to the heights of devotion, even unto death, as Alcestis died for Admetus. Young, we might think, he imagines an army of lovers, each striving to win honor for his beloved and, inspired by Eros, ready to die to defend his beloved.

He's followed by Pausanias, whose speech could be a Swiftian satire of how lawyers from 2300 years ago to today, can think, a selfie of his own argumentive cleverness in differenting types of Eros and explaining the fine points of Athenian laws on pederasty. Read aloud, it is LOL funny.

OK, on to Eryximachus, a physician, who advocates temperance in all things and elaborates on the dual nature of divine and profane Eros, extending Eros beyond sexual desires to the love of the Beautiful. Knowledgeable, yet no poet he, this encomium can inspire readers of today perhaps to avoid sharing a couch with an Athenian physician if you want a good time.

Now at last the magnificent comedic writer Aristophanes speaks, beginning with a story on how male and female were once one body, spherical in shape, what happened and with what consequences. Aristophanes is speaking of the human condition, with Eros as a single healing force, a speech of great beauty & power. Agathon's in comparison is eloquent but flat----and then Socrates weaves the best from each, reveals the limitations of each, and raises us mortals to the divine in Eros as a devotion to the good, the true, the Beautiful.

Socrates claims only to be sharing what he learned from Diotima, the Wise Woman, about love & Eros. Diotima's final spine-tingling sentence reads in full, "In begetting true virtue and nurturing it, it is given to him to become dear to god, and if any other among men is immortal, he is too." Almost 2,300 years later, we know as did the first readers of Plato's "The Symposium" that while Diotima refered to those who contemplate the Beautiful, beholding the divine Beauty itself, single in nature, she could be speaking of Socrates himself. Which is why, says editor Allen, Plato put the speech as Socrates telling what Diotima said, rather than speaking in his own voice, Socrates who claims not that he is wise, only that he is a lover of wisdom and beauty.

Then Alcibiades lurches in, and gives a strange speech in praise of Socrates, including an erotic but more detailed report than might be expected of how Socrates ignored Alcibiades' efforts to seduce him one cold Athenian night. More revelers arrive breaking up the Symposium. Finally only Agathon, Aristophanes and Socrates are awake, discussing tragedy and comedy, until the first two have been vanquished by Dionysus. Socrates arises, goes as usual to debate all day long, unvanquished by Dionysus or, in debate, by any other. The Symposium, like Woolf's "Orlando," seems a gift of deepest love from Plato to the memory of Socrates.


I agree with the scholarly reviewer who compares six editions, concluding if only one would be read, Allen's would be the choice for the quality of the translation and the value of Allen's comments Hear! Hear!

I also agree with the reviewer who suggested beginning with the translation itself (76 pages including footnotes), then reading the over 110 pages of Allen's commentary. The translation and footnotes are readable as they are. Allen's fine commentary greatly deepens and enriches our understanding of the context----a defense of Socrates against charges of corrupting the youth of Athens. This is valuable, but not essential to reading "The Symposium" in its own voice first.

OVERALL: "Truth is beauty, beauty is truth" may have its roots in Plato's "Symposium". This is a fine edition and at used book prices, a great, almost piratical, value.

There is a niggle. The arc of The Symposium is from Eros as physical sex to love of divine Beauty. The cover drawing displays only the lustful but not exactly as this translation's notes say. The picture of the satyr and maenad suggests she has a choke-hold on him, rather than the other way, as the Allen edition states. Granted his hand is way beneath her gown, but one wouldn't mess against her will with a robust woman holding a spotted panther by the tail & a huge thyrsus in the arm around one's neck. The picture is from a drinking cup of the period. Perhaps the drawing was selected as a quiet thanks to whoever Diotima may have been and to Plato's selection or creation of her as the wise woman to whom Socrates attributes his education in matters of love.

The Symposium draws us into a world of possibilities and attentive thought. Eros, life, and love says this edition as a whole in this robust, forthright translation, are more complex, affirmative, and joyous than they may seem. Bibemus! Highly recommended.