Plato eBook –

One Of The Greatest Thinkers Of The Ancient World, Plato Instigated Groundbreaking Inquiries Into Morality, Ethics, And The Quest For Happiness That Continue To Inform And Influence Philosophical Discussion Today In This Outstanding Work Of Scholarship, A Renowned Expert On Plato Presents A Scrupulously Accurate Historical View Of The Great Philosopher S Life And Works Distinguished By Its Dispassionate Scholarly Analysis, Professor Taylor S Discourse Is Refreshingly Free Of The Biases That Have Frequently Tainted Other StudiesA Brief Introductory Chapter Acquaints Readers With The Known Events Of Plato S Life The Author Then Proceeds To An Illuminating Examination Of The Philosopher S Voluminous Writings, Including The Minor Socratic Dialogues, As Well As Such Major Works As Phaedo, Symposium, Protagoras, Republic, Phaedrus, Timaeus, Laws, And Other Influential Dialogues The Final Chapter, Plato In The Academy, Attempts To Pin Down With The Help Of Some Of Plato S Former Students, Such As Aristotle The Philosopher S Beliefs About Numbers In A Substantial Appendix, The Platonic Apocrypha, Professor Taylor Examines Writings That Have Sometimes Been Attributed To Plato, Including Several Letters, And Offers Cogent Reasons For Accepting Or Rejecting Them As Plato S WorkPraised By Dean William R Inge Of Theology As A Great Book, An Honour To British Scholarship, This Volume Is An Invaluable Guide For Students, Teachers, And Other Readers Interested In Philosophy

10 thoughts on “Plato

  1. says:

    I think most attentive readers of Plato s dialogues will find themselves in one of two camps those who believe that Plato carried on the spirit of Socrates philosophy, and those who believe he carried on the letter of Socrates philosophy There will certainly be some overlap here Those who believe Plato carried on the spirit will acknowledge that dialogues such as the Apology are probably a fairly accurate account of what Socrates said on a particular occasion those who believe he carried on the letter will have to acknowledge that dialogues such as the Parmenides could not be an accurate account of a historical encounter A E Taylor is certainly in the Socratic letter camp I must admit that I m in the Socratic spirit camp My issue with the Socratic philosophical letter is that it makes Plato far too dependent on Socrates and accords to him very little philosophical originality We are left with a philosopher that was little than Socrates stenographer That, for me, pushes beyond the realm of credibility Taylor balks at the notion that Plato would have used Socrates as a mouthpiece for anything he didn t really say I agree we have to be careful here I seriously doubt that Plato would have had Socrates say anything that would be at odds with what he knew Socrates sensibilities were But I don t believe the majority of the dialogues are anything approaching actual historical dialogic encounters Taylor apparently thinks that Xenophon simply lifted his ideas from Plato for his own Socrates and gives his Memorabilia almost no credence I can t accept that that is a reasonable appraisal While Xenophon s Socrates and Plato s Socrates are indeed similar, one must acknowledge one fundamental difference Xenophon s Socrates is on the whole far concerned with ethics and isn t concerned with metaphysics hardly at all Indeed, Xenophon goes out of his way to say that Socrates eschewed metaphysics A way to reconcile these two versions might be to take a clue from Plato s dialogues that metaphysics were an interest of Socrates youth This might explain why dialogues like the Timaeus and Parmenides largely utilize other speakers to put forth the Eleatic and Pythagorean ideas that they contain Still, Plato s Socrates is undeniably a teacher of metaphysics aside from that I don t doubt in the slightest that Socrates taught the essential features of the doctrine of forms ideas, but I think Plato took these further than Socrates had Socrates probably accepted that the forms were transcendent in some sense, but he was probably far concerned with their practical application than their theoretical numinous features I think Plato probably went further with Socrates views on the soul psyche as well I personally feel that the Phaedo is probably a fairly accurate account of what Socrates said on that particular occasion The Phaedrus I don t think is I find it interesting that Plato only mentions himself once in his dialogues, i.e The Phaedo, and that is to stipulate that he was not present for this exchange In my humble opinion, Plato did this to let the reader know that he is not pretending to always give historical testimony to what Socrates actually said In his mind, that freed him to explore further some of the implied aspects of Socrates philosophy concerning the things I just listed When the ideas Plato wanted to explore were clearly compatible with another school, he used other speakers that were affiliated with those schools Taylor seems to accord to Plato originality in only very late dialogues like the Laws I just can t go along with that I admit that Aristotle does seem to confirm that some of the Platonic dialogues were expounding Socrates own ideas Often when he quotes them he attributes the thought to Socrates Whether this is due to Aristotle receiving Plato s own confirmation that the very words were Socrates , or just the ideas, isn t manifest Aristotle may have simply recognized that the dialogues used Socrates as the mouthpiece for certain ideas and he respected Plato s desire to not take credit for them While some may see me accepting Xenophon s testimony as totally undermining Plato s, I see it as a matter of according to Plato an originality of thought that is due him Obviously, he was influenced by Socrates, but he was also influenced by the Eleatics, the Pluralists, the Orphics and the Pythagoreans as well I would like to believe and I believe there is some textual evidence for this that Plato added something that was original to the preceding schools With the above being said, I think this was quite a good book Some of Taylor s discussions I will certainly revisit in the future, namely, those on the Theaetetus, the Parmenides, the Republic, the Sophist, the Protagoras and his discussion on the early Academy I recommend the book, but would encourage the reader to not accept Taylor s implicit attempt to marginalize Plato s originality.

  2. says:

    La chiarezza espositiva degli anglosassoni rimane paradigmatica, anche quando si distacca dal paradigma in uso al tempo della stesura di questo libro il paradigma platoniano di Schleiermacher , al quale l autore contrappone quello che tiene pienamente conto delle dottrine non scritte.

  3. says:

    A serviceable introduction to the dialogues and synopsis of each, but Taylor maintains strenuously that the theory of forms, etc., were Socrates and that Plato never put anything into Socrates mouth that didn t come from Socrates So caveat emptor this is a novel theory outside the mainstream of Platonic scholarship, which considers the early dialogues essentially Socratic, with transitional, mid and late ones becoming increasingly Platonic It s hard to take this theory seriously considering the picture of Socrates we get from Plato s early dialogues combined with those of other Socratic dialogue writers, including Xenophon If Plato s epistemology, ontology and metaphysics came from Socrates, why don t the other writers indicate anything about them Oddly, this hardly mars the analysis and commentary But if anyone i.e., Pete has a suggestion for another good overview of the dialogues, I m all ears.

  4. says:

    I took at least three courses focused on ancient Greek philosophy while at Loyola University Chicago Two were specifically about Plato, courses which got me to read a good deal of A.E Taylor and his near contemporary, Cornford This book is notable for being a sympathetic study of Plato s thought Taylor was a bit of an idealist himself and tended also to take Plato s representation of Socrates as coherent and substantially accurate.

  5. says:

    Very good Listening to this as an audio, and the mental chess involved with parts of Plato s writing is very complex so I forsee listening to this again to be sure I understood the concepts involved.

  6. says:

    Wonderful work I haven t really read anything better, even anything written in the considerable time since it was published Accounts for his contemporaries well, but obviously not much since then.

  7. says:

    This is an excellent short book offering a helpful overview of Plato s dialogues milieu It also has a blurb of praise from Richard McKeon on the cover.