Download Descent of Socrates: Self-Knowledge and Cryptic Nature in by Peter Warnek PDF

By Peter Warnek

Because the visual appeal of Plato’s Dialogues, philosophers were preoccupied with the id of Socrates and feature maintained that profitable interpretation of the paintings hinges upon a transparent knowing of what techniques and concepts might be attributed to him. In Descent of Socrates, Peter Warnek deals a brand new interpretation of Plato via contemplating the looks of Socrates inside of Plato’s paintings as a philosophical query. Warnek reads the Dialogues as an inquiry into the character of Socrates and in doing so opens up the connection among humankind and the flora and fauna. the following, Socrates seems to be as a demonic and tragic determine whose obsession with the duty of self-knowledge transforms the historical past of philosophy. during this uncompromising paintings, Warnek finds the significance of the concept that of nature within the Platonic Dialogues in gentle of Socratic perform and the traditional principles that encourage modern philosophy.

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Extra info for Descent of Socrates: Self-Knowledge and Cryptic Nature in the Platonic Dialogues

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Writing at a time when the great tragedies of Sophocles and Aeschylus had already become a thing of the past, and thus at a time when tragedy had already met its end, Aristotle seems to speak as if the improved future of tragic poetry is still awaiting its arrival, as he offers what appears to be a kind of prescription for its more essential composition: “One ought not to seek to cling completely to the stories that have been handed down concerning those whom tragedies are about” (1451b23–25). Aristotle, who is himself fond of taking Socrates as an example, and thus of using his name, especially when it is a matter of providing an effective analogue to the movement of nature in human life,44 could thus be taken here to be making a strong claim, even if only indirectly and implicitly, about what would be at issue in a distinctly philosophical reading of the Platonic text, since that text also offers, on his own terms, a poetic presentation of the story of Socrates.

Accordingly, it is the authority of commonly held opinion, vouchsafed by the reputation of the wise and the good, that grounds the possibility of philosophy as such. But if this authoritarian moment presents an indispensable feature of dialectical inquiry, such an inquiry is also no less a questioning that puts this authority into question precisely by allowing it to question itself on its own terms. Philosophy thus always remains the voice of commonly held opinion, even the authority of tradition, but only as it continues to demand the merciless interrogation of its own løgoq.

But one might then want to suppose also that the cathartic operation of tragedy, which hangs on its persuasiveness, would demand that it be attached to an irreplaceable singularity, the singularity and irreversibility that would be taken as history itself. The undoing of an individual, the downgoing of one who struggles courageously against necessity, if it is to be experienced in a way that would be ethically transformative, which arguably is the implicit goal of tragedy,42 might seem to arise only through the presentation of something that is irreducible to the merely formal and that does not permit any substitution.

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