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Abstract

Bryson of Heraclea and Polyxenus have received little attention from scholars. Sources on these philosophers are few and difficult to interpret. However, they present interesting dialectical arguments that concern some of Plato’s and Aristotle’s most important theoretical elaborations: Bryson’s arguments on the issue of semantic ambiguity were explicitly discussed by Aristotle, and Polyxenus is credited with a particular version of the Third Man argument. My purpose in this paper is to reconstruct the historical background of these two philosophers and to analyze the philosophical implications of the arguments that the ancient tradition ascribes to them.

In: Phronesis
In: Proclus' On the Hieratic Art according to the Greeks
In: Proclus' On the Hieratic Art according to the Greeks
In: Proclus' On the Hieratic Art according to the Greeks
In: Proclus' On the Hieratic Art according to the Greeks

Abstract

In the last part of the Gorgias, to build the debate between Socrates and Callicles, Plato reemploys thematic and structural elements of the agon of Euripides’ Antiope between the two brothers Zéthos and Amphion, sons of Antiope and builders of the Theban walls. The importance of the reprise, made explicit by Plato, leads one to wonder about its meaning in the dialogue, since the latter contains a severe rebuttal of tragedy, which it criticises as a form of rhetoric. To answer this question, we will study how the agon of the Antiope is integrated into the plot of the Gorgias to highlight, in a kind of dramatic crescendo, the limits of the elenchos and the stakes of the choice of philosophical life, which implies a new heroism, different from the tragic one. Indeed, in the Gorgias, a new drama is played out, with a new hero, on a new stage, that of the Socratic dialogue.

Open Access
In: Plato’s Gorgias: Speech, Soul and Politics

Abstract

Plato presents the result of the first part of the Gorgias as an aporia (460c–461a). Rhetoric as represented by Gorgias either includes knowledge and makes its user responsible for its use or does neither of these. This paper claims that Plato’s aim in this part is twofold: to make as strong an argument as possible that rhetoric can be morally neutral and to show the shortcomings of that argument. It is equally important to see Plato’s contribution to the concept of rhetoric’s neutrality and his reasons to oppose this concept. The latter include a necessary relation of speaking to its subject.

Open Access
In: Plato’s Gorgias: Speech, Soul and Politics

Abstract

The paper focusses on the status and function of the eschatological myth in the Gorgias. The proposed analysis assumes that the narrative structure of the myth corresponds to the argumentation developed during the preceding discussion and that its characteristic tone resonates with the overall philosophic concern expressed in the discursive parts of the dialogue. On this ground, the paper characterises the mythical account as an attempt to visualise the inner dynamics of the soul. Given the intrinsic value of virtue (and the corresponding badness of vice), the paper proposes that the Platonic image is not restricted to the afterlife experience of the soul but is primarily related to the here-and-now perspective and represents an intensification of the human condition during this life. Here, the paper deals critically with the proposal that the myth conveys the belief that justice “pays in the end.” Instead of the consequentialist vision of a post-mortem destiny punishing past wrongdoing, the proposed interpretation emphasises that the story reveals an actual concern in our present situation. In this context, the paper addresses the topic of the soul’s judgment and confronts the image of judicial reform depicted in the myth with the motif of judgment and punishment widely discussed in the previous debate. Here, the psychological and therapeutic dimension of penalty is stressed. Along with this, the paper accentuates the topic of examination and instruction through speech and confronts Socratic dialogical practice with methods of contemporary rhetoric.

Open Access
In: Plato’s Gorgias: Speech, Soul and Politics

Abstract

This paper focuses on the portrayal of the completely good man, stemming from Socrates’ understanding of excellence as kosmos. On account of both the pivotal role attributed to sophrosune and the striking absence of any reference to phronesis in his model of the virtuous individual, scholars have identified a shift in Plato’s characterisation of Socrates in the Gorgias, from defending the standard claim that virtue is knowledge to elaborating an understanding of excellence as psychic orderliness. Yet a close examination of Socrates’ craft analogy argument (503d5–505c9), upon which the conception of excellence as kosmos depends, will show that the former’s understanding of excellence as kosmos is consistent with the notion that virtue is knowledge.

Open Access
In: Plato’s Gorgias: Speech, Soul and Politics
In: Plato’s Gorgias: Speech, Soul and Politics