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Phaedrus (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

Plato , Robin Waterfield
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

25 Jun 2009 Oxford World's Classics
'Some of our greatest blessings come from madness

Phaedrus is widely recognized as one of Plato's most profound and beautiful works. It takes the form of a dialogue between Socrates and Phaedrus and its ostensible subject is love, especially homoerotic love. Socrates reveals it to be a kind of divine madness that can allow our souls to grow wings and soar to their greatest heights. Then the conversation changes direction and turns to a discussion of rhetoric, which must be based on truth passionately sought, thus allying it to philosophy. The dialogue closes by denigrating the value of the written word in any context, compared to the living teaching of a Socratic philosopher.

The shifts of topic and register have given rise to doubts about the unity of the dialogue, doubts which are addressed in the introduction to this volume. Full explanatory notes also elucidate issues throughout the dialogue that might puzzle a modern reader.

ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 1 edition (25 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199554021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199554027
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 176,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Robin Waterfield's translations include Plato's

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Earthly and celestial love 4 May 2010
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
If the Symposium is the backbone of Plato's philosphy of love, then this is his refining text. Certainly more complex in its ideas, it still appears accessible and even almost domestic.

Plato's characteristic use of the dialogue form works well here as it sifts through the complexities of thought. This is especially good on the idea of active Platonic vision, and contains the beautiful myth of the charioteer and his horses.

Probably not a good first introduction to Plato (I would suggest either the Symposium or the Republic), but critically important both in his own time and for the European Renaissance.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Without deepest contemplation of the Soul, all is in error. 7 Dec 2005
By OAKSHAMAN - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
_I have heard some call this work a confused jumble of unrelated concepts. These people just didn't get it. There is one unified theme to the Phaedrus: without a deep connection to the soul and to the higher Reality only accessible to the soul, then all human endeavors are in error.

_The first part of the dialogue deals with three speeches on the topic of love. This is used only as an example and is not the primary theme (though it is an extremely thorough and compelling examination of the subject.) The first speech (by Lysias) is clearly in error- it is badly composed, badly reasoned, and supports what is clearly the wrong conclusion. The second speech (by Socrates), while an impeccable model of correct rhetoric, and reaching the correct conclusion is also essentially flawed- for it makes no appeal to the deepest fundamental causes of things. Simply put, it lacks soul. The third argument (attributed to Stesichorus) however, delves deeply into the soul. In fact, the core of the argument is centered around the proof of the existence and nature of the soul. That is the consistency here- unless you are Philosopher enough to have looked deeply within your own soul, to have made contact (recollection) with ultimate Reality (Justice, Wisdom, Beauty, Temperance, etc.) then your arguments are just empty words- even if you are accidentally on the correct side.

_The second part of the dialogue concentrates on showing how true rhetoric is more than "empty rhetoric" (i.e. just clever arguments and tricks used to sway the masses.) True rhetoric is shown to literally be the art of influencing the soul through words. It also reads as the perfect description, and damnation, of modern politics and the legal system. No wonder Socrates was condemned to later take poison- he actually BELIEVED in Justice, Truth, and the Good. As a Philosopher he could not compromise on such things for he knew the profound damage and that it would do to his soul and to his "wings."
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