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Commentary On Byrd

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image of Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy

I agree with the substance of Prof. Byrd’s argument, that what she calls ‘summoners’ are to be found in supposedly ‘early’ as well as supposedly ‘middle’ dialogues and that this serves to undermine the strong Vlastos thesis of a radical difference between those groups. But Vlastosian and other forms of developmentalism have been in retreat for some time. I think the term παρακαλοῦντα is better translated as ‘provocations’; and I would argue that they are to be found in all of Plato’s dialogues and that their presence supports a more deeply uni-tarian approach than Byrd explicitly offers here. On the other hand, provocation is only a pedagogical strategy and, although its presence constitutes a kind of unity across the Platonic corpus, the problem developmentalism was intended to solve—apparent inconsistencies and contradictions between views apparently asserted in various dialogues—remains in need of solution.


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