Opinion: Philosophical musings enjoyed
I want to thank the Addison Independent for printing Professor Victor Nuovo’s articles on Socrates.
I find that Socrates probably really existed and was not just the imagination of Plato, who did a lot of the writing about Socrates.
I found it hard to follow what Socrates was doing. For instance, The Republic started with Socrates walking down the street one day and was soon joined by several fellow citizens who talked about old age and other problems, and if it was “justice” to pay back debts.
There are several definitions for justice, but Socrates asks several people what justice is. If he had looked in a somewhat recent dictionary (which was printed probably 2,300 years too late) he would have found around four definitions, and in the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) there are 11 or 12.
Then Socrates asks the people around him what justice is. He pleads ignorance, as he tosses in a golden apple to get things started, by asking if justice is more than telling the truth and paying debts (which I don’t think was covered in the OED).
The ensuing dialog gets the local people confused as to which of many possible concepts are contained in the proposition of justice. Socrates doesn’t ask for a list of various possibilities for defining justice, he treats his audience as if there might be just one idea and we must choose, which really confuses some of his listeners. And then I am confused as to where Socrates is going with this. It seems he is really trying to take people for a head spin and confusing them so they don’t even know the way home.
So, I really appreciate the Addison Independent for printing the Nuovo work, which clears away the peregrinations and gets to the meat of what Plato really wanted to say. (Or was it really Socrates?)