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Phaedo (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

Plato , David Gallop
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 July 1999 Oxford World's Classics
The Phaedo is acknowledged to be one of Plato's greatest masterpieces, showing him both as a philosopher and as a dramatist at the height of his powers. For its moving account of the execution of Socrates, the Phaedo ranks among the supreme literary achievements of antiquity. It is also a seminal document for many ideas deeply ingrained in western culture, and provides one of the best introductions to Plato's thought. This new edition is a revised version of the Clarendon Press translation, and is eminently suitable for readers new to Plato, and ideal for classroom use, thanks to the provision of Stephanus page and letter numbering.


Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New edition edition (1 July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192839535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192839534
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 12.7 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,241,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Plato (c. 427-347 BC), was an Athenian philosopher-dramatist. Born into a wealthy and prominent family, he grew up during the conflict between Athens and the Peloponnesian states which engulfed the Greek world from 431 to 404 BC. Following its turbulent aftermath, he was deeply affected by the condemnation and execution of his revered master Socrates (469-399) on charges of irreligion and corrupting the young. In revulsion from political activity, Plato devoted his life to the pursuit of philosophy. Plato founded the Academy, an early ancestor of the modern university, devoted to philosophical and mathematical enquiry, and to the education of future rulers or 'philosopher-kings'. The Academy's most celebrated member was the young Aristotle (384-322), who studied there for the last twenty years of Plato's life. Their works mark the highest peak of philosophical achievement in antiquity, and both continue to rank among the greatest philosophers of all time.

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Review

"An excellent philosophical commentary on the Phaedo. Lucidly sets out all the salient problems and controversies."--J.M. Dillon, University of Washington

Book Description

Plato's dialogue Phaedo portrays Socrates in prison awaiting execution and discussing with his friends the fate of the soul after death. In this edition, consisting of introduction, text and commentary, Professor Rowe guides the reader through the difficulties - linguistic, literary and philosophical - of individual passages and of the dialogue as a whole. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Echecrates. Were you there with Socrates yourself, Phaedo, on the day he drank the poinson* in the prison, or did you hear of it from someone else? Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Socrates' final hours 18 Feb 2005
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Format:Paperback
Socrates is unique among philosophers, not just for his place among the early Greek philosophers, but also for the fact that he is the most famous philosopher to never write his own books. What we know of Socrates comes from contemporary accounts and students, most particularly Plato.
Set in 399 BCE, the Phaedo is a reconstruction of Socrates final conversations with friends on the day he died. We do not know when this dialogue was written, but it was probably before The Republic (Plato's most famous work, also featuring the figure of Socrates). Like The Republic, this dialogue features a well developed theory of Forms -- these are introduced gradually here, slowly filling out the details of each step. This develops the story of the caves idea from Plato's earlier work in epistemological, metaphysical, moral, and semantic terms. Plato also advances the 'imperfection argument' here -- the idea that when we sense something, it is never perfectly the thing we are thinking of, and that idea or standard to which we relate what we see, hear, feel, etc. is tying into a more perfect Form.
However, the idea of the soul is rather less developed here than in The Republic. The soul is simply mind, or intellect - all emotions are here placed as bodily aspects. This is rather Pythagorean in a fashion, that only the soul grasps the perfect Forms, and so should consist of nothing but reasoning ability, for emotions distort and cloud the perceptions and judgments.
In the end of the Phaedo, we witness Socrates drink the hemlock, without fear or trembling, as a philosopher should know the value of life and welcome death with a firm hope. The story is almost religious in nature here.
David Gallop's translation is good and true to the original (in as much as I can tell from my small Greek learning). It is somewhat tending toward the formal side. This is serious stuff, but in a small number of pages manages to capture much, and this makes it all the more relevant.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Death and Everything! 27 April 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Socrates faces death by a cup of hemlock, condemned for his solidarity to his own beliefs. He discusses with his friends why he does not wish to escape and is content to accept his death. He explains his theories on afterlife and the soul. It is a thought provoking and inspiring work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pleased with Phaedo 21 Feb 2011
A Kid's Review
Format:Paperback
I purchased the Phaedo text for my father, who is retired and deeply engrossed in the Classics. He is very pleased with the text - which was impossible to find in a bookstore in Sweden, he says. I was delighted to find this edition - with that particular introduction - as a used book on Amazon. Very good price, and the book is in excellent condition.
thank you kindly!
anna-vibeke
London
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Translation of One of the Most Important Texts 22 Oct 2006
By John Russon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
To my mind, this translation surpasses all others with which I am familiar. The translation (1) has a flowing literary style that does justice to the rich feel of reading Plato's own prose, (2) is remarkably precise in its reflecting of the original language, with the result that, when one notices something interesting going on in the language of the translation, one will consistently find it is reproducing what is found in the Greek. In both these ways, this is a very trustworthy text--the reader can confidently presume to be experiencing Plato's writing. The dialogue itself--Plato's _Phaedo_--has few parallels for philosophical, literary and cultural depth and importance. It is the conversation Socrates has on the day of his death with a number of philosophical admirers. It is a rich discussion of the nature of knowledge, the nature of virtue, the ultimate nature of reality and especially the nature of death itself. The introduction by the translators is also uncommonly good for putting the reader in a position to read the text well. This is the only translation of the _Phaedo_ that I will assign to my classes. This translation is a fantastic accomplishment.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate things 11 Jun 2005
By FrKurt Messick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Socrates is unique among philosophers, not just for his place among the early Greek philosophers, but also for the fact that he is the most famous philosopher to never write his own books. What we know of Socrates comes from contemporary accounts and students, most particularly Plato.

Set in 399 BCE, the Phaedo is a reconstruction of Socrates final conversations with friends on the day he died. We do not know when this dialogue was written, but it was probably before The Republic (Plato's most famous work, also featuring the figure of Socrates). Like The Republic, this dialogue features a well developed theory of Forms -- these are introduced gradually here, slowly filling out the details of each step. This develops the story of the caves idea from Plato's earlier work in epistemological, metaphysical, moral, and semantic terms. Plato also advances the 'imperfection argument' here -- the idea that when we sense something, it is never perfectly the thing we are thinking of, and that idea or standard to which we relate what we see, hear, feel, etc. is tying into a more perfect Form.

However, the idea of the soul is rather less developed here than in The Republic. The soul is simply mind, or intellect - all emotions are here placed as bodily aspects. This is rather Pythagorean in a fashion, that only the soul grasps the perfect Forms, and so should consist of nothing but reasoning ability, for emotions distort and cloud the perceptions and judgments.

In the end of the Phaedo, we witness Socrates drink the hemlock, without fear or trembling, as a philosopher should know the value of life and welcome death with a firm hope. The story is almost religious in nature here.

However, there are other possible readings, and this edition opens these up. This translation is part of a series done by the translators and Focus Publishing of the Plato dialogues. It has an introduction and a glossary of Greek terms, as well as a brief bibliography. The translators avoid a clunky translation by doing some interpretative work, but explain their reasonings in the introduction. They argue in the introduction against many traditional renderings of Phaedo, and as such provide an interesting counterweight to the prevailing editions available.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Socrates' final hours 9 July 2004
By FrKurt Messick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Socrates is unique among philosophers, not just for his place among the early Greek philosophers, but also for the fact that he is the most famous philosopher to never write his own books. What we know of Socrates comes from contemporary accounts and students, most particularly Plato.
Set in 399 BCE, the Phaedo is a reconstruction of Socrates final conversations with friends on the day he died. We do not know when this dialogue was written, but it was probably before the Republic (Plato's most famous work, also featuring the figure of Socrates). Like the Republic, this dialogue features a well developed theory of Forms -- these are introduced gradually here, slowly filling out the details of each step.
However, the idea of the soul is rather less developed here than in the Republic. The soul is simply mind, or intellect - all emotions are here placed as bodily aspects. This is rather Pythagorean in a fashion, that only the soul grasps the perfect Forms, and so should consist of nothing but reasoning ability, for emotions distort and cloud the perceptions and judgments.
In the end of the Phaedo, we witness Socrates drink the hemlock, without fear or trembling, as a philosopher should know the value of life and welcome death with a firm hope. The story is almost religious in nature here.
Grube's translation is lively and accessible, not a dry academic rendering, and certainly no contrived high-formal style that so often distances the classics from modern life. This is serious stuff, but in a mere 60 pages manages to capture much, and Grube's work makes it all the more relevant.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With Socrates at the hour of his death 27 Nov 1999
By Quintus Rex - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Socrates, as depicted by his devoted student, Plato, is one of the true spiritual giants of recorded history, standing in such company as Jesus and the Buddha. The Phaedo preserves the moment where Socrates earned his immortality, forced to commit suicide by the Athenian democracy.
Oxford's edition is the only accessible volume to give the Phaedo the individual treatment it merits. Gallop's translation is clear, dramatic, naturalistic, and compelling. Included are an extensive introduction, an outline of the arguments of the dialogue, and copious explanatory notes, as well as a bibliography for further reading.
To hear Socrates lecturing his students on the nature of the soul and his assurance of the life to come as the moment of his execution approaches is inspiring and uplifting. As great as any Greek tragedy, the Phaedo recreates a moment where one of the greatest of men shuffles off his mortal coil and "puts on immortality." A powerful, moving, and transforming read; not to be missed!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The bridge between the early dialogues and The Republic 29 Sep 2005
By Daniel Jolley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Phaedo is a third-person account of the philosophical discussion between Socrates and his friends on the day of his death. Socrates accepts his fate most amicably, arguing that death is the means by which to achieve the aims of true philosophy, for only by escaping the evil of the body can the soul truly acquire wisdom. Socrates renews his argument that learning is in fact recollection, supposedly proving that the soul exists before birth. He also argues that everything comes from its opposite; if death comes from life, then life must come from death. The proofs he offers for his belief that the soul is eternal do not strike me as very convincing.

As the account of Socrates' final hours, the Phaedo is a corollary of sorts to the Apology and Crito, but it addresses certain themes those earlier dialogues did not. In many ways, the Phaedo is a precursor to much of the philosophy of The Republic, in which the concepts of the eternal soul and the invisible Forms addressed here are threshed out much more satisfactorily. Given the importance of these concepts later in The Republic and the formative yet lengthy discussion of them here in the Phaedo, this is a crucial dialogue in terms of understanding the overall philosophical arguments of Plato.
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