Trials of Reason

Trials of Reason : Plato and the Crafting of Philosophy

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Scholarship on Plato's dialogues persistently divides its focus between the dramatic or literary and the philosophical or argumentative dimensions of the texts. But this hermeneutic division of labor is naive, for Plato's arguments are embedded in dramatic dialogues and developed through complex, largely informal exchanges between literary characters. Consequently, it is questionable how readers can even attribute arguments and theses to the author himself. The answer to this question lies in transcending the scholarly divide and integrating the literary and philosophical dimensions of the texts. This is the task of Trials of Reason. The study focuses on a set of fourteen so-called early dialogues, beginning with a methodological framework that explains how to integrate the argumentation and the drama in these texts. Unlike most canonical philosophical works, the early dialogues do not merely express the results of the practice of philosophy. Rather, they dramatize philosophy as a kind oshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 296 pages
  • 154.94 x 238.76 x 12.7mm | 544.31g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 4 line illustrations
  • 0195327322
  • 9780195327328
  • 1,987,210

Review quote

Trails of Reason is a provocative and original book... its complexity is a testament to its author's admirable ambition. * Jenny Bryan, Scholia Reviews *show more

About David Wolfsdorf

David Wolfsdorf received a doctorate in Classics from the University of Chicago in 1997. He currently teaches in the Philosophy Department at Temple University where he specializes in Ancient Greek philosophy.show more

Table of contents

INTERPRETATION: ; Introduction; ; Interpreting Plato; ; The Political Culture of Plato's Early Dialogues; ; Dialogue; ; Character and History; ; The Mouthpiece Principle; ; Forms of Evidence ; DESIRE: ; Socrates as an Erotic Figure; ; The Subjectivist Conception of Desire; ; Instrumental and Irrational Desires; ; Desire in the Critique of Akrasia; ; Interpreting Lysis; ; The Deficiency Conception of Desire; ; Inathentic Friendship; ; The Three-Dimensional Conception of Desire; ; Anti-Philosophical Desires ; KNOWLEDGE: ; Excellence as Wisdom; ; The Epistemic Unity of Excellence; ; Dunamis and Techne; ; Goodness and Form; ; The Epistemological Priority of Definitional Knowledge; ; Ordinary Ethical Knowledge ; METHOD: ; The Socratic Fallacy; ; Socrates' Pursuit of Definitions; ; Hupothesis; Two Postulates; ; The Geometrical Illustration; ; Geometrical Analysis; ; The Method of Reassuring from a Postulate; ; Elenchus and Hupothesis; ; Knowledge and Aitia; ; F-conditions; ; Cognitive Security ; APORIA: ; Forms of Aporia; ; Dramatic Aporia; ; The Example of Charmides; ; Charmides as Autobiography; ; The Politics of Sophrosune; ; Critias' Philotimia; ; Self-Knowledge and the Knowledge of Knowledge; ; Knowledge of Knowledge and Knowledge of the Good Philosophy in the Polis ; APPENDICES: ; List of Commonly Used Greek Words; ; The Irony of Socrates ; BIBLIOGRAPHYshow more

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