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Book Cover
Author Sayre, Kenneth M., 1928-

Title Plato's literary garden : how to read a Platonic dialogue / Kenneth M. Sayre.

Published Notre Dame : University of Notre Dame Press, [1995]


Location Call No. Status
Physical description xxiii, 292 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 267-270) and indexes.
Contents 1. Why Plato Wrote Dialogues -- 2. Refutation and Irony: Preparing the Ground -- 3. Recollection and Example: Sowing the Seeds -- 4. Love and Philosophy: Nourishing the Growth -- 5. Dialectic and Logos: Training the Shoots -- 6. The Good and the Beautiful: Reaping the Fruits -- Appendix: How to Read a Platonic Dialogue: Sunousia in the Theaetetus.
Summary Plato's dialogues are universally acknowledged as standing among the masterworks of the Western philosophic tradition. What most readers do not know, however, is that Plato also authored a public letter in which he unequivocally denies ever having written a work of philosophy. If Plato did not view his written dialogues as works of philosophy, how did he conceive them, and how should readers view them? In Plato's Literary Garden, Kenneth M. Sayre brings over thirty years of Platonic scholarship to bear on these questions, arguing that Plato did not intend the dialogues to serve as repositories of philosophic doctrine, but instead composed them as teaching instruments.
Focusing on the dramatic structure of the dialogues as well as their logical argumentation, Sayre's study is organized according to the progression of a horticultural metaphor adopted from the Phaedrus. Sayre illustrates each of these metaphorical "stages" with a sustained discussion of relevant dialogues, ranging from the very early Apology to the very late Philebus. In the culminating chapter, he applies the insights gained along the way to a new interpretation of Plato's elusive Form of the Good.
Subject Plato.
Imaginary conversations.
ISBN 0268038082 (hardcover : alk. paper)