Philosophizing with Brecht and Plato: On Socratic Courage

in Philosophizing Brecht
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Abstract

This essay does two things. First, it provides a framework for understanding Brecht within analytic philosophy by demonstrating how his notion of gestus can position him within philosophical discourse. Second, it provides a case study of Brecht’s adapted story, “Socrates Wounded” using that framework. This case study examines the story in relation to Plato’s accounts of Socrates fighting at the battle of Delium with specific attention to the theme of courage. It finds that while both agree that courage is found in the wisdom to do the morally just action, they disagree on the nature of that wisdom and on what acts can be considered morally justified. It also finds that while both authors insist on a moral imperative to act courageously the respective imperatives have different roots and that the two thinkers disagree as to whether or not one must be steadfast in order to be brave.