Socrates’s Desire to Die: On Xenophon’s Apology

Xenophon's Memorabilia ("recollections") is his public defense of Socrates, but the title is notably silent about whether or not the recollections are exclusively of Socrates. The text is, instead, rife with the recollections by Xenophon on the Socratic, and therefore, the philosophic life. As an alternative, his shorter Socratic writing, the Apology of Socrates, is clear about who … Continue reading Socrates’s Desire to Die: On Xenophon’s Apology

On the Theages

The Theages dialogue is now considered a spurious Platonic dialogue. It mirrors the form but not the content of the Laches. Whereas in Plato's Laches, the theme explicitly concerns 'Courage," the theme of the Theages is wisdom. Demodocus, perhaps the noted military man from Thucydides, is frantic and goes to visit Socrates. They speak in private at Socrates's "leisure" … Continue reading On the Theages

Timaeus and the Likely Story

The Timaeus is the strangest dialogue in the Platonic corpus. It begins, appropriately, in counting. Socrates counts "one, two, three..." but notes there is a missing fourth person. Timaeus informs Socrates that the missing fourth person has fallen ill but otherwise would be there. Yesterday, Socrates had treated four men to an account of his conversation … Continue reading Timaeus and the Likely Story

Plato’s Republic, Book X: The Poets and the Myth of Er

The final book of Plato's Republic begins with Socrates returning to the question of banishing the poets. This question was first addressed in Book III. Book X is perhaps the most vexing and troubling book in the Republic. It serves as a kind of epilogue, an afterward to the main text. The question of justice … Continue reading Plato’s Republic, Book X: The Poets and the Myth of Er