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Plato's Charmides is the earliest and most radical investigation of the structure, limits, and value of self-knowledge to be found in Ancient Greek thought.  It initiates as a typical “Socratic dialogue” in search of the definition of a virtue, here σωφροσύνη (sophrosune/sophrosyne) variously translated as “moderation”, "temperance," “sound-mindedness”, "self-control", etc. The dialectic steeply accelerates at 164d, when Critias proposes to identify sophrosune with the familiar Delphic and Socratic ideal of "knowing oneself". Suitably unpacked, the definition becomes, first, "knowledge of knowledge and ignorance", and then, "to know what one knows and what one does not know".  Remarkably, in light of the central role played by an ideal of self-knowledge (as well as other self-relations) in Plato’s dialogues, Socrates' examination here raises three significant challenges to the possibility and usefulness of self-knowledge. 1) Self-knowledge would be a species of self-relation, but the logical form of a self-applying relation or power (δύναμις), is unclear, leading in some cases (notably quantitative relations) to contradiction and in others (notably intentional relations) to a lack of well-foundedness. 2) The formulation "to know what one knows and what one does not know", invokes an important distinction between knowing what (ἅ) is (not) known, viz., something about something, and knowing only that (ὅτι) a given judgment is an instance of (not) knowing, without distinguishing the object of first-order (non-) knowledge. Socrates finds that when we are most confident in the possibility of second-order knowledge, we are speaking of its opaque form, while when we are most confident in its usefulness we are speaking of its transparent form. 3) Supposing that the object/s of second-order knowledge can somehow be correctly specified, the virtue-making usefulness of such knowledge can be directly challenged, for it seems not to be knowledge of knowledge and ignorance that helps us but instead knowledge of the good and the bad. The dialogue invites its readers to reconsider the concept of self-knowledge in light of these problems, and to try to determine in what the significant differences between Socratic and Critian versions of an ideal of self-knowledge might lie.

Key works The extent to which some major works of ancient philosophy should be regarded, in part, as secondary works on the Charmides is only recently coming to be appreciated. The problems about the reflexivity of intentional acts and states posed in the Charmides seem to have directly informed Aristotle’s attempts to give satisfactory accounts of self-perception and self-knowledge in De Anima; the same problematic is developed in Plotinus and thereby even Augustine (e.g. in On Free Choice). In medieval and modern philosophy, the origin of these trains of thought in the Charmides were forgotten, and the dialogue almost completely neglected. From the turn of the twentieth century to the present, six monographs exclusively devoted to the Charmides have appeared in English: those of Tuckey 1951, Hyland 1981, van der Ben 1985, Schmid 1998, Tuozzo 2011, and Levine 2015. To these, one can add significant chapters of Kahn 1996, González 1998, Lampert 2010, Moore 2015, and especially Sprague 1976 in which her reconstruction of the problem of knowledge of knowledge in the Charmides plays a central role in establishing what S. takes to be Plato's overarching philosophical thesis: the identification of philosophical knowledge proper as second-order knowledge. Martens 1973 includes a bibliography focused on the German-language literature reaching back through the nineteenth century. Two important recent discussions are Kosman 2014 and McCabe 2015, arguing respectively for restrictive and expansive views of the scope of knowledge of knowledge in the Charmides, both in light of De Anima.
Introductions Brann 2004, a significant interpretation in its own right, also provides a near-presuppositionless introduction to the dialogue. Chapter 16 of Adamson 2014, adapted from the HOPWAG podcast, reaches the interesting problems with record concision. In Jowett 1891, J.'s introduction to and analysis of the dialogue, as distinct from his translation, are still useful. The Charmides currently lacks an SEP entry. Ultimately, Plato's dialogues are arguably their own best introductions; as most readers will approach them in translation, we turn to these. Lamb 1927, the basis of the bilingual Loeb edition, is so careful as to remain useful despite its obvious datedness; dynamic versions linked to current reference tools can be freely accessed at the several incarnations of the Perseus Project. (See record for links.) The best English translation without parallel Greek is Moore & Raymond 2019, which makes numerous improvements on the hitherto-standard Plato 1973.  
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  1. Charmides / Plato; Translated, with Introduction, Notes, and Analysis by Christopher Moore and Christopher C. Raymond.Christopher Moore & Christopher C. Raymond - 2019 - Indianapolis, Indiana, USA: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc..
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  2. Minimal Sartre: Diagonalization and Pure Reflection.John Bova - 2018 - Open Philosophy 1:360-379.
    These remarks take up the reflexive problematics of Being and Nothingness and related texts from a metalogical perspective. A mutually illuminating translation is posited between, on the one hand, Sartre’s theory of pure reflection, the linchpin of the works of Sartre’s early period and the site of their greatest difficulties, and, on the other hand, the quasi-formalism of diagonalization, the engine of the classical theorems of Cantor, Godel, Tarski, Turing, etc. Surprisingly, the dialectic of mathematical logic from its inception through (...)
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  3. Socrates and the Benefits of Puzzlement.Jan Szaif - 2018 - In George Karamanolis & Vasilis Politis (eds.), The Aporetic Tradition in Ancient Philosophy. Cambridge, UK: pp. 29-47.
    This essay addresses the role of aporetic thinking and aporetic dialogue in the early “Socratic” dialogues of Plato. It aims to provide a new angle on why and how puzzlement induced by Socrates should benefit his interlocutors but often fails to do so. After discussing criteria for what is to count as an aporetic dialogue, the essay explains how and why Socrates’ aporia-inducing conversations point to a conception of virtue as grounded in a form of self-transparent wisdom. In combination with (...)
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  4. Self-Knowledge and Ignorance in Plato’s Charmides.Gregory Kirk - 2016 - Ancient Philosophy 36 (2):303-320.
  5. Dialectic, Drama and Self-Knowledge in Plato’s Charmides.Melina G. Mouzala - 2016 - Studia Gilsoniana 5 (1):179-194.
    [Language of the article: Greek] Charmides is a dialogue highly indicative of the importance that the prologues to Plato’s works have for our understanding of the whole spirit and philosophical content of each dialogue as a whole. It is representative of the Platonic tendency to always combine philosophical content with dramatic form through narrative and drama, in order to enhance the reader’s and audience’s insight into the inquiries of his philosophical work. Following this line of presentation, the prologue of Charmides (...)
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  6. Sôphrosunê, Socratic Therapy, and Platonic Drama in Plato’s Charmides.Alan Pichanick - 2016 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (1):47-66.
    Plato’s Charmides suggests that there are really four notions that are deeply connected with one another, and in order to understand sôphrosunê we need to get a proper hold on them and their relation: these four notions are Knowledge of Ignorance, Self-Knowledge, Knowledge of the Good, and Knowledge of the Whole. My aim is to explore these four notions in two stages. First, I will try to explain Socrates’s notion of knowledge of ignorance, so that the nature and coherence of (...)
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  7. Profound Ignorance: Plato's Charmides and the Saving of Wisdom.David Lawrence Levine - 2015 - Lexington Books.
    No topic could be more relevant in these times than tyranny, “the greatest sickness of the soul.” The Charmides of Plato gives us an opportunity to look deeply into the soul or cognitive structure of one of Athens’s most notorious tyrants, Critias, and looks deeply into its dialectical opposite, the soul and cognitive structure of Socrates.
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  8. Perceiving That We See and Hear: Aristotle on Plato on Judgement and Reflection.Mary Margaret McCabe - 2015 - In Platonic Conversations.
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  9. Socrates and Self-Knowledge.Christopher Moore - 2015 - Cambridge University Press.
    In this book, the first systematic study of Socrates' reflections on self-knowledge, Christopher Moore examines the ancient precept 'Know yourself' and, drawing on Plato, Aristophanes, Xenophon, and others, reconstructs and reassesses the arguments about self-examination, personal ideals, and moral maturity at the heart of the Socratic project. What has been thought to be a purely epistemological or metaphysical inquiry turns out to be deeply ethical, intellectual, and social. Knowing yourself is more than attending to your beliefs, discerning the structure of (...)
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  10. The Use and Abuse of Critias: Conflicting Portraits in Plato and Xenophon.Gabriel Danzig - 2014 - Classical Quarterly 64 (2):507-524.
    This paper aims to explain the very sharp contrast between the portraits of Critias found in Plato and Xenophon. While depicted as a monster in Xenophon'sHellenica, Critias is described with at most mild criticism in Plato's writings. Each of these portraits is eccentric in its own way, and these eccentricities can be explained by considering the apologetic and polemic aims each author pursued. In doing so, I hope to shed light not only on the relations between these portraits and the (...)
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  11. Self-Knowledge and Self-Control in Plato's "Charmides".Aryeh Kosman - 2014 - In Virtues of Thought: Essays on Plato and Aristotle. Harvard University Press. pp. 227-245.
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  12. Virtues of Thought.Aryeh Kosman - 2014 - Harvard.
    Exploring what two foundational figures, Plato and Aristotle, have to say about the nature of human awareness and understanding, Aryeh Kosman concludes that ultimately the virtues of thought are to be found in the joys and satisfactions that come from thinking philosophically, whether we engage in it ourselves or witness others' participation.
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  13. La modalisation de l'objet de l'examen dans le Charmide de Platon.Karine Tordo-Rombaut - 2014 - In S. Alexandre & E. Rogan (eds.), Modalisations du réel : nécessité, possibilité, contingence.
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  14. Plato's Charmides: Positive Elenchus in a 'Socratic' Dialogue. By Thomas M. Tuozzo. Pp. Xii, 359, Cambridge University Press, 2011. [REVIEW]Robin Waterfield - 2014 - Heythrop Journal 55 (3):486-487.
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  15. The Charmides - T.M. Tuozzo Plato's Charmides. Positive Elenchus in a “Socratic” Dialogue. Pp. XII + 359. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Cased, £55, Us$90. Isbn: 978-0-521-19040-4. [REVIEW]Dougal Blyth - 2013 - The Classical Review 63 (1):60-62.
  16. T.M. Tuozzo Plato's Charmides. Positive Elenchus in a “Socratic” Dialogue. [REVIEW]Dougal Blyth - 2013 - The Classical Review 63 (1):60-62.
  17. Socrates' Odyssean Return: On Plato's Charmides.Ronna Burger - 2013 - In Christopher Dustin & Denise Schaeffer (eds.), Socratic Philosophy and Its Others. Lexington Books. pp. 217-235.
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  18. Plato's Charmides as a Political Act.Gabriel Danzig - 2013 - Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 53.
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  19. ""Plato's Charmides: Positive Elenchus in a" Socratic" Dialogue by Thomas M. Tuozzo (Review). [REVIEW]David J. Murphy - 2013 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 106 (3):525-526.
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  20. Plato's Charmides: Positive Elenchus in a "Socratic" Dialogue by Thomas M. Tuozzo. [REVIEW]Gerald A. Press - 2013 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 51 (2):310-311.
    Unlike many other dialogues, Plato’s Charmides has never elicited much sustained scholarly attention, even though it focuses on an important moral excellence, sôphrosunê (temperance, moderation), features two of Plato’s relatives who were members of the oligarchic government of 304–303 BC, and includes two refutations of the Republic’s formula, “doing one’s own things,” as well as a long, complex discussion of “knowledge of knowledge.” The present work is therefore a welcome addition to the small collection of English books on it (Tuckey, (...)
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  21. Plato’s Charmides: Positive Elenchus in a ‘Socratic’ Dialogue, by Thomas Tuozzo. [REVIEW]Benjamin A. Rider - 2013 - Ancient Philosophy 33 (2):425-430.
  22. Plato's Socrates as Narrator: A Philosophical Muse.Anne-Marie Schultz - 2013 - Lexington Books.
    This book explores five Platonic dialogues: Lysis, Charmides, Protagoras, Euthydemus, and the Republic. This book uses Socrates’ narrative commentary as its primary interpretive framework. No one has engaged in a sustained attempt to explore the Platonic dialogues from this angle. As a result, it offers a unique contribution to Plato scholarship. The portrait of Socrates that emerges challenges the traditional view of Socrates as an intellectualist and offers a holistic vision of philosophical practice.
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  23. The Implicit Refutation of Critias 1.Tad Brennan - 2012 - Phronesis 57 (3):240-250.
    Abstract At Charmides 163, Critias attempts to extricate himself from refutation by proposing a Prodicean distinction between praxis and poiēsis . I argue that this distinction leads him further into contradictions.
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  24. The Emergence of Reflexivity in Greek Language and Thought: From Homer to Plato and Beyond.Edward T. Jeremiah - 2012 - Brill.
    This thesis investigates reflexivity in ancient Greek literature and philosophy from Homer to Plato. It contends that ancient Greek culture developed a notion of personhood that was characteristically reflexive, and that this was linked to a linguistic development of specialized reflexive pronouns, which are the words for 'self'.
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  25. The Affects and Senses in Plato's Charmides.Michael Eisenstadt - 2011 - Hermes 139 (1):84-87.
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  26. "It Goes Deep with Me" : Plato's Charmides on Knowledge, Self-Knowledge, and Integrity.M. M. McCabe - 2011 - In Christopher Cordner & Raimond Gaita (eds.), Philosophy, Ethics, and a Common Humanity: Essays in Honour of Raimond Gaita. Routledge.
  27. Plato’s Charmides: Positive Elenchus in a 'Socratic' Dialogue.Thomas M. Tuozzo - 2011 - Cambridge University Press.
    Machine generated contents note: Part I. Approaching the Dialogue: 1. Methodological preliminaries; 2. Historical and cultural context; Part II. Appropaching the Argument: 3. The opening scene; 4. Dialectic in the Charmides; Part III. The Dialectical Investigation: 5. Sophrosyne and its value; 6. Sophrosyne as self-knowledge: two reformulations; 7. Possibility of self-knowledge: Critian formulation; 8. Possibilitiy of self-knowledge; Socratic formulation; 9. Return of the value question; 10. Socrates' final speech and closing scene; 11. Sophrosyne, knowledge, and the good.
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  28. Saber que se sabe o saber qué se sabe. Ensayo acerca de la dificultad de un conocimiento exclusivamente reflexivo a partir del Cármides de Platón.Cristina Alayza - 2010 - Estudios de Filosofía: Revista del Seminaro de Filosofia del instituto Riva-Aguero 8:11-53.
    El ensayo que presentamos a continuación consta de dos actos y un excurso. Los dos actos están dedicados al análisis del Cármides de Platón. En el primero, introducimos al tema del diálogo, la sophrosyne o sensatez, y mostramos el tránsito que se da, en el diálogo mismo, de la pregunta por la sensatez a la pregunta por el conocimiento. En el segundo, desarrollamos más detenidamente el tema de nuestro interés: las conclusiones respecto del conocimiento que van desprendiéndose de la indagación (...)
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  29. Laches Before Charmides: Fictive Chronology and Platonic Pedagogy.William Altman - 2010 - Plato Journal 10.
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  30. How Philosophy Became Socratic: A Study of Plato's "Protagoras," "Charmides," and "Republic".Laurence Lampert - 2010 - University of Chicago Press.
    Plato’s dialogues show Socrates at different ages, beginning when he was about nineteen and already deeply immersed in philosophy and ending with his execution five decades later. By presenting his model philosopher across a fifty-year span of his life, Plato leads his readers to wonder: does that time period correspond to the development of Socrates’ thought? In this magisterial investigation of the evolution of Socrates’ philosophy, Laurence Lampert answers in the affirmative. The chronological route that Plato maps for us, Lampert (...)
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  31. Meno and Other Dialogues: Charmides, Laches, Lysis, Meno. Plato & Robin Waterfield - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
    In these four dialogues Plato considers virtue and its definition. Charmides, Laches, and Lysis investigate the specific virtues of self-control, courage, and friendship; the laterMeno discusses the concept of virtue as a whole, and whether it is something that can be taught.
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  32. Le rejet de la connaissance de la connaissance, la these centrale du Charmide de Platon.Oded Balaban - 2008 - Revue Philosophique De Louvain 106 (4):663-693.
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  33. Plato on Moral Expertise.Rod Jenks - 2008 - Lexington Books.
    Moral expertise in the Laches -- The Laches -- Socratic ignorance and socratic wisdom -- Vituperation -- Virtue and craft -- Expertise in the Charmides -- Ironies -- The definitions -- Quietness -- Modesty -- Doing or making one's own -- Doing, not making, one's own -- Doing good things -- Knowing oneself -- Knowledge of itself and all other knowledges -- Good, evil, and temperance -- Expertise in republic -- Preliminaries -- Republic viii -- The text -- Mathematical indeterminacy (...)
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  34. The Place of Aporia in Plato's Charmides.Vasilis Politis - 2008 - Phronesis 53 (1):1-34.
    The aim of the paper is twofold: to examine the argument in response to Socrates' question whether or not reflexive knowledge is, first, possible, and, second, beneficial; and by doing so, to examine the method of Platos argument. What is distinctive of the method of argument, I want to show, is that Socrates argues on both sides of these questions (the question of possibility and the question of benefit). This, I argue, is why he describes these questions as a source (...)
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  35. Trials of Reason: Plato and the Crafting of Philosophy.David Wolfsdorf - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
    Interpretation -- Introduction -- Interpreting Plato -- The political culture of Plato's early dialogues -- Dialogue -- Character and history -- The mouthpiece principle -- Forms of evidence -- Desire -- Socrates and eros -- The subjectivist conception of desire -- Instrumental and terminal desire -- Rational and irrational desires -- Desire in the critique of Akrasia -- Interpreting Lysis -- The deficiency conception of desire -- Inauthentic friendship -- Platonic desire -- Antiphilosophical desires -- Knowledge -- Excellence as wisdom (...)
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  36. Plato’s Charmides: Temperance, Incantation, and the Unity of the Dialogue.Hyeok Yu - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 2 (2):213-226.
    Plato’s Charmides has generally been regarded as an aporetic dialogue, which attempts to define temperance (swfrosu/nh) and ends in aporia, without any positive answer. My paper aims to understand the dialogue as suggesting positive answers to the questions about the nature of temperance. I am focusing on thefollowing: at the outset of the dialogue Socrates is supposed to cure Charmides’ headache; the cure is not only a matter of bodily care, but also a matter of care for one’s soul. Quoting (...)
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  37. Charmide/Lysis Platon Traduction Inédite, Introduction Et Notes Par Louis-André Dorion Collection «GF-Flammarion», No 1006 Paris, Flammarion, 2004, 317 P. [REVIEW]Yvon Lafrance - 2007 - Dialogue 46 (1):189.
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  38. Looking Inside Charmides' Cloak: Seeing Others and Oneself in Plato's Charmides.Mary Margaret McCabe - 2007 - In Dominic Scott (ed.), Maieusis: Essays in Ancient Philosophy in Honour of Myles Burnyeat. Oxford University Press.
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  39. Plato’s Concept Of Temperance In The Charmides.Shigeru Yonezawa - 2007 - Existentia 17 (3-4):161-182.
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  40. Cármides: Los encantamientos tracios.Vasilica Cotofleac - 2006 - A Parte Rei 45:1.
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  41. Resolving Inconsistencies in Plato: The Problem of Socratic Wisdom in the Apology and the Charmides.Will Rasmussen - 2006 - Dissertation, King's College London
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  42. Selbsterkenntnis Im Charmides: Ihre Epistemologische Und Ethische Komponente Im Zusammenhang Mit der Entwicklung der Philosophie Platons.Young-Sik Sue - 2006 - Königshausen & Neumann.
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  43. Philosophy, Elenchus, and Charmides' Definitions of [Sophrosune].Marina Berzins McCoy - 2005 - Arethusa 38 (2):133-159.
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  44. Two Rival Conceptions of Sôphrosunê.Alan Pichanick - 2005 - Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought 22 (2):249-264.
    Many commentators still take the Delphic speech in the Charmides as Socrates’ opinion of sôphrosunê. This is a misreading. The speaker is Critias, a future tyrant, and close analysis reveals his conception of self-knowledge, as a godlike and self-certain wisdom, to be perverted by his tyrannical views. His conception of sôphrosunê must be distinguished from Socrates’, and while the former conception is refuted in the dialogue, the latter is not.
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  45. Filosofia, saúde, alma e corpo no Cármides de Platão.Marcus Reis Pinheiro - 2005 - Princípios 12 (17):173-182.
    Trata-se de analisar aspectos do diálogo Cármides que corroborem a necessidade de uma entrega total da alma na investigaçáo filosófica. A filosofia de Platáo náo pode ser compreendida sem se levar em conta a transformaçáo pessoal necessária em sua investigaçáo. Mesmo defendendo que a filosofia deva ser exercida eminentemente pela razáo, Platáo náo abre máo de que tal racionalidade transforme a pessoa como um todo, para que se alcance a vida boa.
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  46. Meno and Other Dialogues: Charmides, Laches, Lysis, Meno. Plato & Robin Waterfield - 2005 - Oxford University Press.
    This is an essential volume for understanding the brilliance of the first Western philosopher.
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  47. Catharsis and Moral Therapy I: A Platonic Account.Jan Helge Solbakk - 2005 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 9 (1):57-67.
    This paper aims at analysing the ancient Greek notions of catharsis (clearing up, cleaning), to holon (the whole) and therapeia (therapy, treatment, healing) to assess whether they may be of help in addressing a set of questions concerning the didactics of medical ethics: What do medical students actually experience and learn when they attend classes of medical ethics? How should teachers of medical ethics proceed didactically to make students benefit morally from their teaching? And finally, to what extent and in (...)
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  48. The Tyrant's Temperance: Charmides.Eva T. H. Brann - 2004 - In The Music of the Republic: Essays on Socrates' Conversations and Plato's Writings. Paul Dry Books.
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  49. Plato's Theory of Ideas: An Introduction to Idealism.Paul Natorp - 2004 - Academia.
  50. Symposium Platonicum V T. M. Robinson, L. Brisson (Edd.): Plato: Euthydemus, Lysis, Charmides. Proceedings of the V Symposium Platonicum . Pp. VI + 402. Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag, 2000. Cased. Isbn: 3-89665-143-. [REVIEW]M. R. Wright - 2004 - The Classical Review 54 (02):322-.
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