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Plato: Laches (Greek Texts) [Paperback]

By Plato (Author), C. Emlyn Jones (Author) & C. J. Emlyn-Jones (Editor)
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Item description for Plato: Laches (Greek Texts) by Plato, C. Emlyn Jones & C. J. Emlyn-Jones...

This edition of Plato's Laches is part of the Bristol Classical Press Greek Texts series.

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Item Specifications...


Studio: Duckworth Publishers
Pages   128
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.32" Width: 5.88" Height: 0.34"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2013
Publisher   Duckworth Publishers
Edition  New  
ISBN  1853994111  
ISBN13  9781853994111  


Availability  98 units.
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More About Plato, C. Emlyn Jones & C. J. Emlyn-Jones


Plato Plato, the greatest philosopher of ancient Greece, was born in Athens in 428 or 427 B.C.E. to an aristocratic family. He studied under Socrates, who appears as a character in many of his dialogues. He attended Socrates' trial and that traumatic experience may have led to his attempt to design an ideal society. Following the death of Socrates he travelled widely in search of learning. After twelve years he returned to Athens and founded his Academy, one of the earliest organized schools in western civilization. Among Plato's pupils was Aristotle. Some of Plato's other influences were Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, and Parmenides.

Plato wrote extensively and most of his writings survived. His works are in the form of dialogues, where several characters argue a topic by asking questions of each other. This form allows Plato to raise various points of view and let the reader decide which is valid. Plato expounded a form of dualism, where there is a world of ideal forms separate from the world of perception. The most famous exposition of this is his metaphor of the Cave, where people living in a cave are only able to see flickering shadows projected on the wall of the external reality. This influenced many later thinkers, particularly the Neoplatonists and the Gnostics, and is similar to views held by some schools of Hindu dualistic metaphysics.

Plato died in 347 B.C.E. In the middle ages he was eclipsed by Aristotle. His works were saved for posterity by Islamic scholars and reintroduced into the west in the Renaissance. Since then he has been a strong influence on philosophy, as well as natural and social science.

Plato lived in Athens. Plato was born in 428 and died in 347.

Plato has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Barnes & Noble Classics
  2. Bollingen Series (General)
  3. Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought
  4. Dover Thrift Editions
  5. Enriched Classics (Simon & Schuster)
  6. Focus Philosophical Library (Paperback)
  7. Greek Texts
  8. Modern Library Classics (Paperback)
  9. Oxford World's Classics (Paperback)
  10. Penguin Classics
  11. Plato
  12. Viking Portable Library
  13. Vintage Classics


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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Greece > General
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Greek & Roman



Reviews - What do customers think about Plato: Laches (Greek Texts)?

The classical Greek search for the virtue of courage  Jul 5, 2009
I read this book for a graduate philosophy class. The classical Greek philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were the midwives of Western civilization's "birth" of philosophy. Prior to the fifth century BCE classical Greek period, Greek citizens learned about virtuous actions including courage through their mythical religious beliefs, and epic poetry; such as, Homer's Iliad and The Odyssey. Thus, not until Socrates asks the question of what does the "good life" consists of do people ponder with reason and logic as their guide what constitutes virtues and how to practice them. Plato, like Socrates before him and Aristotle after him, believes in a virtue-based code of ethics where the end goal is to attain "happiness" which is understood by the classical Greeks as a flourishing" and is obtained only by performing virtuous acts.

Plato's short dialogue Laches is his literary vehicle to show Socrates exploring the virtue of courage. Socrates questions two famous Greek generals, Nicias and Laches, who participated in the Peloponnesian War, as did Socrates, in order to get at a definition of courage. The virtue of courage figures prominently in the second half of Plato's dialogue when Socrates asks both generals to define courage. It is important to note that though Socrates is the first philosopher to embark upon a search for a definition of virtue, he did not write his philosophy down. All of what we know of Socrates' teachings comes from the pen of Plato, one of his most devoted students. Laches first defines courage for Socrates by providing him three components of courage. A courageous person is "willing," "stands their ground in the face of the enemy," and "does not run." Laches' three components of courage are really just examples of the time-honored duty of Greek patriotism, which is derived out of a feeling or emotional attachment to one's country. In essence, the Greek citizen is "willing" to act out of a sense of duty to their city; "standing their ground" to protect their city from enemy attack. The citizen "does not run" in fear for their lives risking the safety of their city. Essentially, Plato's summation of these three components as spoken by Laches, is that courage comes from an "endurance of the soul." (p 34, (192c). Up to this point in the dialogue, Plato's definition of courage does not differ from the standard Homeric definition. However, when Socrates continues his questioning of Laches, he expands the scope of courageous actions to encompass perils of illness, sea travel and even into the political realm in hopes of better defining courage. Thus, Plato recognizes that there is a host of situations that requires a person to use courage to surmount whatever dangerous predicament they face. By posing the question this way, Plato through Socrates assumes that there is something else that people rely on to make them courageous. This is the real crux of the dialogue; to find out what else there is in the human condition that instills one with courage.

To accomplish this task, Plato introduces Nicias into the dialogue, who introduces the idea that it takes an amalgamation of emotions and wisdom for courage to be a universal virtue. With the introduction of wisdom into the mix, courage takes its "first step" forward from the heroic Homeric notion. For example, in the Homeric epics only aristocrats are depicted as acting courageously. It is important to recognize that by introducing these other hardships not related to war fighting, Plato is moving away from the ancient Greek Homeric model that so dominated the culture of his day. Nicias answers Laches, "Therefore, if a man is really courageous, it is clear that he is wise." (p, 38, (194d). However, when Socrates presses Nicias to explain what type of wisdom makes a person wise enough to be courageous he answers, "...it is the knowledge of the fearful and the hopeful in war and every other situation." (p, 39, (195a). Socrates is incredulous that Nicias argues that only people who can foretell future goods and evils will be able to act courageously, and for this reason, Socrates rejects Nicias' definition of courage. Socrates ends the dialogue abruptly because he sees that he is only getting examples of acts of courage in his questioning. His goal is to get to a definition, and to understand the essence of courage. With a definition, he can compare all examples of courage to it and then decide if the examples are truly acts of courage or not. In most of Plato's dialogues involving Socrates, his quest for a definition of a particular virtue ends in the same manner. At this point as in so many of Plato's dialogues, he ends his search for a definition of courage, but he takes it up again several years later in his Republic where he will introduce the element of education into the mix.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in virtue ethics, Greek philosophy, and military history.

 
The classical Greek search for the virtue of courage  Jul 5, 2009
I read this book for a graduate philosophy class. The classical Greek philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were the midwives of Western civilization's "birth" of philosophy. Prior to the fifth century BCE classical Greek period, Greek citizens learned about virtuous actions including courage through their mythical religious beliefs, and epic poetry; such as, Homer's Iliad and The Odyssey. Thus, not until Socrates asks the question of what does the "good life" consists of do people ponder with reason and logic as their guide what constitutes virtues and how to practice them. Plato, like Socrates before him and Aristotle after him, believes in a virtue-based code of ethics where the end goal is to attain "happiness" which is understood by the classical Greeks as a flourishing" and is obtained only by performing virtuous acts.

Plato's short dialogue Laches is his literary vehicle to show Socrates exploring the virtue of courage. Socrates questions two famous Greek generals, Nicias and Laches, who participated in the Peloponnesian War, as did Socrates, in order to get at a definition of courage. The virtue of courage figures prominently in the second half of Plato's dialogue when Socrates asks both generals to define courage. It is important to note that though Socrates is the first philosopher to embark upon a search for a definition of virtue, he did not write his philosophy down. All of what we know of Socrates' teachings comes from the pen of Plato, one of his most devoted students. Laches first defines courage for Socrates by providing him three components of courage. A courageous person is "willing," "stands their ground in the face of the enemy," and "does not run." Laches' three components of courage are really just examples of the time-honored duty of Greek patriotism, which is derived out of a feeling or emotional attachment to one's country. In essence, the Greek citizen is "willing" to act out of a sense of duty to their city; "standing their ground" to protect their city from enemy attack. The citizen "does not run" in fear for their lives risking the safety of their city. Essentially, Plato's summation of these three components as spoken by Laches, is that courage comes from an "endurance of the soul." (p 34, (192c). Up to this point in the dialogue, Plato's definition of courage does not differ from the standard Homeric definition. However, when Socrates continues his questioning of Laches, he expands the scope of courageous actions to encompass perils of illness, sea travel and even into the political realm in hopes of better defining courage. Thus, Plato recognizes that there is a host of situations that requires a person to use courage to surmount whatever dangerous predicament they face. By posing the question this way, Plato through Socrates assumes that there is something else that people rely on to make them courageous. This is the real crux of the dialogue; to find out what else there is in the human condition that instills one with courage.

To accomplish this task, Plato introduces Nicias into the dialogue, who introduces the idea that it takes an amalgamation of emotions and wisdom for courage to be a universal virtue. With the introduction of wisdom into the mix, courage takes its "first step" forward from the heroic Homeric notion. For example, in the Homeric epics only aristocrats are depicted as acting courageously. It is important to recognize that by introducing these other hardships not related to war fighting, Plato is moving away from the ancient Greek Homeric model that so dominated the culture of his day. Nicias answers Laches, "Therefore, if a man is really courageous, it is clear that he is wise." (p, 38, (194d). However, when Socrates presses Nicias to explain what type of wisdom makes a person wise enough to be courageous he answers, "...it is the knowledge of the fearful and the hopeful in war and every other situation." (p, 39, (195a). Socrates is incredulous that Nicias argues that only people who can foretell future goods and evils will be able to act courageously, and for this reason, Socrates rejects Nicias' definition of courage. Socrates ends the dialogue abruptly because he sees that he is only getting examples of acts of courage in his questioning. His goal is to get to a definition, and to understand the essence of courage. With a definition, he can compare all examples of courage to it and then decide if the examples are truly acts of courage or not. In most of Plato's dialogues involving Socrates, his quest for a definition of a particular virtue ends in the same manner. At this point as in so many of Plato's dialogues, he ends his search for a definition of courage, but he takes it up again several years later in his Republic where he will introduce the element of education into the mix.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in virtue ethics, Greek philosophy, and military history.

 

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