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Gorgias

Plato

Book Overview: 

This dialogue brings Socrates face to face with the famous sophist Gorgias and his followers. It is a work likely completed around the time of "Republic" and illuminates many of the spiritual ideas of Plato. The spirituality, as Jowett points out in his wonderful introduction, has many ideas akin to Christianity, but is more generous as it reserves damnation only for the tyrants of the world. Some of the truths of Socrates, as presented by Plato, shine forth in this wonderful work on sophistry and other forms of persuasion or cookery.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Ideas of utility, like those of duty and right, may be pushed to unpleasant consequences. Nor can Plato in the Gorgias be deemed purely self-regarding, considering that Socrates expressly mentions the duty of imparting the truth when discovered to others. Nor must we forget that the side of ethics which regards others is by the ancients merged in politics. Both in Plato and Aristotle, as well as in the Stoics, the social principle, though taking another form, is really far more prominent than in most modern treatises on ethics.

The idealizing of suffering is one of the conceptions which have exercised the greatest influence on mankind. Into the theological import of this, or into the consideration of the errors to which the idea may have given rise, we need not now enter. All will agree that the ideal of the Divine Sufferer, whose words the world would not receive, the man of sorrows of whom the Hebrew prophets spoke, has sunk deep into the heart of the human . . . Read More

Community Reviews

A Starker Dialogue

Gorgias is very similar in structure, content, focus and argument with the Republic. In fact, it comes across almost a half-formed version of it, and scholars argue that it is in many ways like an early sketch for Republic. But unlike the Republic, which forays into metaphysics...more

… for philosophy, Socrates, if pursued in moderation and at the proper age, is an elegant accomplishment, but too much philosophy is the ruin of human life.
Gorgias is easily one of Plato’s best stand-alone dialogues. Indeed, as others have mentioned, it often reads like a germinal version of th...more

Γοργίας = Gorgias (dialogue), Plato, Walter Hamilton (Translator), Chris Emlyn-Jones (Commentary)
Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1960=1339, In 149 Pages
Gorgias (Greek: Γοργίας) is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato around 380 BC. The dialogue depicts a conversation between Socrates and a small gr...more

An excellent example of philosophy justifying itself.

Everybody has heard the whole cranky, rather arrogant and patronizing remark made when someone who doesn't read very much or doesn't read for pleasure or instruction feels like scoffing a bit:

"Why are you reading this boring old stuff? Phi...more

Men do bad when they do what they merely think best, rather than what they most deeply desire.

That seems to be the central point of this long dialogue.

The age-old question is: how to get men to follow their true Will (i.e. Self, rather than ego).

Does the dialogue answer it?

The answer it gives...more

This book is a masterpiece. It includes a critical text, and a line-by-line philological commentary. But even the reader without Greek will learn an enormous amount about Plato and related topics by reading it alongside a translation -- just skip all the entries dealing with purely philological m...more

We should devote all our own and our community's energies towards ensuring the presence of justice and self-discipline, and so guaranteeing happiness.

So Socrates wanted to make Athens great again and along the way gave the pundits and consultants the what for. His argument is measured and allows...more

What I recall about Gorgias - again from my sophomore university philosophy class - was that there was a lengthy discussion of orators and how they are able to dupe audiences - even folks more technical than the orator him/herself. That sounds eerily relevant right now given that 1.7M people vote...more

Well, if one was to sum up, it would be hard to go past Plato’s own summary:

“And of all that has been said, nothing remains unshaken but the saying, that to do injustice is more to be avoided than to suffer injustice, and that the reality and not the appearance of virtue is to be followed above...more

What is rhetoric?

Yes, the dialogue will turn around this issue, but not only. I literally loved it. The reflections are vivid, the text is dramatic, and one is really taken in the story. One imagines to be in the place of Callicles and to debate or to be in the place of Socrates. We also speak he...more

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