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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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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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.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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One of the most profound lectures out there

A fantastic inquiry into the true nature of Socratic-platonic philosophy. A great primer especially if one has already read some Plato. Couldn't recommend this more.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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so good

very informative lecture with a lot of history behind what he says the first chapter he speaks a little bit too fast and Mumble but not too hard to still not understand him. highly recommend if you love Plato and Socrates you will not be disappointed as he gives very detailed explanations and breakdowns of all of all of the favorite dialogues

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Passionate Lecture on Platonic Dialouges.

If you like Plato you will love this summary of dialouges with valuable interprative information.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great teacher engaging lessons

engaging stories during the lessons the teacher brought the people to life with simulated banter.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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DNL

Eye opening and enjoyable. I found myself wishing I had gotten around to this at a much earlier age. Like Voltaire, it always sounded a bit too deep. Once read though, you realize it is light hearted, and even humorous.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Coincidence

By chance I'm listening to this coming up on our last meeting of Socrates Cafe in Denver Colorado that started the Friday after 911. The Panera Bread Cafe is closing. We were inspired by Chris Phillips book Socrates Cafe, after being awakened to the need to gather by Robert Putman's very popular book back then Bowling Alone. So we've started with the living word. Nathan Pollack who has been the Socrates of our group if anyone could be called that, has recently given me his copy of the dialogs, the first book he ever bought with his own money, lighten the last ad as he nears the end of his life which grows near. Yes, I'm very drawn to the idea after listening to these very fine lectures an that experience of the last 14?+ years of the living word, to play with the dialogs.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent!

Wonderful lecture series. He's big-picture analysis of the relationships between all the dialogues is essential. Intellectually challenging and powerful spiritual exhortation, especially with his comments on the last two lectures.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dog in a Flat Cap
  • 03-12-15

Fabulous course

Where does Plato, Socrates, and the Dialogues rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of the best - if not THE best - audiobook I've thus far downloaded. Of course, as a lecture series it's not exactly an audio BOOK, but never mind. Prof Sugrue is a fantastic lecturer, really enthusiastic, interesting, fascinating - and best of all, his style imparts a real inducement to learn.

What did you like best about this story?

This set of lectures gives an overview and analysis of Plato's Socratic dialogues and completely brings them to life.

What about Professor Michael Sugrue’s performance did you like?

I love his enthusiasm, which at times does mean he talks a little too fast - but that's a minor thing. He is also an extremely likeable 'narrator', which is important, since Socrates himself is extremely likeable! And he *gets* Socrates, with humour and deep understanding; there is nothing dry about these lectures. He imparts the essence of Socrates, which is that of benefitting others through wisdom and 'moral' improvement. I definitely feel improved as a result!

Any additional comments?

I'll return to these lectures again and again. I will try other audiobooks from this series, and hope to find some more by Professor Sugrue.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Street Rebels
  • 01-20-17

Great intro the Plato's Socratic style

Great lectures! Having read some of the Socratic dialogues, I am so glad I purchased this audio book. It brought a completely new perspective to the dialogues for me before I had made too many of my own incorrect assumptions. A must have for everyone interested in understanding their own inner journey.

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  • Connor
  • 11-02-16

Amazing

Without a doubt, the best series on Plato I have ever heard. Quite simple, amazing

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  • Greg Gauthier
  • 07-25-16

Inspiring, Thorough, Insightful

Dr Sugrue is an excellent storyteller, and a deeply Insightful scholar of the Socratic dialogues. I am grateful to have had an opportunity to see more deeply into Plato's thinking, as well as into myself.

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  • John
  • 07-21-16

Engaging and entertaining.

Great topic taught by a gifted teacher. I now have a much better understanding of Plato and his over all theme and approach.

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  • Tim Dubber
  • 03-05-17

An enthusiastic and excellent primer

If you want a series which will encourage you to explore the great works of one of western worlds greatest minds, look no further.