Three intemational Meetings have been beld in the past four years under the aegis (or with the cooperation) of the International Plato Society: the Meeting at Piacenza in 2003, whose ti­tle was 'Plato Ethicus' (the proceedings were published the following year by Academia Ver­lag, and edited by Maurizio Migliori and me); the Vll Symposium Platonicum about 'Gorgias' and 'Meno', in Wurzburg in 2004 (the proceedings, edited by Luc Brisson and Michael Erler, bave been publisbed in 2007 by Academia Verlag) and this Meeting beld in Como at the be­ginning of 2006, and whose object was Platonic psyche, therefore interiority and soul. The Platonic scholar that, like the author of this Foreword, has been fortunate enough to take part in all three of these Meetings could not refrain form a fairly marked impression: that of a growing ferment in Platonic studies, to the extent that the more amateurs -be they philosophers or not -regard some readings as consolidated, or take them even for granted, the less these readings are taken for granted by the specialists, who obdurately continue the play (a most arduous one) of confronting with the Platonic text as well as with a monumental critical literature, in order to verify what can actually be called 'doctrine' with regard to one of the unquestionable fathers of Western culture. What is curiously stunning is that such remediation and reassess­ ment are in no way concemed, as one might believe, only with marginal aspects of the dia­logues, but involve -as I am here, in this Foreword, laboriously trying to prove - the most important themes, those on whose certain content a non-specialist, an historian of general philosophy, a theore­tician, a high-school philosophy teacher, or a mere lover of Plato would be ready to swear. The soul is one of such capital subjects of the Dialogues, so essential and well-known that one might wonder whether it was worth while coming back again on it. However, as can be seen in this Foreword, traditional and well-established topoi about Platonic soul are no longer such after a thorough enquiry; many subjects can be profitably discussed again, just as many questions - brought about by new answers to those first questions - must still be dealt with. Numerous subjects are commonly regarded as certain and well-established in Platonic psychology: that the Platonic soul has three 'parts', corresponding to reason, will, and desire; that it is immortal, as can be proved in many ways, and that, having parted with the body through death, it ascends to the hyperuranian seat of ideas with all such three 'parts'; that it is personal and capable of comprehension and moral action through its rational component (the other two 'parts' simply ought to be 'repressed' and would not only be useless, but even harmful in this activity); that in the Dialogues a sharp opposition of body and soul is found, with all the rigorous as­cetic consequences that have flown into subsequent tradition. The 21 speeches delivered at the Como meeting have proved that the things are by no means so: the scholars have raised various questions and have tackled them with dif­ferent hermeneutic methods and instruments. The problerns, however, manifest themselves over again, echo one another beyond the single speech, in a problematic tune that, given a certain rhythm and perspective, arouses consonant appeals from many - often different and distant - places; the solutions suggested are often similar, found through different and com­plementary paths, and time and again capable of reinforcing one another. In some cases the perspective or the solution appears incompatible with the others; on further thinking, however, a new perspective is rising, a new question that remained previously unclear or down­ right unseen, calling for radical discussion starting from the very basic terms that enable Plato to deal with it, or from the method we nowadays choose to analyse it. The formation and per­sonal inclination of each scholar allow to investigate Plato in different manners and, interest­ingly enough, to reach different answers. This is, however, one of the reasons of the lasting charm of our philosopher, which none of the authors of this book would be ready to renounce. ever, a new perspective is rising, a new question that remained previously unclear or down­ right unseen, calling for radica! discussion starting from the very basic terms that enable Plato to deal with it, or from the method we nowadays choose to analyse it. The formation and per­ sonal inclination of each scholar allow to investigate Plato in different manners and, interest­ ingly enough, to reach different answers. This is, however, one of the reasons of the lasting charm of our author, which none of the authors of this book would be ready to renounce.

Foreword

NAPOLITANO, Linda
2012

Abstract

Three intemational Meetings have been beld in the past four years under the aegis (or with the cooperation) of the International Plato Society: the Meeting at Piacenza in 2003, whose ti­tle was 'Plato Ethicus' (the proceedings were published the following year by Academia Ver­lag, and edited by Maurizio Migliori and me); the Vll Symposium Platonicum about 'Gorgias' and 'Meno', in Wurzburg in 2004 (the proceedings, edited by Luc Brisson and Michael Erler, bave been publisbed in 2007 by Academia Verlag) and this Meeting beld in Como at the be­ginning of 2006, and whose object was Platonic psyche, therefore interiority and soul. The Platonic scholar that, like the author of this Foreword, has been fortunate enough to take part in all three of these Meetings could not refrain form a fairly marked impression: that of a growing ferment in Platonic studies, to the extent that the more amateurs -be they philosophers or not -regard some readings as consolidated, or take them even for granted, the less these readings are taken for granted by the specialists, who obdurately continue the play (a most arduous one) of confronting with the Platonic text as well as with a monumental critical literature, in order to verify what can actually be called 'doctrine' with regard to one of the unquestionable fathers of Western culture. What is curiously stunning is that such remediation and reassess­ ment are in no way concemed, as one might believe, only with marginal aspects of the dia­logues, but involve -as I am here, in this Foreword, laboriously trying to prove - the most important themes, those on whose certain content a non-specialist, an historian of general philosophy, a theore­tician, a high-school philosophy teacher, or a mere lover of Plato would be ready to swear. The soul is one of such capital subjects of the Dialogues, so essential and well-known that one might wonder whether it was worth while coming back again on it. However, as can be seen in this Foreword, traditional and well-established topoi about Platonic soul are no longer such after a thorough enquiry; many subjects can be profitably discussed again, just as many questions - brought about by new answers to those first questions - must still be dealt with. Numerous subjects are commonly regarded as certain and well-established in Platonic psychology: that the Platonic soul has three 'parts', corresponding to reason, will, and desire; that it is immortal, as can be proved in many ways, and that, having parted with the body through death, it ascends to the hyperuranian seat of ideas with all such three 'parts'; that it is personal and capable of comprehension and moral action through its rational component (the other two 'parts' simply ought to be 'repressed' and would not only be useless, but even harmful in this activity); that in the Dialogues a sharp opposition of body and soul is found, with all the rigorous as­cetic consequences that have flown into subsequent tradition. The 21 speeches delivered at the Como meeting have proved that the things are by no means so: the scholars have raised various questions and have tackled them with dif­ferent hermeneutic methods and instruments. The problerns, however, manifest themselves over again, echo one another beyond the single speech, in a problematic tune that, given a certain rhythm and perspective, arouses consonant appeals from many - often different and distant - places; the solutions suggested are often similar, found through different and com­plementary paths, and time and again capable of reinforcing one another. In some cases the perspective or the solution appears incompatible with the others; on further thinking, however, a new perspective is rising, a new question that remained previously unclear or down­ right unseen, calling for radical discussion starting from the very basic terms that enable Plato to deal with it, or from the method we nowadays choose to analyse it. The formation and per­sonal inclination of each scholar allow to investigate Plato in different manners and, interest­ingly enough, to reach different answers. This is, however, one of the reasons of the lasting charm of our philosopher, which none of the authors of this book would be ready to renounce. ever, a new perspective is rising, a new question that remained previously unclear or down­ right unseen, calling for radica! discussion starting from the very basic terms that enable Plato to deal with it, or from the method we nowadays choose to analyse it. The formation and per­ sonal inclination of each scholar allow to investigate Plato in different manners and, interest­ ingly enough, to reach different answers. This is, however, one of the reasons of the lasting charm of our author, which none of the authors of this book would be ready to renounce.
9783896655615
Plato Psyche Inner Life Soul
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