Plato's Socrates as educator by Socrates.; Plato.; Scott, Gary Alan; Socrates

By Socrates.; Plato.; Scott, Gary Alan; Socrates

Examines and evaluates Socrates' function as an educator in Plato's dialogues.

Despite his ceaseless efforts to purge his fellow electorate in their unfounded evaluations and to deliver them to take care of what he believes to be crucial issues, Plato's Socrates not often succeeds in his pedagogical venture with the characters he encounters. this is often in impressive distinction to the ancient Socrates, who spawned the careers of Plato, Xenophon, and different authors of Socratic dialogues. via an exam of Socratic pedagogy below its so much propitious stipulations, targeting a slender type of dialogues that includes Lysis and Alcibiades, this ebook solutions the query: "why does Plato painting his divinely appointed gadfly as this kind of dramatic failure?"

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IX, Ch. 1: 1164a33–b7, Rackham trans. See also Nic. , Bk. VIII, Ch. , Bk. III, Ch. 15: 1286b9–11). Although this last passage helps illustrate the sense in which Socrates’ gift to others is incommensurable with material, political, and other conventional rewards, we shall see that Socrates’ gift is not confined to the kind of limited or restrictive economy of gift exchange that is the background for Aristotle’s account. It is, however, most likely the matrix within which ordinary gifts would have circulated, therefore, Plato makes it the background against which Socrates’ precarious stance as a benefactor to Athens is contrasted.

The broader context supplies a wealth of information that must be taken into account if an interpretation is to fully explicate, and fairly evaluate, the accused philosopher’s denial. Socrates’ disclaimer must be heard in light of the wider political and legal objectives he might be supposed to have had for saying what he says and for saying it in the way that he does. And situating his disclaimer within the dialogue as a whole will reveal that Socrates qualifies and clarifies, elsewhere in his speech, what he says in the above-cited passage.

Would require a different kind of study, constructed around a much more detailed examination of a wide array of ancient sources for historical and philological evidence than can possibly be brought to bear here. What I shall do instead is take Aristotle as a source and adduce from his writings on benefaction a framework for grasping prevalent Athenian beliefs and practices at the time Plato would have been writing his Socratic dialogues. Aristotle’s analysis will be augmented by a brief survey of ethnographic evidence concerning the meaning and function of the gift.

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