Hume wrote some of his works in the style of a Dialogue following Platos lead; has any-one since? Or is it all prose?

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    Any number of people have written philosophical dialogues, the real question is who has paid attention? Commented Sep 30, 2014 at 20:34
  • @sunami: sure; it appears as a moribund literary tradition; but for all one knows there may be some gems out there; GB Shaw explicitly dramatised Nietzsche in Man & Superman. Commented Sep 30, 2014 at 21:34
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    You may be interested in Alain Badiou's "hypertranslation" of the Republic (which introduces additional characters among other things...)
    – Joseph Weissman
    Commented Sep 30, 2014 at 23:55
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    Bishop Berkeley and St. Anselm both wrote noted philosophical dialogues, but both were prior to Hume. @MoziburUllah My prior comment, for what it's worth, was more rueful than mocking. I myself wrote a book of philosophy in dialog form --but it vanished silently without a trace. Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 0:40
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    The teachings of the Hindu saint Ramakrishna (1836-1886) are recorded in "The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna" in a similar manner by his disciple who went by the name 'M'. Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 11:21

4 Answers 4


See John Perry's A Dialogue on Personal Identity and his Dialogue on Good, Evil and the Existence of God. Furthermore some of David Lewis's smaller pieces (written together with Stephanie Lewis) are dialogues: 'Holes' and a review of Casati and Varzi's Holes and Other Superficialities


Here are a few examples of books using the dialogue form:

  • Worlds Apart: A Dialogue of the 1960's by Owen Barfield (1963) is written in the form of a fictional dialogue.
  • Corydon by André Gide (1911) contains four Socratic dialogues on homosexuality.
  • Peter Kreeft published several books that are fictional dialogues between Socrates and a more recent philosopher, e.g. Socrates Meets Hume, Socrates Meets Kant, Socrates Meets Machiavelli.

This seems to have survived more in logic and foundations than philosophy broadly.

Lakatos Proofs and Refutations on the philosophy of science as applied to mathematics is not so out-of-date. Neither are various books like Surreal Numbers by Knuth, or some of Raymond Smulliyan. Large parts of Douglas Hoffstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach are in dialog form.

I think the form is coming to be restricted to popularizations or restatements of work that is kind of impenetrable otherwise.

  • I would have guessed along the same lines; I'd add in Lewis Carolls Alice in Wonderland for its playful use of language and logic - Deleuze I think wrote an essay on it. Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 18:15

Matthew Stewart did a little bit in his book: The Truth About Everything: An Irreverent History of Philosophy.

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