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Cross-Examining Socrates: A Defense of the Interlocutors in by John Beversluis

By John Beversluis

This ebook is a rereading of the early dialogues of Plato from the viewpoint of the folk with whom Socrates engages in debate. current reviews are completely dismissive of the interlocutors and decrease them to the prestige of mere mouthpieces for perspectives which are hopelessly stressed or demonstrably fake. This ebook takes interlocutors heavily and treats them as real highbrow competitors whose perspectives are frequently extra defensible than commentators have in general notion.

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Laws 631c–d). The two traditional components of paideia are cultural education (mousikê) and physical training (gumnastikê) (Rep. 376e, 441e; Laws 795d, 672e; cf. 764c). Physical training includes athletic and military exercises, which rouses and strengthens our spiritedness, while cultural education (mainly poetry, literature, and music) tempers spiritedness and inculcates the norms in the light of which the two tendencies are to be regulated (Rep. g. 377c–378e) that the poetry that dominates the traditional curriculum provides unsuitable norms for this task.

Many 21 ANCIENT ETHICS readers are puzzled by or sceptical of this disavowal,54 which is puzzling if we take inquiry into excellence to be distinct from inquiry into the good life. Doesn’t Socrates at least think he knows that virtue is a kind of knowledge? We have seen, however, that he does not credit Nicias and Critias with the requisite knowledge on the basis of such claims. ’ investigates a person’s claim to have knowledge of good and bad. If all a person can say to substantiate his claim to have this knowledge is that one needs knowledge of good and bad in order to live well, this is no evidence that he has such knowledge.

Laws 634e). Without a firm and stable commitment to the ethical truths under examination, and without proficiency at dialectic (as practised in geometry, astronomy, and the other intellectual disciplines of the philosophical curriculum), frustration at the difficulty of finding the rationale behind such common precepts of justice as ‘return what you’ve borrowed’ or ‘keep your promises’ can lead to doubt of the precepts themselves. It might open one up to persuasion by the arguments of those who criticize justice as ‘another’s good’, thus leading to the amoralism and scepticism that were popularly feared to be the results of the kinds of inquiry inaugurated by intellectuals in the 5th century, and that led to the charges against Socrates.

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