Plato, Pythagoras, and Stichometry

In Stichting Pythagoras Pythagoras Foundation Newsletter. No.15. December 2010. Plato, Pythagoras, and Stichometry §1. Introduction We know little of Plato the man and everything we need of Plato the philosopher. His name appears in the dialogues only three times, twice connected with Socrates’ trial and once with the day of his death. That is all. Continue Reading …

Ion scholarship

    Guthrie (1962) Section 1. Although many scholars in the past have regarded it as spurious, Guthrie reports that today few doubt that it is Plato’s own work, written somewhere between Socrates’ death in 399 and 391, most probably between 394 and 391. This is followed by an explanation of the term ‘rhapsode’ and Continue Reading …

Xenophon’s World

Published in The World & I, November 1992 Xenophon’s World Through one of the many narrow streets of ancient Athens a very handsome—but nevertheless modest and unassuming—young man was returning home with produce from the market. An ugly, bug-eyed man of about sixty coming toward him with the gait of a pelican raised his staff Continue Reading …

Plato’s Understanding of Philosophy

August 2009 A discussion of Plato’s use of the words philosophy, philosophize, and philosopher based on a collection of all instances in all the dialogues and letters, with a concluding statement of how he understood the words and what he was doing.

The Greek Inspiration

The Greek Inspiration Published The World & I, February 1994

Xenophon’s World

 Published in The World & I, November 1992 Xenophon’s World Through one of the many narrow streets of ancient Athens a very handsome—but nevertheless mod­est and unassuming—young man was returning home with produce from the market. An ugly, bug-eyed man of about sixty coming toward him with the gait of a pelican raised his staff Continue Reading …

The Hero and the Philosopher

For the Pythagoras Foundation, 25 June 2011. The first word of Homer’s Iliad is ‘anger’, and ‘the goddess’ is invited or asked or implored or commanded to sing the anger, the anger of Achilles. She is not asked to sing about it or its consequences but to sing it. Thus, the whole epic could be Continue Reading …

Translating Plato: Some Reflections on Rhetoric

First published in The World & I, July 1987 The ancient liberal art of rhetoric was understood in many ways—in almost as many ways as there were rhetoricians. Its meaning changed and developed as its social function changed, and there is an intellectual history to be written connecting Homer’s description of “winged words” with Aristotle’s Continue Reading …

Counting and Re-counting Plato

First published The World & I, August 1986. Plato is playful but he plays in many ways. In what may seem to us a most trivial way he plays with words. Wordplay and puns are as common in the dialogues as they are in the plays of Shakespeare, and they are often as labored. Scholars Continue Reading …

Philosophy and Music

An original version of this was written on 23 January 2010 but subsequently some alterations were made and some paragraphs added—just added, without any attempt to unify the whole. The greatest obstacle to understanding Plato (and ourselves for that matter) is the supposition, assumption, or expectation that he has a ‘system’, and although he is Continue Reading …