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474 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY contributions on the subject. He often takes an independent and what may prove to be a lonely stand. I shall mention one such case. He takes issue with the mainstream of interpreters of the last two centuries by declaring that "Greek literature.., has neither the systematic unity that this ideal (i.e. an intimacy that can be achieved with works of our own national literatures) tends to impose, nor the homogeneous cultural background this would require" (p. 5). Although there is some ground for insisting on the pluralistic character of the Greek achievement, one wonders whether Tejera's position can be maintained in its strong formulation. Discontinuities, to be sure, are there, but it is far from clear that the main components of the Greek experience were so disparate as to support the strong claim that the creative modes of thought lacked ab initio the unifying strands the author discerned and discussed in his otherwise absorbing account of the heights of Hellenism. JOHN P. ANTON Emory University II problema delrerrore nellla metafisica e nella gnoseologia di Platone. By Adolfo Levi. Edited by Giovanni Reale. (Padua: Liviana Editrice, 1970. Pp. xxviii+219) This posthumous work is Levi's third volume on Plato. The two previous ones came out in 1920; they were Sulle interpretazioni immanentiche della filosofia di Platone (On the Immanentist Interpretations of Plato's Philosophy), and II concetto del tempo net suet rapporti cot problemi del divenire e dell'essere nella filosofia di Platone (The Concept of Time in Relation to the Problems of Becoming and Being in Plato's Philosophy). The first was a study of Kantian, Idealistic, and Nee-Kantian interpretations of Plato, the second was a study of the theory of ideas. The volume under notice was begun in 1938--when Levi was deprived of his teaching position at the University of Pavia by the Fascist racist laws--and completed two or three years before his death in 1948. Levi's last work takes up where his previous works /eft off, but not without serious modification and restatement of past views (especially of his view of the theory of idea numbers). According to Levi, Plato showed that to deny the possibility of false judgments is to deny the existence of science and of true judgments. Levi also claims Plato showed that, while the causes of error are subjective (or social or linguistic), error is to be found in the realm of science and reason as well as in the realm of opinion and sensation. Furthermore, Levi holds, the non-being referred to by false judgment is not absolute, but relative; it is difference, for false judgment brings together terms which are not related in reality. These claims depend, in turn, on Levi's reconstruction of the epistemological and metaphysical systems which he claims to find in the Dialogues. On the way to this reconstruction by selective juxtaposition of doctrines (from different speakers and different dramatic occasions) Levi appeals to the authenticity and historical accuracy of the Seventh Epistle and to "the unwritten teachings of Plato" (insegnamenti non scritti). Levi is, thus, squarely in that tradition of Plato-interpretation which, beginning with Theophrastos and the doxographical school of opinion collectors, went on to assume that the Dialogues were written in order to somehow convey a systematizable and explicit "philosophy" or consistent set of doctrines. Next, in the development of this tradition, the sense in which Plato was taken to be expounding a system was successively assimilated to the Neoplatonist, Scholastic, and Idealistic conceptions of a system. To these notions was added the later assumption that a way had been found BOOK REVIEWS 475 of telling in what order the Dialogues, or sub-groups of the Dialogues, had been written. For this composite and literal approach, the theory of ideas (expounded in the Republic and antinomized in the Parmenides) is central--is, indeed, what is called Platonism. Plato's political, educational and aesthetic concerns are taken to be marginal; and the dialogue-form which Plato took the trouble to develop and took care never to abandon is treated as having no significance or purpose, and as an impediment to systematic philosophizing. In this approach...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 474-475
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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