Plato's Charmides

Plato's Charmides : Positive Elenchus in a 'Socratic' Dialogue

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This book argues that Plato's Charmides presents a unitary but incomplete argument intended to lead its readers to substantive philosophical insights. Through careful, contextually sensitive analysis of Plato's arguments concerning the virtue of sophrosyne, Thomas M. Tuozzo brings the dialogue's lines of inquiry together, carrying Plato's argument forward to a substantive conclusion. This innovative reading of Charmides reverses misconceptions about the dialogue that stemmed from an impoverished conception of Socratic elenchus and unquestioned acceptance of ancient historiography's demonization of Critias. It views Socratic argument as a tool intended to move its addressee to substantive philosophical insights. It also argues, on the basis of recent historical research, a review of the fragments of Critias' oeuvre and Plato's use of Critias in other dialogues, that Plato had a nuanced, generally positive view of Critias. Throughout, readers are alerted to textual difficulties whose proper resolution is crucial to understanding Plato's often abstract more

Product details

  • Electronic book text | 346 pages
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1139119478
  • 9781139119474

About Thomas M. Tuozzo

Thomas M. Tuozzo is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Kansas. He holds a PhD in Classics and Philosophy from Yale University, and his articles have been published in journals including the Journal of the History of Philosophy, Phronesis, Apeiron and more

Table of contents

Part I. Approaching the Dialogue: 1. Methodological preliminaries; 2. Historical and cultural context; Part II. Approaching the Argument: 3. The opening scene; 4. Dialectic in the Charmides; Part III. The Dialectical Investigation: 5. Sophrosyne and its value; 6. Sophrosyne as self-knowledge: two reformulations; 7. Possibility of self-knowledge: Critian formulation; 8. Possibility of self-knowledge: Socratic formulation; 9. Return of the value question; 10. Socrates' final speech and closing scene; 11. Sophrosyne, knowledge, and the more

Review quote

'This is the best book in English on Plato's Charmides ... This volume has taught me much.' David J. Murphy, Classical World 'This is an original and superbly argued study. Highly recommended.' Choice 'By far the greatest virtue of Tuozzo's book is his insistence on taking the debate into entirely new terrain. Readers who seek a fresh perspective on the Charmides will greatly benefit from grappling with his immensely novel and clever arguments.' Notre Dame Philosophical Reviewsshow more

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