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Plato's Ion And The Ethics Of Praise

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Chapter Summary

This chapter aims to establish two things: (1) what exactly is the main subject of Plato's Ion, and accordingly (2) for what purpose Plato wrote it. In author view, and contrary to the mainstream interpretation, Plato's Ion is not a dialogue about poetry and the poet as a professional figure: Socrates' interlocutor, Ion of Ephesus, is actually not a poet, but the most famous of Homeric rhapsodes. Plato's purpose is to show how the ethics underlying this kind of praise - a praise not only of a model of life but above all of the authority of such a model - is dangerous (i) because persuasive but groundless and (ii) because it promotes a dogmatic and passive style of life and thought. The ethics of praise is then essentially incompatible with philosophy.

Keywords: ethics of praise; philosophy; Plato's Ion; Socrates



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