This book proposes a new paradigm for the interpretation of Plato's early and middle dialogues. Rejecting the usual assumption of a distinct 'Socratic' period in the development of Plato's thought, this view regards the earlier works as deliberate preparation for the exposition of Plato's mature philosophy. Differences between the dialogues do not represent different stages in Plato's own thinking but rather different aspects and moments in the presentation of a new and unfamiliar view of reality. Once the fictional character of (...) the Socratic genre is recognised, there is no reason to regard Plato's early dialogues as representing the philosophy of the historical Socrates. The result is a unified interpretation of all of the dialogues down to the Republic and the Phaedrus. (shrink)
The crito takes no stand on the question of whether violating the law is ever morally justified, despite modern attempts to derive a civil disobedience doctrine from it. The argument is largely ad hoc and ad hominem and resistant to generalization as political theory. The central claim is that socrates' escape would be unjust because escape would be an act whose maxim is incompatible with the principle of effective legality. A new construal of the crito's argument is offered and several (...) problems with the argument are discussed. (shrink)
1YJ.Y aim here is to make sense of Plato's account of desire in the ... But that conclusion can be justified only if attempts to reconcile the two theories end in failure. The attempt must be made first. This is primarily a historical project, but one with some con.
Behind the superficial obscurity of what fragments we have of Heraclitus' thought, Professor Kahn claims that it is possible to detect a systematic view of human existence, a theory of language which sees ambiguity as a device for the expression of multiple meaning, and a vision of human life and death within the larger order of nature. The fragments are presented here in a readable order; translation and commentary aim to make accessible the power and originality of a systematic thinker (...) and the first great master of artistic prose. The commentary locates Heraclitus within the tradition of early Greek thought, but stresses the importance of his ideas for contemporary theories of language, literature and philosophy. (shrink)