Conversation and Self-sufficiency in Plato

ISBN : 9780199695355

A. G. Long
192 Pages
154 x 222 mm
Pub date
Apr 2013
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Plato's dialogues were part of a body of fourth-century literature in which Socrates questioned (and usually got the better of) friends, associates, and supposed experts. A. G. Long considers how Plato explained the conversational character of Socratic philosophy, and how Plato came to credit first Socrates and then, more generally, the philosopher with an alternative to conversation-internal dialogue or self-questioning. Conversation and self-sufficiency in Plato begins with a study of the Platonic dialogues where conversation and its advantages are discussed, and the aim of this study is to spell out precisely why, and for what purposes, Plato treats conversation as necessary or preferable. The book then traces the emergence of internal dialogue as an alternative to conversation. After his introduction of internal dialogue Plato uses dialogue form not only to explore the attractions of conversation but also to show what is possible without conversation, and in particular to show how a theory can be subjected to a proper critique without the direct involvement of its proponent. Throughout the book Long explores Platonic discussions of conversation or unaccompanied thought in relation to the dialogical exchanges in which they are found.


1. The advantages of conversation in the Phaedrus
2. Conversation and confirmation in the Protagoras
3. Socrates' housemate in the Hippias Major
4. Consolation and self-sufficiency in the Phaedo
5. Representing opponents in the Republic
6. Internal dialogue in the Theaetetus and Sophist
7. Foreign practices and perspectives in the Laws
Index Locorum
General Index

About the author: 

A. G. Long is Lecturer in Classics at the University of St Andrews. He studied at King's College, Cambridge and was a Junior Research Fellow at St Catharine's College, Cambridge.

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