Plato

Edited by Hugh Benson (University of Oklahoma)
Assistant editor: Mark Hallap (University of Toronto, St. George Campus)
About this topic
Summary Plato (ca. 427-347 B.C.E.) was an Athenian philosopher who is widely recognized among the most important philosophers of the Western world.  Plato can be plausibly credited with the invention of philosophy as we understand it today – the rational, rigorous, and systematic study of fundamental questions concerning ethics, politics, psychology, theology, epistemology, and metaphysics.  He wrote primarily in dialogue form.  Among his most influential views are a commitment to the distinction between changeless, eternal forms and changeable, observable ordinary objects, the immortality of the soul, the distinction between knowledge and true belief and the view that knowledge is in some way recollection, that philosophers should be rulers and rulers philosophers, and that justice is in some way welcomed for its own sake.  He was a follower of Socrates, significantly influenced Aristotle, the Stoics, the Academic skeptics, Plotinus, among others, and founded the Academy, perhaps the first institution of higher learning in the west.
Key works Among the most well-known of Plato’s works (26 generally acknowledged dialogues and 13 more doubtful letters) are the Apology, Crito, Euthyphro, Protagoras, Gorgias, Meno, Phaedo, Republic, Symposium, Theaetetus, and Timaeus.  The standard English translations of the complete works can be found in Cooper 1997.
Introductions A good place to start studying Plato in general is the entry in Stanford Encyclopedia, Kraut 2008, Hare 1982, and Annas 2003.  Important collections of essays include Vlastos 1973, Kraut 1992, Fine 1999, Fine 1999, Fine 2008, and Benson 2006.
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Subcategories:
Plato, Misc (844)
History/traditions: Plato

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  1. Amicus Plato. La filosofía como profesión de verdad.Diego Gracia - 2022 - Quaestio 21:3-16.
    Philosophy is the search of truth. This means that philosophers are those which are looking for the truth, no matter where it could be. As a consequence, the study of previous philosophers can only have the role of an aid in order to reach this task. They are only means, not ends in themselves. The rest is ‘scholasticism’. As a true philosopher, Zubiri was changing all his life his mind and progressing in the analysis of reality. In this paper some (...)
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  2. Plato's Images: Addressing the Clash Between Method and Critique.Katerina Bantinaki, F. Vassiliou, A. Antaloudaki & A. Athanasiadou - 2019 - Proceedings of the European Society for Aesthetics 11.
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  3. Gadamer’s Hermeneutics and the Concept of Genre: The Case of the Utopian Genre in Plato.Antoine Pageau-St-Hilaire - forthcoming - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology:1-18.
    This paper addresses the question of the function of genre in Gadamer’s hermeneutics by examining his treatment of Plato’s political writings in the context of the “utopian genre.” I argue that Gad...
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  4. Classifying Difference and Value: The Metaphysics of Kinds and the Search for the Good in Plato’s Philebus.John Duncan Proios - 2021 - Dissertation, Cornell University
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  5. Philosophy as Drama: Plato’s Thinking Through Dialogue.Hallvard Fossheim, Vigdis Songe-Møller & Knut Ågotnes (eds.) - 2019 - Bloomsbury Academic.
    Plato's philosophical dialogues can be seen as his creation of a new genre. Plato borrows from, as well as rejects, earlier and contemporary authors, and he is constantly in conversation with established genres, such as tragedy, comedy, lyric poetry, and rhetoric in a variety of ways. This intertextuality reinforces the relevance of material from other types of literary works, as well as a general knowledge of classical culture in Plato's time, and the political and moral environment that Plato addressed, when (...)
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  6. The Limits of Rationality in Plato’s Phaedo.Hallvard Fossheim - 2019 - In Hallvard Fossheim, Vigdis Songe-Møller & Knut Ågotnes (eds.), Philosophy as Drama: Plato’s Thinking through Dialogue.
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  7. Gadamer’s Hermeneutics and the Concept of Genre: The Case of the Utopian Genre in Plato.Antoine Pageau-St-Hilaire - forthcoming - Tandf: Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology:1-18.
  8. A Reflection on Plato’s Notion of Politics and Nigeria Political Model.Hyginus Ebuka Abonyi - manuscript
    Philosophy, right from its inception in antiquity, has always been a source of ideas, and inspiration for the transformation of society. In attempt to solve societal problems, philosophers ask critical questions and suggest rational answers to them just like some fundamental theories postulated by great thinkers in the past had been usefully applied to solve contemporary problems. Hence, using analytic method, this work makes vivid through criticism from the light of Plato’s notion on politic, the reason why Nigeria is where (...)
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  9. From Plato to Winckelmann: Shelley's Philosophy of Art.Fabien Desset - unknown
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  10. Unfamiliar Voices: Harmonizing the Non-Socratic Speeches and Plato's Psychology.Jeremy Reid - 2017 - In Pierre Destrée & Zina Giannopolou (eds.), Plato's Symposium: A Critical Guide. Cambridge University Press. pp. 28–47.
    Commentators have often been puzzled by the structure of the Symposium; in particular, it is unclear what the relationship is between Socrates’ speech and that of the other symposiasts. This chapter seeks to make a contribution to that debate by highlighting parallels between the first four speeches of the Symposium and the goals of the early education in the Republic. In both dialogues, I contend, we see Plato concerned with educating people through (a) activating and cultivating spirited motivations, (b) becoming (...)
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  11. Plato on Love and Sex.Jeremy Reid - 2019 - In Adrienne Martin (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Love in Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 105-115.
    When people now talk about a relationship as being “Platonic”, they mean that the relationship is a non-sexual friendship. But what did Plato himself say about different kinds of relationship, and how did his name come to be associated with non-sexual relationships? While Plato’s Symposium has been the center of attention for his views on love, I argue that the Phaedrus and Laws VIII provide a much clearer account of Plato’s views. In these dialogues, Plato distinguishes between two kinds of (...)
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  12. 2 Conditioning Communism: Badiou, Plato and Philosophy as Meta-Critical Anamnesis.Frank Ruda - 2014 - In Marios Constantinou (ed.), Badiou and the Political Condition. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 56-75.
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  13. The Five Characters at Essay’s End: Re-Examining Anscombe’s “Modern Moral Philosophy” in Advance.Alex Plato & Jonathan Reibsamen - forthcoming - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly.
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  14. The Ethics of Plato’s Ideas and Ideals.Jonas Balčius - 1998 - Problemos 52.
    This work rests on the assumption that Plato as ethic is undeservedly ignored. He is traditionally considered to be the author of objective philosophical idealism. A more careful analysis proves that the famous scholar of antiquity is primarily the author of ontoethical philosophical conception. His essential philosophical convictions are very close to those of his teacher and greatest authority, Socrates. The later maintained that the true objects of philosophical studies were society and individuals together with their ethical orientations. Plato supplemented (...)
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  15. Plato’s Dialogues to Enhance Learning and Inquiry: Exploring Socrates’ Use of Protreptic for Student Engagement.Mark E. Jonas - 2021 - British Journal of Educational Studies 69 (6):799-802.
  16. Once Again From the Beginning: On the Relationship of Skepticism and Philosophy in Hegel's System.Miles Hentrup - 2016 - Dissertation, Stony Brook University
    This dissertation examines the relationship of skepticism and philosophy in the work of G.W.F. Hegel. Whereas other commentators have come to recognize the epistemological significance of Hegel's encounter with skepticism, emphasizing the strength of his system against skeptical challenges to the possibility of knowledge, I argue that Hegel develops his metaphysics in part through his ongoing engagement with the skeptical tradition. As such, I argue that Hegel's interest is not in refuting skepticism, but in defining its legitimate role within the (...)
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  17. Plato's Republic.Irfan Ajvazi - manuscript
  18. Review of A Platonic Theory of Moral Education: Cultivating Virtue in Contemporary Democratic Classrooms (Routledge, 2020) by Mark E. Jonas and Yoshiaki Nakazawa. [REVIEW]Mason Marshall - 2021 - Educational Theory 71 (4):539-545.
  19. The Reception of Plato’s Phaedrus From Antiquity to the Renaissance.Sylvain Delcomminette, Pieter D’Hoine & Marc-Antoine Gavray (eds.) - 2020 - De Gruyter.
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  20. Review of POLITIS, V., Plato’s Essentialism: Reinterpreting the Theory of Forms (Cambridge University Press, 2021). [REVIEW]Keith Begley - 2021 - Classics Ireland 27:304–306.
    In this book, VP builds upon his previous study by shifting focus from the motivation for the ti esti question, to the motivation for the commitment to what is designated by an adequate and true answer to such questions. VP’s aim in this study is to show that what are usually called ‘Forms’ (eidē), rather than being things that have essences, simply are those essences designated by adequate and true answers to ti esti questions. This book is highly recommended for (...)
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  21. Review of POLITIS, V., The Structure of Enquiry in Plato's Early Dialogues (Cambridge University Press, 2015). [REVIEW]Keith Begley - 2021 - Classics Ireland 27:301–303.
    This book has been ably reviewed by others. I am taking a second look at it now on the occasion of the publication of its sequel, a review of which I also provide in this volume. I have had the distinct pleasure of being a student and colleague of Vasilis Politis (VP) since the initiation of the project that led to these monographs, and the great privilege of witnessing the development of the project for more than a decade. VP’s Plato (...)
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  22. Who Was Callicles? Exploring Four Relationships Between Rhetoric and Justice in Plato's Gorgias.Richard Johnson-Sheehan - 2021 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 35 (3):263-288.
  23. Plato, Xenophon, and the Uneven Temporalities of Ethos in the Trial of Socrates.Collin Bjork - 2021 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 35 (3):240-262.
  24. Plato and the Poets.Pierre Destrée & Fritz Gregor Herrmann (eds.) - 2011
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  25. Plato and the Tripartition of Soul.Rachel Singpurwalla - 2019 - In Philosophy of Mind in Antiquity: History of Philosophy of Mind, Volume 1. pp. 101-119.
    In the Republic, Phaedrus, and Timaeus, Socrates holds that the psyche is complex, or has three distinct and semi-autonomous sources of motivation, which he calls the reasoning, spirited, and appetitive parts. While the rational part determines what is best overall and motivates us to pursue it, the spirited and appetitive parts incline us toward different objectives, such as victory, honor, and esteem, or the satisfaction of our desires for food, drink, and sex. While it is obvious that Socrates primarily characterizes (...)
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  26. Are We Trapped in Plato’s Cave?David Weissman - 2021 - Metaphilosophy 52 (5):650-654.
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  27. Plato's Republic on Democracy : Freedom, Fear and Tyrants Everywhere.Oda E. Wiese Tvedt - unknown
    This thesis poses the question ‘What is the critique of democracy in Plato’s Republic?’ It is not the first to do so. But contrary to standard readings, this thesis does not assume neither epistemological nor elitist explanations. Rather, it sees the Kallipolis, ‘the beautiful city in words’ as predicated on a particular anthropology. This theory of human nature, which claims that it is human to be greedy for wealth, sex, and power is contributed by Glaucon, Socrates’ main interlocutor in the (...)
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  28. The Five Characters at Essay’s End: Re-Examining Anscombe’s “Modern Moral Philosophy”.Alex Plato & Jonathan Reibsamen - 2022 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 96 (1):81-111.
    Anscombe ends her seminal 1958 essay “Modern Moral Philosophy” with a presentation of five characters, each answering an ancient question as to “whether one might ever need to commit injustice, or whether it won’t be the best thing to do?” Her fifth character is the execrated consequentialist who “shows a corrupt mind.” But who are the first four characters? Do they “show a mind”? And what precisely is the significance of her presenting those five just then? In this paper, we (...)
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  29. The Soul’s Tomb: Plato on the Body as the Cause of Psychic Disorders.Douglas R. Campbell - 2022 - Apeiron 55 (1):119-139.
    I argue that, according to Plato, the body is the sole cause of psychic disorders. This view is expressed at Timaeus 86b in an ambiguous sentence that has been widely misunderstood by translators and commentators. The goal of this article is to offer a new understanding of Plato’s text and view. In the first section, I argue that although the body is the result of the gods’ best efforts, their sub-optimal materials meant that the soul is constantly vulnerable to the (...)
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  30. Aristotelian and Stoic Syllogistic in the Anonymous Commentary on Plato’s Theaetetus.Bernd Hene - 2021 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 24 (1):44-70.
    The present paper investigates the question as to how and for what purposes the Middle Platonic author of the Anonymous Commentary on Plato’s Theaetetus uses Aristotelian and Stoic syllogistic in his interpretation of the Platonic text. This investigation shows that the commentator employs Aristotelian categorical syllogistic as an exegetical tool for reconstructing arguments in the Platonic text, enabling him not only to uncover doctrinal statements that are in his view hidden in the Platonic text, but also to dissociate Plato from (...)
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  31. Formal Argument and Olympiodorus’ Development as a Plato-Commentator.Harold Tarrant - 2021 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 24 (1):210-241.
    Olympiodorus led the Platonist school of philosophy at Alexandria for several decades in the sixth century, and both Platonic and Aristotelian commentaries ascribed to him survive. During this time the school’s attitude to the teaching of Aristotelian syllogistic, originally owing something to Ammonius, changed markedly, with an early tendency to reinforce the teaching of syllogistic even in Platonist lectures giving way to a greater awareness of its limitations. The vocabulary for arguments and their construction becomes far commoner than the language (...)
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  32. The Philosopher’s Family: Plato and Derrida.Sean Gaston - 2021 - Angelaki 26 (6):3-14.
    It appears that a long, monotonous and patriarchal tradition in the history of philosophy has insisted on the absence of the family. Prompted by Derrida’s Glas, this article suggests that any ethic...
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  33. The unity of Plato’s Academy.Myrthe L. Bartels - forthcoming - Metascience:1-4.
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  34. Two Theories of Natural Justice in Plato’s Gorgias.Leo Catana - 2021 - Elenchos: Rivista di Studi Sul Pensiero Antico 42 (2):209-228.
    In Plato’s Gorgias 482c4–484c3, Callicles advances a concept of natural justice: the laws of the polis must agree with nature, that is, human nature. Since human nature is characterised by its desire to get a greater share, nature itself makes it legitimate that stronger human beings get a greater share than weaker ones. Socrates objects: Callicles’ theoretical approach to civic life poses a threat to the polis’ community, its citizens, and to the friendship amongst its citizens. However, Socrates accepts Callicles’ (...)
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  35. The Method of Bifurcatory Division in Plato’s Sophist.Colin C. Smith - 2021 - Elenchos: Rivista di Studi Sul Pensiero Antico 42 (2):229-260.
    The strange and challenging stretch of dialectic with which Plato’s Sophist begins and ends has confused and frustrated readers for generations, and despite receiving a fair amount of attention, there is no consensus regarding even basic issues concerning this method. Here I offer a new account of bifurcatory division as neither joke nor naïve method, but instead a valuable, propaedeutic method that Plato offers to us readers as a means of embarking upon the kind of mental gymnastics that will stretch (...)
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  36. Between Truth and Meaning. A Novel Interpretation of the Symploke in Plato’s Sophist.Lorenzo Giovannetti - 2021 - Elenchos: Rivista di Studi Sul Pensiero Antico 42 (2):261-290.
    In this paper, I provide an interpretation of the symploke ton eidon at Soph. 259e. My goal is to show that the specific metaphysical view expressed by the interweaving of forms best accounts for Plato’s explanation of truth and falsehood. In the first section, I introduce the fundamentals of the interpretation of the greatest kinds and their functions. After that, I propose an interpretation of the assertion at 259e, the upshot of which is that the interweaving of forms only deals (...)
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  37. Harold Tarrant, Danielle A. Layne, Dirk Baltzly & François Renaud, Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Plato in Antiquity. Brill’s Companion to Classical Reception 13. Brill: Leiden/Boston 2018. ISSN 2213-1426; ISBN 978-90-04-27069-5. [REVIEW]Francisco L. Lisi - 2021 - Plato Journal 22.
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  38. The Place of Flawed Pleasures in a Good Life. A Discussion of Plato’s Philebus.Jan Szaif - 2021 - Plato Journal 22.
    The Philebus describes the “good” that enables human eudaimonia as a “mixture” in which cognitive states have to be combined with certain types of pleasure. This essay investigates how the various senses of falsehood that Plato distinguishes are applied to the question of the hedonic “ingredients” of the good. It argues that his theory allows for the inclusion of certain virtuous pleasures that are deficient with respect to truth: either qua “mixed pleasures” lacking in truth on account of the compresence (...)
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  39. Rethinking Deduction Five of Plato’s Parmenides.Thomas Tuozzo - 2021 - Plato Journal 22.
    The fifth “deduction” in Plato’s Parmenides concerns the consequences that follow for a one from the hypothesis that it is not. I argue that the subject of this hypothesis is, effectively, any Form, considered just insofar as it is one Form. The hypothesis, I further argue, does not concern any essential aspect of a Form, but rather posits its contingent non-instantation. The motion this deduction attributes to its one is a special type of motion: motion into and out of instantiation.
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  40. On Diairesis, Parallel Division, and Chiasmus: Plato’s and Aristotle’s Methods of Division.Xin Liu - 2021 - Plato Journal 22.
    In this paper, I articulate three kinds of division that Plato and Aristotle acknowledge to be proper, valid methods of division, namely, diairesis, parallel division, and chiasmus. I attempt to explain the relationship among the three kinds of division, namely, how they transform from one to another. Starting with Plato’s division of constitution in the Statesman, I illuminate that from ostensible diairesis emerges a parallel division, and the parallel division causes a cross-division to occur. Thus, the sixfold division of constitution (...)
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  41. Re-Examining the ‘Compulsion Problem’ in Plato’s Republic.Stephen Oppong Peprah - 2021 - Plato Journal 22.
    Scholars have made several attempts to understand the ‘compulsion problem’ in the Republic, namely, why Plato compels the philosopher-rulers to descend into the cave to rule. These attempts, however, fail to properly incorporate two other main instances of compulsion in the dialogue into the discussion: first, the compulsion in Plato’s concept of philosophical rulership, which requires that one can be a ruler in Kallipolis if and only if one is a product of the coincidence of philosophy and politics; second, the (...)
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  42. La fisica cosmologica platonica tra mŷthos e filosofia.Armando D'Ippolito - 2013 - Dissertation, Università Della Calabria
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  43. Plato and the Mythic Tradition in Political Thought, by Tae-Yeoun Keum.Teresa M. Bejan - forthcoming - Mind:fzab056.
    _ Plato and the Mythic Tradition in Political Thought _, by KeumTae-Yeoun. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2020. Pp. 332.
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  44. Irigaray and Plato – Unlikely Bedfellows.Mahon O'Brien - 2021 - Journal of the British Society of Phenomenology 52 (2):169-182.
    Luce Irigaray has devoted considerable energy to wrestling with some key figures in twentieth-century phenomenology. Since the topic for this special issue is the relationship between phenomenology and ancient philosophy, I plan in the following to look at Irigaray’s reading of Plato, given the centrality of carnality, sexuation and embodiment, not just to her own project, but the manner in which she invokes the same notions as part of her critique of Plato along with a number of twentieth-century phenomenologists.
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  45. Image and Original in Plato and Husserl.Burt C. Hopkins - 2021 - Studia Phaenomenologica 21:245-272.
    I compare Plato’s and Husserl’s accounts of the non-original appearance and the original with a focus on their methodologies for distinguishing between them and the phenomenological—i.e., the answer to the question of the what and how of their appearance—criteria that drive their respective methodologies. I argue that Plato’s dialectical method is phenomenologically superior to Husserl’s reflective method in the case of phantasmata that function as apparitions. Plato’s method has the capacity to discern the apparition on the basis of criteria that (...)
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  46. Dóxa and Its Ontology: Appearances in Plato's Early Dialogues.Paolo Natali - unknown
    The thesis argues that a basic ontology of dóxa and appearances can be gleaned from a careful analysis of Plato's early dialogues. To this aim, the first part discusses the main issues concerning Plato's language of dóxa and appearances, both from the linguistic and from the philosophical point of view, and argues that dóxa is best understood as judgement. The second part develops a three-stage argument: chapter 2 argues that dóxa and appearances are for Plato affections ; chapter 3 that (...)
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  47. From Natural Tendencies to Perceptual Interests and Motivation in Plato’s Timaeus.Pauliina Remes - 2021 - Rhizomata 9 (2):157-178.
    In the Timaeus, human bodies are treated as homeostatic systems, striving to maintain their natural state. This striving constitutes Plato’s explanatory framework for perception: perceptions come about when the equilibrium is shaken, and when it is restored. The article makes two main suggestions: first, that experienced pleasure and pain are grounded in non-experiential departures from and restorations of the natural state. Second, that the striving to maintain the natural state grounds perceptual interests, especially through conscious algesic and hedonic affection. Explanation (...)
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  48. Phenomenology of Illness and the Need for a More Comprehensive Approach: Lessons From a Discussion of Plato’s Charmides.Søren Harnow Klausen - 2021 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 46 (5):630-643.
    Phenomenology informs a number of contemporary attempts to give more weight to the lived experience of patients and overcome the limitations of a one-sidedly biomedical understanding of illness. Susan Bredlau has recently presented a reading of Plato’s dialogue Charmides, which portrays Socrates as a pioneer of the phenomenological approach to illness. I use a critical discussion of Bredlau’s interpretation of the Charmides to show that the phenomenology of illness also has its shortcomings and needs to be complemented by still other (...)
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  49. Who Was Callicles? Exploring Four Relationships Between Rhetoric and Justice in Plato's Gorgias.Richard Johnson-Sheehan - 2021 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 54 (3):263.
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  50. Plato, Xenophon, and the Uneven Temporalities of Ethos in the Trial of Socrates.Collin Bjork - 2021 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 54 (3):240.
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