Politics, Philosophy, Writing: Plato's Art of Caring for Souls

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The leading scholars represented in Politics, Philosophy, Writing examine six key Platonic dialogues and the most important of the epistles, moving from Plato's most public or political writings to his most philosophical. The collection is intended to demonstrate the unity of Plato's concerns, the literary quality of his writing, and the integral relation of form and content in his work. Taken together, these essays show the consistency of Plato's understanding of the political art, the art of writing, and the philosophical life. Studies emphasizing the unity of Plato's lifework have given way in recent scholarship to specialized and overspecialized examinations of individual dialogues. While each of the contributors to Politics, Philosophy, Writing studies one text, his or her work is oriented toward illuminating the whole of Plato's project. Each of the essays is an innovative contribution to scholarship on its topic; as a collection, they constitute a unique reading of Plato's political philosophy. Plato scholars have generally divided themselves into two camps: those who concentrate on the analytic or logical aspects of the dialogues, and those who concentrate on the literary-critical features. In one camp are the philologists and classicists, and in the other, the writers of inventive interpretive commentaries. By avoiding distinctions between Plato the poet and Plato the philosopher, Politics, Philosophy, Writing allows a deeper exploration of the comprehensiveness of Plato's theoretical vision and illuminates the lasting challenge of his understanding of the human condition.