‘Courage is knowing what not to fear’ Plato
‘One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors’
Without the work of Plato, western thought is, quite literally, unthinkable. No single influence has been greater, in every age and in every philosophic field. Even those thinkers who have rejected Plato’s views have found themselves working to an agenda he set.
Yet between the neo-platonist interpretations and the anti-platonist reactions, the stuff of ‘Platonism’ proper has often been obscured. The philosopher himself has not necessarily helped in the matter: at times disconcertingly difficult, at other disarmingly simple, Plato can be an elusive thinker, his meanings hard to pin down. His dialogues are complex and often ironically constructed and do not simply expand his views – which in any case changed and developed over a long life.
In this lucid and exciting introductory guide, Bernard Williams takes his reader back to first principles, re-reading the key texts to reveal what the philosopher actually said. The result is a rediscovered Plato: often unexpected, always fascinating and rewarding.