Plato Books


Easton Press Plato books:
Dialogues on Love and Friendship  - 1979
The Republic - 1980
Plato The Complete Works (4 volume set) - 2001
The Laws of Plato - Great Philosophers Library
Works of Plato - Harvard Classics

Franklin Library Plato books:
The Republic - 100 Greatest Books of All Time - 1975
The Works of Plato - Great Books of the Western World - 3 Books 1979, 1981, 1983

Plato was born in to an aristocratic family in Athens. His father, Ariston, is believed to have descended from the early kings of Athens. Perictione, his mother, was distantly related to the 6th-century bc lawmaker Solon. His father died, When he was a child,  and his mother married Pyrilampes, who was an associate of the statesman Pericles.

Plato had political ambitions early in life, but he became disillusioned by the political leadership of his time. He eventually became a disciple of Socrates, accepting his basic philosophy and dialectical style of debate: the pursuit of truth through questions, answers, and additional questions. Plato witnessed the death of Socrates at the hands of the Athenian democracy in 399 bc. Perhaps fearing for his own safety, he left Athens temporarily and traveled to Italy, Sicily, and Egypt.

In 387 Plato founded the Academy in Athens, the institution often described as the first European university. It provided a comprehensive curriculum, including such subjects as astronomy, biology, mathematics, political theory, and philosophy. Aristotle was the Academy's most prominent student.

Pursuing an opportunity to combine philosophy and practical politics, Plato went to Sicily in 367 to tutor the new ruler of Syracuse, Dionysius the Younger, in the art of philosophical rule. The experiment failed. Plato made another trip to Syracuse in 361, but again his engagement in Sicilian affairs met with little success. The concluding years of his life were spent lecturing at the Academy and writing. He died at about the age of 80 in Athens in 348 or 347 bc.

Plato's writings were in dialogue form; philosophical ideas were advanced, discussed, and criticized in the context of a conversation or debate involving two or more persons. The earliest collection of Plato's work includes 35 dialogues and 13 letters. The authenticity of a few of the dialogues and most of the letters has been disputed.

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