Philosophos: Platos Missing Dialogue

Paperback | December 19, 2014

byMary Louise Gill

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Plato famously promised to complement the Sophist and the Statesman with another work on a third sort of expert, the philosopher - but we do not have this final dialogue. Mary Louise Gill argues that Plato promised the Philosopher, but did not write it, in order to stimulate his audience andencourage his readers to work out, for themselves, the portrait it would have contained. The Sophist and Statesman are themselves members of a larger series starting with the Theaetetus, Plato's investigation of knowledge, and the whole series relies on the Parmenides, the second part of whichpresents a philosophical exercise, introduced as the first step in a larger philosophical program. Gill contends that the dialogues leading up to the missing Philosopher, though they reach some substantive conclusions, are philosophical exercises of various sorts designed to train students indialectic, the philosopher's method; and that a second version of the Parmenides exercise, closely patterned on it, spans parts of the Theaetetus and Sophist and brings the philosopher into view. This is the exercise about being, the subject-matter studied by Plato's philosopher. Plato hides thepieces of the puzzle and its solution in plain sight, forcing his students (and modern readers) to dig out the pieces and reconstruct the project. Gill reveals how, in finding the philosopher through the exercise, the student becomes a philosopher by mastering his methods. She shows that the targetof Plato's exercise is internally related to its pedagogical purpose.

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Plato famously promised to complement the Sophist and the Statesman with another work on a third sort of expert, the philosopher - but we do not have this final dialogue. Mary Louise Gill argues that Plato promised the Philosopher, but did not write it, in order to stimulate his audience andencourage his readers to work out, for themse...

Mary Louise Gill is Professor of Philosophy and Classics at Brown University. She is the author of Aristotle on Substance: The Paradox of Unity (Princeton, 1989) and of many articles and several co-edited books on Plato and Aristotle.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:302 pagesPublished:December 19, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198708653

ISBN - 13:9780198708650

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsIntroduction1. Forms in Question2. A Philosophical Exercise3. The Contest between Heraclitus and Parmenides4. Knowledge as Expertise5. Appearances of the Sophist6. Refining the Statesman7. The Philosopher's ObjectWorks CitedIndex LocorumIndex of NamesGeneral Index

Editorial Reviews

"In this extraordinary book, Gill illustrates how Plato's promise to compose a dialogue (Philosophos) to complete the trilogy of dialogues (Sophist and Statesman) is actually filled within the dialectical exercises contained in the two dialogue, along with the Parmenides and the Theaetetus ...It is a significant contribution to contemporary Platonic scholarship and has an excellent biography and index. Essential." --CHOICE