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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 new 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.Read more
- Provides perspectives on the presentation of philosophy within several of Plato's dialogues
- Proposes a hypothesis to explain the textual details of the hypothesis and the role of Plato within these dialogues
- Contains substantial textual evidence
Reviews & endorsements
"...Peterson’s marvelous book has provided much valuable insight concerning various passages about some of the alleged doctrines of Plato, and about Socrates’ purpose in doing philosophy.... her argument addresses very well a central underlying matter in studying Plato: the Platonic Question...."
--J. Angelo Corlett and Kimberly Unger, San Diego State University, Bryn Mawr Classical ReviewSee more reviews
"...Peterson’s book has several things to recommend it. Her central thesis is provocative, and the view she develops is original, systematic, and thoughtfully conceived. Moreover, her discussions of key passages are full of incisive and interesting observations.... the sharp observations and commentary on the dialogues that she offers throughout the book make this a worthwhile read."
--Josh Wilburn, University of Victoria, Philosophy in Review
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- Date Published: December 2013
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107667990
- length: 310 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
- weight: 0.42kg
- availability: Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer
Table of Contents
1. Opposed hypotheses about Plato's dialogues
2. Socrates in the Apology
3. Socrates in the digression of the Theaetetus: extraction by declaration
4. Socrates in the Republic, part I: speech and counter-speech
5. Socrates in the Republic, part II: philosophers, forms, Glaucon and Adeimantus
6. Socrates in the Phaedo: another persuasion assignment
7. Others' conceptions of philosophy in Euthydemus, Lovers, and Sophist
8. Socrates and Plato in Plato's dialogues
9. Socrates and philosophy
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