Descent of Socrates

Descent of Socrates

Self-Knowledge and Cryptic Nature in the Platonic Dialogues
Peter Warnek
Distribution: World
Publication date: 12/21/2005
ISBN: 978-0-253-11151-7
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Since the appearance of Plato’s Dialogues, philosophers have been preoccupied with the identity of Socrates and have maintained that successful interpretation of the work hinges upon a clear understanding of what thoughts and ideas can be attributed to him. In Descent of Socrates, Peter Warnek offers a new interpretation of Plato by considering the appearance of Socrates within Plato’s work as a philosophical question. Warnek reads the Dialogues as an inquiry into the nature of Socrates and in doing so opens up the relationship between humankind and the natural world. Here, Socrates appears as a demonic and tragic figure whose obsession with the task of self-knowledge transforms the history of philosophy. In this uncompromising work, Warnek reveals the importance of the concept of nature in the Platonic Dialogues in light of Socratic practice and the Ancient ideas that inspire contemporary philosophy.

Author Bio

Peter Warnek is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oregon. He is co-translator of Martin Heidegger’s Aristotle’s Metaphysics Theta 1–3 (IUP, 1995). He is a founding member of the Society for Ancient Philosophy.

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Table of Contents


Part 1. Writing Socrates
1. Reading Plato with a Difference: Socrates, Beautiful and New
2. Socrates and the Retreat of Nature: Suffering a Simple Teacher of Ethics
Part 2. Dreams, Oracles, and Silenic Affirmations
3. The Purest Thinker of the West and the Older Accusations in the Apology
4. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Nature, Rhetoric, and Refutation in the Gorgias
5. Silenic Wisdom in the Apology and Phaedo
Part 3. Kinship of Nature
6. Teiresias in Athens: Socrates as Educator in the Meno
7. Typhonic Eros and the Place of the Phaedrus
8. Truth and Friendship
An Ending