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Reviews141 The book is a scholarly contribution to our understanding of the Consolatio in its own philosophical and literary tradition. It will assuredly be of value in the modern pursuit of the medieval Boethius tradition. Massey University, New ZealandGlynnis M. Cropp Self-Knowtedge in Plato's Phaedrus, by C. L. Griswold; xii & 315 pp. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986, $29.50. Plato is a dramatist. This fact is not lost on Professor Griswold's complex and intriguing reading of Plato's Phaedrus. He sees that the literary form and philosophical content of the work cannot be separated. One of the problems of the Phaedrus is the question of the unity of the dialogue. It seems to be a disjointed collection of themes loosely centered on the relation between eros and rhetoric. Griswold deals with the problem by paying particular attention to the theme of self-knowledge which informs the Socratic passion for philosophical investigation. The book is set out as a commentary on the text. Griswold assumes that Plato has his reasons for constructing the dialogue in a disjointed form. Our job is to seek out the unity behind the diversity of the text. We are led from the dramatic setting of the dialogue, through the written speech which Phaedrus carries, Socrates' counter speech, his recantation in the Palinode, through the technical discussion of rhetoric, the criticism of writing, and finally the prayer to Pan which concludes the dialogue. The most difficult issue which faces an interpreter of the Phaedrus is the abrupt turn from the mythical speech of the Palinode to the more prosaic discussion of rhetoric which follows. Griswold succeeds admirably in this task. He suggests that the two sections are complementary and self-qualifying. In the Palinode we are provided a number of images which suggest, in a compressed form, the nature ofthe self-moving soul. However, because ofits poetic form, the myth of the Palinode escapes discursive analysis. We are painted a picture of the soul striving to become divine and of eros as the means to selfknowledge . However, the Palinode is itself a product of a kind of madness. It gives a story of the human soul which neither the speaker nor the hearer could possibly know. The myth needs to be supplemented by a rational logos. The turn to the techne of rhetoric in the latter half of the Phaedrus provides just this supplement. The self-movement and self-qualification ofthoughtis displayed in the movement from rapturous myth to sober rhetorical analysis. An irony of the text is 142Philosophy and Literature that the theory of rhetorical collection and division, by itself, is not the means of attaining that truth which alone will provide us self-knowledge. In fact nothing will provide us with complete and perfect self-knowledge. This is reserved for the gods alone. The Phaedrus is a whole of which myth and techne are parts. The advance of self-knowledge requires both. Both will remind us that we are ignorant of ourselves and that this is the beginning of true self-knowledge. Dialectic is important because conversation with others is one of the primary routes to selfknowledge that we possess. To understand ourselves properly we must see ourselves as part of a wider whole which includes both a nonpolitical relation to the Forms and a political relation to other human beings. The emphasis on discursive rhetoric places us in the realm of the political after die mythical portion of the text. Aware of our ignorance of ourselves, we can begin the painful ascent to knowledge using all the resources at our disposal, the most important of which is the dialectical self-movement of thought. Griswold provides a detailed and articulate statement of the problems facing us and the means for their partial solution. I highly recommend his book for those concerned with the question of how best to live a human life and Plato's method of dealing with it in the Phaedrus. Middlesex PolytechnicJeffrey A. Mason On Understanding Works ofArt: An Essay In Philosophical Aesthetics, by Petra von Morstein; ? & 230 pp. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1986, $49.95. Von Morstein presents a general theory of art according to which artworks...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 141-142
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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