•  65
    In Republic VI 508e-9b Plato has Socrates claim that the Good is the cause (αίτίαν) of truth and knowledge as well as the very being of the Forms. Consequently, as causes must be distinct from and superior to their effects, the Good is neither truth nor knowledge nor even being, but exceeds them all in beauty (509a), as well as in honour and power (509b). No other passage in Plato has had a more intoxicating effect on its readers. To take just one example, James Adam was moved to quote St. Paul …Read more
  •  53
    Philosophy as Performed in Plato's "Theaetetus"
    with Livia Guimaraes
    Review of Metaphysics 47 (2). 1993.
    We examine the "Theaetetus" in the light of its juxtaposition of philosophical, mathematical and sophistical approaches to knowledge, which we show to be a prominent feature of the drama. We suggest that clarifying the nature of philosophy supersedes the question of knowledge as the main ambition of the "Theaetetus". Socrates shows Theaetetus that philosophy is not a demonstrative science, like geometry, but it is also not mere word-play, like sophistry. The nature of philosophy is revealed in S…Read more
  •  50
    The Mythical Voice in the Timaeus-Critias: Stylometric Indicators
    with Harold Tarrant and Terry Roberts
    Ancient Philosophy 31 (1): 95-120. 2011.
    This article presents evidence over which we stumbled while investigating a completely different part of the Platonic Corpus. While examining the ordinary working vocabulary of the doubtful dialogues and of those undisputed dialogues most readily compared with them, it seemed essential to have a representative sample of Plato's allegedly 'middle' and 'late' dialogues also. The real surprise came when the Critias was included, showing some frequencies not previously observed in Platonic dialogues…Read more
  •  48
    The moral of the story: on fables and philosophy in Plato's 'Symposium'
    Modern Greek Studies (Australia and New Zealand) 1 1-14. 2015.
    Scholars have puzzled over the fact that Plato’s criticisms of poetry are themselves contained in mimetic works. This paper sheds light on that phenomenon by examining an analogous one. The Symposium contains one fable which is criticised by means of another which is thought to represent Plato’s own view. Diotima’s fable, however, is suspended within a larger narrative that invites us to examine and question it. The Symposium thus affords opportunity to observe Plato’s criticisms of a genre and …Read more
  •  44
    Plato’s Introduction of Forms, by R.M. Dancy (review)
    Ancient Philosophy 27 (1): 180-184. 2007.
  •  44
    Boy! What Boy?
    Ancient Philosophy 36 (1): 107-114. 2016.
    This paper corrects the common misconception that Meno's slave (in Plato's dialogue of that name) is a boy. The first part of the paper shows how long-standing and widespread that misconception is. The description of Meno's slave as a "slave-boy" goes back at least to Benjamin Jowett, and the phrase is still commonly seen today in books and journal articles in philosophy and classics generally, even in presses and journals with the highest reputation. The paper then shows that the Greek term pa…Read more
  •  38
    The greatest rhetorical display (έπιδείξις) of Plato's Protagoras is apparently not Protagoras's famous myth cum démonstration1 about the teachability of excellence (αρετή),2 but rather the dia logue as a whole. The Protagoras exposes key différences between the methods and presuppositions of Socrates and those of the Sophists - thus defending Socrates against the charge of being a Sophist himself - and in so doing clarifies the conditions and princi ples of ethical argumentation.3 The disp…Read more
  •  37
    Introduction to Special Issue of The European Legacy: Philosophy and the Longing for Myth
    with Harold Tarrant
    The European Legacy 12 (2): 133-139. 2007.
    No abstract
  •  35
    Deliberation is the intellectual activity of rational agents in their capacity as rational agents, and good deliberation is the mark of those who have practical wisdom. That is Aristotle's general view,2 one we may safely attribute to Plato as well. Some philosophers, however, have tried to specifiy Plato's view in ways that accentuate the differences between him and Aristotle. They align Plato's views about deliberation and virtue closely with views the fifth-century sophists, and suppose that…Read more
  •  34
    "Republic" 476d6-E2: Plato's Dialectical Requirement
    Review of Metaphysics 49 (3). 1996.
    JL his paper calls into question a conventional way of reading the passage concerning knowledge and belief at the end of book 5 of Plato's Republic. On the conventional reading, Plato is committed to arguing on grounds that his philosophical opponents would accept, but this view fails to appreciate the rhetorical context in which the passage is situated. Indeed, it is not usually recognized or considered important that the passage has a rhetorical context at all. Philoso phers typically r…Read more
  •  33
    Philosophy, Myth and Plato's Two-Worlds View
    The European Legacy 12 (2): 225-242. 2007.
    This paper examines one aspect of the relation between philosophy and myth, namely the function myth has, for some philosophers, in narrowing the distance between appearance and reality. I distinguish this function of myth from other common functions, and also show how the approach to reality through myth differs from a more empirical philosophical approach. I argue that myth plays a fundamental role in Plato's approach to the appearance/reality distinction, and that understanding this is import…Read more
  •  32
    Plato and Pythagoreanism by Phillip Horky (review)
    Review of Metaphysics 68 (2): 429-431. 2014.
  •  29
    Plato’s Parmenides (review)
    Ancient Philosophy 13 (2): 410-413. 1993.
  •  23
    Eros and Logos (review)
    Review of Metaphysics 48 (1): 176-177. 1994.
    This little book, which ostensibly concerns "the conflict between Isocrates and Plato on the subject of Athenian culture, as seen through the Symposium," ought not to escape the attention of Plato scholars or philosophers. The antithesis between a rhetorical ideal of open conversation and a philosophical ideal of objective accord is the main issue here, and the lessons of the book are as important to the twentieth century as they are to the time of Plato. Wohlman sees the Symposium as staging a …Read more
  •  23
    Interactive Memory and Recollection in Plato's Meno
    with James Ley
    Journal of Modern Greek Studies (Australia and New Zealand) 1 1-10. 2017.
    We re-examine the geometry lesson in the Meno, focusing on the interaction between interlocutors in the practice of recollection. We appeal to an analogy with interactive memory to suggest how Plato could think that inquiry could be successful even when participants have no awareness of what would satisfy their inquiry. This exposes a feature of recollection that needs no metaphysical assumptions, and which emphasises interaction. This feature, which has escaped the notice of philosophers, is mo…Read more
  •  21
    Moral Awareness in Greek Tragedy (review)
    The Classical Review 64 (2): 354-355. 2014.
  •  21
    Plato's Ethics (review)
    Review of Metaphysics 50 (1): 159-161. 1996.
  •  20
    The Musical Structure of Plato's Dialogues by JB Kennedy (review)
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 51 (3): 478-480. 2013.
  •  19
  •  18
    Philosophy and Religion
    with Harold Tarrant
    In J. Kindt & E. Eidenow (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Greek Religion, Oxford University Press. pp. 211-224. 2015.
    This chapter reviews the philosophy and religion dialectic from the end of the sixth century BCE through the second century CE, focusing on theology, mythology, and personal religious experience. It suggests that the familiar philosophy–religion dichotomy has acquired some of its plausibility from scholars who misunderstand the nature of religion and draw their concept of ancient philosophy too narrowly. The chapter stresses instead the interrelation of philosophy and religion, with special atte…Read more
  •  18
    Authenticity, Experiment or Development: The Alcibiades I on Virtue and Courage
    In H. Tarrant & M. Johnson (eds.), Alcibiades and the Socratic Lover-Educator, Bristol Classical Press. pp. 119-133. 2012.
    It has become customary to begin any discussion of the Alcibiades with a review of its puzzling features. Any way you look at it, the Alcibiades is a strange dialogue. Stylistically it is peculiar, not only because it contains some unique terms,2 but also because it contains similarities to early, middle and even late dialogues. These similarities are distributed to different parts of the dialogue, prompting some scholars to maintain that the Alcibiades was written piecemeal, perhaps by differen…Read more
  •  17
    Both Ancient Chinese and Greek philosophers provide accounts of the life lived well: a Confucian junzi, a Daoist sage and a Greek phronimos. Cultivation in Early China and Ancient Greece engages in comparative, cross-tradition scholarship and investigates the processes associated with cultivating or nurturing the self in order to live such lives. By focusing on the processes rather than the aims of cultivating a good life, an international team of scholars investigate how a person develops and …Read more
  •  16
    On Literal Translation: Robert Browning and the Aeschylus' Agamemnon
    Philosophy and Literature 28 (2): 259-268. 2004.
    May I be permitted to chat a little, by way of recreation, at the end of a somewhat toilsome and perhaps fruitless adventure?”1 So begins the introduction to Robert Browning’s “transcription,” as he entitles it, of Aeschylus’s Agamemnon, in which the principles of literal translation are discussed and defended.2 As one who has recently been on the same adventure as Robert Browning, I wonder whether it is not salutary to review his arguments, for I have come to believe firmly that the path he to…Read more
  •  15
    Reflections on Plato's Poetics: Essays from Beijing (edited book)
    with Keping Wang
    Academic Printing and Publishing. 2016.
    Reflections on Plato’s Poetics presents the reflections of leading scholars from China and the West on the form, nature and significance of Plato's engagement with poetry. The book does not adopt any monolithic point of view about Plato and poetry. Instead it openly explores Plato's attitudes to poetry, both comprehensively and within the intricate confines of particular dialogues. These reflections reveal a Plato who is deeply influenced by poetry; a Plato who writes, at least very often, from …Read more
  •  15
    Plato's Philebus (review)
    Review of Metaphysics 48 (3): 675-676. 1995.
  •  15
    On Literal Translation: Robert Browning and the Agamemnon
    Philosophy and Literature 28 (2): 259. 2004.