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Plato, Socrates, and the Dialogues | [The Great Courses]

Plato, Socrates, and the Dialogues

These 16 lectures bring the Socratic quest for truth alive and explore ideas that are as vital today as they were 25 centuries ago. Ideas about truth, justice, love, beauty, courage, and wisdom that can change lives and reveal the world in new ways. Here, you'll delve into the inner structure, action, and meaning of 17 of Plato's greatest dialogues, making these lectures an indispensable companion for anyone interested in philosophy in general or Platonic thought in particular.
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Publisher's Summary

These 16 lectures bring the Socratic quest for truth alive and explore ideas that are as vital today as they were 25 centuries ago - ideas about truth, justice, love, beauty, courage, and wisdom that can change lives and reveal the world in new ways. Here, you'll delve into the inner structure, action, and meaning of 17 of Plato's greatest dialogues, making these lectures an indispensable companion for anyone interested in philosophy in general or Platonic thought in particular.

As you'll learn, the dialogues share some general characteristics - and they all breathe with the feeling, the tension, and even the humor of great theater. Even if you don't have time to reacquaint yourself directly with Platonic texts, you'll benefit enormously from these lectures' insights into the depths of reflection opened by Socrates and Plato - arguably the most important teacher-student pairing in history.

You'll become engrossed in "the romance of the intellect," as Professor Sugrue opens a path for you into the inner structure and action of these selected dialogues, for millennia the objects of devoted study by the noblest minds. These lectures offer no easy answers. What they give instead is much better: an introduction to Platonic "meta-education," the art not of what to think but of how to think. You'll see the stunning subtlety with which Plato weaves together the strengths of philosophy and poetry, dialectic and drama, word and action. And you'll catch a glimpse of the "serious playfulness" that Socrates says the search for the good, the true, and the beautiful can inspire in the human soul.

Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.

©1996 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1996 The Great Courses

What Members Say

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  •  
    daniel hoffelder CLARKSTON, WA, US 07-22-14
    daniel hoffelder CLARKSTON, WA, US 07-22-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This is a long summary with few actual quotes"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    How badly do you want to know the bases for our modern day beliefs-it was worth my time


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Socrates...has some truly deep questions


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narrator is constantly dry mouthed and sipping water..after 10-14 hours it gets old.


    Could you see Plato, Socrates, and the Dialogues being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    I don't think today's producers could stick to the script....and today's people don't have the brain power to keep up with the mental work-out, so, no, sadly I don't think a series could be produced.


    Any additional comments?

    I have gained a bit more insight into old world thought, and that was what I was looking for just a bit disappointed by the narration and lack of original script that was used.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ADRIAN 02-03-14
    ADRIAN 02-03-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Easily the best audiobook in my collection"
    Where does Plato, Socrates, and the Dialogues rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's the very best. My audio library contains many books on philosophy with some historical non-fiction and science fiction sprinkled in. The energy with which Sugrue approaches the subject is without measure. I return to this audio book time and time again. Sugrue penetrates each dialogue and dissects the characters Socrates confronts through Plato's words, and gives a deep and meaningful background on the Sophists and penetrating insight into how the Realm of the Forms runs into trouble. And he has a great time doing it!


    Any additional comments?

    For anyone wanting to learn more about Plato, the Forms, Socrates, the Sophists, or the political situation surrounding each during the early days of the City-States, I highly recommend this audiobook.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Svyatoslav Brodetskiy New York 11-15-13
    Svyatoslav Brodetskiy New York 11-15-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Professor Sugrue Vivifies the Dialogues"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. This series is an honest and critical survey of the timeless and complex themes of the dialogues. Sugrue navigates layers of intentional ambiguity and ultimately incentivizes critical reading and rereading of Plato. This series is a great companion for reading Plato. However, no set of lectures will read Plato for you.


    Any additional comments?

    I had taken two back-to-back courses with Professor Sugrue on the Western Canon. He is one of those intellectual voices which college students soon come to miss.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer San Jose 02-26-14
    Amazon Customer San Jose 02-26-14 Member Since 2014

    Lifelong Student/Seeker.

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    "Informative and Inspiring"

    I found these lectures to be both informative and inspiring. Professor Sugrue clearly has spent a lot of time and effort thinking about these Dialogues and acts as a tour guide through them, highlighting (as he says) not only the architecture of each dialogue, but the layout of all the dialogues and how the relationship between them forms a superstructure (or a campus) where the buildings are and are connected to each other in a way that is also meaningful.

    I learned a lot listening to the lectures, and I will definitely listen to them again. But I would say the main thing I got from this lecture series was the inspiration to go and read the Dialogues for myself. I doubt that I'm going to read all 1600 pages of them,but have already read a few. I've observed that with these lectures as background I pulled much more meaning out of the reading than I otherwise would have.

    I will definitely listen to this again, and would also be on the lookout for other lectures by Professor Sugrue.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth 10-06-13
    Elizabeth 10-06-13 Member Since 2010

    Who would have thought a long commute to work could yield so much fun?

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    "Exceptional interpretation and delivery."
    What did you love best about Plato, Socrates, and the Dialogues?

    I found myself truly anticipating each lecture. These interpretations and explanations reflect so much more thought and consideration than I ever would have had time to experience on my own. This series has made me want to investigate the Greeks further. More, I strongly believe that my writing and thinking will be positively influenced by these insights which are new, to me at least.


    What other book might you compare Plato, Socrates, and the Dialogues to and why?

    If I had to compare this to another book, it would have to be Dante's Inferno. And only, possibly, because there is this concentric, continuing thought process that goes deeper and deeper into the combination of the psyche and social commentary.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book definitely made me laugh at points. I would say that it made me excited to learn more in the progression of Western Philosophy.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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