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Phaedo (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – October 28, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0192839534 ISBN-10: 0192839535 Edition: New edition

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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 0.4 x 4.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #710,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend it to readers both beginning to read Plato and those well seasoned.
Johnnie
In both these ways, this is a very trustworthy text--the reader can confidently presume to be experiencing Plato's writing.
John Russon
_If it was up to me to preserve just one of the dialogues of Plato for posterity it would be the Phaedo.
OAKSHAMAN

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By John Russon on 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 By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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.
Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Quintus Rex on 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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