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Dialogues of Plato | Section Summaries

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Section Summaries Chart

Section Summary
Euthyphro Euthyphro and Socrates run into each other outside the King's Porch. Euthyphro, surprised to see Socrates away from his ... Read More
The Request for a Definition Summary (5c–6e) Because Euthyphro claims to know what holiness is, so much so that he is correct to pursue a prosecution of his father, ... Read More
First Definition Summary (6e–9c) Euthyphro asserts that holiness is what is "dear" to the gods, while unholiness is what is not dear to them. Socrates is... Read More
Second Definition Summary (9c–12e) Socrates proposes they assume that the gods are unanimous in their loves and hates, such that there is no disagreement a... Read More
Third Definition, Fourth Definition, and Conclusion Summary (12e–16a) Socrates proceeds to inquire into exactly which part of the just holiness is. Euthyphro makes two proposals, both of whi... Read More
Apology Socrates begins his defense by referring to longstanding accusations against him. He does not know how negatively they h... Read More
The Counter-Penalty Summary (35e–38b) Socrates is found guilty by a fairly narrow margin. He then proposes three punishments as alternatives to the death pena... Read More
Epilogue Summary (38c–42a) Socrates is sentenced to death, and he addresses those who voted for conviction. He argues that he has avoided wickednes... Read More
Crito Socrates awakens before dawn in jail, where he is awaiting his execution, to find his good friend Crito, who has been wa... Read More
Crito's Exhortation to Escape Summary (44b–46a) Crito tells Socrates he has come to try to persuade his dear friend to escape from jail, and so also his execution. The ... Read More
Socrates's Reply to Crito Summary (46b–50a) Socrates's response is that Crito's impassioned plea should be considered only in terms of whether or not it is correct.... Read More
The Speech of the Laws of Athens Summary (50a–54d) Socrates turns his attention to the relation he has to the Laws of Athens, separate and apart from the men who have char... Read More
Phaedo Phaedo, a devoted follower of Socrates, recounts to Echecrates the discussions Socrates and his friends have had in the ... Read More
The Philosopher and Death Summary (59c–69e) Once inside, they find Socrates's wife, Xanthippe, and one of their children. After asking his friend, Crito, to have a ... Read More
The First Three Arguments for the Immortality of the Soul Summary (69e–84b) Cebes asks Socrates what can be said to those who claim the soul is destroyed at death. They will not easily be convince... Read More
Objections and Response Summary (84c–107b) Simmias objects to Socrates's third argument. The comparison of the soul to absolute reality is not the only plausible c... Read More
The Myth of the Afterlife and Socrates's Death Summary (107c–118a) After securing Simmias and Cebes's agreement on the correctness of the argument, Socrates turns to some implications of ... Read More
Meno Meno asks Socrates if virtue can be taught, and if not, how it can be acquired. Is it, he asks, acquired by practice, is... Read More
First Definition: Virtues According to Group Summary (71d–73c) Meno's response to the question, "What is virtue?" is a list of virtues. There is a virtue for men, a virtue for women, ... Read More
Second Definition: Virtue as Ability to Rule Summary (73c–77b) Meno's second attempt at a definition of virtue is that it is the "ability to rule." Socrates notes one difficulty with ... Read More
Third Definition: Virtue as a Desire for Good Things and the Ability to Attain Them Summary (77b–80c) Meno moves on to his third and last definition of virtue. It is the "desire for beautiful things and ability to attain t... Read More
Inquiry and Recollection Summary (80d–81e) At this point, Meno declares there is no point in inquiring any further. After all, if one is utterly ignorant of that w... Read More
Recollection Proof Summary (81e–86c) Socrates beckons over a young boy, one of Meno's servants. He then draws a figure in the sand, and asks if the boy recog... Read More
The Method of Hypothesis Summary (86c–87c) Now that he has shown that there is no obstacle to inquiring into the nature of virtue, Socrates proposes a return to th... Read More
Virtue Is Knowledge and Not Taught Summary (87c–89e) The next step should be an investigation into whether virtue is, in fact, a type of knowledge. Socrates further hypothes... Read More
Anytus Summary (89e–96d) At that moment, Anytus, Meno's host, arrives. Socrates lists Anytus's many fine features, such as his hard-won wealth an... Read More
Knowledge and Right Opinion, and Conclusion Summary (96d–100c) Socrates returns to their previous inferences that "good men must be beneficial ... and that they will be beneficial if ... Read More
Gorgias Callicles, Socrates, and Chaerephon are somewhere in Athens. Upon learning that the eminent orator and teacher of rhetor... Read More
What Is Rhetoric? Summary (449c–461b) Socrates wants to know the scope of rhetoric's domain. He offers examples by way of analogy, such as weaving being about... Read More
Punishment and Justice Summary (461b–481b) An irate Polus interrupts the conversation to criticize Socrates for ferreting out an illusory inconsistency. On the one... Read More
Socrates and Callicles Summary (481b–505d) Callicles expresses disbelief that Socrates is serious. If Socrates is correct, then "life would be turned upside down."... Read More
The Meaning of Human Life and Judgment Summary (505e–522e) Socrates proposes that Callicles, Polus, and Gorgias interrupt him if he says something untrue. He goes on to provide a ... Read More
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