Understanding Plato: The Smart Student's Guide to the Socratic Dialogues and the Republic.

Genre: Non Fiction

Book Summary

Laurence Houlgate’s ultimate goal in Understanding Plato is to introduce beginning philosophy students to the nature of philosophy and philosophical method by providing them with a careful and critical description and analysis of four of the Socratic dialogues (Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno), and Plato’s Republic. Understanding Plato is a “companion” in the sense that students can consult it for commentary and guidance while reading the original classic works.
This book is the first in a series of companion volumes offering students both a description and critical analysis of some of the classics of ethics and political philosophy. The second volume is devoted to John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government. The third volume is about John Stuart Mill’s moral theory in Utilitarianism and his discussion of the limits of state power
over the individual in On Liberty. Chapters in all volumes in the series will conclude with a set of questions for thought and discussion.
Other volumes on the classic philosophers will be added to the series as requested by readers and for as long as time and expertise can be found. Dr. Houlgate's hope is that a critical study of the classics will show that philosophy is not a random enterprise in which anyone can say whatever comes into their head because they can identify no method on which to base a rational conclusion or refutation.


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About the Author

Laurence Houlgate is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of California, Los Angeles and subsequently held professorships at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and George Mason University, Virginia. He has published many articles in philosophy and law journals and is the author of several books: The Child and the State (Johns Hopkins UP, 1980), Family and State (Rowman and Littlefield, 1990), Morals, Marriage and Parenthood (Wadsworth, 1999).
His most recent publications are three books in his Smart Student's Guide to Philosophical Classics series: Understanding Plato: The Smart Student's Guide to the Socratic Dialogues and the Republic (Amazon Kindle, 2016); Understandng John Locke: The
Smart Student's Guide to Locke's Second Treatise of Government (2017); and Understanding John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism and On Liberty (2018).

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