Friday, February 20, 2009

Two Platonic Dialogues

by Iris Murdoch

What is the nature of reality? Is it orderly or mere chaos? Is religion merely mythology? These are some of the questions touched upon in this short philosophic excursion by Iris Murdoch. Two Platonic dialogues for our day, written to be performed on stage, the book is a fitting addition to philosophic corpus.
Better known for her novels, Murdoch was an accomplished philosopher, and this along with Fire and the Sun demonstrate her philosophic prowess. The two dialogues are connected by the questioning of young Acastos along with Plato and Socrates. Plato comes across as a brooding young philosopher, but Socrates is his familiar self, questioning and drawing out the young Acastos just as we have come to expect from Plato's collected dialogues. As an example of the gems from the book we find Socrates commenting near the end of the first dialogue, "perhaps the language of art is the most universal and enduring kind of human thought." This is a great short read for armchair philosophers.

Acastos: Two Platonic Dialogues by Iris Murdoch. Viking Penguin, New York. 1987.

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