Socrates and Philosophy in the Dialogues of Plato

Cambridge University Press (2011)

Abstract

In Plato's Apology, Socrates says he spent his life examining and questioning people on how best to live, while avowing that he himself knows nothing important. Elsewhere, however, for example in Plato's Republic, Plato's Socrates presents radical and grandiose theses. In this book Sandra Peterson offers a hypothesis which explains the puzzle of Socrates' two contrasting manners. She argues that the apparently confident doctrinal Socrates is in fact conducting the first step of an examination: by eliciting his interlocutors' reactions, his apparently doctrinal lectures reveal what his interlocutors believe is the best way to live. She tests her hypothesis by close reading of passages in the Theaetetus, Republic and Phaedo. Her provocative conclusion, that there is a single Socrates whose conception and practice of philosophy remain the same throughout the dialogues, will be of interest to a wide range of readers in ancient philosophy and classics.

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Sandra Peterson
University of Minnesota

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Citations of this work

Plato.Richard Kraut - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Socratic Methods.Eric Brown - forthcoming - In Nicholas D. Smith, Russell E. Jones & Ravi Sharma (eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Socrates, 2nd ed. London, UK:
Plato's Socrates and His Conception of Philosophy.Eric Brown - forthcoming - In David Ebrey & Richard Kraut (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Plato, 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 117-145.

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