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Plato, Socrates, and the Dialogues

Narrated by: Michael Sugrue
Length: 12 hrs and 2 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

These 16 lectures bring the Socratic quest for truth alive and explore ideas that are as vital today as they were 25 centuries ago - ideas about truth, justice, love, beauty, courage, and wisdom that can change lives and reveal the world in new ways. Here, you'll delve into the inner structure, action, and meaning of 17 of Plato's greatest dialogues, making these lectures an indispensable companion for anyone interested in philosophy in general or Platonic thought in particular.

As you'll learn, the dialogues share some general characteristics - and they all breathe with the feeling, the tension, and even the humor of great theater. Even if you don't have time to reacquaint yourself directly with Platonic texts, you'll benefit enormously from these lectures' insights into the depths of reflection opened by Socrates and Plato - arguably the most important teacher-student pairing in history.

You'll become engrossed in "the romance of the intellect," as Professor Sugrue opens a path for you into the inner structure and action of these selected dialogues, for millennia the objects of devoted study by the noblest minds. These lectures offer no easy answers. What they give instead is much better: an introduction to Platonic "meta-education," the art not of what to think but of how to think. You'll see the stunning subtlety with which Plato weaves together the strengths of philosophy and poetry, dialectic and drama, word and action. And you'll catch a glimpse of the "serious playfulness" that Socrates says the search for the good, the true, and the beautiful can inspire in the human soul.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©1996 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1996 The Great Courses

What members say

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Thank you, Professor Sugrue.

I really enjoyed this. The delivery, wit, passion, humour, intelligence, and the thoughtful care Professor Sugrue gives to the dialogues does them a great deal more than justice.

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Wonderful Introduction

Wow! Both easy to follow and dense in content. I especially love his appreciation for the beauty of Plato. I was often moved when reading him back in school and that element of his genius seems to be often overlooked. Furthermore, this series really reminded me how relevant Plato is for the challenges we face today, not only philosophically, or politically, but also as individuals (... well at least for me). Five stars!

#audible1

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Really Great!

I jumped into this having spent a couple weeks on Plato in university & wondering about the reading order. In the end, I think this course is brilliant & the readings came together beautifully. By the time one gets to the final couple of dialogues you'll be reading Plato with more clarity & they will so much better for it. Michael Sugrue has really studied these texts & these lectures go far beyond any other free source I had found on YouTube & Khan. Highly recommended!

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very interesting representation of plato

the lecturer was truly good interpreting platonism in a new light and made it easy to understand

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  • ADRIAN
  • 2014-02-03

Easily the best audiobook in my collection

Where does Plato, Socrates, and the Dialogues rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's the very best. My audio library contains many books on philosophy with some historical non-fiction and science fiction sprinkled in. The energy with which Sugrue approaches the subject is without measure. I return to this audio book time and time again. Sugrue penetrates each dialogue and dissects the characters Socrates confronts through Plato's words, and gives a deep and meaningful background on the Sophists and penetrating insight into how the Realm of the Forms runs into trouble. And he has a great time doing it!

Any additional comments?

For anyone wanting to learn more about Plato, the Forms, Socrates, the Sophists, or the political situation surrounding each during the early days of the City-States, I highly recommend this audiobook.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Charlie
  • 2014-02-26

Informative and Inspiring

I found these lectures to be both informative and inspiring. Professor Sugrue clearly has spent a lot of time and effort thinking about these Dialogues and acts as a tour guide through them, highlighting (as he says) not only the architecture of each dialogue, but the layout of all the dialogues and how the relationship between them forms a superstructure (or a campus) where the buildings are and are connected to each other in a way that is also meaningful.

I learned a lot listening to the lectures, and I will definitely listen to them again. But I would say the main thing I got from this lecture series was the inspiration to go and read the Dialogues for myself. I doubt that I'm going to read all 1600 pages of them,but have already read a few. I've observed that with these lectures as background I pulled much more meaning out of the reading than I otherwise would have.

I will definitely listen to this again, and would also be on the lookout for other lectures by Professor Sugrue.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Carlos pina
  • 2017-08-09

Professor need to hydrate

The content is really good. The professor is really good. But serious, drink water before you talk. Tired of throughout you just hear him swallowing a drink or saliva. I get its lecture but in the mic it's just annoying sound. I still listen to everything but will admit him swallowing all the time is mad annoying. Great content, I love how he expands on who Plato is to really get a better grasp of what the author wants you to see. Very informative lecture again just hydrate the professor haha.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • bayani
  • 2017-02-24

so good

very informative lecture with a lot of history behind what he says the first chapter he speaks a little bit too fast and Mumble but not too hard to still not understand him. highly recommend if you love Plato and Socrates you will not be disappointed as he gives very detailed explanations and breakdowns of all of all of the favorite dialogues

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • M. Penen
  • 2016-10-16

Wonderful lectures, poor performance

The narrator has a great thirst, which becomes present to the point of subtle annoyance. The constant sipping, gulping, and lip-smacking nearly overwhelms certain parts of the lectures, but not quite.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Disher
  • 2013-10-06

Exceptional interpretation and delivery.

What did you love best about Plato, Socrates, and the Dialogues?

I found myself truly anticipating each lecture. These interpretations and explanations reflect so much more thought and consideration than I ever would have had time to experience on my own. This series has made me want to investigate the Greeks further. More, I strongly believe that my writing and thinking will be positively influenced by these insights which are new, to me at least.

What other book might you compare Plato, Socrates, and the Dialogues to and why?

If I had to compare this to another book, it would have to be Dante's Inferno. And only, possibly, because there is this concentric, continuing thought process that goes deeper and deeper into the combination of the psyche and social commentary.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This book definitely made me laugh at points. I would say that it made me excited to learn more in the progression of Western Philosophy.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew
  • 2015-03-30

Excellent!

Wonderful lecture series. He's big-picture analysis of the relationships between all the dialogues is essential. Intellectually challenging and powerful spiritual exhortation, especially with his comments on the last two lectures.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • James P. O'connor III
  • 2017-11-18

lipsmacking

Great course, but terrible lipsmacking. I'm really amazed that wasn't edited out of final audio version.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • ezra915dotcom
  • 2017-10-18

Good material, but the lecturer is annoying!

This is a brilliant series of lectures, generally. (There are some dull and tedious points but overall it kept my interest.) But, for the love of Pete, couldn't they edit out his GULPING NOISES?!?!?
He GULPS WATER CONSTANTLY!!!!!! By the second half I gave up listening! Doesn't someone edit these sound files?!?
I quit listening at about the half-way point because it was soooo annoying!!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-03-26

Hard to Listen to Speaker

The content was overshadowed by the speaker who repeated himself to the point of distraction

2 of 3 people found this review helpful