Plato's Brush with the Golden Rule

Journal of Religious Ethics 21 (1):69 - 85 (1993)
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Abstract

The drama of Plato's brush with the kind of thinking formulated in the golden rule--"Do to others as you want others to do to you"--discloses (1) ambiguity in the rule, due to its association with the popular Greek practice of helping friends and harming enemies, and (2) an unnoticed philosophic and/or religious solution to a problem raised by this ambiguity. Revising Albrecht Dihle's influential analysis in "Die Goldene Regel" (1962), this article explores the philosophic implications of golden-rule thinking in three of Plato's sources--Homer, Herodotus, and Isocrates--and in three texts from the dialogues: "Crito" 50a-54d, "Phaedo" 62b-c, and "Laws" 913a.

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