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Socrates, Ironist and Moral Philosopher: Civilian Control of Nuclear Weapons in the United States: 50 Paperback – 15 April 1991
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- Publisher : Cornell University Press; 1st edition (15 April 1991)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 334 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0801497876
- ISBN-13 : 978-0801497872
- Dimensions : 15.24 x 0.51 x 22.86 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 231,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
""This is the best book available on its subject. No other book written by someone with such deep knowledge can speak with so much authority to scholars and still be so enjoyable for general readers. Philosophical writing now tends to be excessively technical and academic. Socrates, Ironist and Moral Philosopher is not; it can take many different kinds of people to the heart of the most puzzling and important features of Socrates.""Julia Annas, New York Times Book Review
""Gregory Vlastos's book begins from the conviction that Socrates' strangeness is 'the key to his philosophy.' It is a marvelous book, in which no major aspect of Socrates' career is eclipsed. The rigor of his arguments, the depth of his moral commitment and understanding, his complex relationship to Athenian ethical traditions, his rational religion: all this comes to life in writing whose vigor and lucidity put the challenge of Socrates squarely before the reader. . . . It deserves as much honor as any work of scholarship in Greek philosophy in this century.""Martha C. Nussbaum, The New Republic
""What can be surmised about this extraordinary and arresting figure has been brilliantly presented and argued in this closely reasoned book, for which we are all greatly in Gregory Vlastas's debt.""Charles Taylor, Times Literary Supplement
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In my opinion, it is unfair to accuse Prof. Vlastos of "special pleading", that is, presenting only evidence that supports his own arguments. Vlastos spent his life studying Socrates, and no doubt developed strong feelings for the object of his study, but it seems to me that he goes to great lengths to acknowledge evidence contradicting his own conclusions. But Vlastos makes his points very thoroughly, so if you want to quibble with him you have to have your own ducks in a row.
Vlastos covers the following topics:
- Socratic Irony.
- The "Socratic problem" - what we can know about Socrates as an actual historical figure, as opposed to the various impressions handed down to us by Aristophanes, Plato, Xenophon, and others.
- The shift from the Socratic method ("elenchus") to mathematics in Plato's middle dialogues.
- Does Socrates cheat? (Yes, but only in jest.)
- Socrates' religious beliefs. (He believed in his "daimonion", but was not a mystic.)
- Socrates' rejection of the "lex talionis". (I found this to be by far the most interesting chapter, Socrates articulating the "Golden Rule" 400 years before Christ.)
- An explication of Socrates' theory that Happiness and Virtue are identical.
Vlastos concludes that Socrates, believing what he believed, died a happy man.
Anyone interested in philosophy will benefit from spending a few hours with Professor Gregory Vlastos and his friend, Socrates.
i was wondering about the different socrates in the early dialogs - a very satisfying and entertaining answer