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By Plato / Harvard University Press / 1914
Philosopher and mathematician A. N. Whitehead once claimed that “the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.” It is difficult to disagree with him. Plato wrote seminal works on ethics, political theory, morality, epistemology, and metaphysics. His concept of forms went on to have a great influence on Christian theology in the post-Apostolic period.
Plato’s works are written as a series of dialogues wherein a number of characters (the chief of which is usually Socrates) discuss various philosophical questions. By both their questions and their answers, the characters explain Plato’s various ideas. Plato’s dialogues are the best-known use of the Socratic method—that is, the use of dialogue in teaching. This collection includes Plato’s Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phaedo, and Phaedrus in their Loeb Classical Library editions, with the original Greek and an English translation side by side.
The Logos edition of Plato’s works gives you the kind of intertextual connections that philosophers and theologians have dreamed of for centuries. Each volume is completely indexed and linked across all the other works in your Logos library. Logos’ powerful search functions make Plato’s dialogues vastly more accessible. In addition, names and concepts link to the other texts in your Logos library, allowing you to cross-reference and compare. See how Plato’s ideas influenced Aristotle by pulling them up side-by-side and comparing them for yourself.
Plato (427–347 BC) was born in Athens to an aristocratic family. A student of Socrates until the latter’s death, he also studied the works of Herculitus, Parmenides, and the Pythagoreans. Following the death of Socrates, Plato spent a number of years travelling around the Mediterranean. He eventually returned to Athens and founded a school of philosophy called the Academy (named for the field in which it was located), where he later taught Aristotle.
Plato wrote works on ethics, politics, morality, epistemology, and metaphysics. He is best known for his theory of forms, the theory that the qualities that define a thing’s existence (redness, beauty) exist in an abstract realm of forms, separate from matter. Plato believed that what was true, and therefore real, must be unchanging. Because the material world is in a constant state of change it is not true reality but a mere illusion. Plato taught that love is the longing for the Beautiful in its purest, most abstract, form. Consequently, love is what motivates all the highest human achievements.