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Defending Socrates: Political Philosophy before the Tribunal of Science

By author: Alex Priou
Product Code: P685
ISBN: 9780881469141
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Availability: In stock
Price: $35.00

The modern world began with a critique of ancient philosophy as unscientific and in a decisive attempt to progress beyond it. Over time, however, the promises of the early modern philosophers have become increasingly suspect, while the ancients have come to enjoy greater appeal. DEFENDING SOCRATES articulates Plato's implicit response to the early modern attack through a holistic interpretation of Plato's trilogy of dialogues on the question of knowledge—THEAETETUS, SOPHIST, and STATESMAN. In THEAETETUS, Socrates attempts to define knowledge with two mathematicians, the young Theaetetus and his teacher Theodorus, but ultimately fails. This failure leads Theodorus, on the following day, to bring along a stranger from the city of Elea to correct Socrates's manner of philosophizing. The Eleatic stranger presents us with a scientific alternative to Socrates in SOPHIST and STATESMAN. By the end of these dialogues, however, it becomes clear that the obstacles and inconsistencies confronting the stranger's alternative are insurmountable. Socratic philosophy turns out to be the only tenable mode. Plato thus directs us back to THEAETETUS, which took place the day before but was written afterwards, that is, in full awareness of the stranger's alternative. There we find a defense of the unscientific aspects of Socratic philosophy that might provide us guidance amid the broken promises of modernity.
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