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Phaedo (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

Plato , David Gallop
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)


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Book Description

October 28, 1999 0192839535 978-0192839534 New edition
The Phaedo is acknowledged to be one of Plato's masterpieces, showing him both as a philosopher and as a dramatist at the height of his powers. For its moving account of the execution of Socrates, the Phaedo ranks among the supreme literary achievements of antiquity. It is also a document crucial to the understanding of many ideas deeply ingrained in western culture, and provides one of the best introductions to Plato's thought. This new edition is eminently suitable for readers new to Plato, offering a readable translation which is accessible without the aid of a commentary and assumes no prior knowledge of the ancient Greek world or language.

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Editorial Reviews

Review


"An excellent philosophical commentary on the Phaedo. Lucidly sets out all the salient problems and controversies."--J.M. Dillon, University of Washington


Language Notes

Text: English, Greek (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New edition edition (October 28, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192839535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192839534
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,447,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Translation of One of the Most Important Texts October 22, 2006
Format:Paperback
To my mind, this translation surpasses all others with which I am familiar. The translation (1) has a flowing literary style that does justice to the rich feel of reading Plato's own prose, (2) is remarkably precise in its reflecting of the original language, with the result that, when one notices something interesting going on in the language of the translation, one will consistently find it is reproducing what is found in the Greek. In both these ways, this is a very trustworthy text--the reader can confidently presume to be experiencing Plato's writing. The dialogue itself--Plato's _Phaedo_--has few parallels for philosophical, literary and cultural depth and importance. It is the conversation Socrates has on the day of his death with a number of philosophical admirers. It is a rich discussion of the nature of knowledge, the nature of virtue, the ultimate nature of reality and especially the nature of death itself. The introduction by the translators is also uncommonly good for putting the reader in a position to read the text well. This is the only translation of the _Phaedo_ that I will assign to my classes. This translation is a fantastic accomplishment.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate things June 10, 2005
Format:Paperback
Socrates is unique among philosophers, not just for his place among the early Greek philosophers, but also for the fact that he is the most famous philosopher to never write his own books. What we know of Socrates comes from contemporary accounts and students, most particularly Plato.

Set in 399 BCE, the Phaedo is a reconstruction of Socrates final conversations with friends on the day he died. We do not know when this dialogue was written, but it was probably before The Republic (Plato's most famous work, also featuring the figure of Socrates). Like The Republic, this dialogue features a well developed theory of Forms -- these are introduced gradually here, slowly filling out the details of each step. This develops the story of the caves idea from Plato's earlier work in epistemological, metaphysical, moral, and semantic terms. Plato also advances the 'imperfection argument' here -- the idea that when we sense something, it is never perfectly the thing we are thinking of, and that idea or standard to which we relate what we see, hear, feel, etc. is tying into a more perfect Form.

However, the idea of the soul is rather less developed here than in The Republic. The soul is simply mind, or intellect - all emotions are here placed as bodily aspects. This is rather Pythagorean in a fashion, that only the soul grasps the perfect Forms, and so should consist of nothing but reasoning ability, for emotions distort and cloud the perceptions and judgments.

In the end of the Phaedo, we witness Socrates drink the hemlock, without fear or trembling, as a philosopher should know the value of life and welcome death with a firm hope. The story is almost religious in nature here.

However, there are other possible readings, and this edition opens these up.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Socrates' final hours July 9, 2004
Format:Paperback
Socrates is unique among philosophers, not just for his place among the early Greek philosophers, but also for the fact that he is the most famous philosopher to never write his own books. What we know of Socrates comes from contemporary accounts and students, most particularly Plato.
Set in 399 BCE, the Phaedo is a reconstruction of Socrates final conversations with friends on the day he died. We do not know when this dialogue was written, but it was probably before the Republic (Plato's most famous work, also featuring the figure of Socrates). Like the Republic, this dialogue features a well developed theory of Forms -- these are introduced gradually here, slowly filling out the details of each step.
However, the idea of the soul is rather less developed here than in the Republic. The soul is simply mind, or intellect - all emotions are here placed as bodily aspects. This is rather Pythagorean in a fashion, that only the soul grasps the perfect Forms, and so should consist of nothing but reasoning ability, for emotions distort and cloud the perceptions and judgments.
In the end of the Phaedo, we witness Socrates drink the hemlock, without fear or trembling, as a philosopher should know the value of life and welcome death with a firm hope. The story is almost religious in nature here.
Grube's translation is lively and accessible, not a dry academic rendering, and certainly no contrived high-formal style that so often distances the classics from modern life. This is serious stuff, but in a mere 60 pages manages to capture much, and Grube's work makes it all the more relevant.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With Socrates at the hour of his death November 26, 1999
Format:Paperback
Socrates, as depicted by his devoted student, Plato, is one of the true spiritual giants of recorded history, standing in such company as Jesus and the Buddha. The Phaedo preserves the moment where Socrates earned his immortality, forced to commit suicide by the Athenian democracy.
Oxford's edition is the only accessible volume to give the Phaedo the individual treatment it merits. Gallop's translation is clear, dramatic, naturalistic, and compelling. Included are an extensive introduction, an outline of the arguments of the dialogue, and copious explanatory notes, as well as a bibliography for further reading.
To hear Socrates lecturing his students on the nature of the soul and his assurance of the life to come as the moment of his execution approaches is inspiring and uplifting. As great as any Greek tragedy, the Phaedo recreates a moment where one of the greatest of men shuffles off his mortal coil and "puts on immortality." A powerful, moving, and transforming read; not to be missed!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Notice to Freemasons
This review is directed to a special group of men.
If you are a tested and accepted member of the Masonic Brotherhood and you are sincere in your traveling journey to Light,... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Clayton porter
2.0 out of 5 stars Falsely Presented
This appears in the Editorial Review notes for this edition:

"Gallop's translation, notes, and introduction to Plato's Phaedo shows first rate literary, philosophical... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Scrambler
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Why choose this rating - The product is EXcellent
What did you dislike - Nothing
To whom would you recommend this product - Anyone interested
Published 15 months ago by Robert G. Buice
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Commentary
This commentary is a wonderful guide for anyone looking to read Plato's "Phaedo" in the original. It calls for slightly more advanced knowledge of Greek than Geoffrey Steadman's... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Noah I. Bassel
5.0 out of 5 stars The Phaedo: Is There Life After Life?
Plato's immortal Phaedo is here presented in a beautiful translation, with, surprisingly, a commentary that sheds new light on the meaning of this foundational dialogue. Read more
Published on May 27, 2012 by L. Sive
1.0 out of 5 stars Very confusing
This book is organized in a very odd way. Most translated pieces like this (Illiad, Odyssey, etc) have the verses numbered in the margin of the page. Read more
Published on September 24, 2011 by Erin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great intro into philosophy
Socrates on his deathbed, kicking it with his homies.
Best book ever written about the concept of the soul & their existence coming (nearly) from the very mouth of Socrates... Read more
Published on April 22, 2011 by Kristin
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Translation
This translation manages both to translate the Greek precisely, as well as capture the sense of the dialogue. Read more
Published on March 8, 2011 by Johnnie
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb introduction to Phaedo
The introductory essay of this edition is superb. It emphasises the monster in us that need to be slayed to free ourselves. Read more
Published on February 21, 2011 by stephen liem
3.0 out of 5 stars Great, but why not buy a collection?
"Phaedo" is one of Plato's best and most important works. Though well worth reading by itself, the fact that it is widely anthologized - e.g. Read more
Published on April 20, 2010 by Bill R. Moore
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