Despite Plato's various warnings not to do so, his dialogues have been studied as systematic philosophy since antiquity. In this innovative and controversial reassessment, James Arieti argues that they should be read primarily as works of drama rather than philosophical discourse. Analyses of 18 of the 28 dialogues allow the reader to see them as integrated dramas, with all the ambiguities and uncertainties that literary works contain. As in plays generally, the arguments of particular characters cannot be seen as the (...) opinions of the author, whose views emerge only from examining each work as a whole. This literary reading shows how much of the debate about Plato's meaning has been misplaced. Instead of demonstrating that an argument is fallacious or valid, we need to ask why Plato has the particular character make the argument. Interpreting Plato achieves what no other work on Plato has attempted: to see the philosophical arguments as serving a dramatic purpose. (shrink)
Abstract:This paper is an analysis of Plato's use of the embassy to Achilles in Homer's Iliad book 9 as a literary template for Crito's mission to persuade Socrates to escape from prison in Athens. Plato's purpose is to elevate the nature of a hero by contrasting the impulsive, impetuous, mercurial temper of Achilles with the steady, thoughtful, deliberative, calmly rational argument of Socrates. Plato shows, in a volley fired at the poet, how the philosopher is more meaningfully heroic than the (...) warrior, for where the warrior aims selfishly at securing his own honor, the philosopher aims at political virtue. (shrink)
As scholars have observed and analyzed Herodotus's sophistication, the father of history has been recognized as a complex and profound moral historian. How would Herodotus's contemporaries have responded to his recounting of the past? And what enduring lessons does Herodotus have for us? James A. Arieti attempts to discover, as far as possible, Herodotus's purpose in writing, and reveals how in the History of the Persian Wars Herodotus shapes his narrative in order to advise the troubled Greek world of his (...) day. Arieti's reading is an interpretive study, exploring the philosophical, literary, and historical richness of the history--in short, examining why it is a classic. Discourses on the First Book of Herodotus is an important work for historians, classicists, and philosophers. (shrink)
This is an English translation of Plato’s dialogue of Socrates seeking the true definition of rhetoric, with an attempt to show the flaws of the sophistic orators. Includes speeches from Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian Wars that reflect Plato’s themes. Focus Philosophical Library translations are close to and are non-interpretative of the original text, with the notes and a glossary intending to provide the reader with some sense of the terms and the concepts as they were understood by Plato’s immediate (...) audience. (shrink)
Philosophy in the Ancient World: An Introduction—an intellectual history of the ancient world from the eighth century B.C.E. to the fifth century C.E., from Homer to Boethius—describes and evaluates ancient thought in its cultural setting, showing how it affected and was affected by that setting. The greatest philosophers and cultural figures and a number of lesser ones receive careful description and evaluation. Philosophy in the Ancient World is ideally suited as a supplement for undergraduate courses in Ancient Philosophy and the (...) History of Philosophy in the West. (shrink)
Arieti and Barrus' new edition of Plato's Protagoras provides a rigorously clear and accurate translation that communicates Plato's puns, metaphors, figures of speech, and other verbal techniques naturally, allowing scholars to feel the full scope of Plato's rhetoric. This new edition confronts and discusses the critical linguistic choices made in rendering difficult or obscure terms into an easily readable and understandable rendition. The commentary, introduction, glossary, and appendices elucidate the dialogue's many issues, especially those concerning rhetoric, education, and literary interpretation.
This book explores how the Hebraic and classical traditions forming our Western heritage combined from about 300 BCE to 300 CE. James Arieti investigates the principal causes of the merger in the common model of God that developed in the Greek philosophical schools, along with its ethical implications, and the shared portrayal in biblical, rabbinic, and postclassical literature of the compassionate warm character that we recognize as a mentsh.
This is a collection of 13 essays which focus on a theme to which Crossett dedicated much of his highly interdisciplinary research. Six essays concern Hamartia in Greek works by Herodotus, Plato, Euripides, and others; two deal with the concept of error in the Christian theology of Boethius and Aquinas; and five examine Hamartia in 14th-19th-century English works by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Coleridge, and George Eliot.