Socratic Rationalism and Political Philosophy: An Interpretation of Plato's Phaedo

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SUNY Press, Aug 20, 1993 - Philosophy - 240 pages
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In this new interpretation of Plato’s Phaedo, Paul Stern considers the dialogue as an invaluable source for understanding the distinctive character of Socratic rationalism. First, he demonstrates, contrary to the charge of such thinkers as Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Rorty, that Socrates’ rationalism does not rest on the dogmatic presumption of the rationality of nature. Second, he shows that the distinctively Socratic mode of philosophizing is formulated precisely with a view to vindicating the philosophic life in the face of these uncertainties. And finally, he argues that this vindication results in a mode of inquiry that finds its ground in a clear understanding of the problematical but enduring human situation. Stern concludes that Socratic rationalism, aware as it is of the limits of reason, still provides a nondogmatic and nonarbitrary basis for human understanding.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Mode of Interpretation
5
The Defense of Socrates
9
The Opening Scene
10
Socrates Poetic Defense of Philosophy
17
Philosophy as Preparation for Death
30
The Proofs of Immortality
49
Opposites
50
Soul as Harmonia
97
The Second Sailing
108
The Second Sailing
118
Socrates Final Teaching
147
Immortality and Imperishability
149
The True Earth
164
The Death of Socrates
173
Conclusion
179

Recollection
61
Likeness
74
Objections
85
Socrates Second Sailing
91
Misology
92
NOTES
183
BIBLIOGRAPHY
227
INDEX
235
Copyright

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About the author (1993)

Paul Stern is Assistant Professor of Politics at Ursinus College.

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