- Series: Hackett Classics
- Paperback: 168 pages
- Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.; 2 edition (October 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0872206335
- ISBN-13: 978-0872206335
- Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Plato: Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo (Hackett Classics) 2nd Edition
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About the Author
John M. Cooper is Henry Putnam University Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University.
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Top Customer Reviews
Philosophically, these "Five Dialogues"--Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo--along with Phaedrus, Symposium and the Republic form the bulk of Plato's thought on Forms and the soul. This is a great place to start. The Euthyphro is a typical early dialogue and sets the stage for the charges that face later Socrates in the Apology. Both are very readable. Crito and Phaedo show Socrates in prison accepting his fate with poise and refusing to escape. They are also the most vivid explanation of the immortality of the soul. Meno is a middle dialogue that poses important problems of knowledge and learning resolved by the theory of Forms and Recollection. It's also the most difficult and rewarding of the bunch.
This Hackett edition is nice but not great. The dialogues are the Grube translation, edited by Cooper. The introduction by Grube is rather short and just explains the logic behind the grouping of the five dialogues, which is disappointing compared to other Hackett's. However, the translation is good, if a bit literal. There are explanatory footnotes for all of Socrates' idioms and historical references.
The margins and book design are nice and readable for such a compact book. The main advantage this little 8x5 paperback has is that it's cheap, easy to carry, and perfect for writing in. I feel the same way about the other excellent Hackett editions of "Symposium", "Phaedrus", and "Laches and Charmides". Now that my interest in Plato has solidified, I will likely invest in the Hardcover collection "Plato: Complete Works". However, you will miss out on the introductions found in the individual Hackett's, in particular Symposium's and Phaedrus which are fantastic.
Socrates has a remarkable wit and sense about his demeanor; admitting full ignorance yet displaying true wisdom in his manner of questioning. The first dialog with Euthyphro exemplifies the power of clarity and simplification by how quickly Socrates is able to identify contradictory statements in Euthyphro's reasoning merely by asking questions. It is immediately obvious how profound this dialog is shown by Socrates' ability to quickly discover either truth or ignorance, and his intention will give pause to any reader.
The Apology and the dialogs with Crito and Meno all further define Socrates' thoughts on life and character encircled around his trial, conviction, and eventual death; each dialog as profound as the next. The concluding dialog with Phaedo is a discussion of Socrates' views on the afterlife, which includes a powerful rationale for his beliefs. If you seek to explore ideas regarding life and death, this dialog is essential reading.
This book is short and easily read yet contains considerable thought provoking material. Among the abundance of books available on philosophy, the Five Dialogs should be among the first for anyone with an interest in the matter.
If you're looking for the summary of the book, I'm sure you can look elsewhere.