By James M. Rhodes
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Additional resources for Eros, Wisdom, and Silence: Plato's Erotic Dialogues
This appears to be the tendency of Strauss’s open description of Socrates’ public pronouncements as conventional bromides that are less wise than his real thoughts. 31 Plato and Socrates are thought to be known to teach piety toward just, wise gods; obedience to such gods; and the virtues of moderation, courage, justice, and wisdom. If these views are conventional notions that are less wise than the philosophers’ real knowledge, which is contained in the statements of the unsavory characters, it would be easy to infer that the secret doctrine attributed to Plato and Socrates posits the absence of any ground of human order other than man’s will.
Gadamer, The Idea of the Good in Platonic-Aristotelian Philosophy, 8. 34 Eros, Wisdom, and Silence have a plain indication of his wishes in this respect, namely, his dramatic dating of the dialogues. Plato gives his works dramatic dates by having the speakers mention contemporaneous events that his Athenian audiences would have recognized. As seen above, he also links the dialogues by causing the same people to appear in them at different stages of their lives. The Symposium, Republic, and Phaedrus are joined in these ways.
In the affairs of the polis, he shows them how to become the “most capable in action and speech” 16. It is quite easy to see in the drama of the dialogue that this is Alcibiades’ motive. In real life, Alcibiades’ purpose seems to have been the same. 39–40). Xenophon says that Alcibiades and his friend Critias were never in sympathy with Socrates when they associated with him, but desired political advancement. I am grateful to Zdravko Planinc for reminding me of these Xenophon passages. Eros, Wisdom, and Silence in Plato 15 (319a1–2).