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Paperback The Trial and Death of Socrates : Four Dialogues Book

ISBN: 0486270661

ISBN13: 9780486270661

The Trial and Death of Socrates : Four Dialogues

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Book Overview

Among the most important and influential philosophical works in Western thought: Euthyphro, exploring the concepts and aims of piety and religion; Apology, a defense of the integrity of Socrates' teachings; Crito, exploring Socrates' refusal to flee his death sentence; and Phaedo, in which Socrates embraces death and discusses the immortality of the soul.

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Great Collection

This magnificent compilation has four Plato writings: "Euthyphro," "Apology," "Crito," and "Phaedo." Though apparently early works and not as complex or philosophically influential as later ones, they are immensely important in portraying Socrates' trial and death. They are our clearest picture of the historical Socrates and would be invaluable for this alone. Indeed, I have read hundreds - perhaps thousands - of books, and this is one of my ten or so favorites, mostly because of how moving the depiction of the great man's last days is. The story of Socrates' Apology and last moments is part of world literature's very fabric, an immortal part of Western cultural heritage. Anyone who wants to learn about Socrates should start here. However, the works have great value even aside from this; a few have indeed questioned their historical veracity. This does not affect their philosophical, literary, and political worth, which is of the highest, making the book doubly essential. "Euthyphro" is the least important work philosophically and probably not meant as historical, but it is still worthwhile. It examines the important "What is piety?" question and, like many Platonic dialogues, does not have anything like a definite conclusion. Some find this aspect frustrating, and it is certainly beguiling, but those who have experience with it come to love it. Like Socrates, Plato is after all too intelligent to give hard and fast answers; in all likelihood, he knows there are not any. What he does is far more important - lead us to think for ourselves and come to our own conclusions if we can. "Euthyphro" is a good, if relatively minor, example. It also introduces what philosophers call the Euthyphro Problem; here it is "Are good things good because they are loved by the gods, or are they loved by the gods because they are good?," but it has been restated in innumerable forms. This is in some ways an unrepresentative dialogue and thus an unfortunate one to begin the book, because it seems to prove the stereotype that philosophy obsesses over inane, probably unanswerable questions of no practical use. The Euthyphro Problem seems truly asinine as given - or, in our post-postmodern world, simply irrelevant. However, we can begin to see its importance when we replace "good" and "loved by the gods" with whatever seems most pressing. Such is after all the kind of thing Plato wanted; we are not supposed to read in narrow literal terms but use him as a starting point for our path to wisdom. This is an instructive example of how Plato has been immensely influential far beyond his apparent significance. "Apology" is Plato's least philosophical and most unrepresentative work but arguably his most important and is among many readers' favorites, including mine. The book's title is misleading in that this is prose rather than dialogue; it purports to be Socrates' self-defense at his trial. It is historically priceless if so, as it gives his last public statements and som

Plato and Socrates and the Immortality of the Soul.

This edition of _The Trial and Death of Socrates_ contains Plato's four famous dialogues between Socrates and his friends and detractors before the noteworthy philosopher was condemned to death by the Athenian tribunal in ancient Greece. I find this topic of interest because of the close relationship between Platonic thought and early Christian philosophy during the period of roughly 250-750 A.D. when the fundamentals of Christian doctrine were formed. It is clear from a reading of this series of texts why Plato, although a pagan preceding Christ for several hundred years, was very popular among Christian prelates, monks, polemicists, theologians and philosophers. The texts make somewhat awkward reading because they are presented in the forms of dialogue between Socrates and his friends and detractors and thus Plato does not have to express unequivocally what his own opinions are regarding the debates. The first text discussed in this volume is entitled "Euthyphro" and discusses the nature of piety. Here Plato has Socrates question many of the concepts associated with the polytheistic worship and piety of ancient Athens. Socrates' famous "Apology" is a treatise against the accusations of the courts of Athens. Socrates argues for the fact that only God is ultimately the source of wisdom and in all his interactions with fellow poets, artists, philosophers, statesmen, etc., he has not found true wisdom, at least not any wisdom that he himself does not already possess. In "Crito" Socrates debates with those among his followers who entreat him to flee Athens and take up refuge in a safer city. "Phaedo" contains the account of Socrates' last dialogue and concludes with Socrates' death by consuming hemlock poison as ordered by the Athenian court. Socrates explains that he does not fear death because the physical things of this world are impermanent and only the soul is ultimately immortal. Death is in fact an improvement in man's condition and he advocates a type of otherworldly asceticism (disdaining external appearances, food, clothing and human love) as the true path for the philosopher who wants to understand and contemplate the nature of reality in a pure fashion. The body dies and the soul is immortal and therefore the most important thing is to attend to the metaphysical realities while in this life. Socrates argues, among other things, that the soul is pre-existent of the body, a concept which was taken up later by the Christian philosopher Origen and later condemned as heresy. He also believes in a concept of the afterlife where the soul is either punished for wrongdoing or rewarded for good. Some souls go through a process of purification before they can advance, similar to the Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory. _The Trial and Death of Socrates_ is an excellent read about an important figure in the history of religion and philosophy, especially as it shows the mindset of one who was willing to die for his beliefs (martyrdom)

The death of a man of honour

The Greek philosopher Socrates is the the acknowledged Founding Father of Philosophy. Born in Athens circa 470 BC, in the time of its apogee, Socrates lived a poor life, not paying any tribute to the so-called frivolities and luxuries of life, thus irritating his many foes, which took monetary advantage of their philosophical practice. The great Socrates had Plato as his most dedicated disciple, among others, who set himself to write down all Socratic discourses, thus preserving to posterity the very special way of thinking Socrates had, known as "maieuthics". Socrates did not leave to posterity any written document of his handwriting, and that is why that the dedication Plato had to him was important to us. It is something like the work of a match who kindles a very beautiful candle. Socrates was the son of a midwife and a sculptor and his very particular philosophical method was performed by means of very well-formulated questions, that showed that the answers to the questions asked were already there at the very first time, and only had to be delivered out of the inner self by means of philosophical questioning, something akin to the help a mid-wife does to a pregnant woman in her labours prior before the baby is born. In my opinion, the most important part of this small booklet is the Apology of Socrates, where the wisest of all men shows to the tribunal that the only superiority he had over his accusers was that he did not pretend to know anything at all, while his accusers boasted a knowledge they did not have. The ideals formulated or used by Socrates ("Know thyself") were later adopted by the Christian religion and evidenced a man in a inner struggle with his internal "daemon", a word which originally had quite another meaning than the modern one, and showed a man with a great coherence in life and, as Nietzche said, most important, a coherence in the face of death, cause to death he was sentenced by his accusers, who were, as predicted by Socrates, to be ruined after his death. Plato is the apparent heir of the socratic tradition and in this small opus pays his tributes to the master of his youth. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

the Grube translation

Note that the e-book download shown above is not the most current translation by Grube, but the older Jowett translation. Make sure to look for the newer translations when ordering, especially used editions.

The Masterpiece of Plato

I wondered that why there isn't any church putting Jacque Louis-David's painting the Death of Socrates on the wall. If you hear the story of Socrates' sarcrifice, you would understand why this old man is worth of the worship from millions. Imagine you are in the situation of Socrates. Assume that you are a patriotic citizen of a country. For all the years of your life, you try to make your fellow citizen smart and do them goods by spending all your time making speeches on the streets, defending justice and teaching the students without any charges. Assume that you have annoyed the ruling class of this country and they prosecute you on the court for corrupting the youths of your country-they could not prove that though. Assume your fellow citizen vote and put you to death on the court for you are too poor to pay a satisfactory fine and reject to proclaiming justice in exchange for your release. Assume that your best friend asks you to escape from jail since it is unjust for you to accept this unreasonable condemnation, and he guarantees that all the financial problems would be taken care of and your friends who help you escape would not be suffered, so that you can live in the countries that you prefer and raise your children by yourselves. Is anybody there would refuse to escape? However, Socrates does. He launches three arugements. 1. We should never injury others on any circumstances. Escape from jail and breaks the laws is certainly an act that would put the Laws of Athens on the blink of destruction. 2. You should respect your country's command as if you respect your parents. Since a person's birth, his country provides the protections, regulates the supply of food and enriches him with education. Thus, a person shouls respect his country like or more than he respects his parents. 3. There is a contract between the government and the people. If a person does not like the Laws of a country, he can choose to leave it. If he chooses to stay, that means he signs the contract with government of not ! breaking the laws. If he does not break the laws, the government can't do anything on him. If he does, the government reserves the rights to punish him or even execute him.This book comprises the last part of Socrates' life: Euthyphro, the cause of his accusation, The Apology ,his cross-interrogation at the court, Crito, his refusal to escape from jail, and Phaedo, his Sarcrifice. There are the most important chapters in Plato. The weight of Socrates' sarcrifice is like the cruxifiction of Christ; if he does not die, he is not the Messiah. So, if you don't have too much time to read the Complete Works of Plato, this book undoubtedly would be the best choice for you to understand Plato.
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