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The Sophist

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Translated by Thomas Taylor.

In Plato’s time, as today, there were many who offered – for a price – clever theories and systems which purported to be deep insights into reality: the men who did so were known as ‘the wise’ – sophists. In the whirl of theorising which was especially the mark of classical Athens, it was easy to see Socrates, Plato’s teacher, as just another sophist. This dialogue examines more carefully this misconception, and asks important questions – how can false opinions exist? What is the nature of images? Can there be degrees of reality? What exactly do sophists do? What is the difference between ‘the wise’ and ‘those who love wisdom’ (in other words between clever sophists and truth-honouring philosophers)? Such questions are as relevant today as they were two and half thousand years ago.

Plato’s Sophist is a dialogue which is key to the understanding of Platonic metaphysics and dialectics: its traditional subtitle is ‘On Being.’ Thomas Taylor's translation was first published in 1804 as part of his Works of Plato, the first ever complete translation of Plato into English.

This Students’ Edition volume has extensive notes to help those coming anew to the Sophist to grasp some of the important concepts which stand behind the dialogue. Also added is an extract from Proclus "On Forms, Reasons and Dialectic" (from his Commentary on the Parmenides); a dissertation, On Ideas, by Thomas Taylor; and two modern essays which hopefully will further the understanding of the newcomer to Plato and his tradition.

176 pages. Paperback.

ISBN 9781898910930.

  • About the Series

    The Prometheus Trust publishes a number of books under their "Students’ Edition Series," which are designed to act as introductions to various aspects of Platonism. These inexpensive paperbacks serve to make the living tradition of Platonism available to the widest array of readers.

    See all Students' Editions