There has been little scholarly attention given to explaining exactly how and why Socrates thinks that wrongdoing damages the soul. But there is more than a simple gap in the literature here, we shall argue. The most widely accepted view of Socratic moral psychology, we claim, actually leaves this well-known feature of Socrates’ philosophy absolutely inexplicable. In the first section of this paper, we rehearse this view of Socratic moral psychology, and explain its inadequacy on the issue of (...) the damaging consequences of wrongdoing. We then go on to provide our own account of the way in which injustice damages the soul, and then draw conclusions about how Socratic moral psychology should be understood. (shrink)
I propose an alternative interpretation of the Crito. The arguments that are typically taken to be Socrates’ primary arguments against escape are actually supplementary arguments that rely on what I call the Superiority Thesis, the thesis that the state and its citizens are members of a moral hierarchy where those below are tied by bonds of obligation to those above. I provide evidence that Socrates holds this thesis, demonstrate how it resolves a number of apparent difficulties and show (...) why my interpretation is preferable to competing interpretations. (shrink)
If Socrates is portrayed holding one view in one of Plato's dialogues and a different view in another, should we be puzzled? If (as I suggest) Plato's Socrates is neither the historical Socrates, nor a device for delivering Platonic doctrine, but a tool for the dialectical investigation of a philosophical problem, then we should expect a new Socrates, with relevant commitments, to be devised for each setting. Such a dialectical device – the tailor-made Socrates – (...) fits with what we know of other contributions to the genre of the Sokratikos Logos, to which Plato was neither the first nor the only contributor. (shrink)
Confucius argued for the centrality of the superior man’s political duty to his fellow human beings and to the state, while Socrates suggested that the superior man (the philosopher) may have no such political duty. However, Confucius also suggested that one not enter or stay—let alone save—a troubled state, while Socrates stayed in an unjust state, apparently fulfilling his political duty to the state by accepting an unjust verdict. In this essay, I will try to show how Confucius (...) could solve these apparent contradictions. I will then examine the reasons Socrates directly and indirectly offers to resolve his seemingly conflicting positions in light of the discussion of the Confucian case. This article is a first step toward a deeper understanding of both Confucius and Socrates (Plato) by way of comparative studies, and of the general issue of a superior man’s political duty to a bad state. (shrink)
Section 1 of this essay distinguishes between four interpretations of Socratic intellectualism, which are, very roughly: (1) a version in which on any given occasion desire, and then action, is determined by what we think will turn out best for us, that being what we all, always, really desire; (2) a version in which on any given occasion action is determined by what we think will best satisfy our permanent desire for what is really best for us; (3) a version (...) formed by the assimilation of (2) to (1), labelled the ‘standard’ version’ by Thomas C. Brickhouse and Nicholas D. Smith, and treated by them as a single alternative to their own interpretation; and (4) Brickhouse and Smith’s own version. Section 2 considers, in particular, Brickhouse and Smith’s handling of the ‘appetites and passions’, which is the most distinctive feature of interpretation (4). Section 3 discusses Brickhouse and Smith’s defence of ‘Socratic studies’ in its historical context, and assesses the contribution made by their distinctive interpretation of ‘the philosophy of Socrates’. One question raised in this section, and one that is clearly fundamental to the existence of ‘Socratic studies’, is how different Brickhouse and Smith’s Socrates turns out to be from Plato himself, i.e., the Plato of the post-‘Socratic’ dialogues; to which the answer offered is that on Brickhouse and Smith’s interpretation Socratic moral psychology becomes rather less distinguishable from its ‘Platonic’ counterpart—as that is currently understood—than it is on the interpretation(s) they oppose. (shrink)
Everybody acknowledges the importance of Socrates’ role and influence on the history of philosophy, as well as on the culture of humanity. He is also considered to be the first martyr of virtue and wisdom in human history. In spite of this, even though most Western commentators recognize the elevated meanings and high level of Socratic wisdom, they refuse to consider it to have a supra-human source and to be divine prophecy. In this article and through the analysis of (...)Socrates’ words and speeches, which can be found in authentic sources such as some of Plato’s writings, the author aims to prove the truth of Socrates’ claim according to which he had the gift of prophecy. By putting together rational proofs and historical clues from his life, we will underline the veracity of such a claim. A part of the article will be dedicated to underlining the fact that our reasoning is based on authentic and historical references of Socrates’ speeches, which are mainly mentioned in Plato’s Apology . By quoting the main and most important commentators’ views in this field, we will therefore endeavor to show that there is a sort of general consensus among most commentators to consider this treatise to be an historical document. The importance as well as main outcome of this article is that if we accept this theory, the general outlook of the history of philosophy will change radically. In addition, the claim that wisdom has a divine source, which is mentioned repeatedly in the content of divine wise men’s words and in some Islamic traditions, will be confirmed. Moreover, the link between spiritual truths and human reasoning will be corroborated and underlined. (shrink)
Following Aristotle?s description of youth and brief discussion about indoctrination and parrhesia, the article historicizes Socrates? trial as the intersection of philosophy, education and a teacher?s influence on youth. It explores the historic-political context and how contemporary Athenians might have viewed Socrates and his student?s actions, whereby his teachings were implicated in three coups led by his former students against Athenian democracy, for or which he accepted little or no responsibility. Socrates appears subversively anti-democratic. This provides grounds (...) that challenge the dominant and standard philosophical account of Socrates as one of the great teachers, perhaps the greatest in the Western tradition, and critiques the way philosophy so often presents a de-contextualized and ahistorical picture. Concerns about the influence of education, teachers and indoctrination on youth have existed since ancient times. Currently, many states, especially, but not only, democracies, are concerned about Islamic fundamentalist teachings potentially leading to terrorism. The article presents contemporary exemplars from four countries: Austria, Kenya, the UK and Saudi Arabia. The crucial question remains: to what extent is it reasonable to hold a teacher responsible for a student?s subsequent actions? (shrink)
In Plato’s dialogues, the Phaedo, Laches, and Republic, Socrates warns his interlocutors about the dangers of misology. Misology is explained by analogy with misanthropy, not as the hatred of other human beings, but as the hatred of the logos or reasonable discourse. According to Socrates, misology arises when a person alternates between believing an argument to be correct, and then refuting it as false. If Socrates is right, then misanthropy is sometimes instilled when a person goes from (...) trusting people to learning that others sometimes betray our reliance and expectations, and finally not to placing any confidence whatsoever in other people, or, in the case of misology, in the correctness or trustworthiness of arguments. A cynical indifference to the soundness of arguments generally is sometimes associated with Socrates’ polemical targets, the Sophists, at least as Plato represents Socrates’ reaction to these itinerant teachers of rhetoric, public speaking and the fashioning of arguments suitable to any occasion. Socrates’ injunctions against misology are largely moral, pronouncing it ‘shameful’ and ‘very wicked’, and something that without further justification we must ‘guard against’, maintaining that we will be less excellent persons if we come to despise argument as lacking the potential of leading to the truth. I examine Socrates’ moral objections to misology which I show to be inconclusive. I consider instead the problem of logical coherence in the motivations supposedly underlying misology, and conclude that misology as Socrates intends the concept is an emotional reaction to argumentation on the part of persons who have not acquired the logical dialectical skills or will to sort out good from bad arguments. We cannot dismiss argument as directed toward the truth unless we have a strong reason for doing so, and any such argument must itself presuppose that at least some reasoning can be justified in discovering and justifying belief in interesting truths. The relevant passages from Socrates’ discussion of the soul’s immortality in the Phaedo are discussed in detail, and set in scholarly background against Socrates’ philosophy more generally, as represented by Plato’s dialogues. I conclude by offering a suggestive list of practical remedies to avoid the alienation from argument in dialectic with which Socrates is concerned. (shrink)
An argument can be superficially valid and rhetorically effective even if what is plausibly meant, what is derived from what, and how it is derived is not at all clear. An example of such an argument is provided by Socrates’s famous refutation of Euthyphro’s second definition of holy, which is generally regarded as clearly valid and successful. This paper provides a stricter logical analysis than the ones in the literature. In particular, it is shown that the argument contains a (...) syntactically ambiguous expression, a passage that needs to be read charitably, and a previously unnoticed but crucial shift between two notions of unholy. Different analyses may be provided, depending on how these interpretation problems are solved. The conditions under which the refutation is valid and successful are far from obvious, and are here explicitly specified. (shrink)
This paper deals with two forms of education—Platonic and Socratic. The former educates childhood to transform it into what it ought to be. The latter does not form childhood, but makes education childlike. To unfold the philosophical and pedagogical dimensions of this opposition, the first part of the paper highlights the way in which philosophy is presented indirectly in some of Plato’s dialogues, beginning with a characterisation that Socrates makes of himself in the dialogue Phaedrus. The second part details (...) Plato’s condemnation of writing in the Phaedrus, and draws on the critique by Jacques Derrida and Gilles Deleuze to establish what is at stake in this condemnation. In the third part, the pedagogical and political implications of this condemnation are reviewed, and Plato is placed in a surprising position in relation to his own teacher, Socrates. Finally, through a comparison between childhood and philosophy, the educational value of putting childhood and philosophy together is questioned. Through a number of questions, the paper ends problematising the pedagogical, political and philosophical value of placing the practice of philosophy in the realm of childhood citizenship education. It also recovers the value of philosophy—as a form of questioning and unlearning what we know and affirming the value of not knowing—in a childlike education. (shrink)
In Book II of the Republic (370c-372d), Socrates briefly depicts a city where each inhabitant contributes to the welfare of all by performing the role for which he or she is naturally suited. Socrates calls this city the `true city' and the `healthy one'. Nearly all commentators have argued that Socrates' praise of the city cannot be taken at face value, claiming that it does not represent Socrates' preferred community. The point of this paper is to (...) argue otherwise. The claim is that Socrates genuinely believes the city is a healthy and desirable city, and that he believes that the First City (the so-called `city of pigs') is in fact superior to the Kallipolis. (shrink)
We translate Socrates’ famous saying I know that I know nothing into the arithmetical sentence I prove that I prove nothing. Then it is easy to show that this translated saying is formally undecidable in formal arithmetic, using Gödel’s Second Incompleteness Theorem. We investigate some variations of this Socrates-Gödel sentence. In an appendix we sketch a ramified epistemic logic with propositional quantifiers in order to analyze the Socrates-Gödel sentence in a more logical way, separated from the arithmetical (...) context. (shrink)
Toma-se a crítica de Nietzsche a Sócrates como um caso exemplar que mostra os dois sentidos fundamentais da crítica nietzscheana: (i) a crítica nietzscheana consiste em censura e em elogio de modo dual, ou seja, censura e elogio são aspectos da crítica; e (ii) ao criticar alguém, Nietzsche está, igualmente, se autocriticando.
This essay articulates the differences and suggests the similarities between the practices of Socratic political speaking and those of Platonic political writing. The essay delineates Socratic speaking and Platonic writing as both erotically oriented toward ideals capable of transforming the lives of individuals and their relationships with one another. Besides it shows that in the Protagoras the practices of Socratic political speaking are concerned less with Protagoras than with the individual young man, Hippocrates. In the Phaedo, this ideal of a (...)Socrates is amplified in such a way that Platonic writing itself emerges as capable of doing with readers what Socratic speaking did with those he encountered. Socrates is the Platonic political ideal. The result is a picture of the transformative political power of Socratic speaking and Platonic writing both. El ensayo articula diferencias y sugiere similitudes entre las prácticas del diálogo político de Sócrates y aquellas de la escritura política de Platón. Propone, además, que tanto el diálogo socrático como la escritura platónica se orientan eróticamente hacia ideales capaces de transformar las vidas de los individuos y sus relaciones. Demuestra que en el Protágoras las prácticas del diálogo socrático se ocupan menos de Protágoras que del joven Hipócrates. En el Fedón, este ideal de Sócrates se amplía de tal manera que la misma escritura platónica aparece como capaz de hacer con los lectores lo que el diálogo de Sócrates hacía con sus interlocutores. Sócrates es el ideal político platónico. El resultado es una visión del poder de transformación política tanto del diálogo socrático como de la escritura platónica. (shrink)
Socrates’ refutations of Thrasymachus in Republic I are unsatisfactory on a number of levels which need to be carefully distinguished. At the same time several of his arguments are more powerful than they initially appear. Of particular interest are those which turn on the idea of a craft, which represents a shared norm of practical rationality here contested by Socrates and Thrasymachus.
This text shows how the Socratic activity can be seen as a game activity, and mostly as a boasting game, mainly based upon the Homo Ludens by Johann Huizinga’s text. In a second part, the text illustrates Socrates’ role in such a game activity by exploring what it may be revealed from the nature of philosophy when revising it sub specie ludi.
In this paper, I ponder the question of whether Socrates follows a method of investigation — the method of hypothesis — which he advocates in Plato's Phaedo. The evidence in the dialogue suggests that he does not follow the method, which raises additional questions: If he fails to do so, why does he articulate the method? Does his statement of method affect his actions or is it mainly forgotten? Although Socrates is a fictional character, his actions in the (...) Phaedo suggests questions about the function of espoused methods in actual situations. (shrink)
The proverb “chalepa ta kala” (“fine things are difficult”) is invoked in three dialogues in the Platonic corpus: Hippias Major, Cratylus and Republic. In this paper, I argue that the context in which the proverb arises reveals Socrates’ considerable pedagogical dexterity as he uses the proverb to rebuke his interlocutor in one dialogue but to encourage his interlocutors in another. In the third, he gauges his interlocutors’ mention of the proverb to be indicative of their preparedness for a more (...) difficult philosophical trial. What emerges in the study of these three Platonic dialogues is that Socrates believes that how he and others describe learning makes a tangible difference in philosophical investigation. (shrink)
“De amore: Socrates and Alcibiades in Plato’s Symposium”. This articleproposes to study the relationship between Socrates and Alcibiades according toPlato’s Symposium. By these means, we seek to relect upon the other kind of lovewhich Socrates also exempliies in the dialogue, with the aim of understandingSocrates’ behavior towards Alcibiades beyond the moral contraposition betweenthe spiritual love of contemplation and the earthly love of Alcibiades. Moreover,we aim to present an approach to this relationship without identifying it with aSocratic conirmation (...) of Diotima’s version. To this end, we will not neglect theimportant homoerotic atmosphere of the dialogue and the epoch. (shrink)
Aunque el Libro I de República parece un diálogo socrático estándar sobre un término moral como justicia, que culmina con un estado de aparente aporía, se termina afirmando que la justicia es como un estado del alma caracterizado por el conocimiento. El libro I termina siendo el preámbulo para mostrar que ser justo es mejor que ser injusto, y que la justicia es en y por sí misma beneficiosa sin relación con cualquier ‘recompensa o consecuencia’ que devenga para el individuo (...) justo (358b). Ello mueve a Adimanto y Glaucon a retar a Sócrates a que muestre cómo independientemente de cualquier otra consideración, el hombre verdaderamente justo está mejor que el verdaderamente injusto, aun cuando el hombre verdaderamente justo se halle en el máximo de dolor y su reputación de bueno haya sido destruida, y el hombre malo no esté sufriendo ningún dolor y disfrute de una reputación de absolutamente virtuoso. En el presente artículo se examina este argumento y la relación entre justicia y eudaimonía, como solución platónica al reto de los sofistas. La clave interpretativa consiste en examinar los sentidos en los que se entiende la noción de eudaimonía en el contexto del reto. Palabras clave: Platón; República; Sócrates; Justicia; EudaimoníaAlthough Republic’s Book I seems a standard Socratic dialogue on a moral term as justice, which culminates with a state of apparent aporia, it ends up asserting that justice is like a state of the soul characterized by knowledge. Book I ends up being the preamble to show that being just is better than being unjust, and that justice is in itself and by itself beneficial, regardless of any ‘reward or consequence’ to the just individual (358b). This leads Adeimantus and Glaucon to challenge Socrates to show how, regardless of any other consideration, the truly just man is better than the truly unjust one, even when the truly just man found himself in the highest pain and his reputation as a good man had been destroyed, while the mean man did not suffer any pain and enjoyed a reputation as an absolutely virtuous man. In this paper we examine this argument and the relation between justice and eudemonia, as a Platonic solution to the sophists’ challenge. The interpretative key consists in examining the senses in w ich the notion of eudemonia is understood in the context of the challenge. Keywords: Plato; Republic; Socrates; Justice; Eudaimonia. (shrink)
The Sophists, and the Socratic response they provoked, are considered in order to elucidate issues raised by present-day skill-talk. These issues include: whether skills avoid questions of ends and truth; the existence of general skills, such as critical thinking; the importance of knowledge; skills and the personality; and some implications for teaching and philosophy.
All three books reviewed here are turning over again for us the pages of perennially irresistible thinkers whose ideas never cease to hold us transfixed; all three are inviting us to notice that the material that we thought we knew has got more to do with what Nehamas calls 'the art of living' than we might have realised; and all three are making space for attitudes, responses and areas of self-understanding that are, by traditional classifications, irrational and hence sometimes inadequately (...) acknowledged by philosophy as we usually understand it. And, of course, all three are juxtaposing thinkers from the ancient world with major figures from recent and early modern times. (shrink)
This essay argues that Plato's “Gorgias,” a dialogue lauding dialectic over rhetoric, uses a question-and-answer format as a heuristic of argument. Specific observations are advanced to explain the implications of Plato's techniques and to provide a more sensitive understanding of the process by which sought to gain the adherence of his readers.
Normal 0 21 Minha intenção é a de mostrar como uma leitura cética dos diálogos socráticos de Platão permite explicar alguns impasses nos quais resulta a interpretação dogmática desses diálogos. Enumero aqui, de maneira programática, os elementos que permitirão sustentar que, nos diálogos de juventude, Platão desenvolveu uma lógica que conduz a uma posição forte sobre os limites do conhecimento e do intelectualismo. Essa interpretação se inspira em traços dominantes do ceticismo de Arcesilau (séc. III a.C.). Mostrarei como os diálogos (...) de Platão podem ser lidos como a inspiração por trás da posição de Arcesilau quando este afirma que seria preciso suspender o julgamento e, na falta de certeza, seguir o que é razoável ( eulogon ). De uma parte, o estudo do estatuto paradoxal da ignorância socrática e do papel do oráculo na Apologia permite discernir o funcionamento de uma lógica propícia a gerar aporias. De outra parte, a análise do problema da virtude-ciência no Protágoras e no Laques permite exibir os mecanismos de uma argumentação cuja conclusão é a impossibilidade de defender hic e nunc uma ética estritamente intelectualista. (shrink)
The central argument in the Euthyphro is the one Socrates advances against the definition of piety as "what all the gods love." The argument turns on establishing that a loved thing (philoumenon) is 1) a loved thing because it is loved (phileitai), not 2) loved because it is a loved thing. I suggest that this claim can be understood and found acceptable if we take "because" to be used equivocally in it. Despite the equivocation, Socrates' argument is valid, (...) showing that Euthyphro cannot offer this definition consistently with his view that the gods have as a reason for loving pious things that they are pious things. (shrink)
The Socratic Paradox (that only Socrates is wise, and only because only he recognizes our lack of wisdom) is explained, elaborated and defended. His philosophical scepticism is distinguished from others (Pyrrhonian, Cartesian, Humean, Kripkean Wittgenstein, etc.): the doubt concerns our understanding of our beliefs, not our justification for them; the doubt is a posteriori and inductive, not a priori. Post-Socratic philosophy confirms this scepticism: contra-Descartes, our ideas are not transparent to us; contra-Verificationism, no criterion distinguishes sense from nonsense. The (...) import of this scepticism for professional ethicists is examined. (shrink)
Written by an outstanding international team of scholars, this Companion explores the profound influence of Socrates on the history of Western philosophy. A survey exploring the profound influence of Socrates on the history of Western philosophy. Discusses the life of Socrates and key philosophical doctrines associated with him. Covers the whole range of Socratic studies from the ancient world to contemporary European philosophy. Examines Socrates’ place in the larger philosophical traditions of the Hellenistic world, the Roman (...) Empire, the Arabic world, the Renaissance, and contemporary Europe. Addresses interdisciplinary subjects such as Socrates and Nietzsche, Socrates and psychoanalysis, and representations of Socrates in art. Helps readers to understand the meaning and significance of Socrates across the ages. Written by an outstanding international team of scholars, all of whom are recognized experts in their particular field. (shrink)
This article, Based on a study of the "euthyphro," "apology" and "crito," suggests that for socrates (and therefore, Presumably, The young plato) piety is service to the dialectic, And that for socrates the dialectic itself takes over the position reserved in the popular religion for the gods (thus making socrates guilty, At least metaphorically, Of the charge of believing in "other new divine powers"). Part one seeks to establish that the dialectic controls the pious man's beliefs; part (...) two, That it controls his destiny; and part three, That it controls his identity. Failure to engage in, Or disobedience to the dialectic "leads to the worst forms of immorality, And brings down judgments that reduce the gods to low comedy, Men to tragedy." it is further argued that because socrates held the dialectic to be fundamental, He also held that the only just form of government is democracy. (shrink)
In Section IV above we start with texts whose prima facie import speaks so strongly for the Identity Thesis that any interpretation which stops short of it looks like a shabby, timorous, thesis-saving move. What else could Socrates mean when he declares with such conviction that ‘no evil’ can come to a good man (T19), that his prosecutors ‘could not harm’ him (T16(a)), that if a man has not been made more unjust he has not been harmed (T20), that (...) ‘all of happiness is in culture and justice’ (T16(a)), that living well is ‘the same’ as living justly (T15)? But then doubts begin to creep in. Recalling that inflation of the quantifier is normal and innocuous in common speech (“that job means everything to him, he'll do anything to get it, will stick at nothing ”) we ask if there is really no chance at all that ‘no evil’ in T19, ‘not harmed’ in T20 might be meant in the same way? The shift from ‘no harm’ at T16(a) to ‘no great harm’ at T16(b), once noticed, strengthens the doubt. It gets further impetus in T21(b) when to explain how ‘all of happiness is in culture and justice’ he depicts a relation (that recurs more elaborately in T22) which, though still enormously strong, is not quite as strong as would be required by identity. The doubt seeps into T15 when we note that current usage did allow just that relation as a respectable use of ‘the same’. At that point we begin to wonder if resort to the Identity Thesis might not be just a first approximation to a subtler, more finely nuanced, doctrine which would give Socrates as sound a foundation for what we know he wants to maintain at all costs - the Sovereignty of Virtue - without obliterating the eudaemonic value of everything else in his world. We cast about for a credible model of such a relation of virtue to happiness and hit on that multicomponent pattern sketched on p. 9 above. We ascertain that this will afford a comprehensively coherent eudaemonist theory of rational action, while its rival would not, and will fit perfectly a flock of texts in Section V which the latter will not fit at all. Are we not entitled to conclude that this is our best guide to the true relation of virtue to happiness in Socrates' thought - the one for which he would have declared if he had formulated explicitly those two alternative theses and made a reasoned choice between them? (shrink)
In the Euthydemus, Socrates and young Cleinias agree, "Not one of the other things is good or bad, but of these two, one—wisdom—is good, and the other—ignorance—is bad" (281e3-5).1 To some, this is the outrageous and characteristically Stoic claim that wisdom is the only good.
Plato is the most important philosopher in the history of Western philosophy. This guidebook introduces and examines his three dialogues that deal with the death of Socrates: Euthphryo , Apology and Crito . These dialogues are widely regarded as the closest exposition of Socrates' ideas. Plato and the Trial of Socrates introduces and assesses: * Plato's life and the background to the three dialogues * The ideas and text in the three dialogues * Plato's continuing importance to (...) philosophy Plato and the Trial of Socrates will be ideal for anyone coming to Plato or the three dialogues for the first time. (shrink)
In Plato’s Gorgias, Socrates argues that philosophy is superior to rhetoric in part because the former is a techne while the latter is not. I argue that the Socratic practice of philosophy within this dialogue fails to qualify as a techne for exactly the same reasons that rhetoric fails to qualify as a techne. In doing so, I introduce a new kind of Socratic ignorance: methodological ignorance. I reject both Charles Kahn’s account of the relationship between the dialogue’s dramatic (...) and philosophical contents, and Thomas Brickhouse and Nicholas Smith’s claim that Socrates never regarded his practice as a techne. (shrink)
In the Protagoras, Socrates argues that each of the virtue-terms refers to one thing (: 333b4). But in the Laches (190c8–d5, 199e6–7), Socrates claims that courage is a proper part of virtue as a whole, and at Euthyphro 11e7–12e2, Socrates says that piety is a proper part of justice. But A cannot be both identical to B and also a proper part of B – piety cannot be both identical to justice and also a proper part of (...) justice. In this paper we argue that coherent sense can be made of Socrates'' apparently conflicting claims. The key to understanding Socrates'' position, we will argue, is the central role of wisdom among the virtues. It is through the relationship of each virtue to wisdom that each may be said to be the same as all of the others, on the one hand, and also that some virtues may be regarded as proper parts of some other virtues, or as proper parts of virtue in general, on the other. (shrink)
In Plato’s Symposium, the priestess Diotima, whom Socrates introduces as an expert in love, describes how the lover who would advance rightly in erotics would ascend from loving a particular beautiful body and individual to loving Beauty itself. This hierarchy is conventionally referred to as Plato’s scala amoris or ‘ladder of love’, for the reason that the uppermost form of love cannot be reached without having initially stepped on the first rung of the ladder, which is the physical attraction (...) to a beautiful body or individual. A popular interpretation of Plato’s or Diotima’s description of this ascent is that the lover is supposed to give up or abandon all the previous objects or individuals as he moves upward. In other words, previous individuals are merely the first rung of the ladder; and when the lover has climbed to higher stages of the ladder, he should kick the earlier rung, and them, away. I would like to try to argue that this popular interpretation is mistaken; that Plato does not believe that each previous stage in the ascent is left behind as the lover moves to a higher stage. Far from it, in fact; not only do I not believe that Plato wants the lover to abandon the individuals he loves, but I suggest that what his ascent does is move the lover to love previous individuals in a richer, fuller and more appropriate sense. I approach this in two parts, the second of which I hope can be seen to exemplify the first. In part one I concern myself with a close analysis of the relevant bits of text, while in part two, I move on to examine Plato’s love of Socrates. Here I hope to try to show that Plato, while going on – having presumably ascended up past the lower rungs of the ladder – to produce great works of virtue and beauty, never left the individual Socrates behind. (shrink)
This article aims at reconstructing the logic and assessing the force of Socrates' argument against Protagoras' 'Measure Doctrine' (MD) at Theaetetus 171a–c. I examine and criticise some influential interpretations of the passage, according to which, e.g., Socrates is guilty of ignoratio elenchi by dropping the essential Protagorean qualifiers or successfully proves that md is self-refuting provided the missing qualifiers are restored by the attentive reader. Having clarified the meaning of MD, I analyse in detail the broader section 170a–171d (...) and argue, against an extensive scholarly consensus, (1) that it contains two slightly different formulations of the same argument, and not two (or three) distinct arguments, (2) that Socrates does not highlight his own strategy at 171a–c as especially clever, and (3) that his argument successfully shows that md turns out to be untenable for Protagoras himself when submitted to scrutiny in dialectical contexts, without aiming at proving its absolute falsehood. Finally, I clarify the philosophical import of the final image of Protagoras' momentary return from the underworld. (shrink)
In this study, George Rudebusch addresses whether Socrates was a hedonist--whether he believed pleasure to be the good. In attempting to locate Socrates' position on hedonism, Rudebusch examines the passages in Plato's early dialogues that are the most disputed on the topic. He maintains that Socrates identifies pleasant activity with virtuous activity, describing Socrates' hedonism as one of activity, not sensation. This analysis allows for Socrates to find both virtue and pleasure to be the good, (...) thus solving the textual puzzle and showing the power of Socratic argument in leading human beings toward the good. (shrink)
Introduction: The man who drank the hemlock -- Socrates' philosophy -- Politics and society -- Plato and others : who created the death of Socrates? -- 'A Greek chatterbox' : the death of Socrates in the Roman Empire -- Pain and revelation : the death of Socrates and the death of Jesus -- The apotheosis of philosophy : from enlightenment to revolution -- Talk, truth, totalitarianism : the problem of Socrates in modern times.
In this book, Roslyn Weiss contends that, contrary to prevailing notions, Plato's Crito does not show an allegiance between Socrates and the state that condemned him. Denying that the speech of the Laws represents the views of Socrates, Weiss deftly brings to light numerous indications that Socrates provides to the attentive reader that he and the Laws are not partners but antagonists in the argument and that he is singularly unimpressed by the case against escaping prison presented (...) by the Laws. Weiss's greatest innovation is her contention that the Laws are very much like the judges who preside at Socrates' trail--interested not in justice and truth but in being shown deference and submission. If Weiss's argument is correct, then the standard conception of the history of political thought is in error--political philosophy begins not with the primacy of the state over the citizen but with the affirmation of the individual's duty to act in accordance with his own careful determination of what justice demands. (shrink)
The third volume of Professor Guthrie's great history of Greek thought, entitled The Fifth-Century Enlightenment, deals in two parts with the Sophists and Socrates, the key figures in the dramatic and fundamental shift of philosophical interest from the physical universe to man. Each of the two parts is available as a paperback with the text, bibliography and indexes amended where necessary so that each part is self-contained. Socrates dominated the controversies of this period, as he has dominated the (...) subsequent history of western philosophy. He was the first to identify and grapple with some of the most intractable and persistent logical and philosophical problems; but he was also and has remained a highly controversial figure because of his extraordinary personal qualities and his remarkable career. Professor Guthrie offers a balanced and comprehensive picture of the man, his life, and his thought. (shrink)
This volume is a study of the relationship between philosophy and faith in Søren Kierkegaard's Philosophical Fragments. It is also the first book to focus on the role of Socrates in this psuedonymous volume, and it illuminates the significance of Socrates for Kierkegaard's thought in general. Jacob Howland argues that in Fragments, philosophy and faith are closely related passions. A careful examination of the role of Socrates in Fragments demonstrates that Socratic, philosophical eros opens up a path (...) to faith. At the same time, the work of faith - which holds the self together with that which transcends it, the finite with the infinite, and one's life in time with eternity - is essentially erotic in the Socratic sense of the term. Chapters on Kierkegaard's Johannes Climacus and on Plato's Apology and related dialogues shed light on the Socratic character of the pseudonymous author of Fragments and the role of 'the god' in Socrates' pursuit of wisdom. Howland also analyzes the Concluding Unscientific Postscript and Kierkegaard's reflections on Socrates and Christ in his unpublished papers. (shrink)
Commentators do not take Socrates' theses in the Hippias Minor seriously. They believe it is an aporetic dialogue and even that Socrates does not mean what he says. Hence they are unable to understand the presuppositions behind Socrates' two interconnected theses: that those who do wrong and lie voluntarily are better than those who do wrong unintentionally, and that no one does wrong and lies voluntarily. Arguing that liars are better than the unenlightened, Socrates concludes that (...) there are no liars. Instead, there are only those who know and those who don't. The unenlightened cannot lie, and alien volitions, desires, or emotions are unlikely to mislead and deceive those who know, i. e., the wise. Why, then, is a thinker like Socrates ready to defy the experience and moral convictions of his contemporaries and even our own to such an extent? (shrink)
When Socrates was asked to which [country] he belonged, he would say, 'To the world,' for he thought that he was an inhabitant and citizen of the whole world."2 So we are told by those philosophers in later antiquity who liked to see themselves as the heirs of Socrates and as cosmopolitans.
This essay examines the profound affinities between Wittgenstein and the historical Socrates. The first five sections argue that similarities between their personalities and circumstances can explain a comparable pattern of philosophical development. The next nine show that many apparently chance similarities between the two men's lives and receptions can be explained by their shared conceptions ofphilosophical method. The last three sections consider the difficulty of practising this method through writing, and examine the solutions which Plato and Wittgenstein adopted.
Machine generated contents note: Acknowledgments; 1. Opposed hypotheses about Plato's dialogues; 2. Socrates in the Apology; 3. Socrates in the digression of the Theaetetus: extraction by declaration; 4. Socrates in the Republic, part I: speech and counter-speech; 5. Socrates in the Republic, part II: philosophers, forms, Glaucon and Adeimantus; 6. Socrates in the Phaedo: another persuasion assignment; 7. Others' conceptions of philosophy in Euthydemus, Lovers, and Sophist; 8. Socrates and Plato in Plato's dialogues; 9. (...)Socrates and philosophy; Bibliography. (shrink)