Selected Myths

ISBN-10: 019955255X
ISBN-13: 9780199552559
Edition: N/A
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Description: 'Once upon a time there were just the gods; mortal beings did not yet exist.'We are used to thinking of myths as stories, and modern myths as made up and fictitious. For the ancient Greeks, however, a myth was a story that unveiled reality, and for  More...

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Book details

List price: $7.99
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 2/26/2009
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 208
Size: 5.08" wide x 7.72" long x 0.55" tall
Weight: 0.572

'Once upon a time there were just the gods; mortal beings did not yet exist.'We are used to thinking of myths as stories, and modern myths as made up and fictitious. For the ancient Greeks, however, a myth was a story that unveiled reality, and for Plato, myth-maker as well as myth-teller, a myth could tell us something important about ourselves and our world. The ultimate purpose of Plato's myths is to help us live a better life, and to teach philosophical truths in a form we can most easily understand. This volume brings together ten of the most celebrated Platonicmyths, from eight of Plato's dialogues ranging from the early Protagoras and Gorgias to the late Timaeus and Critias. They include the famous myth of the cave from Republic as well as 'The Judgement of Souls' and 'The Birth of Love'. Each myth is a self-contained story, prefaced by a shortexplanatory note, while the introduction considers Plato's use of myth and imagery.These myths are thought-provoking and profound, and together they provide an ideal introduction to Plato's philosophy.

Plato was born c. 427 B.C. in Athens, Greece, to an aristocratic family very much involved in political government. Pericles, famous ruler of Athens during its golden age, was Plato's step-father. Plato was well educated and studied under Socrates, with whom he developed a close friendship. When Socrates was publically executed in 399 B.C., Plato finally distanced himself from a career in Athenian politics, instead becoming one of the greatest philosophers of Western civilization. Plato extended Socrates's inquiries to his students, one of the most famous being Aristotle. Plato's The Republic is an enduring work, discussing justice, the importance of education, and the qualities needed for rulers to succeed. Plato felt governors must be philosophers so they may govern wisely and effectively. Plato founded the Academy, an educational institution dedicated to pursuing philosophic truth. The Academy lasted well into the 6th century A.D., and is the model for all western universities. Its formation is along the lines Plato laid out in The Republic. Many of Plato's essays and writings survive to this day. Plato died in 347 B.C. at the age of 80.

Catalin Partenie is a Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at the Universit_ du Qu_bec, Montr_al. He is the editor of Plato: Selected Myths (2004) and co-editor (with Tom Rockmore) of Heidegger and Plato (2005).

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