Apology, Symposium and Phaedo by Plato


Apology, Symposium and Phaedo are three dialogues by Plato that I recently read.

Apology is Socrates self-defense against the allegations of impiety and corruption. His discourse concerns the true nature of knowledge and of righteous behaviour. In contrast to many of his accusers, who are unaware of their ignorance, and pursue earthly riches and fame, Socrates had embarked on discovering true knowledge. Incessantly questioning the superficial knowledge of many people, and believing that the only knowledge worth pursuing is about the soul and the true nature of things, he attracted many enemies that eventually brought him to court.

Symposium describes a convivial dinner where several philosophers, among which Socrates, each in turn present an eulogy for Eros, the god of love. Thus, different views on what is the true nature of love are expressed, ending in the contraposition of Socrates’ highly idealistic stance and Alcibiades’s passionate account of his love for the old master.

Phaedo recounts Socrates’s last day, in company of his beloved disciples, when he discusses with them his ideas about the immortality of the soul. A philosopher’s lifelong endeavour is to elevate the soul from the corrupted, and corrupting, body. His disciples need not to mourn his imminent death, because he will finally reach that realm and that perfection that he had strived for his entire life.

Despite being two and a half millennia old, these philosophical discourse still retain their vividness and incredible relevance today. Definitely worth reading.

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