Phaedrus and Letters VII and VIII (Penguin Classics)

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9780140442755: Phaedrus and Letters VII and VIII (Penguin Classics)
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Set in the idyllic countryside outside Athens, the Phaedrus is a dialogue between the philosopher Socrates and his friend Phaedrus, inspired by their reading of a clumsy speech by the writer Lysias on the nature of love. Their conversation develops into a wide-ranging discussion on such subjects as the pursuit of beauty, the immortality of the soul and the attainment of truth, and ends with an in-depth consideration of the principles of rhetoric. Probably a work of Plato's maturity, the Phaedrus represents a high point in his achievement as a writer. This volume also contains two of his letters, which discuss his involvement in politics, in particular his role as adviser to Dionysius II of Syracuse, and are crucial documents for our understanding of Plato's life and career.

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Plato (c.427-347 BC) stands with Socrates and Aristotle as one of the shapers of the whole intellectual tradition of the West. He came from a family that had long played a prominent part in Athenian political life, and it would have been natural for him to follow the same course. He declined to do so however, disgusted at the corruption of political life, and sickened especially by the execution in 339 of his friend and teacher, Socrates. Plato sought a cure for the ills of society in philosophy rather than politics, and founded the Academy in Athens. Plato wrote over twenty philosophical dialogues and his literary activity extended over half a century.

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Text: English, Greek (translation)

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