Given its brevity, Plato's Meno covers an astonishingly wide array of topics: politics, education, virtue, definition, philosophical method, mathematics, the nature and acquisition of knowledge and immortality. Its treatment of these, though profound, is tantalisingly short, leaving the reader with many unresolved questions. This book confronts the dialogue's many enigmas and attempts to solve them in a way that is both lucid and sympathetic to Plato's philosophy. Reading the dialogue as a whole, it explains how different arguments are related to one another and how the interplay between characters is connected to the philosophical content of the work. In a new departure, this book's exploration focuses primarily on the content and coherence of the dialogue in its own right and not merely in the context of other dialogues, making it required reading for all students of Plato, be they from the world of classics or philosophy.
This latest BACAP Proceedings covers three key areas in ancient philosophy, ethics, method and physics. Under ethics, there are three papers on Socratic piety, Aristotelian friendship, and Augustinian-Platonic virtue. Under method, Socratic elenchos, Socratic maieutic, and Aristotelian aporematic inquiry. Under physics, life in Plato and mo
Gregory Vlastos (1907-1991) was one of the twentieth century's most influential scholars of ancient philosophy. Over a span of more than fifty years, he published essays and book reviews that established his place as a leading authority on early Greek philosophy. The two volumes that comprise Studies in Greek Philosophy include nearly forty contributions by this acknowledged master of the philosophical essay. Many of these pieces are now considered to be classics in the field. Perhaps more than any other modern scholar, Gregory Vlastos was responsible for raising standards of research, analysis, and exposition in classical philosophy to new levels of excellence. His essays have served as paradigms of scholarship for several generations. Available for the first time in a comprehensive collection, these contributions reveal the author's ability to combine the skills of a philosopher, philologist, and historian of ideas in addressing some of the most difficult problems of ancient philosophy. Volume I collects Vlastos's essays on Presocratic philosophy. Wide-ranging concept studies link Greek science, religion, and politics with philosophy. Individual studies illuminate the thought of major philosophers such as Heraclitus, Parmenides, Anaxagoras, and Democritus. A magisterial series of studies on Zeno of Elea reveals the author's power in source criticism and logical analysis. Volume II contains essays on the thought of Socrates, Plato, and later thinkers and essays dealing with ethical, social, and political issues as well as metaphysics, science, and the foundations of mathematics.
Plato's Meno and Phaedo are two of the most important works of ancient western philosophy and continue to be studied around the world. The Meno is a seminal work of epistemology. The Phaedo is a key source for Platonic metaphysics and for Plato's conception of the human soul. Together they illustrate the birth of Platonic philosophy from Plato's reflections on Socrates' life and doctrines. This edition offers new and accessible translations of both works, together with a thorough introduction that explains the arguments of the two dialogues and their place in Plato's thought.
The Lysis is one of Plato's most engaging but also puzzling dialogues; it has often been regarded, in the modern period, as a philosophical failure. The full philosophical and literary exploration of the dialogue illustrates how it in fact provides a systematic and coherent, if incomplete, account of a special theory about, and special explanation of, human desire and action. Furthermore, it shows how that theory and explanation are fundamental to a whole range of other Platonic dialogues and indeed to the understanding of the corpus as a whole. Part One offers an analysis of, or running commentary on, the dialogue. In Part Two Professors Penner and Rowe examine the philosophical and methodological implications of the argument uncovered by the analysis. The whole is rounded off by an epilogue of the relation between the Lysis and some other Platonic (and Aristotelian) texts.
Plato's Cratylus is a brilliant but enigmatic dialogue. It bears on a topic, the relation of language to knowledge, which has never ceased to be of central philosophical importance, but tackles it in ways which at times look alien to us. In this reappraisal of the dialogue, Professor Sedley argues that the etymologies which take up well over half of it are not an embarrassing lapse or semi-private joke on Plato's part. On the contrary, if taken seriously as they should be, they are the key to understanding both the dialogue itself and Plato's linguistic philosophy more broadly. The book's main argument is so formulated as to be intelligible to readers with no knowledge of Greek, and will have a significant impact both on the study of Plato and on the history of linguistic thought.
Plato stands as the fount of our philosophical tradition, being the first Western thinker to produce a body of writing that touches upon a wide range of topics still discussed by philosophers today. In a sense he invented philosophy as a distinct subject, for although many of these topics were discussed by his intellectual predecessors and contemporaries, he was the first to bring them together by giving them a unitary treatment. This volume contains fourteen essays discussing Plato's views about knowledge, reality, mathematics, politics, ethics, love, poetry, and religion. There are also analyses of the intellectual and social background of his thought, the development of his philosophy throughout his career, the range of alternative approaches to his work, and the stylometry of his writing.
Hugh H. Benson explores Plato's answer to Clitophon's challenge, the question of how one can acquire the knowledge Socrates argues is essential to human flourishing-knowledge we all seem to lack. Plato suggests two methods by which this knowledge may be gained: the first is learning from those who already have the knowledge one seeks, and the second is discovering the knowledge one seeks on one's own. The book begins with a brief look at some of the Socratic dialogues where Plato appears to recommend the former approach while simultaneously indicating various difficulties in pursuing it. The remainder of the book focuses on Plato's recommendation in some of his most important and central dialogues-the Meno, Phaedo, and Republic-for carrying out the second approach: de novo inquiry. The book turns first to the famous paradox concerning the possibility of such an inquiry and explores Plato's apparent solution. Having defended the possibility of de novo inquiry as a response to Clitophon's challenge, Plato explains the method or procedure by which such inquiry is to be carried out. The book defends the controversial thesis that the method of hypothesis, as described and practiced in the Meno, Phaedo, and Republic, is, when practiced correctly, Plato's recommended method of acquiring on one's own the essential knowledge we lack. The method of hypothesis when practiced correctly is, then, Platonic dialectic, and this is Plato's response to Clitophon's challenge. "This is a new book on a critically important topic, methodology, as it is explored in three of the most important works by one of the most important philosophers in the very long history of philosophy, written by a scholar of international stature who is working from many years of experience and currently at the top of his game. It promises to be one of the most important books ever written on this subject."-Nicholas Smith, James F. Miller Professor of Humanities, Lewis and Clark College "The thesis is bold and the results are important for our understanding of some of the most studied and controversial dialogues by and philosophical theses in Plato. In my view, Hugh Benson's examination of the method of hypothesis in the Meno and the Phaedo is a tour de force of subtle and careful scholarship: I think that this part of the book will be adopted as the standard interpretation of this basic notion in Plato. An excellent and important book."-Charles Brittain, Susan Linn Sage Professor of Philosophy and Humane Letters, Cornell University
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Exploring the question of what exactly makes good people good, Protagoras and Meno are two of the most enjoyable and accessible of all of Plato's dialogues. Widely regarded as his finest dramatic work, the Protagoras, set during the golden age of Pericles, pits a youthful Socrates against the revered sophist Protagoras, whose brilliance and humanity make him one the most interesting and likeable of Socrates' philosophical opponents, and turns their encounter into a genuine and lively battle of minds. The Meno sees an older but ever ironic Socrates humbling a proud young aristocrat as they search for a clear understanding of what it is to be a good man, and setting out the startling idea that all human learning may be the recovery of knowledge already possessed by our immortal souls.