Academic journal article Geopolitics, History and International Relations

Socrates and Philosophy in the Dialogues of Plato

Academic journal article Geopolitics, History and International Relations

Socrates and Philosophy in the Dialogues of Plato

Article excerpt

Socrates and Philosophy in the Dialogues of Plato Sandra Peterson (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities) Cambridge University Press: New York, 201 1, 293 pp. ISBN 978-0-521-19061-9

Peterson contends that Plato's Socrates sometimes makes statements that reveal the thoughts of his interlocutors and do not express his own convictions (many of the views Socrates enunciates should not attach to him, but to his receptive interlocutors). Socrates has contrasting manners of conversation in Plato's dialogues. Socrates is examining his interlocutor and so engaging in the central component of the complex activity, philosophizing (examining people who claim they care, reproaching those who under examination reveal that they do not care, and urging people to care for the most important things). Socrates's philosophizing involves challenging, examining, and reproaching, recognizing that he doesn't know anything important (his philosophizing is a multi-part activity, aiming at consistency by means of testing). Peterson puts it that the topic of Socrates' conversations is never primarily Socrates himself but the interlocutor's soul. Socrates' conversations give interlocutors the opportunity to see themselves (they have an opportunity to see themselves better as they react to Socrates). Socrates develops his interlocutors' conceptions of philosophy in ways that appeal to them. …

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