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Introducing Plato: A Graphic Guide Paperback – January 11, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dave Robinson: Dave Robinson has taught philosophy for many years and is the author of numerous Introducing series titles. He is now a part-time lecturer in Critical Studies and lives in Devon.

Judy Groves: Judy Groves is a painter, graphic designer and illustrator. She has illustrated numerous titles.


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Product Details

  • Series: Introducing
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books; Reprint edition (January 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184831177X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848311770
  • Product Dimensions: 4.6 x 0.5 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,120,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is the first book from the "Introducing..." series that I have read, and I am impressed. At first glance the books in this series may perhaps look a bit simplistic as each page has a large cartoon style drawing with about a paragraph of text, but distilling the essence of a subject and presenting it in an accessible format is not very easy to do at all, and it is done here remarkably well.

"Introducing Plato" is not an exhaustive treatment of Plato and his philosophy - and it is no substitute for reading the dialogues - but what it does excellently is delineate the ground covered by Plato, places it in historical and social context, and brings home the relevance and impact of the philosophy on todays world. The authors also cover some of the subsequent criticisms of Plato's ideas, and some of the weaknesses and contradictions in Plato's work when viewed as a whole.

If you are interested in reading the dialogues, this book is an excellent little companion that I recommend reading first for some context. It packs a lot of information in very accessible format, and I will certainly be seeking out more of the books in the series.
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Format: Paperback
Plato was an Athenian cosmopolitan aristocrat and student of Socrates. He believed that the best society was one ruled by philosopher kings, and that all wise men were aware of their own ignorance. He established the first academy and was tutor to young King Dionysius II and Aristotle. He died a pauper at 80.

Plato's philosophy began by asking questions that went beyond religion, myths and superstitions in a search for life's uncertainties. Before philosophers, along with its many warring gods, the sophists ruled Athens. Plato wrote his "Republic" to set them all straight.

In addition to Socrates, Pythagoras, and Heraclitus also influenced Plato. Pythagoras' religion was numbers; Heraclitus believed change to be the fundamental process of nature; and Socrates was obsessed with fundamental questions of human virtue: What should humans strive for? His answer was: that man should seek truth through knowledge.

Socrates invented the first methodology of philosophy, the "Socratic Method." It involves a dialectic consisting of structured enquiries bound together by logical inferences and nested deductions. Socrates also believed that everything had an underlying "essence" or constituent part which could be revealed through dialectic debate.

Plato dedicated his life and most of his works and teachings to exposing the world to Socrates' methods and thinking. Plato's first work, Eurthyphro, is the first of several imagined dialogue with Socrates on his way to his death. It was about the ultimate source and meaning of moral knowledge.

He begins by pointing out that "doing the right thing" and "doing what god demands or approves," are not necessarily the same things. Morality does not always reduce to god's teachings.
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Format: Paperback
To my surprise, the author expresses strongly negative opinions towards some of Plato's conclusions, while maintaining that Plato "asked the right questions."

The author presents Plato as a proto-fascist. Plato's theories of the forms are muddled, and Aristotle was wise to clarify or dispense with them. Laws was a horrid work which formed an unfortunate ending to Plato's writings.

I find the author's opinions to be eminently reasonable. His views represent a common-sense approach to Plato. The author, too, asks the right questions.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Nice little introduction to main concepts and some critical responses (albeit sometimes not formerly credited, but sometimes so) make this intro an entertaining book, something Nietzsche and Heidegger would have hated on principle, (and Plato?) but probably would have liked if they were boring consumerist post-moderns like us.

Notable aspects include the major ideas from the main works, as well as some scant (should be more really) biographical info on the philosopher behind the thoughts that set the tone for over two thousand years of all western philosophic questions and pondering. Both the continental and analytic tradition owe their origins to Plato as the first recorder of philosophy in dutifully diligent written format, which would continue thereafter).
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Format: Paperback
I read "Introducing Plato" last night. I picked it up at the book store because Plato is referenced repeatedly in "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand". "Introducing Plato" covers many of the ancient Greek philosophers of the period and shows how they influenced or were influenced by Plato. It covers his life, his philosophy, and his influence through the ages.

By reading "Introducing Plato", I now have a far better understanding of Objectivist philosophy. Before I read this book, I found some of Rand's terminology a bit odd but now I realize that she was engaged in a conversation with the ancient philosophers that I had walked in on toward the end. I also see where she agrees and where she deviates with them on the important questions. I would recommend "Introducing Plato" to any student of Objectivism that has not previously studied the ancients.

Ayn Rand was no fan of Plato. She prefers to praise Aristotle, his student of twenty years. I see that a second edition of "Introducing Aristotle" in coming out in 2006 August. I am looking forward to it.
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