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Ontology of Socratic Questioning in Plato's Early Dialogues, The

Sean D. Kirkland, D. Bruce Johnstone

Publication Year: 2012

A provocative close reading that reveals a radical, proto-phenomenological Socrates

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. ix-x

While researching and writing this book, I was fortunate to receive funding from the following sources: the State University of New York at Stony Brook; the Collegium Philosophiae Transatlanticum (CPT), which was funded by both the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Kade...

List of Abbreviations for Ancient Works Cited

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pp. xi-xiv

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Introduction: Socrates and the Hermeneutic of Estrangement

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pp. xv-xxiv

As is true with every work of interpretation, our subject matter in the following chapters presents itself as hidden. After all, interpretative effort is required of us only when we encounter resistance, and we are then guided in that effort by trace indications of something not yet grasped, not yet fully...

Part I: Socratic Phenomenology

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1. Setting Aside the Subject-Object Framework in Reading Plato

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pp. 3-22

A fundamental tension presents itself to us if we read carefully Aristotle’s remarks on Socratic philosophy. This tension should indicate to us that the Socratic philosophical project is worlds away from the modern one with which we are familiar. Indeed, if we linger for a moment within this tension...

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2. On Doxa as the Appearing of ‘What Is

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pp. 23-31

The etymology of the Greek term doxa seems to announce a very different relation to ‘what is’ than does that of ‘opinion,’ its most common English translation in philosophical contexts. Now, arguing from etymology is rightly viewed with suspicion for a number of reasons. On the one hand...

Part II: Virtue’s Ontological Excess and Distance

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3. The Excessive Truth of Socratic Discourse

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pp. 35-57

We turn now to take up directly the Socratic philosophical project as it is portrayed throughout the early dialogues of Plato. Here in the three chapters that comprise part 2, we are interested in the notion of Being that is at work in Socrates’ posing of his fundamental question, ‘What...

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4. The Sheltering of Technē versus the Exposure of Human Wisdom

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pp. 59-91

We focused our attention last chapter on Socrates’ emphatic commitment to a deinos or excessive form of alētheia or ‘truth, unconcealment,’ not only in his defense speech, but more importantly in his philosophizing itself. Plato’s early Socrates is indeed one who can say with conviction...

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5. The Truthful Elenctic Pathos of Painful Concern

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pp. 93-115

In the closing lines of the Apology, standing now in the shadow of his impending execution, Socrates makes a striking request of his jurors as to their treatment of his sons after his death. He does not ask, as we might expect, that his sons be shown mercy, that they be spared retribution for their...

Part III: Socratic Virtue in the Face of Excessive Truth

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6. The Courage of Virtue and the Distant Horizon of the Whole in the Laches

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pp. 119-151

“You have seen the man fighting in armor” (La. 178a). So begins Plato’s Laches. We find ourselves in attendance at a demonstration of individual armed combat, precisely that in which most able-bodied citizens of Athens would be expected to engage as hoplites fighting for their city. The man...

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Conclusion: Aporia in the Middle Dialogues

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pp. 153-171

The foregoing chapters have hopefully cast a transfiguring light on Plato’s early Socrates. We began with the suggestion that Socrates’ elenctic questioning might be aimed not at objective reality, but at the phenomenal being of virtue. That is, Socrates might be seeking only to clarify that which...


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pp. 173-245


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pp. 247-259


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pp. 261-265

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781438444055
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438444031

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2012