05-27-2008 03:14 PM
Now, 13 year olds should be playing sports, sleeping over friend's houses, enjoying the beach, going on a first date, listening to music, learning about love and loyalty from their pets, going to the ball game, fishing, cherishing their grandparents, savoring the smell of cut grass, and loving the greatest years of their lives. Forget Plato, Nietzsche, and Machiavelli for now, what good can reading the "Prince" do for a 13 year old besides saying he or she read it. If you really want to do something valuable with your time, put down the "Republic" and volunteer for a few hours at a local Veteran's Home, if there is one nearby. But if you insist on philosophy, read "Sophie's World" to get you started.
Well alot of those things I am going to do and have already learned. Except one thing, going on a first date, why? Because me parents say I can't date until I am 16, because that was the age when their parents allowed them on a first date. I really don't agree with it, but I will respect their rules and wait. About the veteran's home, that would be interesting if there was one close. But alot of my great-uncles proudly served during World War II, one of them landed at Normandy and as on the front lines for all of of the war in Europe. Only thing is most fo them don't say anything about their expeiences, it's just that I want to know about what they went threw so I can fully appreciate what they did. Another one was a Marine, he landed at Guadlecanal. Another was at the base in Hawaii for all of the war. ARMYRANGER, another thing I agree with you on are these really are the best years of my life. I am immensely grateful for the advice.
Personally I'm impressed. I think that at l3 your mind is full of questions. It is a wonderful time to explore ideas about life. Yes, when you are older you will understand more (hopefully) but how wonderful that you are engaged with ideas at such a young age.
Congratulations to you and your parents!
05-27-2008 08:24 PM
I would be happy to discuss Plato and other philosophers with you. I suspect we would be a small group, but size and quality are not synonymous.
Unless the BNBC powers that be are willing to set up a separate board for philosophy (or at least a board for Not Otherwise Classified where any books that don't fit into the existing board scheme could be discussed), you would probably have to just start a new topic in the British Classics -- no, Plato wasn't British, but at least most of us will read him in English, and there's no more appropriate place for him to be discussed.
I agree that probably the Republic would not be the best place to start. I find the Apology rather less interesting to discuss than some of the other dialogues, but it does provide probably the best introduction to him as a person and some of his thinking, and is relatively easy to read. To your list of suggested early readings I would add the Meno, Gorgias, and perhaps Timaeus as dialogues helpful in understanding Plato/Socrates's ideas.
Speaking of the Apology, have you read I.F. Stone's The Trial of Socrates? Fascinating approach to the Apology.
By the way, do you know the new Allen translation of the Republic? In my earlier years reading the Republic I worked with the Shorey and Jowett translations, then later moved over to the Bloom, but I read one or two favorable reviews of the Yale Allen translation. Do you know it? And if so, what do you think of it compared with other translations?
I have an MA in philosophy and 10 years of study in philosophy beyond my MA. I have presented papers at philosophy conferences and have lectured on Ethics at a local community college and will hopefully earn a PhD someday. I am well versed in Plato and would be happy to lead a group on him or any other philosopher I have studied. Regarding Plato, I would recommend starting with the "Apology" and the earlier "Socratic" dialogues, such at the "Euthyphro," "Laches," or "Charmides," in order to get a feel for the Socratic method, working through "elenchus" and resulting in "aporia." Then one should be ready to tackle a "middle dialog" like the "Republic." If we can set up a Plato group I would be happy to supply information, guide the discussion, and answer any questions.
The Meno was the first work assigned at Plato's Academy.