Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy: Volume XXVII: Winter by David Sedley

By David Sedley

Oxford experiences in historic Philosophy is a quantity of unique articles on all elements of historical philosophy. The articles might be of considerable size, and comprise serious notices of significant books. OSAP is now released two times each year, in either hardback and paperback. during this quantity, articles diversity from Socrates to Pyrrho, with a number of on every one of Aristotle and Plato.Editor: David Sedley, Laurence Professor of old Philosophy, collage of Cambridge"Unique price as a set of remarkable contributions within the quarter of historical philosophy."--Sara Rubinelli, Bryn Mawr Classical assessment

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Remaining throughout his life a never-grown-up, an “eternal youth”, he rejected the world of the adults and strove to create a new world, which meant a reactionary return to his own guiltless childhood, when he lived protected by the authority of his father, which he tried to restore in his ideal state. As a representative of a sexual minority, Plato was necessarily anti-democratic, an enemy of democratic equality, who be­ lieved in the rule of a small minority. ^^ A great advantage of considering Plato’s philosophy, especially his politi­ cal philosophy, as determined by irrational and subconscious factors, is that in this way we can ascribe to Plato the very reverse of those ideas and sentiments that he professes in his writings.

For a long time, Plato had lost all hope of achieving such a miraculous change at Athens—for admonition had shown itself vain and compulsion should not be used upon one's native cityd^® Sicily was his last hope, and it was for that reason that, despite all his misgivings, he had visited Dionysius II twice. The Epistle concludes with these words: “Why I undertook the second voyage to Sicily I thought I ought to explain, because of the strange and improbable nature of these events. If then they appear more plausible as I have described them, and if it has been made evident that there were sufficient motives for what happened, this account will have properly accomplished it" (352 A).

On the other hand, the tendentious character of a source does not in itself make it absolutely unreliable. Much of what Aristoxenus told about Plato might have been true, though he interpreted it to Plato’s disadvantage. Above all, a scholar should never forget that many, if not most, of those ancient writers had no interest in telling the truth, if ever they knew it. They would have been astonished and amused, had they but known that, more than two thousand years later, they would be solemnly quoted as authorities concerning Plato’s life and character.

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