Up to now, we have spoken solely of oral dialogue as it must have been practiced within the Academy. We can only imagine what this dialogue must have been like, by means of the examples we find in Plato’s written work; and in order to simplify things, we have often quoted them using the phrase “as Plato says.” Yet this expression is quite inexact, for Plato, in his written works, never says anything in his own voice. Whereas Xenophanes, Parmenides, Empedocles, the Sophists, and Xenophon had not hesitated to write in the first person, Plato makes fictional characters speak within fictional situations. Only in the Seventh Letter does he allude to his philosophy, and when he does he describes it more as a way of life. Above all, he declares that with regard to the object of his concerns, he has not published any written work, nor will he ever do so, for the knowledge in question cannot under any circumstances be formulated like other bodies of knowledge. Instead, it springs forth within the soul, when one has long been familiar with the activity in which it consists and has devoted one’s life to it.
Pierre Hadot, “What is Ancient Philosophy?”
Todos os Diálogos (links/eng)
Todos os Diálogos (Jowett Edition/pdf/eng)
The Dialogues of Plato – Jowett Editon (pdf/eng)
Plato (429?–347 B.C.E.) is, by any reckoning, one of the most dazzling writers in the Western literary tradition and one of the most penetrating, wide-ranging, and influential authors in the history of philosophy. An Athenian citizen of high status, he displays in his works his absorption in the political events and intellectual movements of his time, but the questions he raises are so profound and the strategies he uses for tackling them so richly suggestive and provocative that educated readers of nearly every period have in some way been influenced by him, and in practically every age there have been philosophers who count themselves Platonists in some important respects. He was not the first thinker or writer to whom the word “philosopher” should be applied. But he was so self-conscious about how philosophy should be conceived, and what its scope and ambitions properly are, and he so transformed the intellectual currents with which he grappled, that the subject of philosophy, as it is often conceived—a rigorous and systematic examination of ethical, political, metaphysical, and epistemological issues, armed with a distinctive method—can be called his invention. Few other authors in the history of Western philosophy approximate him in depth and range: perhaps only Aristotle (who studied with him), Aquinas, and Kant would be generally agreed to be of the same rank. Continuar lendo