Lysis is a Socratic dialogue by Plato that was composed in Plato’s early period, around 380 BCE. It is one of the least studied of Plato’s works for a few reasons—including that it doesn’t offer a clear example of the Socratic elenchus. No high ideals are offered for Socrates to dismantle, and his interlocutors serve little purpose other than to agree with him. Also, Lysis doesn’t show either Socrates or Plato moving clearly toward a cohesive philosophy. On another level, the purely philosophical aims of Lysis are compromised by the situation in which they unfold: Socrates is demonstrating how to woo a beloved young man. Nonetheless, we can see Plato working with some important notions, particularly in the areas of identity (likeness), harmony (with oneself and with others), and good and evil.

Important Terms

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Core Ideas

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Deeper Study

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