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Plato, Socrates, and the Dialogues

Explore the meaning and importance of Plato's towering achievement in immortalizing the thoughts of Socrates in 35 dialogues.
Plato, Socrates, and the Dialogues is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 74.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Teacher, Excellent Course!👏👏👏❤️❤️❤️👍 I listen to this course on audible. I absolutely loved it! Professor Sugrue’s course is wonderful. He really brings Plato, Socrates, and the dialogues to life. I’ve taught Philosophy for almost 35 years. This course is the best introduction to Plato that I’ve heard. if I would’ve had a teacher like this when I studied Plato graduate school at Marquette University in 1977, I would’ve ended up doing my dissertation on Plato instead of Aquinas. Excellent job.Dr, Sugrue, Well, done!
Date published: 2024-05-17
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Like a Running We have a problem with this Courste. It is a good Course as subject: the Greek Philosphy. But Professor Michael Sugrue looks like is disputing a real verbal running. He begins the lecture in fair voice but almost immediately he begins to speak fast and faster. Even for those that understand English is difficulty to follow the reason of any lesson. I can not understand why he speaks so fast. Philosophy is a difficult subject as everybody knows; if we are listening a Course which the Professor can not speak in a fair velocity it is almost impossible to understand and keep all the necessary informations. I regret this. I almost gave up to listen all the 16 lessons but I keep my own oath to never give up because I really like Philosophy. Maybe the Direction of the Great Courses could have alerted the Professor to keep the same "velocity" and so all his great knowledge could be understand for all. It is very difficult for a novice to understand this Course I believe.
Date published: 2022-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Big vocabulary, fast paced, occasionally too fast, his insights were valuable. He does not let you drift. I recommend this series.
Date published: 2022-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from W onderful .........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
Date published: 2022-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great intro with insight ! I am a physicist and a lover of ancient history and philosophy. This is a great intro of platos philosophy with the tales of platos socrates. Love te insight provided by Prof. Michael Sugrue! Super entertaining stuff learned so much thanks!
Date published: 2022-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Professor Sugrue admires Plato's legacy Professor Sugrue gives Plato and Socrates their due and fits in the central questions of some central dialogues in this course. At the same time, he examines the entire approach including the literary forms of the dialogues and gives us a bird's eye view of the mode and emergence of these monumental products of Plato's mind.
Date published: 2021-12-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Learned a lot Really liked the course. Was able to apply a lot of knowledge to my life. The Gorgias lecture was particularly helpful.
Date published: 2021-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great introduction to Plato! I saw some of these lectures by Dr. Sugrue in video form on youtube, and looked for the rest of the set of videos online. I couldn't find them, but I found this audio recording set, and bought it. He provides an engaging and thorough covering of Plato's work, both its historical context and purpose, as well as a basic comprehension of the ideas presented. Though it is unfortunate that he brings modern biases and lack of scientific specialisation into his analysis (one example is assuming that Plato would not have thought perception was unreliable if he had access to modern science, when the foundations of perception in modern science are less certain than ever with the competing theories of quantum mechanics), in general his insights from the perspective of Plato himself are honest, and correctly show his concern: The preservation of and search for eternal truth in an era being overrun by materialism, which causes the sophistry that he railed so hard against. This perspective, and others like it, is absolutely necessary to understand, if one is to understand the pervasive materialistic dead-end philosophies that have overrun modern society, and the endless sophistries that it produces. Ultimately, from an Orthodox Christian perspective that incorporates philosophy into its understanding of history, learning the works of Plato is necessary to understand how God providentially prepared the Greeks to accept Christ, through the example of Socrates, and the high philosophical strivings of Plato, to accept nothing less than the eternal truth when He came in the flesh. If the full video set were available to buy, I would buy it.
Date published: 2021-10-07
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Explore the meaning and importance of Plato's towering achievement in immortalizing the thoughts of Socrates in 35 dialogues, which laid the philosophical basis for Western civilization. The dialogues cover ideas about truth, justice, love, beauty, courage, and wisdom. Learn not what to think, but how to think, as you experience the subtlety with which Plato weaves philosophy and poetry, dialectic and drama, and word and action.


Michael Sugrue

Moby Dick is about a lot more than whales, and Socratic philosophy is about a lot more than a wise man walking around saying enigmatic, sometimes ironic things.


Ave Maria University

Dr. Michael Sugrue is Professor of History at Ave Maria University. A graduate of the Great Books Program, he earned his B.A. in History from the University of Chicago and his M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in History from Columbia University.

Prior to taking his position at Ave Maria University, Professor Sugrue taught at Princeton University, the City College of New York, Columbia University, Manhattan College, New York University, Hampton University, and Touro College. He served as the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Johns Hopkins University from 1992 to 1994.

Professor Sugrue was awarded the Chamberlain Fellowship, the President's Fellowship, the John Jay Fellowship, and the Meyer Padva Prize.

The Domain of the Dialogues

01: The Domain of the Dialogues

This lecture describes the life and times of Plato and Socrates, the structure of the dialogues, the way the style of argument in the dialogues progresses, and the best ways to approach understanding this body of work.

46 min
What Socratic Dialogue Is Not

02: What Socratic Dialogue Is Not

Professor Sugrue shows some of the methods used by Socrates to begin his caricature and demolition of the Sophists, and his long search to answer the question: "Can virtue be taught?"

46 min
The Examined Life

03: The Examined Life

In the "Timaeus," the origins and principles of the physical world are discussed. In the "Theaetetus," Socrates engages a young wounded man in a discussion of knowledge, edifying the young man before he dies and before Socrates is taken away to be tried and executed by Athenian authorities as a corrupter of youth.

46 min
Tragedy in the Philosophic Age of the Greeks

04: Tragedy in the Philosophic Age of the Greeks

The "Apology," the "Crito," and the "Phaedo" are the stories of Socrates's trial and execution. Professor Sugrue explores the motif of heroic journey from this new type of Greek hero, who looks at his accusers with courage and resolve as he faces death.

44 min
Republic I—Justice, Power, and Knowledge

05: Republic I—Justice, Power, and Knowledge

This lecture focuses on Plato's development of his political, ethical, and educational theories. Socrates and Thrasymachus, a cagey Sophist, struggle to define justice and to determine whether it is an art that can be practiced.

46 min
Republic II-V—Soul and City

06: Republic II-V—Soul and City

Socrates continues his search for the meaning of justice; the Homeric virtues and heroes are discussed and dismissed as corrupt; and Plato describes the ideal city.

44 min
Republic VI-X—The Architecture of Reality

07: Republic VI-X—The Architecture of Reality

Here, Professor Sugrue explains Plato's myth of the cave, the hierarchies of human moral development and the political regimes that accompany each, and the criticism of tragedy and comedy.

46 min
Laws—The Legacy of Cephalus

08: Laws—The Legacy of Cephalus

Professor Sugrue argues that toward the end of his life, Plato recognized serious problems with his philosophical positions—so serious that he wrote very little for more than 10 years—and that the "Laws" is one of the dialogues designated to a "second best" philosophical position.

45 min
Protagoras—The Dialectic of the Many and the One

09: Protagoras—The Dialectic of the Many and the One

A comic dialogue in which Socrates develops his argument on the nature of virtue, concluding that virtue is knowledge and, therefore, can be taught.

46 min
Gorgias—The Temptation to Speak

10: Gorgias—The Temptation to Speak

Socrates engages Gorgias, one of the great Sophists, in discussions of virtue and education, and converts Gorgias to teach true virtue rather than the corrupt craft of rhetoric.

45 min

11: Parmenides—"Most True"

This dialogue prefigures Hegel for its baffling qualities; it is a protracted and very difficult discussion on the nature of being and the consequences of Plato's conclusions for the theory of the ideal forms of being.

45 min
Sophist and Statesman—The Formal Disintegration of Justice

12: Sophist and Statesman—The Formal Disintegration of Justice

This pair of dialogues continues Plato's later project to expose the weaknesses of his earlier works and to propose and defend a workable theory and practice for knowledge and politics.

45 min
Phaedrus—Hymn to Love

13: Phaedrus—Hymn to Love

The great lyrical masterpiece of Platonic poetry. The main themes of love and rhetoric are bridged by related themes: identity, the soul, desire, and the longing for ultimate beauty.

45 min
Symposium—The Pride of Love

14: Symposium—The Pride of Love

Plato's famous description of a drunken discussion among Socrates and other remarkable Greeks concerning the nature of love.

47 min
The Platonic Achievement

15: The Platonic Achievement

Professor Sugrue summarizes his view of the intended and actual effects of Plato's work. Platonic argument is usually appreciated as the origin of Western speculation, but it is at least as important, Sugrue argues, to view Plato form the perspective of the intellectual traditions he continued and transformed.

45 min
The Living Voice

16: The Living Voice

Professor Sugrue attempts a summary and understanding of Plato's new hero, Socrates himself. This hero, as seen through the dialogues, is a deeply ironic character because his questions often lead to no conclusions; he is distrustful of the written work and yet that is how we come to know him.

43 min

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