By Zdravko Planinc
The major students represented in Politics, Philosophy, Writing research six key Platonic dialogues and crucial of the epistles, relocating from Plato's such a lot public or political writings to his such a lot philosophical. the gathering is meant to illustrate the solidarity of Plato's matters, the literary caliber of his writing, and the indispensable relation of shape and content material in his paintings. Taken jointly, those essays exhibit the consistency of Plato's realizing of the political paintings, the paintings of writing, and the philosophical lifestyles. reviews emphasizing the cohesion of Plato's lifework have given means in contemporary scholarship to really expert and overspecialized examinations of person dialogues. whereas all of the participants to Politics, Philosophy, Writing reports one textual content, his or her paintings is orientated towards illuminating the entire of Plato's undertaking. all the essays is an cutting edge contribution to scholarship on its subject; as a suite, they represent a special examining of Plato's political philosophy. Plato students have more often than not divided themselves into camps: those that be aware of the analytic or logical points of the dialogues, and those that be aware of the literary-critical beneficial properties. in a single camp are the philologists and classicists, and within the different, the writers of creative interpretive commentaries. via heading off differences among Plato the poet and Plato the thinker, Politics, Philosophy, Writing permits a deeper exploration of the comprehensiveness of Plato's theoretical imaginative and prescient and illuminates the lasting problem of his realizing of the human situation.
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Extra info for Politics, Philosophy, Writing: Plato's Art of Caring for Souls
D). The second is in Alcibiades’ description of the endurance of Socrates shown at the battle of Potidaea, when he stood absorbed in thought from dawn until the morning of the next day (c–d). Socrates is thus presented as a man who paid careful attention to himself and who had strengthened this faculty of attention into his formidable elenctic instrument. The active nous, the sum of the active powers of the soul, thus may be seen as the prime tool of soulcare and soulcraft. At the beginning of an individual’s development it is weak and stands under the thrall of the inner automatisms of the pathic mass.
There would seem to be absolute limits to the assertion of human power over nature and over other humans. Yet, the human will to power appears to recognize no such limits. Those who compete for power in war generally accept only defeat as the limit to their striving. The political careers and the fate of both Charmides and Critias would bear out this paradox of the will to power. Socratic education and soulcare spectacularly failed in the case of young Charmides. Not only was he not persuaded by Socrates enough so as not to follow his cousin Critias in the quest for tyranny, but he also became one of the vilest and most notorious defenders of oligarchic privilege.
He seems to believe that the main benefit of Socratic education is a sharpening of the powers of dianoia (c–d). However, he does not grasp that the Socratic elenchus aims at shaping a much deeper stratum of the soul than merely the level of discursive reasoning. The stratum of soul thus reached is one that contains what we might call the unconscious and subconscious desires, tendencies, volitions, opinions, and attitudes. And Socrates might agree to continue with Charmides because of his already proved ability to place Charmides in touch with his own deeper selves, which Charmides manifests in involuntary and automatic movements when subjected to questioning (c –, a–b, e, b–).