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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 listeners say about Plato, Socrates, and the Dialogues

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Fabulous course

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

This is one of the best - if not THE best - audiobook I've thus far downloaded. Of course, as a lecture series it's not exactly an audio BOOK, but never mind. Prof Sugrue is a fantastic lecturer, really enthusiastic, interesting, fascinating - and best of all, his style imparts a real inducement to learn.

What did you like best about this story?

This set of lectures gives an overview and analysis of Plato's Socratic dialogues and completely brings them to life.

What about Professor Michael Sugrue’s performance did you like?

I love his enthusiasm, which at times does mean he talks a little too fast - but that's a minor thing. He is also an extremely likeable 'narrator', which is important, since Socrates himself is extremely likeable! And he *gets* Socrates, with humour and deep understanding; there is nothing dry about these lectures. He imparts the essence of Socrates, which is that of benefitting others through wisdom and 'moral' improvement. I definitely feel improved as a result!

Any additional comments?

I'll return to these lectures again and again. I will try other audiobooks from this series, and hope to find some more by Professor Sugrue.

4 people found this helpful

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A joy to listen to

Whatever Michael found in the Dialogues, it is joy. The joy seems to follow from every word, idea and observation. You must take my word on this. Oh wait, you don’t have to just listen to this audio book. Worth ten self help books.

1 person found this helpful

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First foray into philosophy

I loved every minute of these lectures. Having never read a philosophy book, I found the lecturer really engaging. I’ve gone as far as purchasing Plato’s complete works and now I’ve finished the lectures, I’ll read each dialogue then return to the specific lectures to cover off the bits I’ll have missed or overlooked.

Truly great lectures. And they’re funny too!

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Fabulous overview of the Socratic dialogues

Michael Sugrue is an informative and entertaining lecturer on Plato's Socratic dialogues. Whatever your level of familiarity with the works, this audiobook will give you a new insight into what is perhaps the world's most important body of philosophical writings.

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a novel approach, where Sugrue's passion drives ..

... with him , even through rough terrain. My introduction to the Dialogues was in the early months of my University pathway in Italy. (does Greek translate better into Italian than English?maybe, irony is integral to Italian culture. I was on a steep learning curve upgrading my Italian.) 'Maieutica' was the key descriptive of the Socratic dialectics in Italian and later in English as I changed country and university. Prof. Sugrue never refers to this term once. Yet, he was able to electrify in me a new understanding and curiosity of the Dialogues. Meanwhile, we have access to new translations, with less romantic interpretation and cultural bias. I will revisit the dialogues in newer Italian translations, too. Sugrue brings Kant, Kierkegaard, James Joyce and others into the conversation. Even, obliquely, the film "Dumb and Dumber". His next to last lecture is pretty harsh, have your favorite pillow with you. Harsh but true. Willful ignorance of what are truly virtues, and the uncomfortable truth that we need each other in order to know our selves, really is our responsibility

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Dr Sugrue is an amazing lecturer

I wish there was more from him available on Audible. You can find his channel on YouTube for more if you enjoy this.

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great discussions

interesting content. and really thought provoking

however, you can hear the narrator slurping and sipping a drink in the sample alone.

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hard on the misophonia

great content but I found it hard to get through due to the most disruptive mouth noises I've heard in any audiobook. often sounds like the lecturer is trying to suck on a huge sticky toffee while talking. and he can't get through 40 mins of talking without regularly taking breaks to take huge loud swallows of liquid. I get that this performance is a lecture rather than a traditional audiobook with a professional actor but more work could have gone into editing out the smacking, swallowing noises that pepper this performance

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stop showing off, Michael!

it might appeal to American audience, but I found the performance of Mr. Sugrue too exagerated, speaking too quickly, adding trivial comments (maybe trying to be funny...). Overall performance undermines the quality of the material itself, which is quite good and fairly comprehensive. Would have been better to edit the audio just to avoid hearing him drinking water or swallowing his saliva...

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insightful

this is a brilliant way to gain a greater understanding to Socrates/Plato. I will subscribe to The Great Courses Signature on Amazon~☆

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  • Dennis Dunbar
  • 26-06-20

Very hurried and biased!

Speedily delivered the lecturer is in such a rush to get us all to fall in love with his hero he hardly stops a moment here and there to catch his breath. It's hard to follow his delivery, and feels like being hit with a firehose.
After listening to the first couple of lectures it became hard to find the desire to finish the series.
And the lecturer is so convinced Socrates is the source of all truth that he laughs at anyone who has the temerity to argue with Socrates, as related in Plato's works.
It would be easier to hear and weigh what he has to say if he did not openly ridicule any of those Plato shows as debating against Socrates. This ridicule and dismissal of anyone Socrates debates with makes it hard to tell if Socrates' points actually held up or not since it feels like no argument against Socrates' positions on their face must be based in ignorance and fallacy.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Doc
  • 12-07-20

Horrible Narration

The narrator talks too fast and constantly stumbles over his own words. He comes across like a brainiac know-it-all. I returned this title once and mistakenly downloaded it a second
time only to realize my mistake within a few seconds of hearing him speak.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-10-20

Michael Sugrue is awesome

put more lectures from Michael Sugrue up and I'll buy them that is my review.

5 people found this helpful

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  • ADRIAN
  • 03-02-14

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.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Charlie
  • 26-02-14

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.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Sarah Byrd
  • 24-02-17

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

3 people found this helpful

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  • James P. O'connor III
  • 18-11-17

lipsmacking

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

6 people found this helpful

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  • Disher
  • 06-10-13

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.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Carlos pina
  • 09-08-17

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.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew
  • 30-03-15

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.

2 people found this helpful