Influence of Greek Philosophers on Western Thought (01:54)
The story of Western philosophy begins with the ancient Greeks. They sought universal principles that would explain the whole of nature, not in today's scientific terms, but in philosophical terms.
Plato: Greatest Philosopher (02:58)
Socrates dies in 399 BC when Plato, his most famous student, is 31 years old. Nearly all of Plato's writings take the form of dialogues, among which are "The Symposium" and "The Republic." Myles Burnyeat discusses the power of dialogues.
Socrates in Plato's Dialogues (02:02)
Plato's early dialogues discuss interests that Socrates explored. As the dialogues evolve, they come to express a host of subjects that interest Plato. Socrates emerges as a man who thought for himself, and Plato encourages the same independent thought in his readers.
Value of Socratic Method and Philosophy (02:24)
The Socratic method--presenting a concept, getting responses from others, and allowing those people to discover problems with their beliefs--continues to be useful in teaching philosophy today.
Plato's Early Dialogues: Doctrines of Socrates (03:38)
Though Socrates claims to have no positive doctrines of his own to teach, are there unacknowledged doctrines lying under the surface of the dialogues? Professor Burnyeat discusses several groups of ideas attributed to Socrates.
Plato's Early Dialogues: What Are His Views? (02:37)
Plato's dialogue format presents two problems: what are the views of Socrates himself, and what are Plato's views? Professors Magee and Burnyeat discuss these issues.
Plato's Middle Dialogues: Positive Ideas (03:31)
Plato's writings are divided into three periods: early, middle, and late. In the middle period dialogues, he first begins to put forth his own positive ideas. Professor Burnyeat discusses several primary ideas of Plato.
Plato's Theory of Forms (05:48)
The Socratic method in encourages discussion, but can discussion always arrive at truth? Professors Magee and Burnyeat discuss Plato's Theory of Forms. Burnyeat distinguishes the concepts of the general and the particular.
Plato's Middle-Period Dialogues: Literary Value (04:12)
Professors Magee and Burnyeat discuss the literary value of Plato's middle-period dialogues such as the "Republic."
Plato's Late-Period Dialogues (04:23)
Plato's late-period "academic" dialogues are less literary, dramatic, and colorful than earlier dialogues. Professor Burnyeat discusses this shift and the reasons for it.
Plato's Concept of Goodness and Beauty (01:36)
Professor Magee discusses "the intelligibility of the world," a philosophical mystery in earlier times. Professor Burnyeat explores Plato's concept of goodness and beauty, and concludes that goodness and beauty are the fundamental explanatory factors in the world at large.
Plato's Dialogues: "Republic" and "Timaeus" (03:08)
Professors Magee and Burnyeat discuss the relationship between the "Republic" and the "Timaeus." Today, the "Republic" is considered Plato's quintessential philosophy, but in earlier times, it was the "Timaeus."
Plato: Nature of Knowledge (02:38)
Professors Magee and Burnyeat discuss the "Theaetus," one of Plato's dialogues concerning the nature of knowledge.
Influence of Plato's Philosophy (02:27)
Professor Burnyeat discusses the influence of Plato's philosophy and the differences between Plato and Aristotle's philosophies. He examines whether scientific and spiritual values can be reconciled.
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