This study argues that to understand Socrates we must uncover and analyze his religious views, since his philosophical and religious views are part of one seamless whole. Mark McPherran provides a close analysis of the relevant Socratic texts, an analysis that yields a comprehensive and original account of Socrates' commitments to religion. McPherran finds that Socrates was not only a rational philosopher of the first rank, but a figure with a profoundly religious nature as well, believing in the existence of (...) gods vastly superior to ourselves in power and wisdom and sharing other traditional religious commitments with his contemporaries. However, Socrates was just as much a sensitive critic and rational reformer of both the religious tradition he inherited and the new cultic incursions he encountered. McPherran contends that Socrates saw his religious commitments as integral to his philosophical mission of moral examination and, in turn, used the rationally derived convictions underlying that mission to reshape the religious conventions of his time. As a result, Socrates made important contributions to the rational reformation of Greek religion, contributions that incited and informed the theology of his brilliant pupil, Plato. (shrink)
Plato's Republic has proven to be of astounding influence and importance. Justly celebrated as Plato's central text, it brings together all of his prior works, unifying them into a comprehensive vision that is at once theological, philosophical, political, and moral. These essays provide a a state-of-the-art research picture of the most interesting aspects of the Republic, and address questions that continue to puzzle and provoke, such as: Does Plato succeed in his argument that the life of justice is the most (...) attractive one? Is his tripartite analysis of the soul coherent and plausible? Why does Plato seem to have to force his philosopher-guardians to rule when they know this is something they ought to do? What is the point of the strange and complicated closing Myth of Er? This volume will be essential to those looking for thoughtful and detailed excursions into the problems posed by Plato's text and ideas. (shrink)
This book is without doubt the most meticulously researched, carefully argued, and comprehensive study of Socratic religion to date. When McPherran refers to the religion of Socrates, he means the religion of the historical Socrates. Like many contemporary scholars, McPherran thinks that Plato’s early dialogues are generally reliable sources for the views of the historical Socrates. With uncommon clarity, the author develops the philosophical and religious commitments of this Socrates and shows how they are really complementary parts of a single (...) outlook. Not surprisingly, the very nature of the project generates a multitude of puzzles. McPherran does a masterful job of developing these paradoxes and showing how Socrates was prepared to disarm them. (shrink)
Aristotle holds that it was Socrates who first made frequent, systematic use of epagôgç in his elenctic investigations of various definitions of the virtues . Plato and Xenophon also target epagôgç as an innovative, distinguishing mark of Socratic methodology when they have Socrates' interlocutors complain that Socrates prattles on far too much about "his favorite topic" —blacksmiths, cobblers, cooks, physicians, and other such tiresome craftspeople—in order to generate and test general principles concerning the alleged craft of virtue. It is remarkable, (...) then, how little secondary literature exists on this subject—moreover, several of the few accounts we do have naively assume that epagôgç is the same as modern inductive generalization. Others are in conflict as to whether, for example, we can find any legitimate instances of probabilistic inductive epagôgç in the Socratic dialogues. This paper addresses these and other issues by offering a new, critical account of Socratic epagôgç—one tied to its occurrences in several key Socratic elenchoi. (shrink)
Plato's Euthyrphro, Apology, andCrito portray Socrates' words and deeds during his trial for disbelieving in the Gods of Athens and corrupting the Athenian youth, and constitute a defense of the man Socrates and of his way of life, the philosophic life. The twelve essays in the volume, written by leading classical philosophers, investigate various aspects of these works of Plato, including the significance of Plato's characters, Socrates's revolutionary religious ideas, and the relationship between historical events and Plato's texts.
The Cambridge Companion to Socrates is a collection of essays that provides a comprehensive guide to Socrates, the most famous Greek philosopher a comprehensive guide to Socrates, the most famous Greek philosopher. Because Socrates himself wrote nothing, our evidence comes from the writings of his friends , his enemies, and later writers. Socrates is thus a literary figure as well as a historical person. Both aspects of Socrates' legacy are covered in this volume.Socrates' character is full of paradox, and so (...) are his philosophical views. These paradoxes have led to deep differences in scholars' interpretations of Socrates and his thought. Mirroring this wide range of thought about Socrates, this volume's contributors are unusually diverse in their background and perspective. The chapters in this volume were authored by classical philologists, philosophers, and historians from Germany, Francophone Canada, Britain, and the United States, and they represent a range of interpretive and philosophical traditions. (shrink)
This work “is an attempt to analyse critically Plato’s views on mind and body and more particularly on the mind-body relationship within the wider setting of Plato’s metaphysics”. The book additionally promises to save Plato from Cartesian dualism, arguing instead that Plato’s dualism is of a sort which “may not fall victim to the accusations raised against Cartesianism”. Given the dearth of book-length studies on the mind-body relationship in Plato, this project is well motivated, and it is impressively researched as (...) well. Because this subject crucially involves interpretations of Plato’s ontology, the first half of the book is spent laying the groundwork for the discussions of Part III on the Platonic conception of mind. (shrink)
I agree with Professor Cheng's critique that Kant shows that Practical Reason points toward a model of human subjectivity and human autonomy congenial to Confucian thinking. In the Western rationalist tradition also there are threads that connect to other world views in an illuminating fashion if we investigate their historical roots. Using Professor Cheng's method, I claim that in the West there began a humanistic tradition that bears affinities to Confucius and which itself is now being transformed by its encounter (...) with non‐European thought. This exemplifies the comparative work that would be one facet of world humanities. (shrink)