Favorite Plato Dialogue?

What is your favorite dialogue of Plato?

Bonus points: summarize the core arguments from memory. If your memory is too fuzzy for a proper summary, just recount what you can recall. It's a fun exercise that'll test your retention and comprehension

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  1. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Here's mine:
    >Symposium
    Summary of one of Socrates' main arguments (or I guess the argument was made by the woman in his speech):
    >1. You can only desire what you lack. A rich man may desire wealth, but only for the future. The man just wants his present wealth to persist into the future; he doesn't actually desire his present wealth directly.
    >2. The ultimate aim of any desire is goodness, which is achieved via happiness.
    >3. Love is the desire for permanent goodness, which is only possible for an immortal; therefore, the aim of love is immortality.
    >4. Mortals can only approach immortality via procreation.
    > ∴ The object of love is to procreate within a beautiful medium.
    I skipped some steps just before the conclusion because I don't remember the rest of the argument.

  2. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    The Phaedo because it helped me convert to Christianity

  3. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Favorite is the dialogue with Critias because most of the records about Critias are scrubbed clean and he outlines that Atlantis was really advanced because of their breeding and then they bred poorly and failed. Kind of ridiculous when I actually read the dialogue and realized Plato was hinting at eugenics in a text that was over 2000 years old.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      He mentions eugenics a lot. It was obvious that traits were inherited to some degree even before they had scientific knowledge of genes. That's why they compare breeding the best dogs to breeding the best humans.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        They believed sperm came from every part of the body so that your sperm physically contained the traits from your head shape for instance because it originated within your head before going down to your nuts through your veins. It was all convoluted.

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          But surprisingly close to the truth and intuitive for being 2400 years ago. .

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Look dude they figured out heritability, okay? Yeah maybe they didn't know the exact process, but they still understood heritability better than the average liberal does today

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          That's pedantic. They knew how to breed animals. They knew traits were inherited to some degree. They extrapolated it for humans.
          It doesn't matter if they thought magical gnome guardian angels from saturn came and mixed pixie dust in with the newly forming kid based on the traits of both parents.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            I wasn’t being pedantic or saying they were wrong. I was laying out how the Hippocratic theory of traits worked in antiquity. Sorry if that is how it sounded.

            They understood you inherited for instance a nose shape so obviously that means sperm originated somehow in veins in the nose some place. It is very clearly laid out in the Hippocratic treatise On Airs, Waters and Places.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Oh okay, that's understandable.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Ancient medical theories are just neat to me. Link related is a great write up from Hippocrates on natural selection in long headed tribes of Africa. He posits his theories on how sperm is formed and carries inherited traits.

            http://classics.mit.edu/Hippocrates/airwatpl.14.14.html

            The “Macrocephali” of Africa practiced head binding but then selected for a long headed shape naturally when it became a popular trait. Very clear wording from the ancients on inherited traits and natural selection even without using those terms.

  4. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    For now I'll say Protagoras, as one of the more amusing dialogues. A young friend of Socrates wants to study under the traveling sophist, and Socrates shows up to the gathering to show his friend why that's not a great idea. Protagoras demonstrates his wisdom in a myth that apparently shows what gifts the gods gave men, but which actually shows man to be abandoned and forced to rely on his own wits. Socrates ironically talks up his friend as a good potential student and only emphasizes how much money he has, and not whether he's good at learning, and Protagoras falls for the b8. After some bickering over what precisely Protagoras teaches, Socrates complains that Protagoras' speeches are too long for his old man brain to follow and threatens to leave unless he makes shorter speeches. Alcibiades and Critias have arrived in the meantime and both press on Protagoras to adjust his speeches, and then Socrates gives the longest speech in the dialogue, a rambling interpretation of Simonides (I think). Socrates keeps bringing in the other sophists present, Hippias and Prodicus, to press Protagoras, who starts sputtering in his responses with frustration. They finally get down to discussing whether virtue is teachable, and Socrates and Protagoras end up with positions opposite from where they started before Socrates dips, claiming to have business elsewhere, which tirns out to be running into an acquaintance who he recounts the whole episode to. Very funny for Plato.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Was this supposed to be a Seinfeld episode set in Ancient Greece?

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Not far from it. Same with Euthydemus and Cratylus, which are both pretty funny.

  5. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    how would you rate the phaedrus on a scale of 1–10

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      2 since I am a big fan of writing and reading books. Not so much a fan of not writing and fostering an illiterate society intentionally.

      >DAR Thoth was le bad???

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Sounds like you got filtered

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Why are you writing posts? Shouldn’t you forego writing like Socrates says?

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            That's not what Socrates says in Phaedrus, nor is it what Plato thinks, very evidently.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Writing is LE BAD

            You and Plato both shouldn’t use writing and for the better.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Again, not the point of the Phaedrus, and in fact, Plato shows how *he* writes when Socrates and Phaedrus discuss logographic necessity. The critique of writing at the end is only a critique of writing from Thoth, and Socrates' own critique in his own words is a discussion of the weaknesses of speech both written *and* spoken. Plato wrote over 30 dialogues, he nowhere claims that writing per se is bad.

  6. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I like the Meno. Plato explores the idea of teachable virtue by having Socrates discuss the topic with Meno, a real sexy teen that claims he learned it from a sophist (Gorgias?). Socrates tries to get the Meno to define virtue in an abstract, geometric way but Meno fails to do so. I think Plato is commenting on the inherent failings of the traditional pederastic pedagogy here by pointing out that sometimes sexy teens are fricking stupid, which pairs nicely with the Theatetus where the ugly teen is smart.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      I took it that Meno showcased something like the difference between aristocratic and democratic attitudes to being virtuous (Meno is a Thessalian aristocrat who can afford to study under specialists like Gorgias, the democrat Anytus depends on the popular sentiments of his fellow democrats) with an implicit critique of gentlemanly virtue, since such virtue produces Meno, who within a year of the conversation sells out a bunch of Greek mercenaries in Persia.

  7. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Good thread. It's Gorgias for me, but sadly I don't have time to do the memory exercise. I might later

  8. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Phaedrus

    It’s very narratively tight; it feels like a complete dialogue rather than just a hodgepodge of points, covering fully two distinct and related topics.

    Points: Phaedrus (and Socrates) argue that love is a vice rather than a virtue. Socrates then refutes this, claiming that love is a form of “divine madness” which implants goodness in the soul without rationality (“right opinion” as in Meno). The discussion then shifts to rhetoric, because the previous points were in the form of long speeches. They lay down certain rules for orations, and argue that rhetoric IS a science, but a form of psychology, the study of the soul.

    It’s not the most logically tight discourse though. That would be Euthyphro, Sophist, and the minor dialogues on virtues IMO.

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