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Phaedrus

Phaedrus by Plato
By: (428/427 BC - 348/347 BC)

“For there is no light of justice or temperance, or any of the higher ideas which are precious to souls, in the earthly copies of them: they are seen through a glass, dimly…”

Socrates and his earnest friend Phaedrus, enjoying the Athenian equivalent of a lunchtime stroll in the park, exchange views on love and on the power of words, spoken and written.

Phaedrus is the most enchanting of Plato’s Erotic dialogues (capitalised in honour of the god). The barefoot philosopher urges an eager young acquaintance – who has allowed his lover’s oratorical skills to impress him overmuch – to re-examine the text of Lysias’s speech in the light of his own exalted (and Platonic) vision of Love.

Not long ago this early example of literary dismantling was itself deconstructed by a contemporary sage - Jacques Derrida.

The present reader tries to present Socrates as he conceivably was: the chortling, pot-bellied ex-soldier, a flirtatious yet charismatic talker with a serious passion for Truth. (Introduction by Martin Geeson)

First Page:

PHAEDRUS By Plato Translated by Benjamin Jowett INTRODUCTION. The Phaedrus is closely connected with the Symposium, and may be regarded either as introducing or following it. The two Dialogues together contain the whole philosophy of Plato on the nature of love, which in the Republic and in the later writings of Plato is only introduced playfully or as a figure of speech. But in the Phaedrus and Symposium love and philosophy join hands, and one is an aspect of the other. The spiritual and emotional part is elevated into the ideal, to which in the Symposium mankind are described as looking forward, and which in the Phaedrus, as well as in the Phaedo, they are seeking to recover from a former state of existence. Whether the subject of the Dialogue is love or rhetoric, or the union of the two, or the relation of philosophy to love and to art in general, and to the human soul, will be hereafter considered. And perhaps we may arrive at some conclusion such as the following that the dialogue is not strictly confined to a single subject, but passes from one to another with the natural freedom of conversation... Continue reading book >>

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