Phaedo, The

978-1-890318-58-1
Paper $25
310 pages, 6" x 9", introduction, notes, bibliography, index

Buy Now

Phaedo, The

A Platonic Labyrinth

Burger, Ronna

Since antiquity the Phaedo has been considered the source of “the twin pillars of Platonism” – the theory of ideas and the immortality of the soul. Burger’s attempt to trace the underlying argument of the work as a whole leads to a radical rethinking of the status of those doctrines.

The movement of that argument is marked by the structural division of the dialogue into two halves, linked and separated by a central interlude in which Socrates warns against the great danger of “misology,” or loss of trust in logos. That danger comes to overshadow the threat posed by the fear of death, which motivated the original arguments. The turn this necessitates brings about a transformation of understanding of knowledge, the ideas, the soul, death, immortality.

“Burger has a wonderfully fertile mind and supports her imaginative thesis with a close reading, extremely sensitive to nuance.” – Jerome Schiller, The Journal of the History of Philosophy

“This is a comprehensive study of the Phaedo, thoroughly researched, and sparkling with insights into the text.” – Paul Woodruff, University of Texas