Socrates, the first of the great ancient Greek philosophers, left no written works. What survives of his philosophical thought are second-hand descriptions of his teachings and conversations-including, most famously, the accounts of his trial and execution composed by his friend, student, and philosophical successor, Plato. These dialogues, though fallible as historical record, contain some of the most fascinating and well-known arguments in Western philosophy, and offer a dramatic picture of Socrates as uncompromising in the face of death.
In Euthyphro, Socrates examines the concept of piety, and displays his propensity for questioning Athenian authorities. Such audacity is not without consequence, and in the Apology we find Socrates defending himself in court against charges of impiety and corruption of the youth. Crito depicts Socrates choosing to accept the resulting death sentence, rather than escape Athens and avoid execution. All three dialogues are included here, as is the final scene of Phaedo, in which the sentence is carried out. Woods and Pack's new translation strikes a fine balance between literal exactness and readability, and thorough annotations make Plato's prose more accessible than ever before. A non-technical introduction sets the stage for new readers, detailing the historical context of Plato's writing, and offering useful background information.
Plato (c. 427-347 BCE) was a Greek philosopher. Andrew Bailey is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Guelph, Canada. Cathal Woods is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Virginia Wesleyan College, USA. Ryan Pack studied at Virginia Wesleyan College, USA.