The Six Best Books on or by Plato

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This page contains a list of the best books on or by Plato. Just to be clear, there is no single best book on Plato. The best book for you will depend on your preferred learning style and the amount of time that you want to spend reading about Plato. An 800-page scholarly overview is unlikely to be best for someone looking for a short beginner-friendly introduction, for example. This list aims to take this ambiguity into account by featuring books that will appeal to a variety of learning styles. …

Plato: Twelve Best Quotes (With References)

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This page contains a collection of quotes by Plato. These quotes are all genuine and details about the book, chapter number, and translation are included where applicable. On philosophy: Socrates: Philosophy begins in wonder. – Plato, Theaetetus, 155D, trans. Benjamin Jowett On ignorance: Diotima: Herein is the evil of ignorance, that he who is neither good nor wise is nevertheless satisfied with himself: he has no desire for that of which he feels no want. – Plato, Symposium, 204A, trans. Benjamin Jowett On the Form of beauty: Diotima: He who …

The Misery of Tyrants – a short reading from Plato’s Republic

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“He who is the real tyrant, whatever men may think, is the real slave, and is obliged to practise the greatest adulation and servility, and to be the flatterer of the vilest of mankind.” In this passage from book nine of Plato’s Republic, Socrates finally responds to the challenge set by Glaucon in book two; speaking as devil’s advocate, Glaucon claimed that people want nothing to restrict their desire for more and more of everything. If anyone could profit from acting unjustly and guarantee that they could get away with …

The Nature and Defects of Oligarchy – a short reading from Plato’s Republic

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“And so they grow richer and richer, and the more they think of making a fortune the less they think of virtue; for when riches and virtue are placed together in the scales of the balance, the one always rises as the other falls.” In this passage from book eight of Plato’s Republic, Socrates outlines the defects and eventual breakdown of oligarchy. Socrates describes oligarchy as “a government resting on a valuation of property, in which the rich have power and the poor man is deprived of it.” He claims …

The Allegory of the Cave – a short reading from Plato’s Republic

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“Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him?” In this passage, from book seven of Plato’s Republic, Socrates describes an unusual cave in which prisoners have been chained since childhood. The prisoners in this allegory represent the majority of mankind who perceive only the shadows of reality and hear only the echoes of truth. They cling to their mistaken view of reality and have no desire to escape their prison. Only philosophers make the journey out …