The Pseudo-Platonic Seventh Letter

Hardcover | June 22, 2015

byMyles Burnyeat, Michael Frede

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The Pseudo-Platonic Seventh Letter describes Plato's attempts to turn the ruler of Sicily, Dionysius II, into a philosopher ruler along the lines of the Republic. It explains why Plato turned from politics to philosophy in his youth and how he then tried to apply his ideas to actual politicslater on. It also sets out his views about language, writing and philosophy. As such, it represents a potentially crucial source of information about Plato, who tells us almost nothing about himself in his dialogues. But is it genuine? Scholars have debated the issue for centuries, although recentopinion has moved in its favour. The origin of this book was a seminar given in Oxford in 2001 by Myles Burnyeat and Michael Frede, two of the most eminent scholars of ancient philosophy in recent decades. Michael Frede begins by casting doubt on the Letter by looking at it from the general perspective of letter writing inantiquity, when it was quite normal to fabricate letters by famous figures from the past. Both then attack the authenticity of the letter head-on by showing how its philosophical content conflicts with what we find in the Platonic dialogues. They also reflect on the question of why the Letter waswritten, whether as an attempt to exculpate Plato from the charge of meddling in politics (Frede), or as an attempt to portray, through literary means, the ways in which human weakness and emotions can lead to disasters in political life (Burnyeat).

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The Pseudo-Platonic Seventh Letter describes Plato's attempts to turn the ruler of Sicily, Dionysius II, into a philosopher ruler along the lines of the Republic. It explains why Plato turned from politics to philosophy in his youth and how he then tried to apply his ideas to actual politicslater on. It also sets out his views about la...

Myles Burnyeat is Emeritus Professor of Ancient Philosophy at Cambridge, and Honorary Fellow of Robinson College. Michael Frede was formerly Professor of the History of Philosophy at Oxford University. Dominic Scott is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Kent.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.98 inPublished:June 22, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198733658

ISBN - 13:9780198733652

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Table of Contents

Editor's IntroductionSicily time-linePart I: Michael FredeSeminar 1Seminar 2Seminar 3Seminar 4Seminar 5AppendixDominic Scott: Editor's GuideCarol Atack and Dominic Scott: EndnotesFacsimile pages of Michael Frede's notesPart II: Myles Burnyeat1. The pseudo-philosophical digression in Epistle VIIThe second prose tragedy: a literary analysis 116 of the pseudo-Platonic Epistle VIIAppendix: Verbal repetitiveness in Epistle VIIBibliography