Politics in Socrates’ Alcibiades: A Philosophical Account of Plato’s Dialogue Alcibiades Major. Cham: Springer, 2015. xii + 144 pp. $54.99. isbn 9783319152684 (pbk).Andre Archie claims to argue that ‘Socrates redirects Alcibiades’ political ambition to rule over the Athenian people by generalizing the notion of argument’ (p. 3).1 The change of ambition is most probably the case since the dialogue ends with Alcibiades’ proclaimed determination to ‘cultivate justice (or righteousness)’ (Alc. i., 135e4-5). However, Alcibiades proclamation is immediately followed by Socrates’ scepticism which is the last rejoinder of the text. The ending of the Alcibiades thus exhibits one instantiation of a serious problem Plato – the philosopher – had to face: did Socrates fail in making his associates better people? And if he did (cf. Alcibiades, Critias, Charmides and others), why? Did he do anything wrong?2Archie does not address these question which necessarily invite broad investigation outside the Alcibiades itself and most probably outside the Platonic corpus as well. In several aspects he treats the Alcibiades as a complete text which can be interpreted in itself. Compared to most recent scholarship on the Alcibiades, this approach is a novelty. However, it is understandable since most of the interpretations so far
Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought – Brill
Published: Apr 4, 2017
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