Plato, Socrates, and the Dialogues

Terence Irwin

in Plato's Ethics

Published in print March 1995 | ISBN: 9780195086454
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833306 | DOI:
Plato, Socrates, and the Dialogues

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Chapter 1 examines both what is Plato’s fundamental moral problem and how to read the Platonic dialogues as philosophical works. Concerning the former aspect, it is observed that Plato articulates the basic moral question, “What is the good life?” into two different problems: an epistemological one, “How ought we to live?” and a normative one, “How can we know how ought we to live?” Respecting the way Plato’s writings have to be interpreted, the so-called doctrinal approach is followed, i.e., the most important doctrines are formulated by the principal speaker of the dialogue (usually Socrates), while the other characters present several steps relevant for the argument. In conclusion, both Plato’s and Aristotle’s ways of interpreting Socrates’ theories are taken into account.

Keywords: Aristotle; Dialogue; Doctrinal approach; Good life; Plato; Socrates

Chapter.  7301 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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