top of page


By Robert Cavalier

Illustrations By Eric Lurio


Philosophy/ Biography

ISBN-13: 978-1-934389-08-9
Price: US $16.99
5-1/2 x 8-1/4, 160 pp
August 2007


B/W Illustrations

Buy Online

All philosophy is a footnote to Plato. No other person so shaped the Western world and the way we think about it.

Plato’s questions remain as real for us today as they were 2500 years ago, and as human beings, we can not avoid their presence nor shirk our responsibility to attempt to answer them:

What is Justice?
What is Truth?
What is Beauty?
What kind of society should we build?
How do we know what we know?

Plato For Beginners introduces the reader to Socrates, Plato’s mentor whose martyrdom led Plato to formulate a new system of knowledge based on reason. Socrates was found guilty and sentenced to death for refusing to recognize the gods of the State and for introducing other divinities. He was also found guilty of corrupting youth.

Plato For Beginners also covers the history of Greece as well as the life and ideas of this great philosopher and his influence over time, from early Christianity to the 20th Century. The reader learns what he meant by Truth, Beauty, and the Good. Classical dialogues such as Symposium, Phaedo, The Apology and The Republic are all explored in the context of his time and our own.


Robert Cavalier is editor of The Impact of the Internet on Our Moral Lives (SUNY, 2005) and author of Plato For Beginners(For Beginners, 1990) and Democracy For Beginners (For Beginners, 2009). He is a member of Carnegie Mellon’s Center for Ethics and Policy and Director of the Program for Deliberative Democracy, which won a 2008 Good Government Award from the Pittsburgh League of Women Voters. In 2010, Cavalier was winner of the prestigious World Technology Network Award in Ethics. His latest book is Approaching Deliberative Democracy: Theory and Practice (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2011). 

Today his work in deliberative democracy is being realized in the design of citizen forums to be used as feedback loops for the City of Pittsburgh’s selection of a new police chief. This is part of an effort to make the City of Pittsburgh a center for deliberative democracy (the kind of strong democracy recommended in his book Democracy For Beginners).

See also the article:
News Brief: Carnegie Mellon's Program for Deliberative Democracy

Partners with City of Pittsburgh for New Chief of Police Search

bottom of page