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Alcibiades I


Book Overview: 

As Jowett relates in his brilliant introduction, 95% of Plato's writing is certain and his reputation rests soundly on this foundation. The Alcibiades 1 appears to be a short work by Plato with only two characters: Socrates and Alcibiades. This dialogue has little dramatic verisimilitude but centers on the question of what knowledge one needs for political life. Like the early dialogues, the question is on whether the virtues needed by a statesman can be taught, on the importance of self-knowledge as a starting point for any leader. While this may be only partially the work of Plato, or even not his at all, Jowett favored the work with his magisterial translation and appears to favor its inclusion in the canon of true works.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Platonic composition. The aim is more directly ethical and hortatory; the process by which the antagonist is undermined is simpler than in other Platonic writings, and the conclusion more decided. There is a good deal of humour in the manner in which the pride of Alcibiades, and of the Greeks generally, is supposed to be taken down by the Spartan and Persian queens; and the dialogue has considerable dialectical merit. But we have a difficulty in supposing that the same writer, who has given so profound and complex a notion of the characters both of Alcibiades and Socrates in the Symposium, should have treated them in so thin and superficial a manner in the Alcibiades, or that he would have ascribed to the ironical Socrates the rather unmeaning boast that Alcibiades could not attain the objects of his ambition without his help; or that he should have imagined that a mighty nature like his could have been reformed by a few not very conclusive words of Socrates. For the arg. . . Read More

Community Reviews


It's the first time I try to read Plato's Dialogues seriously. In this one, Socrates teaches Alcibiades about the "know thyself" philosophy, mentioned first on an inscrption in the Oracle of Delphi. Socrates recommends: "Prepare yourself, learn what is needed to be learned to follow the life of p...more

this is an overview of plato project, it's suspiciously naked of the platonic way of writing and reminds me of other spurious work by the name Definitions, but well here we find a demostration of Mayeutics, and the way it works explicitly. what is man, what should one do to be better. a great dia...more

Unul dintre cele mai bune dialoguri. Bogat în implicații, foarte cursiv, o lecție de maieutica. Ar tb sa fie citit de oricine, sa facă parte din educația de baza a oamenilor, dar mai ales a celor politici.

La filosofía no es lo mío. Pero hay que cumplir con las obligaciones académicas

Comment se connaître soi-même ? La discussion menée dans l'Alcibiade rencontre rapidement cette question, alors qu'elle s'interroge sur les conditions psychologiques du gouvernement de soi et du gouvernement de la cité, ou encore de l'éthique et de la politique. À la recherche d'une définition de...more

I still have trouble believing that this was written by Plato. When compared to the Symposium, these two books give two very different and interesting views of Alcibiades' character. If you lived in Ancient Greece and desired to become a philosopher, this would be one of the first texts your teac...more

The whole text is in dialogues. Alcibiades wants to advise a council on justice and war, and Socrates tells Alcibiades that because he has no learning of justice and war he shouldn't be advising people on such matters. This dialogue analyses the flawed logic of Alcibiades while Socrates tries to...more

A helpful introduction to the dialogues of Plato. Constructs a helpful framework to understanding Plato's philosophy, but more importantly guides you toward the life and practice of philosophy. There is much here to glean.

There has been some time since I read my last Plato. It's amazing to see Socrates, at first being a simply obnoxious and chatty figure with bad logic, has gradually gained his depth amongst the various depictions of dialogues. Now that I could enjoy the manifold aspects of him, I felt sad -- very...more

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