Essays on the Philosophy of Socrates

Essays on the Philosophy of Socrates

Essays on the Philosophy of Socrates

Essays on the Philosophy of Socrates


This anthology offers essays representing the range and diversity of that vast literature, including historical and philosophical essays, essays devoted to a single Platonic dialogue, and recent articles devoted to the Socratic method, Socratic epistemology, and Socratic ethics.


The study of Socratic philosophy has blossomed since the publication in 1971 of Gregory Vlastos ' The Philosophy of Socrates: A Collection of Critical Essays. A number of important books have appeared. To name a few, there is Terence Irwin Plato's Moral Theory, Gerasimos Santas' Socrates, Richard Kraut Socrates and the State, Thomas Brickhouse and Nicholas Smith Socrates on Trial, and Vlastos' own Socrates, Ironist and Moral Philosopher (in press at the time of this writing). These books have spawned, and been spawned by, a vast body of literature in journals. Nevertheless, to date there has been no attempt to make any of this exhaustive research more readily accessible. In this volume I attempt to do just that. Restricting myself to the two decades since the publication of Vlastos' collection, I have attempted to gather together essays of the highest quality, representing the range and diversity of this vast literature. In the pages which follow, the reader will find both essays devoted to a single Platonic dialogue as well as those devoted to a number of dialogues, essays concerned with the Socratic method, Socratic epistemology, and Socratic ethics, plus historical and philosophical essays. I only wish there was room to include more.

In the interest of making this diverse research as accessible as possible to the nonscholar, I have transliterated all of the Greek (accents have been omitted), appended to each essay a short list of suggested further readings, and provided a brief summary of the arguments of each of the essays in my general introduction. Finally, for the scholar I have included an extensive bibliography of Socratic research covering the last two decades as well as an index locorum.

I owe a debt of gratitude to a number of people who in various ways have provided much needed assistance. I am grateful to Gregory Vlastos and Geoffrey Sayre-McCord for encouraging me to take on this project; to Nicholas Smith, Mark McPherran, Gregory Vlastos, and two anonymous reviewers for their suggestions concerning which essays to include; to Cynthia Read for her patience and encouragement during the preparation of this volume; and to the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oklahoma--in particular to Neera Badhwar and Monte Cook for reading drafts of the introduction, to Catherine Blaha for her flawless and timely clerical assistance and Mark Hulbert for the preparation of the index locorum. I am especially grateful to Roslyn Weiss, who always seemed willing to drop everything to offer encouragement, suggestions, and criticism. All remaining mistakes and instances of poor judgment are, of course, my own. Finally, I would like to thank Ann and Thomas Benson for their patience and love.

Norman, Okla. H.B.

March 1991 . . .

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