The Dialogues of Plato, Volume 3

The Dialogues of Plato, Volume 3: Ion, Hippias Minor, Laches, Protagoras

Translated with Comment by R. E. ALLEN
Copyright Date: 1996
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    The Dialogues of Plato, Volume 3
    Book Description:

    R.E. Allen's superb new translations of four Socratic dialogues-Ion,Hippias Minor,Laches, andProtagoras-bring these classic texts to life for modern readers. Allen introduces and comments on the dialogues in an accessible way, inviting the reader to reexamine the issues continually raised in Plato's works.In his detailed commentary, Allen closely examines the major themes and central arguments of each dialogue, with particular emphasis onProtagoras. He clarifies each of Plato's arguments and its refutation; places the themes in historical perspective; ties each theme to interpretations of rival translations; and links the philosopher's thought to trends in late modern philosophy. Topics discussed include: whether virtue is an art, whether wisdom and courage are logically equivalent, whether virtue is knowledge, and whether to know the good is to do it. Allen connects his discussion of these issues to the Benthamite tradition of hedonism and utilitarianism and to the ethical theories of Mill, Sidgwick, Moore, and Freud.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13838-2
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. THE ION
      (pp. 3-8)

      Socrates in theApologytells how after examining the politicians he went to the poets and questioned them, and found that though they had the reputation of being wise, they were not: almost anyone present could give a better account than they of what they had themselves produced. From this Socrates inferred that they composed their works not by wisdom but by a kind of natural disposition and divine inspiration, like seers and prophets who also say many fine things and do not know what they mean. TheIonexpands on this theme. Ion is not a poet but a...

      (pp. 9-22)

      530a SOC. Greetings, Ion. Where from on this present visit? Your home in Ephesus?

      ION No, Socrates, from Epidaurus and the festival of Asclepius.

      SOC. You don’t mean the Epidaurians also offer the god a contest of rhapsodes?

      ION They do indeed, and the other branches of music and poetry too.

      SOC. Really? You competed for us? How did you do?

      b ION I took first prize, Socrates.

      SOC. Excellent. See to it that we win the Panathenaea too.

      ION Why, so we shall, god willing.

      soc. Really, Ion, I’ve often envied the art of you rhapsodes. It’s always part...

      (pp. 25-30)

      TheHippias Minoris an informalreductio ad absurdum,brilliantly conceived, of the assumption that virtue is a τέxνη, an art. In theProtagoras(318e-319a), Protagoras is represented as claiming that there is an art of politics and that he can make good citizens; this is equivalent to the claim that virtue is teachable (32ob-c), and Hippias and Prodicus are in this associated with Protagoras (357e). TheHippias Minor,assuming an analogy with other arts, concludes that only the good man can voluntarily do wrong, and that it is better to do wrong voluntarily and intentionally, willingly and wittingly, έxών,...

      (pp. 31-46)

      363a EUD. Why then are you silent, Socrates, when Hippias has given so imposing a display? You don’t join in praising what he said, or refute it if you think anything not well said—especially now that we who especially claim a share in philosophical pursuits have been left by ourselves.

      b SOC. Why really, Eudicus, there’s something I’d gladly learn from Hippias about what he was just saying of Homer. I used to hear from your father Apemantus that Homer’sIliadis a finer poem than theOdyssey,in the degree that Achilles is better than Odysseus. For he...

      (pp. 49-60)

      The dramatic date of theLachesfalls after the Battle of Delium in 424 B.C. and before the death of Laches in battle at Mantinaea in 418. Socrates, born in 469 B.C., was then about forty-five years old.

      The dialogue has a notable cast of characters. Lysimachus and Melesias are, respectively, sons of Aristides the Just and the general Thucydides, leading statesmen of the previous generation, the generation of Themistocles. Laches and Nicias are Athenian military leaders of great distinction, whom Lysimachus and Melesias come to consult about whether their own sons should be trained to fight in armor; they...

      (pp. 61-86)

      178a LYS. You’ve seen the man fighting in armor, Nicias and Laches. Melisias here and I didn’t tell you at the time why we invited you to join us in watching, but now we will: for we believe we should be frank with you. Some people scoff at things like this, and if you ask

      b their advice, they don’t say what they really think but guess at the advice you want and speak contrary to their own opinion; but we believe you are sufficiently knowledgeable and will say simply what seems true to you. That’s why we ask your...

      (pp. 89-168)

      The scene is Athens. The date is approximately 435 B.C.,¹ in the sun-lit years before the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. Socrates was then in his middle thirties, Pericles still alive and at the height of his power. Athens also was at her height, the most powerful city in Greece and the education of Hellas; the marble of her Acropolis, recently completed, gleamed like a jewel in the Mediterranean light. Plato, looking back on the scene from a vantage point of perhaps fifty years, is careful to let no shadow of things to come darken his portrait of what had...

      (pp. 169-224)

      309a COMP. Where from, Socrates? Hunting the vernal beauty of Alcibiades, no doubt? Well, I saw him just the other day, and he’s looking still beautiful as a man, Socrates, but a man nonetheless, to speak among ourselves, and at this point getting quite a beard.

      SOC. Well, what of it? You don’t mean you disapprove of Homer,

      b who said, “With beard new grown, the most graceful time for a youth”¹—as Alcibiades is now.

      COMP. How are things? Were you just with him? How’s the lad disposed toward you?

      SOC. Well disposed, I thought, especially today. Actually, he...

  8. INDEX
    (pp. 225-234)