Plato

Edited by Hugh Benson (University of Oklahoma)
Assistant editor: Mark Hallap (University of Toronto, St. George Campus)
About this topic
Summary Plato (ca. 427-347 B.C.E.) was an Athenian philosopher who is widely recognized among the most important philosophers of the Western world.  Plato can be plausibly credited with the invention of philosophy as we understand it today – the rational, rigorous, and systematic study of fundamental questions concerning ethics, politics, psychology, theology, epistemology, and metaphysics.  He wrote primarily in dialogue form.  Among his most influential views are a commitment to the distinction between changeless, eternal forms and changeable, observable ordinary objects, the immortality of the soul, the distinction between knowledge and true belief and the view that knowledge is in some way recollection, that philosophers should be rulers and rulers philosophers, and that justice is in some way welcomed for its own sake.  He was a follower of Socrates, significantly influenced Aristotle, the Stoics, the Academic skeptics, Plotinus, among others, and founded the Academy, perhaps the first institution of higher learning in the west.
Key works Among the most well-known of Plato’s works (26 generally acknowledged dialogues and 13 more doubtful letters) are the Apology, Crito, Euthyphro, Protagoras, Gorgias, Meno, Phaedo, Republic, Symposium, Theaetetus, and Timaeus.  The standard English translations of the complete works can be found in Cooper 1997.
Introductions A good place to start studying Plato in general is the entry in Stanford Encyclopedia, Kraut 2008, Hare 1982, and Annas 2003.  Important collections of essays include Vlastos 1973, Kraut 1992, Fine 1999, Fine 1999, Fine 2008, and Benson 2006.
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History/traditions: Plato

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  1. Plato’s Timaeus and the Limits of Natural Science.Ian J. MacFarlane - 2022 - Dissertation, University of Texas at Austin
    The Timaeus is perhaps the most unusual of Plato’s dialogues. In this paper, I attempt to interpret Timaeus’s strange speech, which makes up most of the dialogue. I argue that Timaeus has grasped the grave challenge posed to philosophic reason by men like Hesiod who claim that mysterious gods are the first causes of the world, and therefore one cannot say that there are any true necessities governing this world. If this is true, then philosophy, as the study of nature, (...)
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  2. The Idea of Philosophical Initiation and Purification in Gorgias, Phaedo, Phaedrus and Symphosium of Plato.Kazimierz Pawłowski - 2018 - Studia Philosophiae Christianae 52 (1):77.
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  3. ZEITLIN, IRVING M., Plato's Vision, The Classical Origins of Social & Political Thought, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 1993, 181 Págs. [REVIEW]José Martínez Colín - 1994 - Anuario Filosófico 27 (3):1107-1108.
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  4. Il Dilemma di Eutifrone: L'Uomo, Dio, la Morale.Roberto Celada Ballanti - 2022
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  5. Il Divino Platone: Filosofia E Misticismo.Stefano Cazzato - 2022
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  6. Scorsese and Plato : A Philosophical Method for Cinematic Analysis and Discovering Divine Revelation.Matthew Small - 2022 - In William H. U. Anderson (ed.), Film, Philosophy and Religion. Vernon Press.
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  7. Touch Thyself : Kearney's Anacarnational Return to Plato's Forgotten Wisdom.Matthew Clemente - 2023 - In Brian Treanor & James Taylor (eds.), Anacarnation and Returning to the Lived Body with Richard Kearney. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
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  8. Plato: The Republic.Sfetcu Nicolae - manuscript
    The Republic was written approximately between 380 and 370 BC. The title Republic is derived from Latin, being attributed to Cicero, who called the book De re publica (About public affairs), or even as De republica, thus creating confusion as to its true meaning. The Republic is considered an integral part of the utopian literary genre. The second title, Peri dikaiou (περὶ δικαίου, On Justice), may have been included later. The central theme of the book is justice, argued with the (...)
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  9. Wisdom and Beauty in Plato's Charmides.Inbal Cohen-Taber - 2022 - Wipf & Stock.
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  10. The Birth of Unlawful Freedom in Plato’s Laws 3.René de Nicolay - 2021 - Polis 38 (3):494-511.
    Plato’s pronouncements about political freedom in the Laws have sparked renewed interest in the literature. The present paper takes a new angle on that vexed question. It focusses on Plato’s account of the birth of unlawful freedom, or ‘theatrocracy’, at the end of book 3. By studying the transition from moderate to excessive freedom, it wishes to shed light on what sets the two apart. The paper provides a causal analysis of the key passage, suggesting four compatible and complementary explanations (...)
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  11. Plato, Xenophon, and the Laws of Lycurgus.Malcolm Schofield - 2021 - Polis 38 (3):450-472.
    The relation between the opening section of Plato’s Laws and Xenophon’s Constitution of the Lacedaemonians usually goes unnoticed. This paper draws attention to its importance for understanding Plato’s project in the dialogue. It has three sections. In the first, it will be shown that the view proposed by Plato’s Athenian visitor that Lycurgus made virtue in its entirety the goal of his statecraft was anticipated in Xenophon’s treatise. It has to be treated as an interpretation of the Spartan politeia, alternative (...)
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  12. Kingship and Legislation in Plato’s Statesman.Dimitri El Murr - 2021 - Polis 38 (3):436-449.
    One of the main philosophical outcomes of Plato’s Statesman is to define statesmanship as a prescriptive form of knowledge, exercising control over subordinate tekhnai. Against a widespread scholarly view according to which the Statesman offers a radically critical view of laws, this paper argues that the art of legislation has pride of place among these subordinate arts which also include rhetoric, strategy, the art of the judge and education.
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  13. Civic Freedom in Plato’s Laws.Susan Sauvé Meyer - 2021 - Polis 38 (3):512-534.
    In Book 3 of Plato’s Laws, we read that a legislator must aim to endow the polis with a trio of properties: freedom, wisdom, and internal friendship. This paper explores what such freedom consists in, with a focus on the so-called doctrine of the mixed constitution. It argues that such freedom is a constitutional matter; that it is not to be identified with ‘voluntary servitude to the laws’ cultivated by persuasive preludes to the laws; nor is it the rational self-control (...)
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  14. What Aristotle Learned From Plato About Justice and Laws.Mi-Kyoung Lee - 2021 - Polis 38 (3):535-556.
    In this paper I consider Aristotle’s solutions to two questions about justice and the laws: why think that obeying the law is just? And why think that doing what is just will promote one’s happiness? I analyze Aristotle’s solutions to these two problems in terms of four claims concerning the laws that come from Plato and underwrite Aristotle’s optimism about the potential for politikê epistêmê to issue in laws which are objectively correct.
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  15. Kenneth R. Moore, Plato, Politics and a Practical Utopia: Social Constructivism and Civic Planning in the Laws (New York: Continuum, 2012), 144 Pp., $110.00. ISBN 9781441153173. [REVIEW]Lewis Trelawny-Cassity - 2013 - Polis 30 (1):166-171.
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  16. William H.F. Altman, Plato the Teacher: The Crisis of the Republic (Lanham MD: Lexington Books, 2012), Xxii + 489 Pp., $90.00. ISBN 9780739171387. [REVIEW]Harold Tarrant - 2013 - Polis 30 (1):145-149.
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  17. Catherine Collobert, Pierre Destrée and Francisco J. Gonzalez, Eds., Plato and Myth: Studies on the Use and Status of Platonic Myths.Mnemosyne Supplements, 337 (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2012), Viii + 476 Pp., $222.00. ISBN 9789004218666. [REVIEW]Catalin Partenie - 2013 - Polis 30 (1):132-136.
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  18. A.W. Price, Virtue and Reason in Plato and Aristotle (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), Xii + 356 Pp., $85.00. ISBN 9780199609611. [REVIEW]Russell E. Jones - 2013 - Polis 30 (1):122-126.
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  19. Jill Gordon, Plato’s Erotic World: From Cosmic Origins to Human Death (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), Ix + 243 Pp., $95.00, ISBN 9781107024113 (Hbk). [REVIEW]Eric Sanday - 2013 - Polis 30 (2):369-372.
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  20. Roslyn Weiss, Philosophers in the Republic: Plato’s Two Paradigms (Ithaca; London: Cornell University Press, 2012), Xi + 236 Pp., $49.95, ISBN 9780801449741 (Hbk). [REVIEW]Michelle Jenkins - 2013 - Polis 30 (2):373-376.
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  21. Mark J. Lutz, Divine Law and Political Philosophy in Plato’s Laws (DeKalb IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 2012), Ix + 200 Pp., $35.00, ISBN 9780875804453 (Pbk). [REVIEW]Jakub Jirsa - 2013 - Polis 30 (2):344-349.
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  22. Katja Maria Vogt, Belief and Truth: A Skeptic Reading of Plato (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), Ix + 209 Pp., $55.00, ISBN 9780199916818 (Hbk). [REVIEW]Harald Thorsrud - 2013 - Polis 30 (2):364-369.
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  23. Plato’s Laws: Force and Truth in Politics, Ed. Greg Recco and Eric Sanday (Bloomington IN: Indiana University Press, 2012), 208 Pp., $70.00, ISBN 9780253001825 (Hbk). [REVIEW]Robert A. Ballingall - 2013 - Polis 30 (2):350-353.
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  24. The Argument Against a Dramatic Date for Plato's Republic, Kent Moors.Editors Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought - 1988 - Polis 7 (1):6-31.
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  25. Zdravko Planinc, Plato's Political Philosophy: Prudence in the Republic and the Laws (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1991). Xi + 312 Pp. $37.50. ISBN 0-8262-0798-7. Hardcover. [REVIEW]Richard S. Ruderman - 1992 - Polis 11 (2):195-209.
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  26. Natalie Harris Bluestone, Women and the Ideal Society. Plato's "Republic" and Modern Myths of Gender (Berg, Oxford, Hamburg, New York, 1987), Pp. X + 238. [T.5 Hardback, [7-50 Paperback, ISBN 0 85496 230 1 and 0 85496 231 X. [REVIEW]Brian Calvert - 1990 - Polis 9 (1):85-97.
  27. International Plato Society.Editors Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought - 1990 - Polis 9 (1):118-118.
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  28. Adi Ophir, Plato's Invisible Cities : Discourse and Power in the Republic (Routledge, London, 1991). Pp Ix + 211, £30.00. ISBN 0-415-03596-1. [REVIEW]N. J. H. Dent - 1992 - Polis 11 (1):83-88.
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  29. Gary K.Browning, Plato and Hegel: Two Modes of Philosophizing About Politics (New York & London, Garland Publishing, Inc., 1991), Pp. Xiii + 125, $43. ISBN 0-8153-0133-2 (Cloth). [REVIEW]Peter Nicholson - 1992 - Polis 11 (1):102-104.
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  30. Patrick COBY, Socrates and the Sophistic Enlightenment, a Commentary on Plato's "Protagoras" (Bucknell University Press, Lewisburg; Associated University Presses, London and Toronto 1987), Pp. 214, £19.95. ISBN 0 8387 5109 1. [REVIEW]G. B. Kerferd - 1989 - Polis 8 (2):56-59.
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  31. C. D. C. Reeve, Philosopher-Kings: The Argument of Plato's "Republic" (Princeton, Princeton U. P. 1988), Pp. Xv + 350, $35.00/~20-90. ISBN 0 691 07320 0. [REVIEW]George Klosko - 1989 - Polis 8 (2):60-66.
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  32. Beginnings and Endings in Plato - (E.) Kaklamanou, (M.) Pavlou, (A.) Tsakmakis (Edd.) Framing the Dialogues. How to Read Openings and Closures in Plato. (Brill's Plato Studies 6.) Pp. XII + 318. Boston and Leiden: Brill, 2021. Cased, €120, Us$145. Isbn: 978-90-04-44398-3. [REVIEW]Marco Donato - 2021 - The Classical Review 71 (2):317-319.
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  33. Plato on Knowledge and Truth - (C.) Rowett Knowledge and Truth in Plato. Stepping Past the Shadow of Socrates. Pp. XXII + 305. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. Cased, £50, Us$65. Isbn: 978-0-19-969365-8. [REVIEW]Naoya Iwata - 2019 - The Classical Review:1-2.
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  34. The Role of Socrates, Lysis, and Menexenus in Plato’s Lysis.Gabriel Evangelou - 2020 - Filozofia 75 (3).
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  35. Socrates’ Dialectic Therapy According to Plato’s Aporetic Dialogues.Cristian de Bravo Delorme - 2019 - Filozofia 74 (3).
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  36. Anamnêsis_ as _Aneuriskein, Anakinein_ and _Analambanein_ in Plato's _Meno.Douglas A. Shepardson - forthcoming - Classical Quarterly.
    This article examines the theory of recollection in Plato's Meno and attempts to unravel some long-standing puzzles about it. What are the prenatal objects of the soul's vision? What are the post-natal objects of the soul's recollection? What is innate in the Meno? Why does Socrates suggest that both knowledge and true opinion are innate? The article pays particular attention to the ana- prefix in the verbs aneuriskô, anakineô and analambanô, and suggests that they are used for two distinct stages (...)
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  37. Virtue in Plato's Symposium.F. C. White - 2004 - Classical Quarterly 54 (2):366-378.
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  38. Socratic pedagogy in Plato's dialogue Meno.Matúš Porubjak - 2022 - Pro-Fil 23 (1):1-15.
    The study focuses on the psychological and didactic methods employed in Plato’s dialogue Meno. Using the method of dramatic reading, the author analyses the two main parts of Socratic pedagogy: the negative one, characterized by elenchus with a scope for identifying and eliminating misleading ideas, and the positive one aiming to help the student to find out her own new ideas and, by means of argumentation, lead her to better understanding. The author concludes that the main goal of the dialogue (...)
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  39. Two forms of punishment in Plato's dialogue Gorgias.Anežka Chovanková - 2014 - Pro-Fil 15 (2):48-57.
    Príspevok sa venuje problematike mýtu v závere dialógu Gorgias, v súvislosti s funkciou trestu v Platónových dialógoch. Gorgias je jedným z dialógov, ktoré sú kľúčové pre porozumenie problematike trestu. Zameraním pozornosti na záverečný eschatologický mýtus by sa mohlo zdať, že autor v súvislosti s daným otázkami zastáva nejednoznačné stanovisko. K protirečeniu dochádza na úrovni mythos – logos: na jednej strane je v celom priebehu dialógu prezentovaný nápravný účel trestu. V závere však nastáva obrat a Platónov eschatologický mýtus prezentuje na prvý (...)
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  40. Soul Poetical and Soul Philosophical. On Plato's dialogue Pheado.Jaroslav Cepko - 2014 - Pro-Fil 14 (2):19-24.
    Článok je pokusom o interpretáciu Platónovho dialógu Faidón vo svetle prvých Sókratových slov, ktoré v ňom zaznievajú. Sókratova krátka úvaha o vzťahu príjemného a nepríjemného je vzápätí vsadená do kontextu konfrontácie filozofického a básnického typu explanácie. Zaujímavé je, že Sókratov komentár k snu, ktorý ho kedysi vyzval k praktizovaniu múzického umenia, neprezentuje oba prístupy ako navzájom sa vylučujúce, ale skôr ako komplementárne. V tejto perspektíve je možné čítať Faidóna ako náčrt „vysokej“ filozofie oddelených ideí, a zároveň ako výzvu o jej (...)
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  41. Plato's and Aristotle's Conceptions of Heavy and Light, Their Sources and Consequences.Josef Petrželka - 2014 - Pro-Fil 14 (2):2-18.
    Cílem studie je srovnání Platónova a Aristotelova výkladu vlastností těžké a lehké. Nejprve jsou představeny hlavní motivy obou výkladů a poté následuje srovnání z hlediska využití empirických dat, z hlediska jejich explikační síly a také co do blízkosti modernímu pojetí tíže. V závěru se ukazuje, že Aristotelova koncepce těžkého a lehkého je propracovanější a komplexnější, ovšem mnohem stručnější výklad Platónův má také značné explikační možnosti a v určitých ohledech Aristotelovu teorii předčí.
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  42. The Cows and the Bees: Arabic Sources and Parallels for Pseudo-Plato's Liber Vaccae.Liana Saif - 2016 - Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 79 (1):1-47.
    The Arabic original of the ninth-century Kitāb al-Nawāmīs has not been discovered, save for three incomplete chapters. We have access to a fuller version only through a Latin translation, often known as the Liber vaccae, a title derived from its notorious experiments which involve the gruesome slaughter and mutilation of a cow to magically produce a rational animal or bees. Recent research on the Liber vaccae has focused mostly on its reception in medieval and early modern Europe. By contrast, the (...)
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  43. Marsilio Ficino's 'Si Deus Fiat Homo' and Augustine's 'Non Ibi Legi': The Incarnation and Plato's Persona in the Scholia to the Laws.Denis J.-J. Robichaud - 2014 - Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 77 (1):87-114.
  44. Some Unpublished Notes by Marsilio Ficino on Plato's Parmenides In MS Laur. 89 SUP. 71.Valerio Sanzotta - 2014 - Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 77 (1):211-224.
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  45. Plato's Philosophy.Sfetcu Nicolae - manuscript
    Plato's philosophy is in line with the pre-Socratics, sophists and artistic traditions that underlie Greek education, in a new framework, defined by dialectics and the theory of Ideas. For Plato, knowledge is an activity of the soul, affected by sensible objects, and by internal processes. Platonism has its origins in Plato's philosophy, although it is not to be confused with it. According to Platonism, there are abstract objects (a notion different from that of modern philosophy that exists in another realm (...)
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  46. Plato's Essentialism: Reinterpreting the Theory of Forms by Vasilis Politis.Travis Butler - 2022 - Review of Metaphysics 76 (1):154-156.
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  47. Schleiermacher's Plato by Julia A. Lamm.F. C. C. Sheffield - 2022 - Review of Metaphysics 75 (4):821-823.
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  48. Plato's Socrates on Socrates: Socratic Self-Disclosure and the Public Practice of Philosophy by Anne-Marie Schultz. [REVIEW]Doug Reed - 2022 - Review of Metaphysics 75 (4):829-830.
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  49. Calcidius on Plato’s Timaeus: Greek Philosophy, Latin Reception, and Christian Contexts by Gretchen Reydams-Schils.Sara Ahbel-Rappe - 2021 - Review of Metaphysics 75 (2):396-398.
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  50. On the Good Life: Thinking Through the Intermediaries in Plato’s Philebus by Cristina Ionescu.James Wood - 2021 - Review of Metaphysics 75 (1):147-148.
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