Form and Argument in Late Plato

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Overview

Why did Plato put his philosophical arguments into dialogues, rather than presenting them in a plain and readily understandable fashion? In writing rich tales of philosophical encounters, does Plato desert argumentative clarity? While recent work has focused on the literary brilliance of the early dialogues, the late dialogues present a particular problem: they lack the vivid literary character of Plato's earlier works, and the dialogue structure seems to be a mere formality. Is there a philosophical reason why Plato's late works are in the form of dialogues? In this volume, a group of internationally prominent scholars address that question. Their answers are fresh, varied, and powerfully argued. This volume offers both a series of first-class essays on major late Platonic dialogues and a discussion which has important implications for the study of philosophical method and the relation between philosophy and literature. It shows that the literary form and modes of dialectic of the late dialogues are richly rewarding to study, and that doing so is of deep importance for Plato's philosophical project.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The contents of this volume are likely to provide much material for future discussions of late Plato"--Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"Anyone who has tried to unravel the many puzzles of the late Platonic dialogues will find these essays helpful."--Religious Studies Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199241422
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/28/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 5.30 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Exeter

King's College, London

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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors
Note on Conventions
Introduction 1
1 Unity in the Parmenides: The Unity of the Parmenides 5
2 Likeness and Likenesses in the Parmenides 49
3 Three Platonist Interpretations of the Theaetetus 79
4 Conflicting Appearances: Theaetetus 153d-154b 105
5 The Literary Form of the Sophist 135
6 The Politicus: Structure and Form 153
7 Space, Time, Shape, and Direction: Creative Discourse in the Timaeus 179
8 The Hedonist's Conversion: The Role of Socrates in the Philebus 213
9 Reading the Laws 249
10 Afterword: Dialectic and the Dialogue Form in Late Plato 283
Bibliography 313
Index of Ancient Passages 325
General Index 337
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