restricted access Listening to the Cicadas: A Study of Plato's "Phaedrus" (review)
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BOOK REVIEWS 121 her hermeneutical enterprise. I agree that the Hippolytean interpretation is interesting (how could any interpretation of Heraclitus be without interest?) but I am not convinced that it is new. Here I must be brief: as early as Plato a case can be made for awareness of the moral implications of Heraclitus's cosmological views. The interconnection which Plato sees between Protagorean relativism (moral as well as epistemological ) and Heraclitean (cosmic) flux in the first part of the Theaetetus is indicative of this 052d-e, 16od-e with 172a-b; and for some suggestive commentary see T. Irwin, Plato's Moral Theory [Oxford University Press, 1977], x48-53 ). And given this normative gloss on Heraclitus's cosmological views, based as it is on pre-Hippolytean evidence , I conclude that the new methodology which Osborne proposes is not likely to change our picture of the Presocratics. DANIEL H. FRANK University of Kentucky G. R. F. Ferrari. Listening to the Cicadas:A Study of Plato's "Phaedrus." Cambridge Classical Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, t987. Pp. xiii + 293. $39.5o. Plato's conception of the philosophical life acknowledges as centrally important a transcendent aspiration. It also incorporates an appreciation for the philosopher's worldly and contingent biography. In the Symposium Plato portrays the stages of philosophical development and how they transcend worldly beauty only to issue, in the end, in a demand for reshaping the world in terms of the soul's ultimate vision and understanding . In the Republic Plato sketches the psychological, moral, and cognitive itinerary of philosophical education and training. Moreover, Plato emphasizes the necessity that directs the philosopher to return to the world, to organize and maintain social-political life, and to cultivate friendship, justice, and psychological health. In the Phaedrus Plato turns to the domain of interpersonal relations, the sphere of love, and there he charts the way in which the philosophical life arises out of the encounter between lover and beloved and then gives shape to that relationship. This confrontation between the philosophical lover and the contingency of his embodiment is one of the central themes of Professor Ferrari's study of the Phaedrus. That theme concerns the domain of "goods which, although external to the philosophic life, nevertheless belong to it more than just accidentally [and] which result from the realisation~0f the philosophic impulse in our actual lives" (a 28). There are a host of scholarly cruxes in the Phaedrus that Ferrari discusses: the role of the dialogue's pastoral setting; the relation between the dialogue's two parts; the relations among philosophy, poetry, and prophecy; the precise character of Plato's psychology in the Phaedrus; the nature of philosophical madness; whether Plato's famous remark on writing is the theme of the dialogue or a mere epilogue to it; the Platonic use of myth; and so forth. But Ferrari does not approach the dialogue through these cruxes; nor does he enter the Phaedrus through Plato's moral philosophy , his epistemology, or his psychology. Rather he engages the dialogue as it presents itself, as a literary document written with care and discipline, and as an attempt 122 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 28:1 JANUARY 1990 on Plato's part to show something important about the philosophical life. The key word here is 'show', for it is Ferrari's conviction that in the Phaedrus Plato exploits the distinctions between what can be told and what can be shown and between background and foreground in order to exhibit two things: how philosophy and rhetoric are interrelated and hence what the philosophical art is, on the one hand, and how the philosophical life is stimulated by and enriches the experience of interpersonal love, on the other. In the Phaedrus Plato develops a rhetorical strategy for showing the philosophical life by juxtaposing it with alternative lives and by exhibiting it and these alternatives against a carefully articulated background. This is why the portraits of Socrates, Lysias, and Phaedrus are given so vividly and in part why Plato turns to myth, as a philosophical strategy for presenting philosophical love. Philosophy, then, must be rhetorical. But also, rhetoric, to be genuine, must be philosophical. Part of what...