Weitere Kapitel dieses Buchs durch Wischen aufrufen
Based on the ostensible fact that truly Socratic dialogue entails a considerable inequality between participants, Parens explores Socrates’s reasons for conversing dialectically with those who are manifestly his philosophic inferiors. Contrary to many Plato scholars who emphasize Socrates’s self-reported ignorance and, hence, the “Sisyphean” character of his philosophic activity, Parens intends to show—with the help of Maimonides—that Socrates is an “overflowing” philosopher, who cannot help but share his wisdom with others.
Bitte loggen Sie sich ein, um Zugang zu diesem Inhalt zu erhalten
Sie möchten Zugang zu diesem Inhalt erhalten? Dann informieren Sie sich jetzt über unsere Produkte:
The main exception is Polemarchus, whom we are informed in the Phaedrus (257b) has turned to philosophy, though of course his life was cut short by the Thirty Tyrants. We return to Polemarchus eventually. One could consider Simmias and Cebes in the Phaedo as devotees of Pythagoras as potential or actual philosophers, but these interlocutors seem, especially in their attitudes toward morality, death, and immortality, more like acolytes of a mystery religion than philosophers properly speaking.
Strauss, What Is Political Philosophy? (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), 40. Strauss notes that it is in comparison of the aim of philosophy with its achievement that it can appear Sisyphean. Elsewhere he encapsulates Socrates in terms of the knowledge of ignorance claim. Ultimately, his interpretation of Socrates is much more complex than this simple claim, though.
The imagery of overflow is borrowed from Neoplatonic thought.
Pace at least the apparent meaning of Aristotle’s claim that Socrates is not interested in the whole of nature in Meta. 1.6. But his interest in reading with his friends books of ancient wisdom in Xenophon, Memorabilia 1.6 may well be in harmony with this interpretation of the intended movement from human to divine things.
Although some wonder whether the Glaucon named in the initial framing dialog of the Symposium’s multi-layered frame is necessarily Plato’s and Adeimantus’s brother (Glaucon IV of Collytus, son of Ariston), almost no one doubts whether the Glaucon who appears in the Parmenides is their brother, since Glaucon there appears together with Adeimantus. That the Glaucons in these two dialogues are one and the same seems evident from the fact that in each case, the character reveals himself to be a collector of Socratic dialogues. In the opening page of the Symposium, Glaucon converses with Apollodorus in hopes of hearing a rendition of the conversation that was the Symposium. And in the opening page of the Parmenides, Cephalus inquires with Adeimantus and Glaucon about the speech of Parmenides as reported by Antiphon. Though neither Adeimantus nor Glaucon is responsible for recalling the conversation, they serve as go-betweens for this speech. In short, the overall effect of the Republic on Glaucon and Adeimantus seems to be to have rendered them neither eager to pursue politics nor apparently capable of rising to the level of their brother, Plato, by becoming composers of Socratic conversations. Regarding the Glaucon in the Symposium, I take him to be the Glaucon of the Republic and Parmenides, as does Debra Nails with many more historical details to back up her suspicion ( The People of Plato (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2002), 154–156).
Carl Page, “The Unjust Treatment of Polemarchus,” History of Philosophy Quarterly 7.3 (1990): 243–267. On the direction taken from Bloom and Strauss, see Page, “Unjust Treatment,” 263n.2.
Ibid., 263n2, Page citing Annas.
Cf. ibid., 252 with Leon Craig, The War Lover: A Study of Plato’s “Republic” (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994), 2.
Page, “Unjust Treatment,” 248, 252n26 citing Bloom’s Interpretive Essay, p. 318. On the previous page, Bloom exemplifies the risk of not attending to the status of Cephalus (father) and Polemarchus (son), when he suggests that Cephalus represents “justice conceived as one’s own good” and “justice conceived as the common good.” Although the former may be accurate of Cephalus, Polemarchus’s attachment to the common good, at least of Athens, is rendered more problematic by his metic status. Metics as resident aliens, though they held some property rights, some rights of participation in public Athenian religious celebrations, had “no political rights” (Deborah Kamen, Status in Classical Athens (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013), chap. 4, esp. 53).
Polemarchus’s metic status adds a strange twist to the typical insistence that he is like a “battle commander.” Starting early in the fifth century, “polemarch” lost this meaning at Athens. Interestingly, polemarchs took on the task of representing metics on trial as well as serving to protect the property of metics! Polemarchus was neither a battle commander nor an overseer or aid to metics, but a metic whose metic status likely facilitated his being put to death. Like Socrates, he was primarily not an unambiguously patriotic Athenian.
Page, “Unjust Treatment,” 245.
Consider Socrates’s account of “exile” as one of the things that drives a man with great potential away from politics to become a philosopher ( Rep. 496b).
Strauss may also not credit Polemarchus quite as fully as he should. Consider the implied criticism in Strauss’s comment, “Polemarchus is More Important for the Action of the Republic Than One Might Desire,” in The City and Man (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964), 123, cited by Page at 264n4.
Cited by Page, “Unjust Treatment,” 243.
Bloom, bk. 2, n. 31.
For example, Page, 253.
For a similar use by Socrates of the second-person plural personal pronoun to identify the city with the young men with whom he is speaking, see 427c–d.
See Politics, trans. Carnes Lord (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985, 2013), 5.12, 1315b38–1316a23.
See Joshua Parens, Leo Strauss and the Recovery of Medieval Political Philosophy (Rochester: Rochester University Press, 2016).
- Socrates: Sisyphean or Overflowing?
- Chapter 9