Philosophic Care in the Life of Plato’s Socrates

In Paul J. Diduch & Michael P. Harding (eds.), Socrates in the Cave: On the Philosopher’s Motive in Plato. Cham: Springer Verlag. pp. 287-314 (2018)
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Abstract

In order to better understand the meaning of Socrates’ philosophic life, Nichols explores the theme of caring that is prominent in Socrates’ Apology. What is the relation between the examined life that he says is the only one worth living for a human being and the care he claims and shows for others, especially the young of Athens? Nichols discusses Socrates’ illustrations of philosophic caretaking from the Symposium, Phaedrus, and Theaetetus, both his own caretaking activities as well as his teachings about love and generation, the art of words, and midwifery. Finally, she argues that the god who “commands” an answer to his oracular riddle, as Socrates interprets it in the Apology, serves as a model for the union of questioning and caretaking central to Socrates' life of philosophizing. Through his presentation of Socrates, Plato therefore offers an alternative to the Eleatic Stranger’s view of divine and human care in the Statesman that forms a backdrop to Socrates’ defense in the Apology.

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