A comprehensive discussion of Plato's treatment of techne, which shows that the final goal of Platonic philosophy is nontechnical wisdom. The Greek word "techne," typically translated as "art," but also as "craft," "skill," "expertise," "technical knowledge," and even "science," has been decisive in shaping our "technological" culture. Here David Roochnik comprehensively analyzes Plato's treatment of this crucial word. Roochnik maintains that Plato's understanding of both the goodness of techne, as well as its severe limitations and consequent need to be supplemented (...) by "nontechnical" wisdom, can speak directly to our own concerns about the troubling impact technology has had on contemporary life. For most commentators, techne functions as a positive, theoretical model through which Plato attempts to articulate the nature of moral knowledge. Scholars such as Terence Irwin and Martha Nussbaum argue that Plato’s version of moral knowledge is structurally similar to techne. In arguing thus, they attribute to Plato what Nietzsche called "theoretical optimism," the view that technical knowledge can become an efficient panacea for the dilemmas and painful contingencies of human life. Conventional wisdom has it, in short, that for Plato technical, moral knowledge can solve life's problems. By systematically analyzing Socrates’ analogical arguments, Roochnik shows the weakness of the conventional view. The basic pattern of these arguments is this: if moral knowledge is analogous to techne, then insurmountable difficulties arise, and moral knowledge becomes impossible. Since moral knowledge is not impossible, it cannot be analogous to techne. In other words, the purpose of Socrates' analogical arguments is to reveal the limitations of techne as a model for the wisdom Socrates so ardently seeks. For all the reasons Plato is so careful to present in his dialogues, wisdom cannot be rendered technical; it cannot become techne. Thus, Roochnik concludes, Plato wrote dialogues instead of technical treatises, as they are the appropriate vehicle for his expression of nontechnical wisdom. (shrink)
The arithmetical -- Tripartite city, tripartite soul -- The one, the two, and the three -- The arithmetical character of Kallipolis -- Eros -- Intimations of Eros -- The three waves -- Kallipolis v. The republic -- Democracy, psychology, poetry -- Democracy -- Narrative psychology -- Psychological narrative -- Appendix -- The meaning of "dialectical" -- The technical meaning of "dialectic" -- The non-technical of "dialectic" -- Dialectic in The republic.
Good teaching requires not only an acute sensitivity to one’s students but also a kind of flexibility enabling one to respond appropriately in concrete situations. This paper analyzes the pedagogical strategy that Socrates employs with Callicles and Theaetetus, arguing that Socrates exhibits the kind of flexibility required of a good teacher. In articulating the pedagogical flexibility that Socrates's exhibits, the paper also provides an overview of the divided line, the mathematical curriculum that Socrates proposes in the “Republic,” and a discussion (...) of how mathematical education relates to philosophy. (shrink)
Ronna Burger’s Aristotle’s Dialogue with Socrates argues that the Nicomachean Ethics is a unified whole. Her reading runs against the tide of most contemporary scholarship. In particular, Book X.7–8, Aristotle’s valorization and near apotheosis of the “contemplative life,” has been taken to be a Platonic intrusion in a work otherwise characterized by a resolute “anthropocentrism,” as Nussbaum puts it. To account for such an apparent fracture commentators have attributed both chronological development and later editorship to the corpus. Burger, by contrast, (...) offers a “Talmudic reading.” She treats the Nicomachean Ethics as a work of integrity that dialectically culminates in, rather than is interrupted by, X.7–8. This essay situates her argument in a larger context that explores the nature of philosophical reading as such. (shrink)
The Cleitophon has recently been discovered to be Plato's dialogue introducingThe Republic. In this volume of essays, Editor, Translator, and Author Mark Kremer introduces seminal work that understands The Cleitophon as an ancient discussion of what scholars today refer to as posthumanism and postmodernism. Thoroughly original, this volume is an invaluable resource to all disciplines that attempt to come to terms with our emerging global society.
_Retrieving the Ancients_ tells the story of the first philosophers in the West. A clear and engaging introduction to ancient Greek philosophy. Tells the story of the first philosophers in the West, from Thales to Aristotle. Has a strong sense of narrative drive. Treats the history of ancient Greek philosophy dialectically, as a conversation in which each thinker responds to and moves beyond his predecessors. Argues that the works of the ancients are as valuable today as ever.
In Doing What Comes Naturally, Stanley Fish argues on behalf of rhetoric and against philosophy. The latter assumes an independent reality that can be perceived without distortion and then reported in a transparent verbal medium. The former insists that this is impossible. As Fish acknowledges, this debate is a version of the?old quarrel? that has raged since the dialogues of Plato and the orations of the sophists. The present paper first examines how the Greek sophist Isocrates actually formulated the terms (...) of the debate. Then it turns to Plato in order to demonstrate that his treatment of the old quarrel is superior to Fish 's postmodern update. (shrink)
Plato stands as the fount of our philosophical tradition, being the first Western thinker to produce a body of writing that touches upon a wide range of topics still discussed by philosophers today. In a sense he invented philosophy as a distinct subject, for although many of these topics were discussed by his intellectual predecessors and contemporaries, he was the first to bring them together by giving them a unitary treatment. This volume contains fourteen essays discussing Plato's views about knowledge, (...) reality, mathematics, politics, ethics, love, poetry, and religion. There are also analyses of the intellectual and social background of his thought, the development of his philosophy throughout his career, the range of alternative approaches to his work, and the stylometry of his writing. (shrink)
In this book philosophers, scholars of religion, and activists address the theme of responsibility. Barbara Darling-Smith brings together an enlightening collection of essays that analyze the ethics of responsibility, its relational nature, and its global struggle.