Plato and the Question of Beauty

Plato and the Question of Beauty

Drew A. Hyland
Distribution: World
Publication date: 5/5/2008
ISBN: 978-0-253-00026-2
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Drew A. Hyland, one of Continental philosophy's keenest interpreters of Plato, takes up the question of beauty in three Platonic dialogues, the Hippias Major, Symposium, and Phaedrus. What Plato meant by beauty is not easily characterized, and Hyland's close readings show that Plato ultimately gives up on the possibility of a definition. Plato's failure, however, tells us something important about beauty—that it cannot be reduced to logos. Exploring questions surrounding love, memory, and ideal form, Hyland draws out the connections between beauty, the possibility of philosophy, and philosophical living. This new reading of Plato provides a serious investigation into the meaning of beauty and places it at the very heart of philosophy.

Author Bio

Drew A. Hyland is Charles A. Dana Professor of Philosophy at Trinity College. He is editor (with John Panteleimon Manoussakis) of Heidegger and the Greeks (IUP, 2006).


"A well written and forcefully argued exposition of one of the most important themes in Plato's philosophy." —Walter Brogan, Villanova University

"If beauty, as Hyland shows to be the case in the dialogues, is the phenomenon most suited to awaken and energize the philosophic eros of the soul, then not only are Plato's dialogues beautiful, but so too is Hyland's new book about the dialogues, and precisely because it so clearly reveals their beauty. . . . Hyland has brought the spirit of philosophy in the dialogues to life as few others have done—and so given us a gift very much in the spirit of Plato's own." —
International Journal of the Classical Tradition , Vol. 17, No. 2, June 2010

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
1. The Question of Beauty in the Hippias Major
2. The Question of Beauty in the Symposium
3. The Question of Beauty in the Phaedrus
4. The Second and Seventh Letters
5. The Critique of Rhetoric and Writing in the Phaedrus