Selections from Protagoras, Republic, Phaedrus, Gorgias (Essential Thinkers Series)by Plato
Plato is outstanding among philosophers, having more or less invented philosophy as we know it in the West. In the Republic he begins with the question, 'What is justice?' but the question soon broadens out into an investigation of what is real and how we can know it, so defining the three main areas of philosophy ethics, metaphysics and epistemology for the next 2000 years or more.
But Plato is remarkable also for the beauty of his writing. The allegory of the cave at the beginning of Republic Book Seven is among the most powerful images in the history of literature. And in Protagoras and Gorgias his portraits of the intellectual �lite of the Greek world in the fifth century bce are without parallel.
Plato, born in 427bce, was a young man when Athens surrendered to Sparta at the end of the Peloponnesian War, and when his mentor Socrates was put to death by the Athenians. He founded the Academy in 387bce, and was head of it until his death in 347bce, venturing briefly into politics on two visits as tutor and adviser to the young tyrant Dionysius II of Syracuse.
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