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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 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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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
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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
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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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
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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
Charmides: The Dialogues of Plato
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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
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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.
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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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