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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A holistic introduction to the life and work of Plato, 5 Dec 2000
By A Customer
Despite this book's abbreviated appearance, I will not call it a quick bed time read. Yet Williams is able to bring to life a part of the ancient world and thought which a contemporary reader will appreciate. Indeed to me the impact of the book was in the familiarity with which Williams rendered Plato's world, it was easy to relate to the ancients presented. Very cunningly Williams animated this little introduction to Plato on two levels. The first is the concise presentation of Plato's style and contribution to philosophy; Plato's mastering of writing in lively dialogue as genre for developing philosophy, his development of though on ethics, his 'discovery' of a priori knowledge, the influences of others in his work, the context that brought about the classic Cave Image and many other contributions of Plato. All of which makes the cerebral side of your head flex its muscle. The second is the interwoven human colouring to the work. One learns that though the revered trios - Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle - were influenced by each other, they were not all of the same mind. That Plato's thought went through a long history of change and at times seems to contradict some of his earliest statements. The ancients knew what boredom was and what it is like to be painfully disappointed (Socrates relationship with Alcibiades), they had ideas on love and sexuality and many other states of the human heart. It is this two fold strategy that makes it able for the reader to reach into a deep past, and reaffirm its significance in a contemporary world. In short, William's piece can aptly be summarised by a statement Plato makes in the closing part of the Republic:" what we are talking about is how one should live."
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The Great Philosophers: Plato: Plato
The Great Philosophers: Plato: Plato by Bernard, Professor Williams
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