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Podcast Profile: Understanding Plato

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22 episodes
Median: 17 minutes
Collection: Philosophy

Description (podcaster-provided):

Do you need help understanding the great books of philosophy? In his podcasts, Professor Laurence Houlgate reads and discusses the classic works of Plato, Thomas Hobbes, Rene Descartes, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Stuart Mill, and David Hume. His short readings are based on his acclaimed Smart Student's Guides to Philosophical Classics series (learn more at The episodes begin with the dialogues of Plato and will continue week by week through each chapter of Understanding Plato. For those who want to read along, a digital or print copy of the book can be purchased at at this address:
New episodes will usually be broadcast weekly on Monday evening at 5 p.m. PST.

Themes and summary (AI-generated based on podcaster-provided show and episode descriptions):

➤ Socratic dialogues • philosophical concepts • justice and injustice • virtue • moral realism • analogy of the Sun • Allegory of the Cave • knowledge and recollection • political philosophy • tyranny and governance

This podcast, hosted by Professor Laurence Houlgate, aims to assist listeners in understanding significant works of philosophy by providing in-depth readings and discussions. The show focuses primarily on the works of Plato but also includes discussions about several other renowned philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes, Rene Descartes, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Stuart Mill, and David Hume. Each episode typically delves into specific philosophical dialogues and concepts, meticulously exploring the arguments and ideas presented within these classic texts.

A recurrent theme across the episodes is the exploration of Plato’s philosophical inquiries, with extensive attention given to his work, "The Republic." The podcast examines key elements such as the nature of justice, the tripartite theory of the soul, justice within the city-state, and the degeneration of political systems and personal morality. The famous Allegory of the Cave and the Analogy of the Sun are discussed, illustrating deeper metaphysical and epistemological concepts concerning the Form of the Good and the philosopher-king ideal.

Episodes also cover other significant Platonic dialogues. The discussions address varied topics including the nature of virtue as seen in "Meno," the moral duty to obey laws in "Crito," and reflections on Socrates' trial and death as recounted in "Apology" and "Phaedo." Through these episodes, the podcast unpacks Socratic methods such as the elenchus, which seeks to test the consistency of philosophical definitions and beliefs through rigorous questioning.

In sum, this podcast provides a comprehensive guide to understanding foundational philosophical questions and arguments, with a specific focus on Platonic dialogues. Through systematic exposition and critical discussion, it endeavors to make complex philosophical texts accessible and engaging for students and enthusiasts alike.

Episode Image Republic Book IX EP 22 (Final Episode) Tyranny and the Tyrannical Soul
25 minutes
Episode Image Republic Bk VIII & IX EP 21 Defective Constitutions and Damaged Souls
20 minutes
Episode Image Republic Book VII EP 20 Allegory of the Cave
15 minutes
Episode Image Republic Bk VI, VII EP 19 Analogy of the Sun
16 minutes
Episode Image Republic Bk.VI EP 18 Only Philosophers Should be Kings
18 minutes
Episode Image Republic Book V EP 17 Women, Marriage and Children in the Ruling Class
17 minutes
Episode Image Republic Book IV (cont.) EP 16 Humunculi, Self-Control and Injustice
23 minutes
Episode Image Republic Bk. IV (cont.) EP 15 The Theory of Parts of the Soul and the Humunculus Problem
16 minutes
Episode Image Republic Book IV EP 14 The Advantages of Justice in City and Soul
17 minutes
Episode Image Republic Book II EP13 Glaucon's Challenge
31 minutes
Episode Image Republic Bk. I (cont.) EP12 Is Injustice More Profitable than Justice
16 minutes
Episode Image Republic Book 1 EP11 What is Justice?
21 minutes
Episode Image Phaedo EP10 The Death of Socrates
9 minutes
Episode Image Meno (cont.) EP 9 Learning as Recollection
14 minutes
Episode Image Meno EP8 Meno's Paradox
15 minutes
Episode Image Meno EP7 On Virtue
12 minutes
Episode Image Crito (cont.) EP6 Moral Realism
4 minutes
Episode Image Crito, The Duty to Obey the Law EP5
24 minutes
Episode Image Apology (cont.) EP4
12 minutes
Episode Image Apology. EP3. The Trial of Socrates
19 minutes
Episode Image Euthyphro EP2 On philosophy and science
20 minutes
Episode Image Euthyphro EP1
19 minutes