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190Philosophy and Literature and the irrational, enthusiastic newer cults (Orphic, Bacchic, etc.) on the other. According to Morgan, Plato seeks to bridge the gap between the divine and the human, not by cultic ecstasy but by means of rational inquiry aiming at a wisdom which in some measure partakes of the divine. "There is a continuum of wisdom, not a divide between all and nothing. And if this lifetime affords insufficient opportunity to do more than begin the quest, then we are bound to adopt a doctrine ofthe soul's immortality in order to ensure time for further stages" (p. 12). What sort of "ensuring" does Morgan have in mind here? He seems to mean somediing like "reassuring" ourselves that our efforts devoted to the "quest" are not in vain. But wouldn't this reduce Plato's belief in the soul's immortality to mere wishful thinking? Plato does indeed offer arguments for immortality: "What was a religious postulate or assumption for Socrates . . . here [in the Phaedo] becomes an object of rational thought" (p. 55). Yet Morgan makes no brief for the soundness of these arguments, and he agrees with Annas (and many others) that the Republic's argument for immortality is "embarrassingly flawed" (p. 125). Of the Phaedrus' argument he writes: "The precise structure and validity of the proof are less important than its intent, which is a definition of soul as arcL· of kinesis as the foundation of its immortality" (p. 169). If the immortality of the soul is as important to Plato as Morgan claims, why aren't the dialogues' arguments for it any stronger or more extensive than they are? Or, if Plato recognized that immortality is not demonstrable by discursive argument , why do the dialogues present such weak attempts at argument at all? Why not leave the matter in the language of myths? On the whole, it seems to me, these arguments for immortality seem to be tentative explorations on the way to other topics. Yet even if Morgan puts undue emphasis on immortality, his book, by highlighting the religious language and imagery of the middle dialogues and correlating them with recent studies of fourth-century Athenian religious practice, has helped to illuminate the inexhaustible richness of these great texts. Whitman CollegeDavid Carey Plato and the English Romantics, by E. Douka Kabitoglou; xiv & 326 pp. New York: Roudedge, 1990, $59.00. Kabitoglou bills her book as "an exercise in intertextual hermeneutics" (p. ix). As the tide implies, it is a comparative analysis of Platonic and English Romantic texts; a central thesis seems to be that Romanticism and Platonism Reviews191 "have more similarities than differences, in their parallel deconstruction of the 'given' categories of the real, which makes 'transformation of consciousness' as much the Romantic as the Platonic archetypal story" (p. 185). In contrast to "the general tendency of western philosophical tradition which looks upon the Platonic notion of the real as something static, permanent and invariant," Kabitoglou emphasizes the "dynamic" aspect of Plato's ontology, based on the definition of Being (ousia) as "power to act or suffer" (p. x). She treats this definition as Plato's "own," but Plato places this formulation on the lips of the Stranger, a character whose views should not be identified with Plato's. Moreover , given her emphasis on the dynamic, it is ironic that she treats the dialogues very statically, as if there were no development in Plato's thought from one dialogue to another and as if the dialogues formed a single, unified text. In claiming that Romanticism and Platonism "have more similarities than differences ," she doesn't say how she quantifies similarities and differences so as to tell which is "more," although she does succeed in showing some similarities. Yet, as she construes them, the Platonic texts embody opposite readings. Indeed, it is a mark of the richness of Plato's work that adherents of widely different "-isms" can see so much of themselves in it. That the Romandes were influenced by some aspects of Platonism is, I think, uncontroversial. But her aim is to turn Plato into a Wordsworthian (and, I might add, a Heideggerian). Despite Heidegger's "professed anti-Platonism" (p. x), she sees in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 190-192
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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