2020 Book Authority award
Understanding Plato: the Smart Student's Guide to the Socratic Dialogues and the Republic
As featured on CNN, Forbes and Inc – BookAuthority identifies and rates the 100 best philosophy books in the world, based on public mentions, recommendations, ratings and sentiment.
Understanding Plato is one of the books selected for 2020.
Professor Houlgate describes his book as a guide for “smart students” because it engages and encourages beginning philosophy students to think critically about what they are reading.
This is what Socrates saw as his task in ancient Athens and it is what finally got him tried and executed for corrupting the youth of the city.
Critical thinking is still considered dangerous in many non-democratic countries of the world and teaching critical thinking skills has even been banned in some public schools in the U.S.A.
But Understanding Plato is an award winner precisely because it celebrates critical thinking. Unlike other study guides it does not offer “notes,” “summaries” or “flashcards” of the Socratic dialogues and Plato’s Republic.
Each chapter carefully dissects Plato’s writings, puts it in plain English, shows readers how to identify and analyze Socrates’ and Plato’s arguments, and finally asks questions at the end of each chapter that encourage readers to do what Socrates wants everyone to do: think critically.
The objective of Understanding Plato is not to prepare students for a multiple-choice exam but to help them to think critically, participate in classroom dialogue and write an “A” grade term paper or essay.
This is not Plato’s Republic summary or Plato’s Republic SparkNotes. It is Plato’s Republic for Smart Students.
To learn more about Understanding Plato and other books in the Smart Student's Guides to Philosophical Classics, go to the Welcome Page on this site.