Plato's Apology of Socrates, A Metaphilosophical Text

Philosophy and Literature 38 (2):433-45 (2014)
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Abstract

Plato’s Apology is not merely an account of Socrates’ trial, it is also a work of metaphilosophy, presenting Socrates’ understanding of the nature and function of philosophy. This is a vital part of the text’s apologetic task, for it is only with reference to Socrates’ understanding of what philosophy is that we can understand, and so justify, his seemingly antisocial behaviour. Plato presents to us Socrates’ metaphilosophy in two ways: via what Socrates says and what he does. This twofold method of presentation is appropriate, if not essential, given the conception of philosophy that Socrates is presented as holding.

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John Sellars
Royal Holloway University of London

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