The Lysis is one of Plato's most engaging but also puzzling dialogues; it has often been regarded, in the modern period, as a philosophical failure. The full philosophical and literary exploration of the dialogue illustrates how it in fact provides a systematic and coherent, if incomplete, account of a special theory about, and special explanation of, human desire and action. Furthermore, it shows how that theory and explanation are fundamental to a whole range of other Platonic dialogues and indeed to (...) the understanding of the corpus as a whole. Part One offers an analysis of, or running commentary on, the dialogue. In Part Two Professors Penner and Rowe examine the philosophical and methodological implications of the argument uncovered by the analysis. The whole is rounded off by an epilogue of the relation between the Lysis and some other Platonic texts. (shrink)
Section 1 of this essay distinguishes between four interpretations of Socratic intellectualism, which are, very roughly: 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; 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; a version formed by the (...) assimilation of to, 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 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. 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 they oppose. (shrink)
Plato's dialogues are usually understood as simple examples of philosophy in action. In this book Professor Rowe treats them rather as literary-philosophical artefacts, shaped by Plato's desire to persuade his readers to exchange their view of life and the universe for a different view which, from their present perspective, they will barely begin to comprehend. What emerges is a radically new Plato: a Socratic throughout, who even in the late dialogues is still essentially the Plato (and the Socrates) of the (...) Apology and the so-called 'Socratic' dialogues. This book aims to understand Plato both as a philosopher and as a writer, on the assumption that neither of these aspects of the dialogues can be understood without the other. The argument of the book is closely based in Plato's text, but should be accessible to any serious reader of Plato, whether professional philosopher, classicist, or student. (shrink)
In a new English translation by Christopher Rowe, this great classic of moral philosophy is accompanied here by an extended introduction and detailed lin-by-line commentary by Sarah Broadie. Assuming no knowledge of Greek, her scholarly and instructive approach will prove invaluable for students reading the text for the first time. This thorough treatment of Aristotle's text will be an indispensable resource for students, teachers, and scholars alike.
line-by-line notes are invariably informative and helpful, as well thought-provoking.' John M. Cooper, Stuart Professor of Philosophy, Princeton UniversityIn a new English translation by Christopher Rowe, this great classic of moral philosophy is accompanied here by an extended introduction and detailed lin-by-line commentary by Sarah Broadie. Assuming no knowledge of Greek, her scholarly and instructive approach will prove invaluable for students reading the text for the first time. This thorough treatment of Aristotle's text will be an indispensable resource for students, (...) teachers, and scholars alike. (shrink)
The paper has two main aims, one larger and one slightly narrower. The larger aim is to undermine further a tendency that has dogged the interpretation of Platonic political philosophy in modern times, despite some dissenting voices: the tendency to begin from the assumption that Plato¿s thinking changed and developed over time, as if we already had privileged access to his biography. The slightly narrower aim is to reply to two charges of intellectual parricide made against Plato. The first is (...) explicit and well known: that he recommended political structures of a sort that would exclude the free-ranging philosophical inquiry sponsored by Socrates. The second is implicit in the standard reading of the Politicus, and says that Plato actually came to approve (however reluctantly) of Athens¿ execution of his teacher. I argue that the relevant passage (Plt. 297C - 302B) has been misunderstood, and that it is in fact fully consistent with the blanket criticism we find in the Republic of all existing forms of constitution. The Athenian democracy still got it wrong, both in general, and in making the particular decision to kill off old Socrates. I also argue that so far from proposing to abolish Socratic inquiry, Plato¿s political works as a whole (Republic, Politicus and Laws included) are actually designed to show the need for it. (shrink)