Readings from the Platonic Dialogues
Work on the internet version of the Perseus Digital Library began in 1995. Before that, we had to rely on books.
Platonis Opera, Tomvs I. Tetralogia I: Evthyphro. Apologia Socratis. Crito. Phaedo. Tetralogia II: Cratylvs, Theaetetvs, Sophista, Politicvs. First page of the Phaedo (book four in the first tetralogy). "Were you with Socrates yourself, Phaedo, on the day when he drank the poison in prison...."
The smear of yellow bottom left is from split coffee I tried to wipe off the page. I bought this book in graduate school. Plato nowhere explains his intentions in writing his dialogues, but it is easy to get the impression that the middle dialogues mark a new phase in his effort to understand and vindicate Socrates and his love of wisdom. He seems to have decided that an adequate defense of Socrates is possible only from within the perspective of a conception of reality and the place of human beings within it.
Socrates continues in his role as chief interlocutor, but he no longer just asks questions. Now he argues for views. In particular, he argues for what has come be known as the Theory of Recollection, the Theory of Forms, the Tripartite Theory of the Soul, and the Theory of Justice.
Selected Readings from the Middle Dialogues
The dialogues for this unit on Plato are the
The selection of passages that follow constitute the focus in the unit. Read the lectures and return to these passages once it is clearer what is going on the dialogues.
- Theory of Recollection
- Socrates' Intellectual Autobiography
- Theory of Forms
- Tripartite Theory of the soul
- Theory of Justice
Read more generally within the dialogues as time permits.