Eros, Wisdom, and Silence [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 58 (4):911-912 (2005)
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Abstract

Dr. Rhoades explains in his opening chapter that “Plato’s constant dramatic refrain is that the healing of a tyrannical eros is necessary to political wisdom. This implies that the study of eros is the study of politics and vice versa. Thus, the Platonic dialogues that we perceive as erotic are also political, and the dialogues that we classify as political are also erotic”. The working out of this thesis in his analysis of the Symposium and the Phaedrus constitute the bulk of this work. But because Rhoades holds that Plato presents Socrates as having knowledge of eros, which is one of the greatest things, and maintains in the Seventh Letter that serious matters are in no way a spoken thing nor should they be written about, it becomes necessary to articulate where Plato and his Socrates stand on what Rhoades calls “their policy of refraining from writing or speaking about serious things” to which he gives the name “Silence.” The investigation of this issue requires a chapter on nineteenth- and twentieth-century commentators on Plato and another chapter presenting an extended reading of Plato’s Seventh Letter.

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