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image of Méthexis

In this I draw attention to the strangeness (atopia) that Plato’s Republic has not only for Plato’s contemporaries, but also for us. This strangeness for us consists of the fact that Plato’s Republic does not allow for a plurality of philosophical opinions, but enforces one true philosophy (philosophia alêthê) or one conception of the Good to all citizens. The platonic Republic describes not only a state, but also a kind of pre-Christian church. Second, I emphasize that the Socratic principle in which every soul does everything for the Good (panta prattei) can be translated in two ways: Every soul does everything for the sake of the Good, or goes to all lengths for the sake of the Good. Depending on the different translations, we have a different picture of the platonic Socrates in the Republic, an intellectualiste Socrates for whom irrational desires do not exist, or a Socrates who also accepts irrational desires. Third, I discuss the laughter after Socrates’ claim that the Good is even “beyond being”. Who here is laughing about whom, Glaucon about Socrates, or Socrates about Glaucon, or perhaps Plato about himself?


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