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The Second Alcibiades or Alcibiades II (Greek : Ἀλκιβιάδης βʹ) is a dialogue traditionally ascribed to Plato. In it, Socrates attempts to persuade Alcibiades that it is unsafe for him to pray to the gods if he does not know whether what he prays for is actually good or bad for him.
There is dispute amongst scholars about the text's authenticity, and it is generally considered apocryphal.The main criticisms of its authenticity revolve around its defective arguments, lack of humor, and style; those who consider it inauthentic date its composition to the 3rd or 2nd centuries BC.
Socrates meets Alcibiades while the latter was on his way to pray, and warns him that one must be careful what he prays for, since the gods might actually grant his wishes. Alcibiades replies that one must be mad to pray for something harmful, but Socrates corrects him by saying that if ignorance was equated to madness, and considering the ignorant are so many, they would be in grave danger with all these lunatics running around (139d). Rather, madness and ignorance are subsets of a larger thing, which is the opposite of wisdom. Like various ailments are all opposites of health without being identical, so the opposites of wisdom are many, madness and ignorance among them, but also a form of "romanticism", megalópsūkhos in the original text (140c).Alcibiades stands corrected, and Socrates continues with the main question of whether he, Alcibiades, would ever wish something harmful. As an example, Socrates affirms that he is certain, that had the god granted Alcibiades the rule of Greece, he would have accepted. With his question Socrates could also be playing on Alcibiades' ambitious nature, that was known throughout Greece and was immortalised in Thucydide's history. Alcibiades naturally agrees and Socrates reminds him of how named rulers like Archelaus of Macedon were been murdered or expelled from their cities. So what seems better, Socrates says, is what a certain poem said some time ago: "King Zeus, give unto us what is good, whether we pray or pray not; But what is grievous, even if we pray for it, do thou avert" (143a).
Alcibiades grants Socrates that what he had just said was indeed the best practice when it comes to prayers, but surprisingly, Socrates continues by saying that they should't dismiss ignorance so quickly, and cites by way of example, the ignorance of bad things. If one for example was to commit a murder but could't remember the face of their future victim, then this type of ignorance can actually be considered good, so that, for those predisposed towards evil, ignorance is preferable than knowledge. If knowledge is partial, and is not a part of wisdom, which includes where and how this knowledge is to be practiced, then it can be dangerous. The orators then who go around Athens encouraging its citizens towards or against war, and to the degree they cannot describe the precise length or ideal location of this war, are acting as fools despite being knowledgeable in war's theories. For all these reasons Socrates concludes, it is wiser to copy the Spartans who, according to this dialogue, pray simply and in private (149a) while remaining victorious in battle and postpone the sacrifice that Alcibiades was planning until his head is clearer and he can distinguish more readily between good and evil (150e).
Alcibiades agrees and thanks Socrates, offering his garland crown to him. Socrates accepts and recalls of a similar in one of Euripides plays, where the seer Tiresias is likewise crowned for his wisdom, while the "wave-tossed" (ἐν κλύδωνι κείμεθ') king considers it a good omen. In similar fashion, Socrates, famously in love with young Alcibiades, and feeling likewise "wave-tossed" wants to consider this "coronation" a good omen and "would like to come off victorious over your lovers" (151c).
The Theaetetus is one of Plato's dialogues concerning the nature of knowledge, written circa 369 BCE.
The Symposium is a philosophical text by Plato dated c. 385–370 BC. It depicts a friendly contest of extemporaneous speeches given by a group of notable men attending a banquet. The men include the philosopher Socrates, the general and political figure Alcibiades, and the comic playwright Aristophanes. The speeches are to be given in praise of Eros, the god of love and desire. In the Symposium, Eros is recognized both as erotic love and as a phenomenon capable of inspiring courage, valor, great deeds and works, and vanquishing man's natural fear of death. It is seen as transcending its earthly origins and attaining spiritual heights. This extraordinary elevation of the concept of love raises a question of whether some of the most extreme extents of meaning might be intended as humor or farce. Eros is almost always translated as "love", and the English word has its own varieties and ambiguities that provide additional challenges to the effort to understand the Eros of ancient Athens.
The Charmides is a dialogue of Plato, in which Socrates engages a handsome and popular boy in a conversation about the meaning of sophrosyne, a Greek word usually translated into English as "temperance", "self-control", or "restraint". As is typical with Platonic early dialogues, the two never arrive at a completely satisfactory definition, but the discussion nevertheless raises many important points.
Protagoras is a dialogue by Plato. The traditional subtitle is "or the Sophists". The main argument is between Socrates and the elderly Protagoras, a celebrated sophist and philosopher. The discussion takes place at the home of Callias, who is host to Protagoras while he is in town, and concerns the nature of sophists, the unity and the teachability of virtue. A total of twenty-one people are named as present.
Meno is a Socratic dialogue scripted by Plato. It appears to attempt to determine the definition of virtue, or arete, meaning virtue in general, rather than particular virtues, such as justice or temperance. The first part of the work is written in the Socratic dialectical style and Meno is reduced to confusion or aporia. In response to Meno's paradox, however, Socrates introduces positive ideas: the immortality of the soul, the theory of knowledge as recollection (anamnesis), which Socrates demonstrates by posing a mathematical puzzle to one of Meno's slaves, the method of hypothesis, and, in the final lines, the distinction between knowledge and true belief.
The Phaedrus, written by Plato, is a dialogue between Plato's protagonist, Socrates, and Phaedrus, an interlocutor in several dialogues. The Phaedrus was presumably composed around 370 BC, about the same time as Plato's Republic and Symposium. Although ostensibly about the topic of love, the discussion in the dialogue revolves around the art of rhetoric and how it should be practiced, and dwells on subjects as diverse as metempsychosis and erotic love.
Gorgias is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato around 380 BC. The dialogue depicts a conversation between Socrates and a small group of sophists at a dinner gathering. Socrates debates with the sophist seeking the true definition of rhetoric, attempting to pinpoint the essence of rhetoric and unveil the flaws of the sophistic oratory popular in Athens at the time. The art of persuasion was widely considered necessary for political and legal advantage in classical Athens, and rhetoricians promoted themselves as teachers of this fundamental skill. Some, like Gorgias, were foreigners attracted to Athens because of its reputation for intellectual and cultural sophistication. Socrates suggests that he is one of the few Athenians to practice true politics (521d).
Phædo or Phaedo, also known to ancient readers as On The Soul, is one of the best-known dialogues of Plato's middle period, along with the Republic and the Symposium. The philosophical subject of the dialogue is the immortality of the soul. It is set in the last hours prior to the death of Socrates, and is Plato's fourth and last dialogue to detail the philosopher's final days, following Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito.
The First Alcibiades or Alcibiades I is a dialogue featuring Alcibiades in conversation with Socrates. It is ascribed to Plato, although scholars are divided on the question of its authenticity.
Lysis, is a dialogue of Plato which discusses the nature of philia (φιλία), often translated as friendship, while the word's original content was of a much larger and more intimate bond. It is generally classified as an early dialogue.
The Epinomis is a dialogue attributed to Plato. Some sources in antiquity began attributing its authorship to Philip of Opus, and many modern scholars consider it spurious. The dialogue continues the discussion undertaken in Plato's Laws.
The Hipparchus, or Hipparch, is a dialogue attributed to the classical Greek philosopher and writer Plato. Like many of Plato's original works, Socrates is featured trying to define a single term, "love of gain" in this case, or philokerdēs in the original text.
The Laches is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato. Participants in the discourse present competing definitions of the concept of courage.
Aeschines of Sphettus or Aeschines Socraticus, son of Lysanias, of the deme Sphettus of Athens, was a philosopher who in his youth a follower of Socrates. Historians call him Aeschines Socraticus—"the Socratic Aeschines"—to distinguish him from the more historically influential Athenian orator also named Aeschines. His name is sometimes but now rarely written as Aischines or Æschines
The Clitophon is a 4th-century BC dialogue traditionally ascribed to Plato, though the work's authenticity is debated. It is the shortest dialogue in Plato's traditional corpus. It centers on a discussion between Clitophon and Socrates, with Socrates remaining mostly silent. Most scholarship until recently has been concerned with the authenticity rather than the actual meaning and contents of Clitophon.
Hippias Major is one of the dialogues of Plato. It belongs to the early dialogues, written while the author was still young. Its precise date is uncertain, although a date of c. 390 BC has been suggested; its authenticity has been doubted.
Theages is a dialogue attributed to Plato, featuring Demodocus, Socrates and Theages. There is debate over its authenticity; W. R. M. Lamb draws this conclusion from his opinion that the work is inferior and un-Socratic, but acknowledges that it was universally regarded as authentic in antiquity.
Minos is purported to be one of the dialogues of Plato. It features Socrates and a companion who together attempt to find a definition of "law".
The Lovers is a Socratic dialogue included in the traditional corpus of Plato's works, though its authenticity has been doubted.
"I know that I know nothing" is a saying derived from Plato's account of the Greek philosopher Socrates. It is also called the Socratic paradox. The phrase is not one that Socrates himself is ever recorded as saying.