From my ongoing "Metalogical Plato" project. The aim of the diagram is to make reasonably intuitive how the Socratic elenchos (the logic of refutation applied to candidate formulations of virtues or ruling knowledges) looks and works as a whole structure. This is my starting point in the project, in part because of its great familiarity and arguable claim to being the inauguration of western philosophy; getting this point less wrong would have broad and deep consequences, including for philosophy’s self-understanding. -/- (...) (i.) is the first pass at elenchos in which the Socratic interlocutor does not reflect on knowledge being the crux of the problem. (ii.) is the second, rarer, reflective pass in which they are, making the investigation explicitly about knowledge. Its centrality in the Charmides makes that neglected dialogue of superlative importance. This structure is also the gateway through which the discussion/dialectic crosses into the Agathology (discussion of the form of the good) at Republic 505. -/- The problem of elenchos, then, grasped as a whole structure, is that it seems that knowledge can neither satisfactorily be included in nor excluded from its own scope. The development of the ti esti (“what is ---?”) question leads to the introduction of knowledge into its own scope (i. implicitly, as goodness contrasted with blind rule-following ii. explicitly qua knowledge) while the development of the dual peri tinos (“----about what?) question leads to K’s elimination from its own scope. The introductions are motivated to avoid contradiction, but produce regress; the eliminations are motivated to avoid regress, but produce contradiction. In scholarship, and in the history of philosophy, the ti esti question is universally recognized, to the point of being identified with philosophy’s origin and essence; the peri tinos question is neglected textually and never recognized as the equal dual to the ti esti. This, I claim, has blocked the development of a nontrivial logical appreciation of what Plato's Socrates is up to. (One rather disastrous effect of this neglect is taking Aristotle as the beginning of the development of logic, rather than, correctly, for the beginning of logic’s fatal separation from mathematics and dialectic.) -/- Further, because of this monopticism of the ti esti, the function of consistency in the elenchos has not been understood, even with respect to the ti esti. The ti esti is actually in search of completeness, given a norm of consistency; the peri tinos is in search of consistency, given a norm of completeness. Only appreciating the two questions as dual allows space in the structure to clarify these different orientations relative to consistency. (And, dually, to completeness, whose function in the elenchos is generally entirely missed by scholars and relegated to discussions of eros; it's not out of place there, of course, but its significance is secured here.) Recognizing the duality of the ti esti and peri tinos questions is thus the royal road, in the Socratic-Platonic context, to catching sight of what we post-Cantorians can recognize as the metalogical duality of consistency and completeness. (The salutary disruptive effects of this Plato-Cantor proximity have, of course, been traced in complementary ways by Badiou.) -/- Note that the diagram is supposed to provide a relatively accessible orientation, not to stand on its own, and certainly not to be the last word on any subject. An important qualification (telegraphed in the previous paragraph) is that what elenchos shows is not finally circular or paradoxical, though the problem first presents as such (stubbornly, obdurately, as "difficult" Plato's Socrates always says with characteristic understatement). What is depicted here is meant, at a first pass, to be the shape of that first presentation, the form of the problem of elenchos, rather than of its solution. It's not an accident that this problem strongly resembles "Russell's paradox" (not Russell's not a paradox.) Problem is to solution as RP is to the diagonal theorems. (shrink)
I defend the Stoicizing view that Socrates in the Euthydemus really means what he says when he says that wisdom is the only good for a human being. By taking the deniers' case seriously and extending my Stoicizing interpretation to the Euthydemus as a whole, I aim to show how the dialogue calls into question three prominent assumptions that the deniers make, assumptions that reach far beyond the Euthydemus and that are made by more than just the deniers. First, the (...) deniers misread Socrates' argument that wisdom is the only good because they misunderstand what makes a protreptic argument successful. I show that the Euthydemus both raises a difficult question about reasons one might have for radical change in view and suggests a sophisticated answer. Second, the deniers' philosophical doubts about the Stoic claim rest on a mistaken interpretation of Socrates' ethical theory. I show that the Euthydemus offers a more plausible picture of Socratic eudaimonism that accommodates the Stoic claim. Third, when the deniers rely on evidence outside the Euthydemus to cast doubt on the Stoicizing reading, they rely on a dubious methodological assumption about how to read Plato's Socratic dialogues. I argue that the Euthydemus calls for a different approach. (shrink)
Ethical philosophy was born in the gyms of Athens. This book returns a body of abstract thought to its original context, to understand how training for the body sparked training for the mind. We will use archaeology to reconstruct the reality of ancient athletics and literary texts to critique philosophers’ idealized versions of this reality. We will explore a cluster of questions about the nature of happiness (eudaimonia), the role of human excellence (arete) in this life and what forms of (...) training (askesis) may help up secure these goals. Along the way, we will join philosophers in attempting to define individual types of excellence: courage, moderation, justice, wisdom. We will think about the role of friendship and erotic love in a well lived life, and we will evaluate concepts of mental “health” and strategies for spiritual “exercise”. While our society tends to separate the body and the mind, recent work in Positive Psychology is reaffirming many insights of Greek philosophy through modern empirical study. If Philosophy at the Gym sounds like a contradiction, then that’s where its value lies: it invites readers to wrestle with central questions of ancient ethics, while providing toeholds in the current science of purpose, mindset and flow. This introduction to Greek ethics will be useful for those starting or about to start college or anyone else looking for a framework to think about what they want out of life and what they’re doing about it. (shrink)
Usually thoughts are not in isolation but in varing degrees have interrelations with each other. With regard to this historical fact as a classist want to explore the reception of a few medieval Arabic texts and writers of Socrates available teachings about politics.
This selective and opinionated overview of English-language scholarship on the philosophical method(s) of Plato's Socrates discusses whether this Socrates has any expertise or method, how he examines others and why, and how he exhorts others to care about wisdom and the state of their soul.
This is a study of Plato's use of the character Socrates to model what philosophy is. The study focuses on the Apology, and finds that philosophy there is the love of wisdom, where wisdom is expertise about how to live, of the sort that only gods can fully have, and where Socrates loves wisdom in three ways, first by honoring wisdom as the gods' possession, testing human claims to it, second by pursuing wisdom, examining himself as he examines others, to (...) achieve a more well justified set of beliefs about how to live, and third by trying to live wisely, insofar as he can, which includes exhorting others to care about living wisely than anything else. The essay also includes some suggestions about how Plato criticizes and revises this model of philosophy outside the Apology. (shrink)
Polus admires orators for the tyrannical power they have. However, Socrates argues that orators and tyrants lack power worth having: the ability to satisfy one's wishes or wants (boulēseis). He distinguishes wanting from thinking best, and grants that orators and tyrants do what they think best while denying that they do what they want. His account is often thought to involve two conflicting requirements: wants must be attributable to the wanter from their own perspective (to count as their desires), but (...) wants must also be directed at objects that are genuinely good (in order for failure to satisfy them to matter). We offer an account of wanting as reflective, coherent desire, which allows Socrates to satisfy both desiderata. We then explain why he thinks that orators and tyrants want to act justly, though they do greater injustices than anyone else and so frustrate their own wants more than anyone else. (shrink)
In this chapter, I offer an overview of current scholarly debates on Plato's Lysis. I also argue for my own interpretation of the dialogue. In the Lysis, Socrates argues that all love is motivated by the desire for one’s own good. This conclusion has struck many interpreters as unattractive, so much so that some attempt to reinterpret the dialogue, such that it either does not offer an account of interpersonal love, or that it offers an account on which love is, (...) in fact, an other-regarding state. Others, notably Vlastos, criticize Socrates’ theory as implausibly and repellently egoistic. I maintain, against the first group, that Socrates is indeed offering an egoistic theory of love. I argue, against the second, that, while Socrates’ theory may be repellent, it possesses considerable explanatory power and avoids certain weaknesses which infect contemporary approaches to love. (shrink)
These dramatized, unabridged versions of Plato's Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, and Phaedo present the trial, imprisonment, and execution of Socrates, who Phaedo said was the "wisest, best, and most righteous person I have ever known."In the Euthyphro Socrates approaches the court where he will be tried on charges of atheism and corrupting the young. On the way he meets Euthyphro, an expert in religious matters. Socrates challenges Euthyphro's claim that ethics should be based on religion.In the Apology Socrates presents his own (...) defense. He explains why he has devoted his life to challenging the most powerful and important people, a process that has generated great resentment and has led to his indictment. He insists that instead of being punished he should be rewarded for his services to his fellow citizens. Socrates fails in his attempt to avoid the death sentence, but his friend Crito has bribed the guards offers him a way to escape. In the third dialogue Crito tries to persuade Socrates that it is right to flee from the unjust sentence imposed on him. In the course of their conversations they probe the foundations of civil and moral law, and treat issues that are as relevant to our time as to theirs.The Phaedo presents Socrates' final conversation. What will become of him once he drinks the poison prescribed for his execution? Socrates and his friends examine several arguments to prove that the death of the body does not kill the soul. (shrink)
Socratis et Socraticorum Reliquiae Source presents the transcription of the collection of testimonies about Socrates and Socratics (Socratis et Socraticorum Reliquiae) originally edited by G. Giannantoni. -/- The site enable users to access texts, exploit resources, and perform queries. Notes, additional information and a legenda for a better access to the texts are also available. -/- The publication is peer-reviewed and aspire to meet the highest quality standards. The content of the site and its internet addresses are stable and can (...) be freely consulted and used for scholarly purposes. -/- The site will be soon open for semantically enrich the data published on the websites. A use of peer-to-peer (p2p) networking will also provide an efficient and engaging collaborative work space. (shrink)
This article analyses the role of discussion in university studies in the context of Socrates’ philosophy of education. The article begins with a discussion of the relevance and continuity of Socrates’ ideas on philosophical education in the contemporary educational space and highlights the importance of Socratic discussion in university studies. It is argued that discussion contributes to the development of one of the most essential skills of the 21st century, i.e. critical thinking, which encompasses the totality of analytical, social and (...) personal skills. The paper also points out that Socratic pedagogy of discussions and humanistic education contribute to organising student-centred studies and enable the consolidation of lifelong learning. These competencies and skills are becoming a priority educational objective in the current age when knowledge, technology and the world are constantly changing and renewing.The second part of the paper deals with the specificities and polarities of the discussion process. The distinction between authentic and inauthentic discussion is made in the context of Socrates versus the Sophists. Much attention is paid to highlighting the difference between authentic discussion and inauthentic one as pseudo-discussion to provide pathways and guidelines for the implementation of authentic dialogue in the study process. (shrink)
Este artículo pretende ofrecer un análisis profundo y documentado del libro La vida privada y pública de Sócrates, escrito por René Kraus y que ha sido publicado de nuevo por la editorial Arpa. El objetivo es presentar algunas consideraciones críticas sobre: 1) la presente y nueva edición y sus méritos o defectos; 2) el autor ¾el difunto periodista austriaco René Kraus y su biobibliografía¾; 3) los traductores ¾Miguel de Hernani/Miguel de Amilibia¾; 4) los contenidos del libro y 5) su recepción, (...) tanto en inglés como en español, con el fin de ponderar sus cualidades y naturaleza. Aparecen algunas figuras culturales importantes en ese proceso. Por último, se presentan las conclusiones, junto con recomendaciones para el editor y el prologuista. (shrink)
The paper proposes (1.) a non-standard interpretation of the proverbial expression “deuteros plous” by giving a fresh look to Phaedo, 99c9-d1. Then (2.) it proceeds to the philosophical problem raised in this passage according to this interpretation, that is, the problem of the “hypothesis” or the “unproved principle”. It indicates finally (3.) the kernel of truth contained in the standard Interpretation and it concludes with some remarks on the “weakness of the logoi”.
No curso A hermenêutica do sujeito, Michel Foucault propõe-se a refletir sobre duas concepções de filosofia que encontraram respectivamente nas figuras de Sócrates e de Descartes seu ponto de ancoragem. Por um lado, o “cuidado de si”, que compreende o exercício filosófico como um modo de vida que articula as dimensões epistêmicas, éticas, políticas e estéticas como constante construção de si; por outro lado, o “conhecimento de si”, que circunscreve a filosofia ao caráter epistêmico de uma busca da verdade do (...) sujeito. A comparação e a contraposição dessas duas formas de visar a filosofia, o sujeito e a verdade, são animadas por questionamentos que partem da atualidade à qual pertence Foucault e diante da qual se posiciona ao defender uma “filosofia crítica” do presente que promova a criação de novas formas de existência individuais e coletivas capazes de modificar a nós mesmos, sujeitos modernos. (shrink)
In several dialogues Socrates criticizes negative comments made against a sophist or the sophists. I show that Socrates’ target really is the sophists’ detractor, not the sophists themselves. From these passages I draw two broader conclusions. First, Plato’s defence of Socrates’ memory sometimes relies on creating a parallel between sophists and Socrates, rather than distinguishing between them and him. Secondly, Socratic philosophical practice has a widely neglected feature: examining and correcting the criticism made by his interlocutors against others.
Recently, some scholars have authoritatively claimed the idea that _Men. _97e2-98b5 is a strong criticism of any epistemological perspective based on an additive model of knowledge, in which knowledge is conceived as a form of opinion with the addition of something else. In this article I try to show that Plato's aim is not to criticize this model of knowledge but to pose, in the form of a hypothesis which has to be verified in other texts, the main problem of (...) his epistemology: is the _logos_, or rather the _aitias_ _logismos_, able to bind opinions so firmly together that they are transformed into that kind of infallible knowledge that is the _episteme_? In order to justify this interpretation of _Men._ 97e2-98b5, I try to provide a new reading of the meaning of the relationship between this passage of the dialogue and some topics exposed in the previous sections of the text (such as the maieutic experiment to which Socrates subjects Meno's slave, the Recollection doctrine and the method by hypothesis). (shrink)
What makes a good leader? This paper takes Socrates in Plato’s early dialogues as the starting point for developing three leadership skills that are still relevant today: being on a mission, thinking in questions, and thinking like a beginner. I arrive at these Socratic leadership skills through an interdisciplinary approach to Plato’s early dialogues that puts Socrates in conversation with a diversity of thinkers: modern-day business leaders and leadership coaches, educators, Zen Buddhists, and art historians. I show that Socratic leadership (...) skills are valued in today’s business world, and I propose concrete exercises that can help anyone acquire these skills. In contrast to Platonic leadership—the leadership skills of the philosopher king—Socratic leadership skills have not been the focus of much investigation. This paper aims to advance a scholarly conversation about Socrates as a leadership model. (shrink)
In the Gorgias, Socrates claims that painful bodily punishment like flogging can improve certain wrongdoers. I argue that we can take Socrates’ endorsement seriously, even on the standard interpretation of Socratic motivational intellectualism, according to which there are no non-rational desires. I propose that flogging can epistemically improve certain wrongdoers by communicating that wrongdoing is bad for oneself. In certain cases, this belief cannot be communicated effectively through philosophical dialogue.
This article addresses the unusually elaborate dramatic context in Plato’s Protagoras and effect of sophistry on democratic Athens. Because Socrates evokes Odysseus’ κατάβασις in the Odyssey to describe the sophists in Callias’ house (314c-316b), I propose that Socrates depicts the sophists as bodiless shades residing in Hades. Like the shades dwelling in Hades with no connection to embodied humans on Earth, the sophists in the Protagoras are non-Athenians with no consideration for the democratic body of the Athenian πόλις. I conclude (...) that sophistry can be detrimental to Athenian democracy because it can produce education inequality founded on wealth inequality. (shrink)
En el marco de los estudios actuales sobre la relación entre teoría y práctica de mímesis en Platón, el objetivo es indagar la caracterización [ethopoiía] platónica de Sócrates. Para tal fin, por un lado, se analiza la tematización de la caracterización en los Progymnásmata para mostrar su función y el lugar que ocupa Platón en esta tradición. Por otro lado, se estudian algunos pasajes clave de Apología de Sócrates y República I para echar luz sobre la composición narrativa, mímesis, y, (...) a través de ella, intentar dar cuenta del quehacer filosófico en la caracterización socrática. La hipótesis es que la opción por el diálogo está ligada no solo al modo de comprender, sino también al modo de transmitir el saber filosófico, y que, en tal marco, el personaje Sócrates encarna un tipo de saber hacer o disposicional. Este tipo de saber no sería reductible a proposiciones, de manera que la opción por el diálogo cumpliría una función no meramente estilística, sino fundamentalmente propedéutico-filosófica. (shrink)
This article considers the depictions of imperial officials and their interactions with Christian communities in the genre of ecclesiastical history. It focuses on one particular episode where the emperor Valens ordered his praetorian prefect Domitius Modestus to disperse an assembly of Nicene Christians at the martyrium of Thomas at Edessa. The four fifth-century Nicene ecclesiastical historians Rufinus, Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret offer the same basic narrative of the events which led to the prefect’s abandonment of his mission. Yet they construe (...) the causes and implications of his reluctance to persecute in strikingly different ways. These adaptations reveal their differing views of the role of imperial officials in matters concerning the church and, more broadly, of what Christian communities might expect from the imperial state in a Christian empire. (shrink)
O elenchus é o método pelo qual Sócrates evidencia as incoerências entre a tese de seu interlocutor e seu sistema de crenças. Na visão de Gregory Vlastos, o método utilizado por Sócrates no Teeteto não é elêntico porque ele não visa a refutação direta da tese inicial de Teeteto. Argumentando contra a visão de Vlastos defendo que Sócrates constrói ao final da primeira parte do diálogo objeções fundamentadas em premissas aceitas por Teeteto que culminam no objetivo clássico do elenchus. Além (...) disso, argumento que mesmo que Sócrates não tivesse de fato refutado a tese original de Teeteto, ainda poderíamos defender que o método é elêntico, pois Teeteto consente com as premissas que igualam sua tese a tese de Protágoras. (shrink)
This study is concerned with a crucial passage in Metaphysics Z.11. After having established that only the formal parts of an object are stated in its definition and thus constitute its essence, Aristotle warns us against the process of separating the formal from the material parts. In doing so, he rejects the comparison proposed by Socrates the Younger. Mathematicals cannot be equated to natural objects because some material parts must be included in accounting for the latter but not in accounting (...) for the former. The goal of this article is to understand to what extent matter is essential to an object by examining the content of Aristotle’s criticism. My reconstruction shows that Aristotle is still committed to a formalist view. Socrates’ comparison is rejected because it removes matter not from the definitions of the subjects of metaphysics, but from the definitions of their attributes. (shrink)
The Theaetetus’s midwife metaphor contains a puzzling feature, often referred to as the “midwife paradox”: the physical midwives must have first given birth to their own children in order to have the necessary experience to practice their art. Socrates, however, seems to disavow having any children of his own and thus appears to be unqualified to practice philosophical midwifery. In this paper, I aim to dissolve the midwife paradox by arguing that it rests on problematic assumptions, namely, that Socrates never (...) gave birth to a child at all or the child of wisdom in particular, and that he is primarily an intellectual midwife. I offer a new interpretation of Socratic midwifery, arguing that what Socrates may have birthed in the past which qualifies him for midwifery is his virtuous recognition of his ignorance, and that this “epistemic virtue” is also the proximate goal of Socratic midwifery. (shrink)
Abstract:There is an inconsistency in the Apology between Socrates' claim to ignorance and his numerous knowledge claims. Scholars have attempted to dispel the inconsistency by weakening the claim to ignorance, the knowledge claims, or both. The author suggests a different tack. He argues that the inconsistency is intentional on Plato's part as a creative means of motivating for the conclusion that the life of inquiry—the examined life—is the best human life. Surprisingly, the claim that said life is best is not (...) a knowledge claim in any ordinary sense. Rather, the claim rests, for Plato, on the awareness of the absence of any worthwhile knowledge. In other words, the claim rests on the claim to ignorance. So too for any subsequent claims which, in turn, rest upon it. Why the claim to ignorance is not a claim like any other is the heart of the article. (shrink)
The contrast between the content of Alcibiades’ speech and the character delivering it is a well-known interpretative difficulty of the last speech of Plato’s Symposium, for Alcibiades reveals important truths about Socrates and his philosophical practice, yet he seems to be the least suited man to do so and praise philosophy. Offering a more positive account of Alcibiades as a character in the Platonic dialogues, I argue that this difficulty can be solved provided one takes into account the political agenda (...) of the Symposium. (shrink)