Interpreting Plato's Dialogues

Interpreting Plato's Dialogues

Interpreting Plato's Dialogues

Interpreting Plato's Dialogues

Excerpt

This book is the culmination of two decades of research on the intractable problem of how to approach the writings of Plato (the [Platonic Question]), based on my earlier publications on this topic ([Interpreting Plato's Dialogues,] The Classical Quarterly, 47 (1997), pp. 423–37, and [A Dialectical Interpretation of the Concept of Art as Mimesis in the Republic,] Idealistic Studies, 21 (1991), pp. 155–61) and in light of the increasing volume of work done on this central problem in Plato studies. I am grateful to Oxford University Press for the use of a revised form of [Interpreting Plato's Dialogues] as the bases of Chapters 2 and 3 of this book.

The main point of Interpreting Plato's Dialogues is to introduce readers to the preliminary problems encountered in studying Plato's writings, and to explore in depth and critically the various ways of approaching the Platonic corpus. In this way, this book is a prolegomenon to the study of Plato's writings. Although it is addressed to experts in the fields of ancient Greek philosophy and classics, it is simultaneously written such that those who do not know the Greek language can easily follow the line of argument throughout. Furthermore, no part of my main argument is contingent for its plausibility on disputes that may arise among scholars concerning the translation of some particular passage from Plato's corpus of writings. In this way, then, the line of argument set forth in this book is translationally neutral.

The problem of how to interpret Plato's dialogues dates as far back as the Academy, and Plato's interpreters ought not to forego this

John Dillon, The Heirs of Plato (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003); Harold Tar
rant, Plato's First Interpreters (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000).

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