Polis (forthcoming)

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Plato’s Sophist and Statesman stand out from many other Platonic dialogues by at least two features. First, they do not raise a ti esti question about a single virtue or feature of something, but raise the questions what sophist, statesman, and philosopher are, how they differ from each other, and what worth each should be accorded. Second, a visitor from Elea, rather than Socrates, seeks to addressed these questions and does so by employing what is commonly referred to as the method of collection and division. Some scholars have argued that this so-called method is value neutral and therefore unable to address the question how philosophy differs from sophistry and statesmanship according to worth. This article contends that the procedures of collection and division does not preclude the visitor from taking considerations of worth into account, but rather helps establish an objective basis for settling the main questions of the dialogue.
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