Socrates Dissatisfied: An Analysis of Plato's Crito

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9780195116847: Socrates Dissatisfied: An Analysis of Plato's Crito

In Socrates Dissatisfied, Weiss argues against the prevailing view that the Laws are Socrates' spokesmen. She reveals and explores many indications that Socrates and the Laws are, both in style and substance, adversaries: whereas the Laws are rhetoricians who defend the absolute authority of the Laws, Socrates is a dialectician who defends--in the Crito no less than in the Apology--the overriding claim of each individual's own reason when assiduously applied to questions of justice. It is only for the sake of an unphilosophical Crito, Weiss suggests, that Socrates invents the speech of the Laws; he resorts to rhetoric in a desperate attempt to save Crito's soul even as Crito sought to save his body. Indeed, as Weiss shows, Socrates' own philosophical reasons for remaining in prison rather than escaping as Crito wishes are clearly and fully articulated before the speech of the Laws begins. In this book, Roslyn Weiss contends that, contrary to prevailing notions, Plato's Crito does not show an allegiance between Socrates and the state that condemned him. Denying that the speech of the Laws represents the views of Socrates, Weiss deftly brings to light numerous indications that Socrates provides to the attentive reader that he and the Laws are not partners but antagonists in the argument and that he is singularly unimpressed by the case against escaping prison presented by the Laws. Weiss's greatest innovation is her contention that the Laws are very much like the judges who preside at Socrates' trail--interested not in justice and truth but in being shown deference and submission. If Weiss's argument is correct, then the standard conception of the history of political thought is in error--political philosophy begins not with the primacy of the state over the citizen but with the affirmation of the individual's duty to act in accordance with his own careful determination of what justice demands.

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About the Author:

Roslyn Weiss is at Lehigh University.

Review:


"The classical, philosophical, and literary reader will find here a refreshing (and relatively new) approach to a Platonic work, reading the dialogue as a dialogue, with close attention to the text in all its aspects. Pupils and students should be encouraged to study this book as an example of a careful and sensitive reading of an ancient work. One can only wish for more of its kind."--The Classical Outlook


"Socrates Dissatisfied resolves a multitude of particular difficulties and poses important objections to competing interpretations of the Crito that have long ruled the roost. Weiss offers an especially original analysis of the argument Socrates makes as to why he should not attempt to escape from jail and avoid the death penalty. Her methodological approach to the dialogue is to take Socratic rhetoric and the dialogue form seriously, by acknowledging how the inequality between Socrates and Crito compels Socrates to use means other than straightforward logical argument in order to persuade his interlocutor. Socrates Dissatisfied is exemplary in its clarity of exposition and finely-discriminated argument. No Plato scholar can afford to ignore its challenge."--John Ferrari, University of California, Berkeley


"Weiss's book makes a landmark contribution to Socratic studies quaPlatonic studies."--Times Literary Supplement


"Weiss displays a superb knowledge of the enormous secondary literature on the Crito, and she has a keen ability to pick out and exploit the weak spots in the positions staked out by her opponents. . . . the book is filled with clever and complicated arguments that send the reader time and again back to the text. It forces the reader to rethink what had been settled, and for that alone the reader will be in the author's debt."--Ancient Philosophy


"This is the first book-length argument of its kind and it supersedes all previous attempts in its persuasiveness and its thorough and detailed treatment: sensitive not only to the dialogue's Greek and argumentative structure, but also to its literary/characterological nuances, it establishes an important scholarly outpost on the interpretation of the Crito . . . written in a remarkably engaging, clean and effective style . . . provocative and impressive . . . It is sure to be a guidepost for all future investigations of the Crito.--Journal of the History of Philosophy


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 1997. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Roslyn Weiss contends that, contrary to prevailing notions, Plato s Crito does not show an allegiance between Socrates and the state that condemned him. Denying that the speech of the Laws represents the views of Socrates, Weiss deftly brings to light numerous indications that Socrates provides to the attentive reader that he and the Laws are not partners but antagonists in the argument and that he is singularly unimpressed by the case against escaping prison presented by the Laws. Weiss s greatest innovation is her contention that the Laws are very much like the judges who preside at Socrates trial-interested not in justice and truth but in being shown deference and submission. If Weiss s argument is correct, then the standard conception of the history of political thought is in error-political philosophy begins not with the primacy of the state over the citizen but with the affirmation of the individual s duty to act in accordance with his own careful determination of what justice demands. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780195116847

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