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
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
The Menexenus is a Socratic dialogue of Plato. The speakers are Socrates and Menexenus, who is not to be confused with Socrates' son Menexenus.
The Menexenus consists mainly of a lengthy funeral... More > oration, satirizing the one given by Pericles in Thucydides' account of the Peloponnesian War. Socrates here delivers to Menexenus a speech that he claims to have learned from Aspasia, a consort of Pericles and prominent female Athenian intellectual.
Menexenus is unique among the Platonic dialogues in that the actual 'dialogue' serves primarily as exposition for the oration. For this reason, perhaps, the Menexenus has come under some suspicion of illegitimacy, although Aristotle's invocation of the text on multiple occasions seems to reinforce its authenticity. Much of the interest in the Menexenus stems from the fact that it is one of the few extant sources on the practice of Athenian funeral oratory, even though it parodies the medium.< Less
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
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
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
The Republic (Politeia) is a Socratic dialogue, written around 380 BC, concerning the definition of justice and the order and character of the just city-state and the just man. The dramatic dialogue... More > has been much debated and though it must take place some time during the Peloponnesian War, "there would be jarring anachronisms if any of the candidate specific dates between 432 and 404 were assigned". It is Plato's best-known work and has proven to be one of the most intellectually and historically influential works of philosophy and political theory. In it, Socrates along with various Athenians and foreigners discuss the meaning of justice and examine whether or not the just man is happier than the unjust man by considering a series of different cities coming into existence "in speech", culminating in a city (Kallipolis) ruled by philosopher-kings. The participants also discuss the theory of forms, the immortality of the soul, and the roles of the philosopher and of poetry in society.< Less
The Charmides is a dialogue of Plato, in which Socrates engages a handsome and popular boy in a conversation about the meaning of sophrosyne, a Greek word usually translated into English as... More > "temperance", "self-control", or "restraint". As is typical with Platonic early dialogues, the two never arrive at a completely satisfactory definition, but the discussion nevertheless raises many important points.< Less
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