Written in the form of debates, Great Dialogues of Plato comprises the most influential body of philosophy of the Western world—covering every subject from art. Plato's sophistication as a writer is evident in his Socratic dialogues; thirty-five dialogues and thirteen letters have been ascribed to him. Plato's writings have. I have also derived much assistance from the great work of Mr. Grote, which contains excellent analyses of the Dialogues, and is rich in original.
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Read "Great Dialogues of Plato" by Plato available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first download. Written in the form of debates, Great. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Plato (c. – b.c.) founded the Academy in Athens, download a Kindle Kindle eBooks Kindle Unlimited Prime Reading Best Sellers & More Kindle Book Deals Free Reading Apps Kindle Singles. Project Gutenberg offers free ebooks for Kindle, iPad, Nook, Android, and iPhone.
Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of natural philosophy, science, and Western philosophy. Plato was originally a student of Socrates, and was as much influenced by his thinking as by what he saw as his teacher's unjust death. Plato's sophistication as a writer is evident in his Socratic dialogues; thirty-five dialogues and thirteen letters have been ascribed to him. Plato's writings have been published in several fashions; this has led to several conventions regarding the naming and referencing of Plato's texts. The exact order in which Plato's dialogues were written is not known, nor is the extent to which some might have been later revised and rewritten. However, there is enough information internal to the dialogues to form a rough chronology.
Experience has made him feel that a translation, like a picture, is dependent for its effect on very minute touches; and that it is a work of infinite pains, to be returned to in many moods and viewed in different lights. An English translation ought to be idiomatic and interesting, not only to the scholar, but to the unlearned reader. Its object should not simply be to render the words of one language into the words of another or to preserve the construction and order of the original; — this is the ambition of a schoolboy, who wishes to show that he has made a good use of his Dictionary and Grammar; but is quite unworthy of the translator, who seeks to produce on his reader an impression similar or nearly similar to that produced by the original.
To him the feeling should be more important than the exact word. He must carry in his mind a comprehensive view of the whole work, of what has preceded and of what is to follow — as well as of the meaning of particular passages. His version should be based, in the first instance, on an intimate knowledge of the text; but the precise order and arrangement of the words may be left to fade out of sight, when the translation begins to take shape.
He must form a general idea of the two languages, and reduce the one to the terms of the other. His work should be rhythmical and varied, the right admixture of words and syllables, and even of letters, should be carefully attended to; above all, it should be equable in style. There must also be quantity, which is necessary in prose as well as in verse: clauses, sentences, paragraphs, must be in due proportion.
Metre and even rhyme may be rarely admitted; though neither is a legitimate element of prose writing, they may help to lighten a cumbrous expression Symp. The translation should retain as far as possible the characteristic qualities of the ancient writer — his freedom, grace, simplicity, stateliness, weight, precision; or the best part of him will be lost to the English reader.
It should read as an original work, and should also be the most faithful transcript which can be made of the language from which the translation is taken, consistently with the first requirement of all, that it be English.
Further, the translation being English, it should also be perfectly intelligible in itself without reference to the Greek, the English being really the more lucid and exact of the two languages. In some respects it may be maintained that ordinary English writing, such as the newspaper article, is superior to Plato: at any rate it is couched in language which is very rarely obscure. On the other hand, the greatest writers of Greece, Thucydides, Plato, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Pindar, Demosthenes, are generally those which are found to be most difficult and to diverge most widely from the English idiom.
The translator will often have to convert the more abstract Greek into the more concrete English, or vice versa, and he ought not to force upon one language the character of another. It is difficult to harmonize all these conflicting elements. In a translation of Plato what may be termed the interests of the Greek and English are often at war with one another. In framing the English sentence we are insensibly diverted from the exact meaning of the Greek; when we return to the Greek we are apt to cramp and overlay the English.
We substitute, we compromise, we give and take, we add a little here and leave out a little there. The translator may sometimes be allowed to sacrifice minute accuracy for the sake of clearness and sense. But he is not therefore at liberty to omit words and turns of expression which the English language is quite capable of supplying.
He must be patient and self-controlled; he must not be easily run away with. Let him never allow the attraction of a favourite expression, or a sonorous cadence, to overpower his better judgment, or think much of an ornament which is out of keeping with the general character of his work.
He must ever be casting his eyes upwards from the copy to the original, and down again from the original to the copy Rep. There are fundamental differences in Greek and English, of which some may be managed while others remain intractable. The structure of the Greek language is partly adversative and alternative, and partly inferential; that is to say, the members of a sentence are either opposed to one another, or one of them expresses the cause or effect or condition or reason of another.
The two tendencies may be called the horizontal and perpendicular lines of the language; and the opposition or inference is often much more one of words than of ideas. But modern languages have rubbed off this adversative and inferential form: they have fewer links of connection, there is less mortar in the interstices, and they are content to place sentences side by side, leaving their relation to one another to be gathered from their position or from the context.
The difficulty of preserving the effect of the Greek is increased by the want of adversative and inferential particles in English, and by the nice sense of tautology which characterizes all modern languages. There is a similar want of particles expressing the various gradations of objective and subjective thought — Greek and the like, which are so thickly scattered over the Greek page.
Further, we can only realize to a very imperfect degree the common distinction between Greek , and the combination of the two suggests a subtle shade of negation which cannot be expressed in English.
And while English is more dependent than Greek upon the apposition of clauses and sentences, yet there is a difficulty in using this form of construction owing to the want of case endings. For the same reason there cannot be an equal variety in the order of words or an equal nicety of emphasis in English as in Greek. The lines by which they are divided are generally much more marked in modern languages than in ancient. Both sentences and paragraphs are more precise and definite — they do not run into one another.
They are also more regularly developed from within. The sentence marks another step in an argument or a narrative or a statement; in reading a paragraph we silently turn over the page and arrive at some new view or aspect of the subject.
Whereas in Plato we are not always certain where a sentence begins and ends; and paragraphs are few and far between. The language is distributed in a different way, and less articulated than in English. For it was long before the true use of the period was attained by the classical writers both in poetry or prose; it was Greek. The balance of sentences and the introduction of paragraphs at suitable intervals must not be neglected if the harmony of the English language is to be preserved.
And still a caution has to be added on the other side, that we must avoid giving it a numerical or mechanical character. Men and women in English are masculine and feminine, and there is a similar distinction of sex in the words denoting animals; but all things else, whether outward objects or abstract ideas, are relegated to the class of neuters.
Hardly in some flight of poetry do we ever endue any of them with the characteristics of a sentient being, and then only by speaking of them in the feminine gender. Now the genius of the Greek language is the opposite of this. The same tendency to personification which is seen in the Greek mythology is common also in the language; and genders are attributed to things as well as persons according to their various degrees of strength and weakness; or from fanciful resemblances to the male or female form, or some analogy too subtle to be discovered.
When the gender of any object was once fixed, a similar gender was naturally assigned to similar objects, or to words of similar formation. This use of genders in the denotation of objects or ideas not only affects the words to which genders are attributed, but the words with which they are construed or connected, and passes into the general character of the style.
Hence arises a difficulty in translating Greek into English which cannot altogether be overcome. Shall we speak of the soul and its qualities, of virtue, power, wisdom, and the like, as feminine or neuter? The usage of the English language does not admit of the former, and yet the life and beauty of the style are impaired by the latter. Partly the greater variety of genders and cases makes the connexion of relative and antecedent less ambiguous: partly also the greater number of demonstrative and relative pronouns, and the use of the article, make the correlation of ideas simpler and more natural.
The Greek appears to have had an ear or intelligence for a long and complicated sentence which is rarely to be found in modern nations; and in order to bring the Greek down to the level of the modern, we must break up the long sentence into two or more short ones. Neither is the same precision required in Greek as in Latin or English, nor in earlier Greek as in later; there was nothing shocking to the contemporary of Thucydides and Plato in anacolutha and repetitions.
In such cases the genius of the English language requires that the translation should be more intelligible than the Greek. The want of more distinctions between the demonstrative pronouns is also greatly felt. Two genitives dependent on one another, unless familiarised by idiom, have an awkward effect in English.
Frequently the noun has to take the place of the pronoun. As in the previous case, while the feeling of the modern language is more opposed to tautology, there is also a greater difficulty in avoiding it. And the evasion of tautology — that is, the substitution of one word of precisely the same meaning for another — is resented by us equally with the repetition of words. Yet on the other hand the least difference of meaning or the least change of form from a substantive to an adjective, or from a participle to a verb, will often remedy the unpleasant effect.
Rarely and only for the sake of emphasis or clearness can we allow an important word to be used twice over in two successive sentences or even in the same paragraph. The particles and pronouns, as they are of most frequent occurrence, are also the most troublesome.
But the Greek has no such precise rules; and hence any literal translation of a Greek author is full of tautology. The tendency of modern languages is to become more correct as well as more perspicuous than ancient. And, therefore, while the English translator is limited in the power of expressing relation or connexion, by the law of his own language increased precision and also increased clearness are required of him.
The familiar use of logic, and the progress of science, have in these two respects raised the standard. But modern languages, while they have become more exacting in their demands, are in many ways not so well furnished with powers of expression as the ancient classical ones.
Such are a few of the difficulties which have to be overcome in the work of translation; and we are far from having exhausted the list. Equability of tone is best attained by the exclusive use of familiar and idiomatic words. But great care must be taken; for an idiomatic phrase, if an exception to the general style, is of itself a disturbing element. No word, however expressive and exact, should be employed, which makes the reader stop to think, or unduly attracts attention by difficulty and peculiarity, or disturbs the effect of the surrounding language.
Equivalents may be occasionally drawn from Shakspere, who is the common property of us all; but they must be used sparingly. For, like some other men of genius of the Elizabethan and Jacobean age, he outdid the capabilities of the language, and many of the expressions which he introduced have been laid aside and have dropped out of use.
Having a greater force and beauty than other language, and a religious association, it disturbs the even flow of the style. Or again the modern word, which in substance is the nearest equivalent to the Greek, may be found to include associations alien to Greek life: e. And he must not allow discordant elements to enter into the work. For example, in translating Plato, it would equally be an anachronism to intrude on him the feeling and spirit of the Jewish or Christian Scriptures or the technical terms of the Hegelian or Darwinian philosophy.
If translations are intended not for the Greek scholar but for the general reader, their worst fault will be that they sacrifice the general effect and meaning to the over-precise rendering of words and forms of speech. The rapidity and abruptness of question and answer, the constant repetition of Greek , etc. Greek has a freer and more frequent use of the Interrogative, and is of a more passionate and emotional character, and therefore lends itself with greater readiness to the dialogue form.
Most of the so-called English Dialogues are but poor imitations of Plato, which fall very far short of the original.
The breath of conversation, the subtle adjustment of question and answer, the lively play of fancy, the power of drawing characters, are wanting in them. But the Platonic dialogue is a drama as well as a dialogue, of which Socrates is the central figure, and there are lesser performers as well:— the insolence of Thrasymachus, the anger of Callicles and Anytus, the patronizing style of Protagoras, the self-consciousness of Prodicus and Hippias, are all part of the entertainment.
To reproduce this living image the same sort of effort is required as in translating poetry. The language, too, is of a finer quality; the mere prose English is slow in lending itself to the form of question and answer, and so the ease of conversation is lost, and at the same time the dialectical precision with which the steps of the argument are drawn out is apt to be impaired. In the Introductions to the Dialogues there have been added some essays on modern philosophy, and on political and social life.
The chief subjects discussed in these are Utility, Communism, the Kantian and Hegelian philosophies, Psychology, and the Origin of Language. There have been added also in the Third Edition remarks on other subjects. A list of the most important of these additions is given at the end of this Preface.
Ancient and modern philosophy throw a light upon one another: but they should be compared, not confounded. Although the connexion between them is sometimes accidental, it is often real. The same questions are discussed by them under different conditions of language and civilization; but in some cases a mere word has survived, while nothing or hardly anything of the pre-Socratic, Platonic, or Aristotelian meaning is retained. There are other questions familiar to the moderns, which have no place in ancient philosophy.
The world has grown older in two thousand years, and has enlarged its stock of ideas and methods of reasoning.
Yet the germ of modern thought is found in ancient, and we may claim to have inherited, notwithstanding many accidents of time and place, the spirit of Greek philosophy.
There is, however, no continuous growth of the one into the other, but a new beginning, partly artificial, partly arising out of the questionings of the mind itself, and also receiving a stimulus from the study of ancient writings.
Considering the great and fundamental differences which exist in ancient and modern philosophy, it seems best that we should at first study them separately, and seek for the interpretation of either, especially of the ancient, from itself only, comparing the same author with himself and with his contemporaries, and with the general state of thought and feeling prevalent in his age. Afterwards comes the remoter light which they cast on one another.
We begin to feel that the ancients had the same thoughts as ourselves, the same difficulties which characterize all periods of transition, almost the same opposition between science and religion.
Although we cannot maintain that ancient and modern philosophy are one and continuous as has been affirmed with more truth respecting ancient and modern history , for they are separated by an interval of a thousand years, yet they seem to recur in a sort of cycle, and we are surprised to find that the new is ever old, and that the teaching of the past has still a meaning for us.
In the preface to the first edition I expressed a strong opinion at variance with Mr. His friend and editor, Professor Bain, thinks that I ought to give the reasons why I differ from so eminent an authority. Reserving the fuller discussion of the question for another place, I will shortly defend my opinion by the following arguments:— a Because almost all epistles purporting to be of the classical age of Greek literature are forgeries. Of all documents this class are the least likely to be preserved and the most likely to be invented.
The ancient world swarmed with them; the great libraries stimulated the demand for them; and at a time when there was no regular publication of books, they easily crept into the world. But no one, not even Mr. Grote, would maintain that all the Epistles of Plato are genuine, and very few critics think that more than one of them is so.
And they are clearly all written from the same motive, whether serious or only literary. Nor is there an example in Greek antiquity of a series of Epistles, continuous and yet coinciding with a succession of events extending over a great number of years. The external probability therefore against them is enormous, and the internal probability is not less: for they are trivial and unmeaning, devoid of delicacy and subtlety, wanting in a single fine expression.
And even if this be matter of dispute, there can be no dispute that there are found in them many plagiarisms, inappropriately borrowed, which is a common note of forgery. They imitate Plato, who never imitates either himself or any one else; reminiscences of the Republic and the Laws are continually recurring in them; they are too like him and also too unlike him, to be genuine see especially Karsten, Commentio Critica de Platonis quae feruntur Epistolis. They are full of egotism, self-assertion, affectation, faults which of all writers Plato was most careful to avoid, and into which he was least likely to fall.
They abound in obscurities, irrelevancies, solecisms, pleonasms, inconsistencies, awkwardnesses of construction, wrong uses of words. These palpable errors and absurdities are absolutely irreconcileable with their genuineness. And as they appear to have a common parentage, the more they are studied, the more they will be found to furnish evidence against themselves. The Seventh, which is thought to be the most important of these Epistles, has affinities with the Third and the Eighth, and is quite as impossible and inconsistent as the rest.
It is therefore involved in the same condemnation. The other testimonies to the voyages of Plato to Sicily and the court of Dionysius are all of them later by several centuries than the events to which they refer. No extant writer mentions them older than Cicero and Cornelius Nepos. It does not seem impossible that so attractive a theme as the meeting of a philosopher and a tyrant, once imagined by the genius of a Sophist, may have passed into a romance which became famous in Hellas and the world.
It may have created one of the mists of history, like the Trojan war or the legend of Arthur, which we are unable to penetrate. The Sublime Seneca. Erik Gunderson. Socrates Without Tears. Alan Jacobs. Roman Error. Basil Dufallo. Selected Dialogues. Playing Hesiod.
Helen Van Noorden. Philosophy Classics: Greek and Roman Philosophers vol. Apuleius' Platonism. Professor Richard Fletcher. Essential Dialogues of Plato. The Greatest Classics Ever Written. Herman Hesse. Bel Ami. Guy De Maupassant. The Last Days of Socrates. The Republic. Plato on the Atlantis Mythos Illustrated Edition. The Famous Works of Plato: The Dialogues of Plato.
The Trial and Death of Socrates. Benjamin Jowett. Plato Six Pack Illustrated. Timaeus and Critias. Marcus Aurelius. Plato's Atlantis. Bradley Washburn. Protagoras and Meno. Plato's Symposium. Six Great Dialogues. Early Socratic Dialogues. Plato - The Republic. The Laws. Harvard Classics Volume 2. The Collected Dialogues of Plato. The Collected Works of Plato. Theaetetus Annotated.
Tales of Atlantis. Francis Bacon. The Portable Plato. Five Dialogues Translated by Benjamin Jowett. Meno and Other Dialogues. Cratylus Annotated. Statesman Annotated. The Allegory of the Cave. Alcibiades II. Selected Myths. Alcibiades II Illustrated Edition.
The Republic and Other Works. Stoic Six Pack 7 — The Sophists. William De Witt Hyde. Critias Illustrated Edition. John McDowell. The Trial and Death of Socrates: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito and Phaedo. Gorgias and Timaeus.
Symposium and Phaedrus. Andrea Tschemplik. The Republic Annotated. Meno Annotated. Selected Dialogues of Plato. Plato Six Pack 2 Illustrated. The Letters Illustrated. The Dialogues of Plato - Theaetetus.
The Dialogues of Plato - Phaedo.
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