The Essential Plato Author:Alain De Botton Plato is indisputably one of the most important philosophers of all time, forming with Socrates and Aristotle the trio of great figures at the heart of classical philosophy. The Essential Plato brings together the thinker's writings with an accessible, informative, and entertaining introduction from Alain de Botton, which puts Plato in a histor... more »ical context and explains why his life and work are still relevant today.
Plato's work has bequeathed many of the most famous tenets of western philosophy to us, including the immortality of the soul, the theory of knowledge as recollection, and, most, notable, the theory of "forms," which suggests that there is a timeless, universal world beneath the everyday, transient, and material world. It was the study of "forms" that was one of the most important aspects of Plato's Republic, the philosophical and political dialogue that has become one of the most influential works of its kind.
But for Plato, as Alain de Botton points out, philosophy was far from the rarefied activity that it has become today. Instead, deep thought about the nature of the world and our understanding of it was part of everyday life, inseparable from activities like eating, drinking, shopping, and bathing. And most importantly, the aim of philosophy was to make life better: to expel the suffering of the mind, as Epicurus points out, just as medicine expels the diseases of the body. With this brilliant one-volume collection, in the superb translation by Benjamin Jowett, you too can appreciate Plato's medicine for the mind, and gain an insight into one of the most formidable thinkers in human history.« less