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16991689 No.16991689 [Reply] [Original]

Hello /lit/, I found this interesting reading order for Plato's dialogues that purports to be more pedagogically effective while still retaining dramatic interest. The left side is read first, then Republic, then the right side.

Here's the creator's reasoning (34 pages):
sci-hub .st/10.2307/23074778

What do you think of it? I'm considering it for a first read-through of all of Plato.

>> No.16991695

Here it is in text format:

Protagoras
Alcibiades Major
Alcibiades Minor
Erastai
Hippias Major
Hippias Minor
Ion
Menexenus
Symposium
Lysis
Euthydemus
Laches
Charmides
Gorgias
Theages
Meno
Cleitophon
Republic
Timaeus
Critias
Philebus
Phaedrus
Parmenides
Cratylus
Theaetetus
Euthyphro
Sophist
Statesman
Apology
Hipparchus
Minos
Crito
Laws
Epinomis
Phaedo

>> No.16991776

>>16991689
Apology and Phaedo at the end? I get that this list is supposed to "retain dramatic interest" but come on, these are some of Plato's earliest dialogues. Spoiler alert, Socrates dies.

Also, aren't many of then pseudo-Plato? Not that it bothers me, just curious.

>t. has read Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Protagoras, Gorgias

>> No.16991855

>>16991776
>Also, aren't many of then pseudo-Plato?
According to the author, "The second principle of the [reading order of Plato's dialogues] proposed here is that none of the thirty-five dialogues transmitted by Thrasyllus are to be considered inauthentic a priori; indeed, a new criterion for authenticity is being employed: a dialogue is authentic when it is snugly joined—by dramatic, pedagogical, and/or theoretical/metaphysical considerations—between two other dialogues"

>Apology and Phaedo at the end?
"it accomplishes an ancient objective with means not ably employed in antiquity. Precisely because most of those who sought the [reading order of Plato's dialogues] in the past were guided by a Neo-Platonic contempt for the merely historical, they ignored the pedagogical advantages of "dramatic chronology," whereas a cycle of dialogues culminating in Phaedo tells a compelling story with a happy ending about a remarkable hero."

>> No.16991925

>>16991689
I'm kinda w the other anon. I think objective truth, justice and the socratic method should be first. Protagoras and Gorgias are great but Theatetus is too in the rebuttal to Protagoras.

>> No.16991965

>>16991925
The reason the author chose Protagoras as the first on the list is because it's confusing, but in the right way. It causes the reader to ask the right questions, ones which will be answered in the texts after it, or something, causing a more profound understanding in the end. In that sense it feels like the socratic method is inherent in this sort of pedagogical approach to me.

>> No.16992029

>>16991965
Yes I praised that but because it's great at highlighting it but the socratic method doesn't make sense until you found the rhetoric in plato's objective truth and justice, both found and explored in Theatetus and Euthyphro, both on the right side, and Gorgias. I'd say Gorgias is a good first. I think he focused on entertainment too much but we're not all media-starved.

>> No.16992060

>>16991689
Nope, go by the Wikipedia list. Early works, and last of all the Republic and the Laws

>> No.16992080

I disagree, Plato builds on his ideas and they become much more intuitive if read on mainly chronological frame with the exception of Theaetetus which would probably be best read before SS

>> No.16992091

I've met professor Altman. His goal is to write a commentary of all the 35 dialogues (according to Thrasyllus' list quoted by Diogenes Laertius) showing the advantages of the reading order he proposes. There will be five books, four of which are already published (you can find it on libgen). He is purposefully writing them out of order, to show that the ordem of composition is a meme, and not a good parameter to read Plato.

>> No.16992105

>>16992091
That's fine but I don't see what gives it its order besides entertainment

>> No.16992144

>>16992105
There are some good observations, like how in the end of the Symposium Socrates goes to the Lyceum, so Lysis must follow the Symposium, how the Clitophon is an excellent introduction to the Republic, as if the whole Republic was an answer to Clitophon's challenge, stuff like this. I don't agree with everything, but it is some fresh air in the academic studies of Plato, some new perspectives.

>> No.16992174
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16992174

>>16992091
Maybe I'm misreading what you're saying, but it sounds like his approach is less so on intentionally writing them out of order, and more so on finding the best pedagogical way to read them, at least, based this part of his preface to Ascent to the Good.

>> No.16992188

>>16992091
Wait yeah if this >>16992144 is you I misread your perspective.

Do you think his method is a good approach to reading Plato for the first time? Or what order do you recommend instead?

>> No.16992193

>>16992174
I mean professor Altman's own books, he started with the 3rd volume, about the Republic, and the 1st volume (concerning the order between Protagoras-Symposium) will be his last.

>> No.16992207

>>16991689
Briefly skim the wiki articles. If it ends in Aporia read it first. If it's one of the "Plato, not Socrates" ones (forms) save it for later.

>> No.16992208

>>16992193
Oh, okay that makes much more sense

>> No.16992256

>>16992188
Well, his whole idea is that Plato was a teacher, and not a scholar, so the reading order must be pedagogical (ancient neoplatonists started with the Alcibiades Major, for instance, for this very same purpose). I really don't know if his order is valid for someone who never read Plato, you'll depend solely on his interpretation of what Platonism is all about, a very peculiar and heterodoxal view amongst the scholars.

>> No.16992348

>>16992188
Sorry, I forgot about your other question. I think that good dialogues to start with are Alcibiades Major, Hippias Major, Laches, Eutyphro, Apology, Crito, then you proceed to Meno, Gorgias, Republic, Symposium, Phaedrus and Phaedo. Then you read the heavy stuff like Timaeus, Theaethetus, Parmenides, Sophist etc.

>> No.16992676

What do Plato, Socrates, and Epicurus have to offer that Stoicism does not? Interested in reading all of them but it's not too first what the difference is between all of these old guys

>> No.16993106

>>16992676
Plato and Socrates are the literal foundation of all of philosophy. There's no comparing the Stoics to them. I mean, even Christianity has a Platonic foundation.

>> No.16993272

>>16992676
Plato/Socrates is close to stoicism. They're both against passions and for reason and I believe stoicism is for objective truth but doesn't harp on it as much. Stoics did create a different logic tho.
Epicureans are pro passions but their passions aren't short-term but more dictated by long-term passions.

>> No.16993441

I wouldn't personally endorse the "dramatic chronology" thing unless you have a specific reason to do so (and then I can't speak to that). But this looks to maintain roughly a composition-chronological order anyway for the first half.

Reading Protagoras first is interesting, but reading the (generally agreed to be spurious) Alcibiades and Hippias dialogues in one big lump, let alone followed by Ion (which is notoriously opaque and makes most people miserable), is questionable. Their dramatic content, particularly the Hippiases, is not exactly outstanding. I think one theory is that they were written by members of the school in imitation of Plato and are preserved for being particularly excellent imitations easily confused with Plato's originals, but still, didactic imitations.

I always recommend people start with the certified Platonic, generally agreed upon early dialogues like Charmides, dealing with the refutation of sophistic eristic, and thus implicitly with Socrates' presumption of rational universals underlying particular thoughts and utterances (e.g. we can speak of justice, even confusedly, because somewhere or somehow there exists have an Idea of Justice), thus Socrates' elenchic method (ascending from confused particular thoughts/utterances to increasingly adequate expressions of an Idea, through deconstructive-destructive dialogue rather than sophistical refutations or rhetoric). In my opinion, the first dialogues listed here are just less literarily excellent forms of the authentically Platonic dialogues. Why read the didactic Hippiases and Laches before reading the literarily virtuous, historically rich, and just plain charming Charmides?

I also recommend people read the Meno early because it's short, sweet, and gives them a taste of Plato's worldview. It's the kind of thing you can immediately start arguing with a friend about. Again, why wade through didactic stuff first?

From there I think the progression is mixed up in a few ways. Apology is so easy and fun, and such a nice little introduction to Socrates' character and beliefs, I can't see why you would wait so long to read it. Ditto for Crito, where he dies. Ditto for Phaedo and Phaedrus which, like the Meno, introduce important aspects of Plato's worldview in a gentle way, before he adopts the much more imposing and difficult style of the late metaphysical dialogues (which now come before the easy ones). I can't agree with putting the late, dense, abstrusely logical dialogues before the fun mystical ones that have just as much philosophical depth but are much easier points of access.

But like I said, as long as you are mostly reading the "early" dialogues earlier than the "late" dialogues, it doesn't matter as much. I agree with Republic being in the middle. Mainly I would shift Meno to the front, read Charmides and early elenchic stuff first, read the trial cycle next (or first), then the major middle dialogues in prep for the Republic, then read late/difficult.

>> No.16993552

>>16993106
thank you

>>16993272
thank you. this will help me understand. i heard similar things about epicureans and find it interesting because my approach to life is simple and seemingly low on vice but hedonistic in ways like socializing, family joys, etc

>> No.16993587
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16993587

>>16993441
Wow, thank you so much for the in-depth response!

If you don't mind me asking, do you have any favorite reading orders?

The two I see tossed around on 4chan most often is the Bernard Suzanne one (Pic related. Left to right, top to bottom if you haven't seen it), and the classic Thrasyllus tetralogies:

>1. Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phædo
>2. Cratylus, Theætetus, Sophist, Statesman
>3. Parmenides, Philebus, Symposium, Phædrus
>4. Alcibiades, 2nd Alcibiades, Hipparchus, Rival Lovers
>5. Theages, Charmides, Laches, Lysis
>6. Euthydemus, Protagoras, Gorgias, Meno
>7. Hippias major, Hippias minor, Ion, Menexenus
>8. Clitophon, Republic, Timæus, Critias
>9. Minos, Laws, Epinomis, Letters

In the Bernard Suzanne one, it starts off with the Alcibiades, which you don't care for, but otherwise it's a very popular list. I'm curious if you're a fan of it or Thrasyllus's, or have your own preference.

I really want to get a good grounding on Plato, so I hope you don't mind all of these questions.

>> No.16993727

>>16991689
I tried to figure out a reading order for myself and there's so much disagreement it can make your head spin. After I started reading I realized that you don't need to be very particular about the reading order. Sure, it's best to start with socratic dialogues and not with the Republic, but no matter what you start with the destination is the same. Plato's works are not a foundational system, they are a network. You'll find that you want to revisit some dialogues you want to explore more and in the end you'll have your own ideas about the perfect order that's different than everyone else's.

>> No.16993741

>>16993552
There's a bunch of easy reputations to that. I like how ethics precedes man and therefore any hedonism is downstream of ethics but read what you enjoy and find something that is the most universally applicable for you.

>> No.16994076

>>16993741
I'm open to refutations, I'm sure I'll come across them. I am excited about how relevant these people are to my personal life. It is incredible how long ago the lived and how similar their thoughts and struggles were to ours

>> No.16994103

>>16994076
Yeah greeks are about as diverse as one culture gets. German idealism is a second for me and I mean real diversity not this racial diversity or dye your hair diversity

>> No.16994234

>>16994103
I only read queer and bipoc Hellenic philosophers

>> No.16995079

bump

Also, anyone have any favorite reading orders?

>> No.16995103
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16995103

>>16991689
Absolutely terrible, ignore this list at all cost.

>> No.16995107

>>16995103
What's bad about it?

>> No.16995190

>>16995107
The biggest problem is that a narrative reading order will ensure that some very basic and necessary concepts will remain obscure in texts which already presuppose familiarity with them. I mean, you're going to read Phaedo for last: are you supposed to take thr claim for which the soul is immortal (which is absolutely central in his epistemology and cosmology) at face value up to the last dialogue?
Sophist is among the last dialogues too: shall we introduce platonic dialectics to student at the end of their reading list? In fact, how are you even supposed to read dialogues like Philebus without Sophist? Again, do you just have to agree with everything Socrates says, while ignoring the theoretical foundation of his whole argument?

This list can be interesting for people who are already extremely familiar with the platonic corpus (it could certainly help us framing in a more rigorous manner the narrative Socrates). For beginners, instead, it is a nightmare (which means that even at a pedagogical level, it is bunk).

>> No.16995234
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16995234

Why is Professor Altman shilling his book in this thread? Am I supposed to believe that multiple people have read multiple books written by this virtually unkown ex-high school professor?

>> No.16996191

>>16995234
Dude I wish I was professor Altman, I'm just a dumb 20yo who wants to read Plato and hopefully become less cringe and more theistic as a result

>> No.16996201

>>16995190
Do you have a good suggestion for a different reading list?

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