Customer Review

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 14 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Understanding Plato (OPUS) (Paperback)
This book reminded me of sitting in a maths lesson at school and struggling to keep up while the teacher tried to explain difficult ideas in language that was alien to me.

I was hoping this short book (170 pages) would explain some of Plato's main ideas in a clear way. I don't think I was much closer to understanding Plato by the time I'd finished reading.

I felt it was often too confusing for the general reader and, I suspect, too basic for philosophy students.

Too many sentences start with phrases like "It is evident that...", "It would not be inconsistent to argue...", "It must be admitted that..." and "It is obvious that...".

The writing style is clunky and dated. Take this on the Theory of Ideas: "The Idea of the Good is itself knowable as well as being the source of the knowability of all that is knowable."

Or this on forms: "If the Form which is the source of the X-ness of other forms is not the source of X-ness, then we seem to be left with an impossible dilemma."

Perhaps it's impossible to avoid such constructions when trying to explain Plato's work, but I found it clumsy and awkward to read.

I'm still searching for a clear guide to Plato for the general reader.
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Initial post: 13 Apr 2013 02:43:03 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Apr 2013 00:28:09 BDT
It's difficult to envisage a book that could genuinely be too basic for philosophy students and yet at the same time too confusing for the general reader. The ground it inevitably occupied would be so narrow that the book would barely have existence.
I don't find the writing style "clunky", "clumsy", "awkward" or "dated". If you are no closer to understanding Plato after reading the book, it's possible that your inexperience at deciphering the written word is to blame.
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