The Great Philosophers: Plato

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781399612340

Price: £5.99

ON SALE: 31st August 2023

Genre: Humanities / Philosophy

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‘Courage is knowing what not to fear’ Plato

‘One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors’

Without the work of Plato, western thought is, quite literally, unthinkable. No single influence has been greater, in every age and in every philosophic field. Even those thinkers who have rejected Plato’s views have found themselves working to an agenda he set.

Yet between the neo-platonist interpretations and the anti-platonist reactions, the stuff of ‘Platonism’ proper has often been obscured. The philosopher himself has not necessarily helped in the matter: at times disconcertingly difficult, at other disarmingly simple, Plato can be an elusive thinker, his meanings hard to pin down. His dialogues are complex and often ironically constructed and do not simply expand his views – which in any case changed and developed over a long life.

In this lucid and exciting introductory guide, Bernard Williams takes his reader back to first principles, re-reading the key texts to reveal what the philosopher actually said. The result is a rediscovered Plato: often unexpected, always fascinating and rewarding.

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Reviews

The virtue of these deceptively brief books is that they are the real thing
EVENING STANDARD
The books should improve the cultural circulation of philosophy by their style as well as their substance
TES
A promising venture
THE TIMES
If you want to acquire some first-hand experience of philosophy and democracy you would do well to read this welcome series
TIMES HIGHER EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT
Rarely have intellectual sophistication and complexity come so cheap
FINANCIAL TIMES