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548 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 24:4 OCTOBER i986 rates's positive account of philosophy; the usually accepted parallels of soul with fire and three in the final argument are convincingly differentiated; she nicely marks structural cadences by calling attention to shifts from direct to indirect discourse. Still, her thesis is not completely convincing. I can accept much of the fancy footwork it necessitates: We must distinguish what will satisfy Socrates's Pythagorean interlocutors from what will satisfy the reader of this Platonic dialogue. I am sympathetic with her suggestion that Plato is dissatisfied with modelling knowledge on direct grasp of the Forms. There is no doubt that Plato became dissatisfied with this model in his later writings, a point nicely illuminated in Burger's earlier, excellent book on the Phaedrm.' My sympathy is tempered, however, by the fact that Burger makes no effort to place the Phaedo in the context of Plato's writings as a whole. She freely cites other dialogues to support her interpretations, but reading this book one would not have the slightest inkling that there is a controversy in Platonic scholarship concerning the development and possible change in Plato's thought, particularly in his theory of Forms. This is particulary disturbing in light of the fact that Burger manages to say very litde about this theory. We learn that Socrates urges us to "replace investigation of the beings themselves with investigation of their truth" (147) through logoi, but also that the ~ (Forms) are "the truth of the beings" 048). The unclarity of her account here and the refuge she seeks in such mysterious phrases as the "possibility of overcoming the posidvity of the premise" 047), detracts from her analysis of the final argument. She relies heavily upon the Sun passage in the Republic (although she claims that Socrates rejects any grounding of explanation in the good), but the absence of any comparison of the status of Forms here and in the Republic (or other Middle Dialogues) weakens her thesis considerably. Despite this weakness and despite the occasional difficulty of following her argument , this book rewards dose reading. It is not the last word on the Phatd0--who would have expected it to be?---but it will certainly serve to ensnarl the reader even more deeply in the subtle turns of Plato's thought. JEROME P. SCHILLER Washington University Abraham Edel. Aristotle and His Philosophy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1982. Pp. ix + 479. Cloth, $26.00. Paper, $12.oo. Eders Aristotle seems on the surface to contain few surprises. He givesus a careful and clear systematic study of Aristotle as a systematic philosopher. In a fashion similar to Crombie's treatment of Plato in An Examination of Plato's Doctrines, he proceeds topically from a base in "The Metaphysical Network" through sections on psychology and on epistemology, on practice and on production. He lays strong Ronna Burger, Plato's Phaednas, a Defense of a PhilosophicArt of Writing. University, Alabama : The University of Alabama Press, 198o. BOOK REVIEWS 549 emphasis on understanding Aristotle's work against the background of who he was and what he did, and does an impressive job in the first part of the book of reconstructing that background largely from the resources of Aristotle's own work. He lays heavy accent throughout on the importance of beginning with understanding what Aristotle said, in much the same spirit that led Shorey to remark on his own work on Plato that he would have to write another book about what Plato meant. The result of this comprehensive task is a book of literate flow and scholarly erudition that is almost deceptively accessible to the novice. It is not until one reads carefully the detailed endnotes, and attends critically to the interpretive notes of the introduction and the epilogue, that one begins to appreciate how much more this volume has to offer. Indeed, the author has laced it througout with critique that will make it engaging to the seasoned scholar and with vision that brings to those already well versed in the texts some fresh understandings. Edei has taken a stand of some critical distance from recent interpretations of Aristotle, especially...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 548-550
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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