Phaedo: A Platonic Labyrinthby Ronna Burger
Since antiquity the Phaedo has been considered the source of Athe twin pillars ofPlatonism B the theory of ideas and the immortality of the soul. Burger's attempt to trace the underlying argument of the work as a whole leads to a radical rethinking of the status of those doctrines. The movement of that argument is marked by the structural division of the dialogue into two halves, linked and separated by a central interlude in which Socrates warns against the great danger of Amisology, or loss of trust in logos. That danger, which threatens the very possibility of philosophic inquiry, comes to overshadow the threat posed by the fear of death, which motivated the original series of arguments. The turn this necessitates, from the first to the second half of the dialogue, brings about a transformation of the understanding of knowledge, the ideas, the soul, death, and immortality. With this Asecond sailing, as Socrates calls it, the APlatonism presented in the Phaedo emerges as precisely the target of which the dialogue is a critique.
Burger has a wonderfully fertile mind and supports her imaginative thesis with a close reading, extremely sensitive to nuance. B Jerome Schiller, The Journal of the History of Philosophy AThis is a comprehensive study of the Phaedo, thoroughly researched, and sparkling with insights into the text. B Paul Woodruff, University of Tulsa
- Yale University Press
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