Knowledge, Sophistry, and Scientific Politics

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304 pages, 6" x 9", preface, notes, graphs and illustrations, bibliography, index

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Knowledge, Sophistry, and Scientific Politics

Plato's Dialogues Theaetetus, Sophist, and Statesman

Rhodes, James M.

James Rhodes’ Plato is a playwright. And a mystic. In his famous “Seventh Letter” Plato had stated that the essence of his thought couldn’t be put into writing and hence he hadn’t done so. This is the self-interpretation of a mystic, Rhodes concludes. But then, two eminent questions arise: Why, then, did Plato write at all? And, how have his writings—his dialogues—to be understood, that is to be read?

Plato intended, Rhodes argues, to direct the souls of those who entered into his dialogues toward the Good, the sun of truth. As “truth” cannot be taught but only experienced (the mystic dimension), Plato makes the readers of his dialogues enter into the dramas—or “plays” (according to Rhodes)—that are formed by the dialogues in the mode of a most sophisticated philosophic artistry.

You encounter one aporia after another, doubts heaped upon doubts, hypotheses searchingly tested. It’s a purifying experience to which you are submitted in following the play, and the hope is, as Rhodes formulates. “that our souls will bring forth beautiful things by the end of the process.”

As befits a political philosopher, James Rhodes focuses his study on the question of political leadership. That is to say: true political leadership.

The highly original response he provides is very practical. And at the same deeply congenial to the “mystical” art of Plato, the playwright. This book will be a landmark in the field of studies on Plato.