This volume approaches the 'Socratic question' from a viewpoint that departs radically from mainstream lines of interpretation. The focus is not on the 'formal order' of the Socratics, that is on their subdivision in 'schools' and the 'doctrines' peculiar to each, but on the theoretical issues that these thinkers were able to develop in the fierce struggle among themselves.
This collection features the revised versions of the papers presented at 'Socratica III - a conference on Socrates, the Socratics, and the ancient Socratic literature'.
This conference is the latest of a series of Socratica symposia, previously held in Senigallia (2005) and Naples (2008), which were devoted to the developments of the research on the complex world serving as a context for Plato and his dialogues.
This volume approaches the 'Socratic question' from a viewpoint that departs radically from mainstream lines of interpretation. The focus is not on the 'formal order' of the Socratics, that is on their subdivision in 'schools' and the 'doctrines' peculiar to each, but on the theoretical issues that these thinkers were able to develop in the fierce struggle among themselves. The papers dwell on the dynamic context in which these issues were posed, discussed, and eventually fixed in dogmatic theories within the philosophical and non-philosophical Greek literature of the V and IV centuries B.C.
Following topics are examined: 1. the 'intellectual movement' around Socrates, i.e. Aristophanes and Comedy, Isocrates, Antisthenes, Chaerephon, Aeschines, Plato, and Xenophon; 2. the literary context in which the texts of the Socratics are framed; 3. major topics discussed within this movement, and their development within and outside the Socratic circle (apologetics, dialectics, politics, misology, eudaimonia, eusebeia, Eros, enthousiasmos, parrhesia, protreptics, spoudaiogeloion, epistemology and teleology); the reception of these issues in Late Antiquity, from Aristotle up to the Stoic, Neoplatonic and Arab traditions; 4. the state of the art of the 'Socratic question', and reviews of the major publications that appeared on Socrates and the Socratics between 2010 and 2011 (D. Morrison's Companion, L.-A. Dorion's and F. Bevilacqua's editions of the Memorabilia, and V. Gray's works on Xenophon and G. Danzig's book on the apologetic side of the earlier Socratic literature).
The scope of this paper is to enquire into the nature of the so called ‘Socratic protreptic’. P. Harlich (1889) and K. Gaiser (1959) suggested that the ‘Socratic protreptic’ was a kind of transitional form from sophistic presentations to early Plato’s dialogues. Diogenus Laertius only mentions the protreptics of Antisthenes (VP VI. 2) and Aristippus (VP II. 85), but there are two texts that came to be considered as protreptics as a result оf Gaiser’s Protreptik und Paränese bei Platon: Xenophons’ Memorabilia 4.2 and the Alcibiades of Aeschines. These texts, along with the spurious First Alcibiades, were included into the protreptic corpus by S.R. Slings (1999). We argue that Gaiser’s approach is somewhat problematical, since the influence of Aeschines is not beyond any doubt. In the end, we focus on differences (both in structure and in content) between the ‘Socratic protreptic’ and those texts that were explicitly marked as protreptic in the IV century BC (Euthydemus, Clitiphon), which brings us to the problem of genre-definition.