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MaieusisEssays in Ancient Philosophy in Honour of Myles Burnyeat$
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Dominic Scott

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199289974

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199289974.001.0001

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Virtue as the Love of Knowledge in Plato's Symposium and Republic *

Virtue as the Love of Knowledge in Plato's Symposium and Republic *

(p.44) 3 Virtue as the Love of Knowledge in Plato's Symposium and Republic *

Melissa Lane

Oxford University Press

Framed by the Symposium, with its central portion being an account of Republic VI, this chapter begins by considering, and rejecting, Alcibiades' proposed programmatic solution to the Socratic problem — that Socrates does have knowledge, and is concealing it. The alternative account which Socrates gives of himself in Republic VI, as one of the natural philosophers possessing the natural virtues, is then detailed, with an eye both to the light it sheds on Socrates and to its function in the context of the unfolding argument of the Republic. The chapter then returns to the Symposium to consider the detailed description which Alcibiades gives of Socrates' behaviour, the actions that allegedly manifest true virtue: for although his solution to the Socratic problem is flawed, his speech contains the materials needed for the correct solution. What he describes is remarkably similar to the natural virtue of Republic VI, 485-7, conforming better to this account than to his own proposed explanation. The role of natural virtue and the nature of the philosophers in Plato's work are examined.

Keywords:   Alciabedes, natural virtues, Socrates, philosphers, true virtue

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