The Socrates problem: classical solution strategies and their analytical interpretations in the studies of K. Popper and G. Vlastos.

Authors

  • Andrii Abdula Kryvyi Rih

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.31812/apm.7626

Keywords:

The Socrates problem, Karl Popper, Gregory Vlastos, analytic developmentalism.

Abstract

The Socrates problem is one of the oldest philosophical problems. Socrates is called “the founder of the Western philosophy” and “the first real philosopher”, but perhaps the Socrates we know was just a literary character in Plato's dialogues. Even his contemporaries could not unequivocally answer the question "Who was a real Socrates?".  Three ancient authors closest to him, whose works have survived (Aristophanes, Xenophon, and Plato), gave him contradictory characteristics, and later authors arbitrarily used his image.

At the same time, researchers did not abandon attempts to recreate the "historical Socrates".  By the end of the 19th century, there had been formed several strategies for solving the Socratic problem as a historical-philosophical and methodological problem. Based on these strategies, modern interpretations arose both in analytic philosophy and outside of it.

The article examines the main approaches to solving the Socratic problem, taking into account the methodological guidelines that have been developed recently: distinguishing literary-contextual (hermeneutic) and analytic directions of research, unitary and evolutionary approaches, historically oriented analysis, etc.

It also focuses the attention on two approaches representing the analytic direction of research and considered within the framework of the evolutionist paradigm for solving the problem of Socrates. These approaches are united by a general methodological guideline and a general tendency to contrast the portraits of Socrates and Plato. However, these approaches differ significantly in terms of philosophical weight and influence.

The first of these approaches is presented in the works of the famous British philosopher Karl Popper, in particular, in his pivotal work The Open Society and its Enemies.  In this work, Popper paid considerable attention to the figure of Socrates comparing him with Plato. For Popper, Socrates is a representative of an open, free society, while Plato is a "prophet" of a closed society. For K. Popper, solving the problem of Socrates is a philosophical justification for such an opposition; therefore, the paper draws considerable attention to this problem.

The second approach represents the methodology developed by the preeminent American historian of philosophy G. Vlastos, which is characterized as "analytic developmentalism".  In general, it is also aimed at finding arguments in favor of opposing the philosophy of Socrates and the philosophy of Plato. At the same time, Vlastos's research is mainly focused on questions of historical and philosophical content. His concept is considered one of the fundamental ones in this direction of research.

 

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Metrics

Metrics Loading ...
Abstract views: 23 / PDF downloads: 11

References

Schleiermacher F. On the Worth of Socrates as a Philosopher. The Philological Museum. Vol 2 / Ed. by J. C. Hare .New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. pp. 538-556. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139410717.031

Taylor A. E. Socrates. Boston: The Beacon Press, 1951.

Burnet J. Greek Philosophy: Thales to Plato. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1914.

Vlastos, Gregory and Graham, Daniel W. Studies in Greek Philosophy, Volume II: Socrates, Plato, and Their Tradition, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1995. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9780691241890

Поппер К. Відкрите суспільство та його вороги: в 2 т. Т1 К.: Основи, 1994.

The Socratic Movement / Edited by Paul A. Vander Waerdt. Ithaca and London :University Press,1994.

Kahn Charles H. Vlastos's Socrates Phronesis 1992. Vol. XXXVII/2 p. 223-258. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/156852892321052623

Dorion Louis-André The Rise and Fall of the Socratic Problem. The Cambridge Companion to Socrates. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011. P 1-24. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL9780521833424.001

Nails D., Monoson S. "Socrates", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2022 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2022/entries/socrates/>.

Baruch H. Re-examination of Popper’s Portrayal of Socrates Rethinking Popper. Boston : Springer Science + Business Media B.V., 2009. P. 379–389. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9338-8_23

O’Connor D. Xenophon and the Enviable Life of Socrates The Cambridge Companion to Socrates. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011. P 48-75. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL9780521833424.003

Арістофан Комедії. Харків : Фоліо, 2003.

Платон Діалоги Харків : Фоліо, 2008.

Xenophon's Memorabilia and the Apology of Socrates / translated by Sarah Fielding. Piscataway, NJ : Gorgias Press, 2016.

Klaus Döring The Students of Socrates The Cambridge Companion to Socrates. New York : Cambridge University Press, 2011. P 24-48. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL9780521833424.002

The Socratic movement / edited by Paul Vander Waerdt. Ithaca and London : Cornell University Press, 1994

Аристотель Поетика. Київ : Мистецтво, 1967.

Nails D. Problems with Vlastos's Platonic Developmentalism. Ancient Philosophy. Mathesis Publications, Vol. 13 (1993) DOI: https://doi.org/10.5840/ancientphil19931322

Vlastos G.Socrates, Ironist and Moral Philosopher. Ithaca, New York : Cambridge University Press, 1991. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511518508

E. Wood, N. Wood Socrates and democracy. A Reply to Gregory Vlastos. Political Theory, Vol. 14 No. 1, February 1986, P. 55-82 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0090591786014001005

Published

2022-12-17

How to Cite

Abdula А. (2022). The Socrates problem: classical solution strategies and their analytical interpretations in the studies of K. Popper and G. Vlastos. Actual Problems of Mind, (23), 32–46. https://doi.org/10.31812/apm.7626

Issue

Section

HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY AND MODERNITY