By John R. Wolfe
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Extra info for Arete and physics: the lesson of Plato's "Timaeus"
To write a treatise would be to disembody the voice of the speaker and thereby create the illusion of a voice from nowhere. For Plato, the account can only be as good as the one giving it, so we must be shown the person from whom it originates. One of Plato's continuing themes is that the speaker and all the peculiarities of her situation must be taken into account when evaluating their claim to truth. To write a treatise would cover this aspect up, create a false semblance of objectivity. This conception of truth was 70 An idea like this seems to undergird the lover's ascent in the Symposium as well.
52a, Theat. 150a, Theat. 169a, Laws 624a. (LSJ) 48 Phaedo 97c. It is worth noting that the thinker with whom Socrates is confused by the public and the prosecution in the Apology is none other than Anaxagoras. 49 Werner Jaeger notes that Plato is perhaps the first to use the word “kosmos” as a general synonym for goodness, whether in the individual, the society, or the universe as a whole. Werner Jaeger, Paideia, trans. Gilbert Highet, vol 2, (New York: Oxford UP 1986) 146. 26 axiological. 50 This procedure contains the possibility of answering all of the questions which preoccupied Socrates in his youth.
Virtue and Knowledge: The Knower The question remains: what sort of person is capable of knowing the good? One might suspect that one of the most pervasive notions in Greek thought, that only like can know like would play a role here. Returning to the Phaedo for a moment, we see this notion clearly articulated in the argument from kinship for the immortality of the psuchē. 64 63 Rep. 540a. 64 Phaedo 78b-80b. 31 The notion of kinship we find in the Phaedo is one which does not admit of degree. The soul simply is like its objects at a fundamental level.
Arete and physics: the lesson of Plato's "Timaeus" by John R. Wolfe