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Plato and the Socratic Dialogue: The Philosophical Use of a Literary Form

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This book presents a new paradigm for the interpretation of Plato's early and middle dialogues as a unified literary project, displaying an artistic plan for the expression of a unified world view. The usual assumption of a distinct "Socratic" period in Plato's work is rejected. Literary evidence is presented from other Socratic authors to demonstrate that the Socratic dialogue was a genre of literary fiction, not historical biography. Once it is recognized that the dialogue is a fictional form, there is no reason to look for the philosophy of the historical Socrates in Plato's earlier writings. We can thus read most of the so-called Socratic dialogues proleptically, interpreting them as partial expressions of the philosophical vision more fully expressed in the Phaedo and Republic. Differences between the dialogues are interpreted not as different stages in Plato's thinking but as different literary moments in the presentation of his thought. This indirect and gradual mode of exposition in the earlier dialogues is the artistic device chosen by Plato to prepare his readers for the reception of a new and radically unfamiliar view of reality: a view according to which the "real world" is an invisible realm, the source of all value and all rational structure, the natural homeland of the human soul.

Synopsis:

This book offers a new interpretation of Plato's early and middle dialogues as the expression of a unified philosophical vision. Whereas the traditional view sees the dialogues as marking successive stages in Plato's philosophical development, we may more legitimately read them as reflecting an artistic plan for the gradual, indirect and partial exposition of Platonic philosophy. The magnificent literary achievement of the dialogues can be fully appreciated only from the viewpoint of a unitarian reading of the philosophical content.

Synopsis:

This book offers a new interpretation of Plato's early and middle dialogues as the expression of a unified philosophical vision.

Table of Contents

1. Sokratikoi logoi: the literary and intellectual background of Plato's work; 2. The interpretation of Plato; 3. Socrates; 4. Plato as a minor Socratic: Ion and Hippias Minor; 5. Gorgias: Plato's manifesto for philosophy; 6. The priority of definition: from Laches to Meno; 7. Charmides and the search for beneficial knowledge; 8. Protagoras: virtue as knowledge; 9. The object of love; 10. The emergence of dialectic; 11. The presentation of the Forms; 12. Phaedrus and the limits of writing; Appendix; Bibliography.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780521648301
Author:
Kahn, Charles H.
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Author:
Charles H., Kahn
Location:
Cambridge
Subject:
Ancient
Subject:
Plato
Subject:
Ancient - Greece
Subject:
Socrates
Subject:
Imaginary conversations
Subject:
History & Surveys - Ancient & Classical
Subject:
Philosophy : General
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20040631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Pages:
456
Dimensions:
8.97x5.99x.93 in. 1.34 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » World History » Ancient Near East
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
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Plato and the Socratic Dialogue: The Philosophical Use of a Literary Form New Trade Paper
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Product details 456 pages Cambridge University Press - English 9780521648301 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , This book offers a new interpretation of Plato's early and middle dialogues as the expression of a unified philosophical vision. Whereas the traditional view sees the dialogues as marking successive stages in Plato's philosophical development, we may more legitimately read them as reflecting an artistic plan for the gradual, indirect and partial exposition of Platonic philosophy. The magnificent literary achievement of the dialogues can be fully appreciated only from the viewpoint of a unitarian reading of the philosophical content.
"Synopsis" by , This book offers a new interpretation of Plato's early and middle dialogues as the expression of a unified philosophical vision.
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