A friendly companion to Plato's Gorgias by George Kimball Plochmann

By George Kimball Plochmann

A entire examine of “one of the main elusive and sophisticated” of the entire Platonic dialogues. The Gorgias starts with a dialogue of the character and price of rhetoric and develops into an impassioned argument for the primacy of absolute correct (as expressed by means of sense of right and wrong) within the law of either private and non-private existence. Plochmann and Robinson heavily research this nice discussion within the first two-thirds in their booklet, handing over the ultimate 4 chapters to a broader dialogue of its cohesion, sweep, and philosophic implications.

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Page xxv Methods in the Dialogue We have already introduced the word dialectic rather casually, as if taking for granted that it has a place both in the original dialogue and in our own discussion. Like most words used by Plato, this one is given a large number of meanings, perhaps a subtly different one each time it appears, certainly when used in a new context. Because we ourselves are not writing a dialogue, we must depart from Plato's manner of establishing meanings, employing instead a more arbitrary approach, wherein the word has three senses, all having precedents in the dialogues: Most broadly, there is a respect in which everyone, from Socrates and the canny but anonymous Eleatic and the wide-ranging intellect Timaeus down to the most naive bystander in the Euthydemus and Charmides or even the sheeplike but bitterly resentful dicasts in the Apology, has a dialectic of some sort.

On the other hand, the shifting of meanings becomes illegitimate in any case where there is a desire to take credit for possessing an art that in- Page xxx cludes a knowledge of justice but disclaims responsibility for teaching this knowledge in connection with other parts of the art. Again, it is illegitimate when there is an attempt to make goods of property and pleasures of the body into standards by which goods of the soul are to be judged. The final error is that of supposing that if one benefits oneself then the good or harm done to others is wholly irrelevant.

O'Brien, Robert Sternfeld, Henry Teloh, and Frederick Williams, who have been most helpful in their suggestions and evaluative comments. Presumably there have been others, but a dark veil shrouds their names from us. The Southern Illinois University Press has shown unfailing expertness, diligence, and kindness in treating all the necessary detailsof which there are myriad, as an author soon comes to knowof publication. In particular we are extremely grateful to Kenney Withers, Director, Robert S.

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