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Lesser Hippias: Lying
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Lesser Hippias (or Lying) is thought to be one of Plato's early works. Socrates matches wits with an arrogant polymath who is also a smug literary critic. Hippias believes that Homer can be taken at... More > face value, and that Achilles may be believed when he says he hates liars. Socrates argues that Achilles is a cunning liar who throws people off the scent of his own deceptions, and that cunning liars are actually the "best" liars. Socrates proposes, possibly for the sheer dialectical fun of it, that it is better to do evil voluntarily than involuntarily. His case rests largely on the analogy with athletic skills, such as running and wrestling. He says that a runner or wrestler who deliberately sandbags is better than the one who plods along because he can do no better.< Less
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In Plato's Ion Socrates discusses with Ion, a professional rhapsode who also lectures on Homer, the question of whether the rhapsode, a performer of poetry, gives his performance on account of his... More > skill and knowledge or by virtue of divine possession. It is one of the shorter of Plato's dialogues.< Less
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Euthydemus (or Euthydemos), written circa 384 BCE, is a dialogue by Plato which satirizes what Plato presents as the logical fallacies of the Sophists. In it, Socrates describes to his friend Crito a... More > visit he and various youths paid to two brothers, Euthydemus and Dionysodorus, both of whom were prominent Sophists from Chios and Thurii. The Euthydemus contrasts Socratic argumentation and education with the methods of Sophism, to the detriment of the latter. Throughout the dialogue, Euthydemus and Dionysodorus continually attempt to ensnare Socrates with what are presented as deceptive and meaningless arguments, primarily to demonstrate their professed philosophical superiority. As in many of the Socratic dialogues, the two Sophists against whom Socrates argues were indeed real people. Euthydemus was somewhat famous at the time the dialogue was written, and is mentioned several times by both Plato and Aristotle. Likewise, Dionysodorus is mentioned by Xenophon.< Less
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Crito is a dialogue by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. It is a conversation between Socrates and his wealthy friend Crito regarding justice, injustice, and the appropriate response to injustice.... More > Socrates thinks that injustice may not be answered with injustice, and refuses Crito's offer to finance his escape from prison. This dialogue contains an ancient statement of the social contract theory of government.< Less
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Critias, one of Plato's late dialogues, contains the story of the mighty island kingdom Atlantis and its attempt to conquer Athens, which failed due to the ordered society of the Athenians. Critias... More > is the second of a projected trilogy of dialogues, preceded by Timaeus and followed by Hermocrates.< Less
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Cratylus is the name of a dialogue by Plato. Most modern scholars agree that it was written mostly during Plato's so-called middle period. In the dialogue, Socrates is asked by two men, Cratylus and... More > Hermogenes, to tell them whether names are "conventional" or "natural", that is, whether language is a system of arbitrary signs or whether words have an intrinsic relation to the things they signify.< Less
Euthyphro: Piety or Holiness
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Euthyphro (right-minded or sincere) is one of Plato's early dialogues, dated to after 399 BC. Taking place during the weeks leading up to Socrates' trial, the dialogue features Socrates and... More > Euthyphro, a religious expert also mentioned at Cratylus 396a and 396d, attempting to define piety or holiness< Less
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The Laches is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato. Participants in the discourse present competing definitions of the concept of courage.
Politicus: The Statesman
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The Statesman, also known by its Latin title, Politicus, is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato. The text describes a conversation among Socrates, the mathematician Theodorus, another person named... More > Socrates (referred to as "Young Socrates"), and an unnamed philosopher from Elea referred to as "the Stranger". It is ostensibly an attempt to arrive at a definition of "statesman," as opposed to "sophist" or "philosopher" and is presented as following the action of the Sophist.< Less
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The Philebus (occasionally given as Philebos), is one of the surviving Socratic dialogues written in the 4th century BC by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. Apart from Socrates, the primary... More > speaker in Philebus, the other speakers are Philebus and Protarchus. But Philebus, who wants to defend the life of pleasure, hedonism, which Socrates describes as the life of an oyster, hardly participates, and his position has to be defended by Protarchus, who has learnt argumentation from Sophists. Manuscripts of the work give it the subtitle "peri hēdonēs, ēthikos" indicating that it is "concerning pleasure", and that it is a work about "ethics", or in other words the question of the best way of life. However "there are large parts in the dialogue that deal with dialectics and ontology but have nothing to do with pleasure and ethics, or if so, only indirectly".< Less
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