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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phaedrus
In Phaedrus, Plato records the conversation of love and rhetoric between Socrates and Phaedrus. Socrates uses love as a metaphor for rhetoric by categorizing the differences between love and lust, as well as the differences between a philosopher who pursues divine truth, and a poet who forgoes truth for ostentations. Then Socrates and Phaedrus eventually conclude the...
Published on March 24, 2001 by T. Chou

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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Get another translation.
This is one of my favorite Platonic dialogues, an analysis of both rhetoric and love which leads to some compelling discussions. However, the translation offered by Pengin Classics is hideously lacking. I can't put my finger on exactly where it goes wrong, but the translator makes it a pain to get through just one page. Everything seems laborous and technical, including...
Published on July 23, 2006 by Shadowgraphs


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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Get another translation., July 23, 2006
This is one of my favorite Platonic dialogues, an analysis of both rhetoric and love which leads to some compelling discussions. However, the translation offered by Pengin Classics is hideously lacking. I can't put my finger on exactly where it goes wrong, but the translator makes it a pain to get through just one page. Everything seems laborous and technical, including the normally exquisite speeches.

Get another translation instead. Might I suggest the one published by Hackett? Or perhaps Cornell University Press? Both of those translations take care to make the dialogue as lively annd exciting as it rightfully should be.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phaedrus, March 24, 2001
By 
T. Chou (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Phaedrus (Agora Editions) (Paperback)
In Phaedrus, Plato records the conversation of love and rhetoric between Socrates and Phaedrus. Socrates uses love as a metaphor for rhetoric by categorizing the differences between love and lust, as well as the differences between a philosopher who pursues divine truth, and a poet who forgoes truth for ostentations. Then Socrates and Phaedrus eventually conclude the requirements for being a dialectician. In the course of defending proper love and truth, Socrates pointes out that beauty and truth are divine. Whoever pursues reality would worship beauty and truth with reverence, and his admirations of divinities yield pleasures. Then in order to receive the blessing from gods, the proper lover and the philosopher must overcome desires with reasoning. Conversely, those commoners who are tempted by earthy imitations of the reality would be trapped by carnal or linguistic pleasures, as the improper lover and the poet, who lack reasoning would drown in the momentary enjoyments of their own wantonness.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Without deepest contemplation of the Soul, all is in error., December 6, 2005
By 
OAKSHAMAN "oakshaman" (Algoma, WI United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Phaedrus (Paperback)
_I have heard some call this work a confused jumble of unrelated concepts. These people just didn't get it. There is one unified theme to the Phaedrus: without a deep connection to the soul and to the higher Reality only accessible to the soul, then all human endeavors are in error.

_The first part of the dialogue deals with three speeches on the topic of love. This is used only as an example and is not the primary theme (though it is an extremely thorough and compelling examination of the subject.) The first speech (by Lysias) is clearly in error- it is badly composed, badly reasoned, and supports what is clearly the wrong conclusion. The second speech (by Socrates), while an impeccable model of correct rhetoric, and reaching the correct conclusion is also essentially flawed- for it makes no appeal to the deepest fundamental causes of things. Simply put, it lacks soul. The third argument (attributed to Stesichorus) however, delves deeply into the soul. In fact, the core of the argument is centered around the proof of the existence and nature of the soul. That is the consistency here- unless you are Philosopher enough to have looked deeply within your own soul, to have made contact (recollection) with ultimate Reality (Justice, Wisdom, Beauty, Temperance, etc.) then your arguments are just empty words- even if you are accidentally on the correct side.

_The second part of the dialogue concentrates on showing how true rhetoric is more than "empty rhetoric" (i.e. just clever arguments and tricks used to sway the masses.) True rhetoric is shown to literally be the art of influencing the soul through words. It also reads as the perfect description, and damnation, of modern politics and the legal system. No wonder Socrates was condemned to later take poison- he actually BELIEVED in Justice, Truth, and the Good. As a Philosopher he could not compromise on such things for he knew the profound damage and that it would do to his soul and to his "wings."
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best available, March 10, 2010
By 
M. Migala (Cincinnati, Ohio) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Phaedrus (Agora Editions) (Paperback)
Best available translation of Plato's Phaedrus in English. They are as literal as possible and convey the subtleties of the Greek text as if it were originally written in English.

I also recommend their companion translation of Gorgias.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love or Rhetoric?, April 14, 2011
By 
stephen liem (antioch, ca United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Phaedrus (Paperback)
In this review I will compare 3 editions of Plato's Phaedrus:
1. Alexander Nehamas & Paul Woodruff (Hackett Pub Co, 1995).
2. Stephen Scully (Focus Pub/R.Pullins Co , 2003).
3. James Nichols (Cornell University Press, 1998).
I have given all 3 editions 5 stars for their own unique perspectives.
Throughout the centuries, scholars have debated on what exactly is the central theme of Phaedrus: is it a dialogue about rhetoric? Or is it about Love? Or perhaps it is about both? If so, how are we supposed to understand the connection between Rhetoric and Love? The book itself is divided into 2 parts: the first part is about Love and the second is about Rhetoric, and because of this division in the book that it generated a lively discussion about Rhetoric versus Love.
The 3 editions I review here provided 3 unique perspectives.
Nichols argues strongly that Phaedrus is definitely about Rhetoric, in fact he links Phaedrus to Gorgias. His argument is that in Gorgias, Plato discusses Rhetoric in relations to justice, and in Phaedrus, he discusses Rhetoric in relations to Love. Love, therefore is a subordinate subject to Rhetoric.
Similarly, Nehamas also argues that Phaedrus is about Rhetoric albeit not as strongly as Nichols. It is a "sustained discussion of Rhetoric" in which Plato used Eros as examples. (xxxviii)
Scully's interpretation is slightly different; this is where I find my own position to be closer to. His argument is that Love and Rhetoric are equal parts of Plato's Phaedrus. This unity is possible because "both [love and rhetoric] requires the philosopher at the helm. As a lover, the philosopher guides the soul of the beloved, as a rhetorician, he guides the soul of his partner in conversation." (88)
My own position is that: it is about both with a slight emphasis on Love, and not on rhetoric. If Love is defined as that madness and uncontrollable urge to search for the ultimate truth and beauty, then, rhetoric is the tool to achieve that. Rhetoric, for Socrates, is understood as a tool that will guide the soul in search for the beautiful. What he is saying here is: it's all about Love, but you are not getting any Love, if it is without Rhetoric.
Overall, I like Scully's edition the best for its completeness: in addition to the translation, it has a wealth of valuable information in the Appendix, including copies of poems by Sappho, Anacreon, Ibycus, etc; plus interpretive text and sample photos of "Phallus Bird". Highly recommended.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Division and Gathering: The Cycle Within the Life, April 30, 2003
By 
Burak Kilic (Istanbul, TURKEY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Phaedrus (Paperback)
'Phaedrus' is the first work ever to provide an explanation to how we organise our ideas, speeches and use our knowledge in a general sense. It explains the basics of an arguing and convincing, within the context of Greek politics and society.
As I said, it's division and gathering that is evident in all of our arguments. We make our claims based upon the similarities and differences in things, and this is the core of argumentation.
In his dialogue style, Plato talks about many other things, that range from what makes a good writing a good one, to the heritance of knowledge. How should knowledge be attained from others? How should we present our knowledge for new generations to understand us? These are some of the questions that come up in Phaedrus.
Plato, one of the clearest writers in philosophy, wrote yet another beautiful work. I've started reading Plato when I was thirteen, and I really enjoy reading his works, which just flow.
I recommend not only this book, but almost any book of Plato's, for all philosophy lovers out there, and all those that would like to make their first attempt in understanding some philosophical issues, which build the base of our living.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About love and philosophy, one of Plato's best, November 16, 2012
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Ancient literature is the best thing that a person now could read. It refocuses you away from the capitalistic society with no morals and no honor. This society is all about buying and selling things, not that we don't need to buy things or sell, but the emphasis is too much on these things. Honor and dignity is gone. Justice is never heard of anymore. Reclaim these by reading Plato and learning philosophy. You will soon see how your world will be different.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Hackett Phaedrus, January 16, 2010
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This review is from: Phaedrus (Paperback)
This is an excellent translation of the Phaedrus published with an extensive introduction and plenty of contextual footnotes to make reading more pleasant. It should be noted that this is the same translation present in 'Plato: Complete Works' (though here, the introduction shorter and more straightforward, and the footnotes less plentiful).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Writing and Eros, July 3, 2009
By 
Steiner (Philadelphia) - See all my reviews
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This Platonic dialogue is one of the most intriguing and crisply enjoyable. It is here that Socrates relates his ideas on the complex intermingling of the beautiful and the good, as well as brilliant reflections on speech and writing. "Since it is the function of speech to lead souls by persuasion, he who is to be a rhetorician must know the various forms of soul." A privileging of speech over writing is preeminent in Western thought, perhaps it originates here. Writing is exterior to the soul, to the 'psyche,' thus it is mere mimesis. This is a wonderfully mysterious and complex text. Be sure to consult Fowler's translation in the loeb edition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 5, 2014
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This review is from: Phaedrus (Paperback)
needed for school/ good
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Phaedrus (Agora Editions)
Phaedrus (Agora Editions) by Paul Woodruff (Paperback - October 15, 1998)
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