Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-x

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Editorial Note

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pp. xi-xii

The translations comprising this edition have been subject to only slight editing. The following general revisions may be noted. All commentaries, summaries, and footnotes of the original texts have...

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Introduction

Huntington Cairns

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pp. xiii-xxv

THESE DIALOGUES were written twenty-three hundred years ago, and the thought of the ancient world, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and that of contemporary times, have all come under their influence. They have been praised as the substance of Western thought, as the...

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Socrates' Defense

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pp. 3-26

The first three dialogues given here are an account of the last days and the death of Socrates. In what order Plato wrote the dialogues we do not know, but in reading them there is a good reason for beginning...

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Crito

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pp. 27-39

Nearly a month elapsed between Socrates' condemnation and execution, a delay not at all in accordance with Athenian custom. The day before the trial, however, a state galley had been sent on a sacred...

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Phaedo

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pp. 40-98

Some time after Socrates' death Phaedo, a devoted pupil who had been with him to the end, gives an account of his last hours to a number of his...

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Charmides

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pp. 99-122

In the Charmides, as in the Lysis and the Laches, Socrates' aim is not to convert his hearers to what he believes, but to arouse each one to think for himself. There is no other dialogue in which he so quickly...

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Laches

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pp. 123-144

When this dialogue is added to the Lysis Socrates' method as a teacher is clear. In both he discusses a quality that is perfectly familiar to everyone present, with the same result. They finally realize that...

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Lysis

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pp. 145-168

The interest of the Lysis does not lie in the matter of the discussion but in the manner. Socrates questions two boys, close friends, on what friendship is. They are sure that they know, but the more they try to...

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Euthyphro

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pp. 169-185

Socrates and Euthyphro meet at the entrance to the law courts, and to Euthyphro's surprised question—"What has taken you from your haunts in the Lyceum?"—Socrates answers that a charge has been...

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Menexenus

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pp. 186-199

This dialogue stands apart from all the others. It is not a dialogue— it is a speech of Socrates that professes to review the history of Athens, especially from the days of Marathon on. Its authorship has ...

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Lesser Hippias

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pp. 200-214

This dialogue can be ascribed to Plato only because it always has been, from Aristotle's day on. It is inferior to all the others. The argument is between Socrates and a Sophist, Hippias, who says that he has...

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Ion

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pp. 215-228

In this little dialogue Plato is amusing himself. Socrates talks with Ion whose profession is to give recitals of Homer on special occasions and who is convinced that he is the greatest artist in that line throughout...

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Gorgias

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pp. 229-307

In this dialogue Socrates is different. Except for two passing allusions his usual profession of ignorance has been dropped. He never says that he cannot teach because he does not know. In the Gorgias he does...

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Protagoras

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pp. 308-352

The reader who is interested only in Plato's philosophy would do well to pass over the first part of the Protagoras, the first three-quarters of it, in fact, up to the discussion about pleasure and pain when Socrates...

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Meno

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pp. 353-384

Can virtue be taught? asks Meno. Socrates replies that he certainly cannot do it for he does not know what virtue is. Meno does and can tell him, and gives him forthwith a list of various virtuous...

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Euthydemus

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pp. 385-420

This is perhaps of all the dialogues the one that makes the Athens of Socrates and Plato seem farthest removed from us. We are taken back to a time when language had begun to be of great importance in...

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Cratylus

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pp. 421-474

This dialogue has to do with the origin of language, then essentially a new subject. Socrates' discourse on it contains many fantastic guesses, but occasionally an insight, even a deep insight, into the...

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Phaedrus

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pp. 475-525

This is one of the greatest of the dialogues. It should be read with the Symposium. The two together give Plato's idea of love. The Phaedrus is a conversation, not a discourse or a succession of questions and...

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Symposium

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pp. 526-574

It is agreed that the Symposium is one of Plato's two greatest dialogues, either greater than the Republic or next to it. Of all of them it tells the most vivid story and it gives the most arresting and the most...

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Republic

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pp. 575-844

The Republic is the best known and generally considered the greatest of the dialogues. It is in chief part a construction of the ideal state undertaken by Socrates at the insistence of two young men who have...

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Theaetetus

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pp. 845-919

In this dialogue three persons discuss what knowledge is: Socrates, Theodorus, an old man and a distinguished mathematician, and his pupil, the young Theaetetus, who is a charming...

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Parmenides

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pp. 920-956

The Parmenides presents a great difficulty to the reader. The best Platonists differ about its meaning. The ordinary person will be hard put to it to discover any meaning at all. The argument runs on and on...

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Sophist

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pp. 957-1017

The Parmenides, Philebus, Sophist, and Statesman are a group of dialogues which resemble each other and are different from all the rest. They are the last writing Plato did, with the exception of the...

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Statesman

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pp. 1018-1085

The Statesman is generally ranked among Plato's most important dialogues, but the first part of it presents difficulties to the reader, not because the thought is hard to understand, but because it is...

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Philebus

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pp. 1086-1150

The characters in the dialogue are Socrates and a young man, Protarchus, who has come to see Socrates with some of his friends. One of these, Philebus, has been discussing with Socrates whether wisdom or...

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Timaeus

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pp. 1151-1211

The Timaeus for many hundreds of years exercised a wide and profound influence over men's minds. It is Plato's account of the creation of the universe, hut it is more than an account, it is an...

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Critias

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pp. 1212-1224

The Critias, of which we have only a few pages, is the second in a proposed series of three dialogues. The first is the Timaeus, where Socrates reviews the main heads of a discussion held the day before ...

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Laws

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pp. 1225-1514

The Laws was written a few years before Plato's death and is the last thing he ever wrote. It is unlike all the other dialogues and the difference is emphasized by the fact that in it alone Socrates is absent. He...

Appendix

Epinomis

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pp. 1517-1533

Greater Hippias

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pp. 1534-1559

Letters

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pp. 1560-1606

Index

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pp. 1607-1743