Review: Plato and Analytical Philosophy

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Review: Plato and Analytical Philosophy

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  • Review: Plato and Analytical PhilosophyAuthor(s): Marcel Van AckerenSource: Erkenntnis (1975-), Vol. 62, No. 2 (2005), pp. 263-275Published by: SpringerStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20013325Accessed: 26/05/2010 07:39

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  • Erkenntnis (2005) 62:263-275 DOI 10.1007/sl0670-005-7487-y

    Springer 2005

    Critical Discussion

    PLATO AND ANALYTICAL PHILOSOPHY

    Kutschera, Franz, von, Piatons Philosophie I: Die fr hen Dialoge, Mentis, Paderborn, 2002, 236 pp. 29.80 (paper). ISBN: 3-89785-264-0. Kutschera, Franz, von, Piatons Philosophie II: Die mittleren Dialoge, Mentis, Paderborn, 2002,239 pp. 29.80 (paper). ISBN: 3-89785-265-9.

    Kutschera, Franz, von, Piatons Philosophie III: Die sp ten Dialoge, Mentis, Paderborn, 2002,274 pp. 29.80 (paper). ISBN: 3-89785-266-7.

    (together also available as)

    Kutschera, Franz, von, Piatons Philosophie I-III, Mentis, Paderborn, 2002, 749 pp., 78,- (paper), ISBN 3-89785-277-2.

    The above mentioned books are outstanding for more than one reason: Firstly, nowadays there are more publications on Plato than even the most dedicated researcher can cope with, but this set of three volumes aims at nothing less than a presentation of the entire

    philosophy of Plato, something that only very few scholars have undertaken in the past. The (hopefully still) well known names are: Ritter (1910), Wilamowitz-Moellendorf (1919), Friedl nder (1928 1930), Br cker (1964) and Guthrie (1975, 1978). Secondly, a new

    book by one of the leading and internationally renowned scholars in the field of

    "analytic philosophy", Franz von Kutschera, is in itself of interest. Thirdly, it is precisely the combination of these two factors that is so intriguing, for former attempts to interpret Plato's philos ophy in all of its breathtaking depth and variety have been written from a more or less philological or doxographic point of view.

    Especially the German tradition has contributed to that tenet in the research literature, e.g. Friedl nders three volumes, in which he

    paints a very subtle picture of Plato but uses only the colours pro vided by Schleiermachers (philological) "romanticism" (E. Heitsch,

  • 264 MARCEL VAN ACKEREN

    personal communication). But also the english literature does not provide us with an analytic account of Plato: Apart from Guthries

    impressive work I can only think of two older (and considerably shorter) studies by Shorey (1903, 1933) and Taylor (1926). They all have the purely doxographic aim in common, but they are quite dif ferent in style and method: Whereas Taylor and Guthrie are working their way through Plato dialogue by dialogue, Shorey underlines his strict Unitarian interpretation by providing us with a first attempt at a

    systematic overview. To be sure, here "systematic" does not mean any more than an interpretation structured in accordance with philo

    sophical topics (e.g. ethics, ontology etc.), instead of a chronological approach von Kutschera presents something very similar, but a great deal more elaborate: At the end of volume III (pp. 173-236), the reader finds a topic-centred overview, which summarizes Plato's philosophy under ten subjects (1. The character of Plato's philosophy, 2. Forms, 3. Dialectics, 4. Doctrine of principles, 5. Theology, Teleology, Theodicy, 6. Dualism, 7. Perception and Knowledge, 8. The good life, 9. The

    State, 10. Philosophy). So far, however, I have only pointed out that Kutschera's books belong to a very distinguished class of literature on Plato but even within this very small group they are special, because in contrast to all the mentioned predecessors he pursues a quite different

    approach. This has to be examined in detail. It is worthwhile to pay careful attention to the preface, for it

    includes more than the usual expression of thanks and announcement of text-editions being used. In fact the first pages develop a meth

    odological framework for interpreting ancient philosophical texts with special regard to Plato. The author dismisses the common no

    tion of a history of philosophy with purely doxographic aims as

    "necrophilism" (I; p. 10) and presents four arguments, the first two of which are linked more specifically to Plato:

    (1) Plato himself was highly interested in the truth of his asser tions, so even if we are doing history of philosophy, we should take his intention seriously and ask ourselves what the truth is with regard to the philosophical problems he raises.

    (2) Plato wants his readers to think independently, for he con sidered his texts only to be b7ro|ivf||iaTa (memorials) for those "who follow the same path, and he will be pleased when he [the writer] sees them putting forth tender leaves" (Phaedr. 276d). Thereby claim (1) is extended and justified, firstly, through Plato's use of the dialogue form and, secondly, through his suspicion against written philosophy (I; pp. 9, 47-51).

  • PLATO AND ANALYTICAL PHILOSOPHY 265

    The second two arguments are of general importance and more

    challenging: (3) Considering the true answer of a question does not only help

    to describe Plato's answer to it, it is a necessary condition of doing so

    correctly. This, certainly, is a more striking and stronger claim, but it is substantiated by a very neat and surprisingly concise argument: If

    we want to stick to the charity principle of interpretation and if we,

    accordingly, strive to present an author as holding true and sensible

    positions, we first of all have to tackle the question of what might be a true and sensible position. Needless to say, this does not amount to free Plato from all failures. (I; 10).

    But one might argue that von Kutschera is simply aiming too high. Isn't the entire history of philosophy including modern branches like

    analytical philosophy all about trying to defend various notions of true and sensible positions? The assumption that considering the true answer of a question is a necessary condition of describing the answer

    given by some other (historical) philosopher seems to imply the ambitious claim to have found the truth. Even if we think that to be

    possible we would expect Kutschera to present the true answer to a

    philosophical question and than -in the light of this truth -provides us with a description of Plato's position. But that is not what the reader gets. For good reasons, because this method seems to rely on a circle: In order to find out what questions (and answers) are of interest to Plato we got to read him, but in order to read him, we need the true answer to his question. In the final paragraphs of this essay I

    will come back to the fact that von Kutschera with a few exceptions never strays very far from Plato's text. In the end the reader will welcome his actual procedure, which manly consists in confronting Plato's texts with a modern conceptual apparatus in hope of mutual benefit. This leads me to his next claim.

    (4) We do not have to apply modern concepts and distinctions of various modern notions to Platonic texts, but if we wish to estimate and evaluate Plato's theories, it is vital to use our modern conceptual framework. Therefore we have to rely on modern distinctions while

    reading Plato. Does that amount to the anachronistic fallacy, as might be sus

    pected? Not necessarily, as von Kutschera is not trying to force later distinctions in an old text, for sometimes he recognises that in the

    light of Plato's argumentation these modern distinction turn out to be

    inadequate. Examples of that will be given below.

    According to von Kutschera, modern distinctions concerning truth are methodological tools which have to be used for a better

  • 266 MARCEL VAN ACKEREN

    understanding of Plato. But ancient texts can also be read for the sake of developing modern theories! In fact, Ryle has called for an

    approach (Ryle 1954, p. 14), in which the ancient texts function as a stepping board or a quarry for arguments. These two ways of reading ancient texts do not exclude each other. Before I discuss these

    questions referring to various interpretations of book II of Plato's

    Republic, I will have to explain why I am focussing on this kind of problem, i.e. the use of modern distinction in the interpretation of Plato.

    (a) It is precisely the approach explained above which makes von Kutscheras books so interesting, (b) Plato has written 26 dialogues

    (plus two presumably spurious but relevant ones, the Greater Hippias and the Alcibiades) and they are jam-packed with arguments dealing

    with nearly all of the still prominent philosophical questions. Now, von Kutschera has written almost 900 pages, hence there is not much of a chance to discuss even the most important problems and inter

    pretations, which would be necessary, however, to do justice to the scope of Plato's and von Kutschera's work, (c) Surely, analytic dis tinctions have been used in the interpretation of Plato before, but

    they have rather been "used" than defended on an explicit method

    ological level, (d) I hope that my main question will be of interest to the readers of a journal which is committed to analytic philosophy, (e) With regard to the methodological problem the research literature on ancient philosophy leaves a significant gap, which I would like to delineate now (van Ackeren/M ller 2005).

    Since its founders, Anaximander and Tha es, ancient (if not the entire western) philosophy is characterised as the quest for p^oti and (mica (reasons, causes and principles). There are two aspects involved

    here (Graeser 1992, pp. 14-15): On the one hand, what is sought in philosophy can be understood as causes which explain why some

    thing is the case or a fact (rationes essendi) or, on the other hand, as

    something that gives us a reason why we our thoughts about the

    world can be regarded as knowledge (rationes cognoscendi). The Socratic-Platonic X,oyov i ovai (giving an account) stresses that the aim of argumentation is we ourselves (La. 187e-f; Phaed. 89c-91c; Rep. 484b and the famous passage 534b-d): The argument that gives an account justifies our own assumptions and actions. Given that this is one of the most fundamental tenets in ancient and especially Platonic philosophy, one can only wonder that there is almost no

    study in which scholars explicitly explain how, methodologically

    speaking, they interpret ancient texts. A major part of this desideratum

  • PLATO AND ANALYTICAL PHILOSOPHY 267

    is the question if and to what extent we need modern terminology when interpreting ancient texts.

    Let us have a closer look at book II of the Republic, for von

    Kutscheras interpretation is pretty representative of his overall

    strategy. Additionally it has to be kept in mind that this text is extremely important, for here Socrates is confronted with the chal

    lenge to prove that the just person lives more happily than the unjust. The challenge seems to be connected to a threefold division of goods. Apart from the fact that such a division is in itself highly interesting,

    it is crucial to understand the relation between the division and the

    challenge in order to read the entire Republic as Socrates' answer and to see how it constitutes the remaining books. The three types of

    goods are (cf. Rep. 357b-d): (1) things we find desirable in themselves (e.g. harmless pleasure), (2) things we find desirable in themselves and for their consequences (e.g. knowledge, sight and health), (3) things

    we find desirable only for their consequences (e.g. physical training and medical treatment). Justice is commonly placed in the third class, but Socrates would like to see it in the "fairest" one, the second class. Then the challenge is refined: Socrates has to praise justice regardless of certain consequences, namely the rewards and (social) reputation that follows from somebody being just or merely appearing to be so (cf. Rep. 367b). Now, this kind of consequence may be called artificial (because it is rooted in human conventions), whereas Socrates is allowed to take natural consequences into account. But this distinc tion does not fit in with the division of goods: The examples of the second class - knowledge, sight and health

    - have natural but no artificial consequences. Additionally, the elements of the third class do not have artificial consequences, e.g. enduring medical treatment does not bring about fame (Annas 1981, pp. 66-71). Many authors (Foster 1938; Sachs 1963; Irwin 1977; White 1984; Pappas 1995) have accused Plato of being confused or they tried to downplay the

    importance of the division in order to avoid a conflict between the division and the challenge (Kirwan 1965). Is Plato really confused here, or did we simply apply a distinction which makes him look confused? Both questions are to be denied, as the challenge can be

    interpreted along the lines of the distinction between artificial and natural consequence, but the division cannot. But is this a problem? Socrates was asked to prove that justice belongs to the second class, thus he had to praise justice for its own sake and for its consequences.

    Then the challengers argued that Socrates is not allowed to take a

    special form of consequences, i.e. rewards and reputation, into

    account, because these could follow from the appearance of justice

  • 268 MARCEL VAN ACKEREN

    just as well as from true justice. (Annas 1981, ch. 3; Williams 1997). Still, why have commentators been dissatisfied with Plato? Here the

    problem is not to interpret a certain passage of Plato using a modern

    distinction, but to resist the temptation to expect a systematic appli cability of that distinction, i.e. that it can be used in the interpretation of other passages. The fact that the division of goods does not fit in the distinction of artificial and natural consequences, does not weaken Plato's argumentation at all. Therefore the modern commentator should look for different modern distinctions which may help to interpret the different steps of Plato's argumentation.

    The argument in book II also entails valuable information about the type of arguments that Plato wants to use within his ethics.

    Justice, later identified as virtue and health of the soul (Rep. 444d-e), is defended as a good which is desired in itself and for its conse

    quences (like the health of the body). We are used to distinguish between deontological and consequentialist ethical arguments. I refer to arguments not as theories, for nowadays there are not many the ories which entirely rely either on deontological or consequentialist arguments. Most theories combine both types of arguments on dif ferent levels or in different realms (Mackie 1977, ch. 7). But are we allowed to assume that every ethical argument in the history of

    philosophy has to be either deontological or consequentialist? Plato has been severely criticized (Foster 1937, 1938; Sachs 1963) for pur suing a strict consequentialist, namely a utilitarian approach or in other words: the Republic is supposed to lack a moral argument, i.e. one which brings duty or obligation into account (Mabbott 1937). But both the division of goods and the challenge suggest that Plato has neither a deontological nor a consequentialist argument in mind, but something that comprises aspects of both types: Firstly, Socrates insists on putting justice in the second class. Secondly, according to the challenge Socrates is asked to praise justice strictly for what it is (a x KoeO' a x ; Rep. 358b and d, 361b-e), and "what potency and effect it has in and of itself dwelling in the soul" (Rep. 358b). Only consequences such as social rewards and reputations are excluded.

    The challengers make it quite clear, that the two aspects can not be

    separated. Of course it would be possible to assume that there are

    goods which sometimes or under some circumstances are goods de sired in themselves, and which in other cases are desired for their

    consequences. But Socrates is challenged to show that justice is to be placed in the second class, which means showing that justice is to be desired in itself and also, not alternatively, for its consequences (cf. Rep. 367c-d). This is not the place to discuss Plato's answer in detail,

  • PLATO AND ANALYTICAL PHILOSOPHY 269

    (van Ackerman 2003) but it is obvious that Plato's ethical argument in the Republic is supposed to be neither purely deontological nor consequentalist. B. Williams has pointed out that the notion of a

    justice desired for its own sake should not lead to further exceptions. For example the hope that we will find an special intrinsic, i.e. moral, value of justice "which vindicates itself and cannot in principle be

    measured by any sort of consideration... . The question of its value, rather, is the question of what makes life worth living." (Williams 1997, p. 61), Maybe Plato's answer can be summed up as follows: If

    you desire justice for its own sake it will have value, i.e. the conse quence of making your life a good and happy one.

    Von Kutschera's reading of the passage in book II of the Republic is striking, particularly with regard to his comparison of Plato's type of ethical argument with our modern distinction between conse

    quentalist and deontological arguments. He is using this distinction

    and, of course, sees that Plato tries to present an argument which is neither purely consequentialist nor deontological. But it is decisive that he does not regard Plato as confused or as not arguing according to the

    modern state of the art. Instead, he writes, Plato presents a solution (to the problem of) how to "overcome the conflict between morality and interest" (II, 69). Thus it becomes clear that von Kutschera's use of

    modern terminology, which was set out to interpret an ancient text, can, in turn, be beneficial to our own philosophical arguments.

    As von Kutschera shows, the critical approaches I have discussed above can be refuted: First of all, the most effective protection against

    wrong interpretations is the careful reading of the text. The whole structure of his study shows that von Kutschera is taking Plato's

    work more seriously than the modern terminology at hand: The first two chapters provide a short, but valuable introduction into Plato's teacher Socrates. Part I, chapter 1 is an excellent description of the intellectual background, especially of the sophistic movement.

    Chapter 2 provides a biography of Plato (I, ch. 2.1) and very important instructions for reading the dialogues (I, ch. 2.4). This is followed by an interpretation of each and every dialogue, and a careful analysis of the interpretational problems involved in dealing

    with the so called Unwritten Doctrine (III, ch. 7.1-.2). Instead of sticking to the neoplatonic line, von Kutschera argues that the

    Unwritten Doctrine is centred around a logical definition of numbers

    (III, ch. 7.3-5). His reading of the dialogues is concluded by the above mentioned topical synopsis (III, ch. 8), which entails a mar vellously clear description of the various aspects of Plato's theory of

    forms, and which maybe can compete with former attempts by

  • 270 MARCEL VAN ACKEREN

    Moravscik (2000, ch. I. 5) or Graeser (1982). The author's attempt to present a clear picture of Plato's philosophy is endorsed by the really outstanding clarity of style and argumentation. In what follows I can outline but a few of the significant theses that are developed in von

    Kutschera's study: (a) The famous passage 446a-470c in the Gorgias provides us with

    the first theory of action in the history of philosophy (I, 99): Every action is wanted as a means to some end. This tenet, however, entails a theory which is likely to confuse the modern reader, for Plato's

    concept of will is very different from our notion of a free will. Plato

    distinguishes between (i) what humans want (a ooAovxoa) and (ii) what we only believe (a oks airco ) to be good. Socrates then argues that we wanted an action and have power (Sbva|ii ), only if an action leads to something truly good. Otherwise we have just done what we

    believed to be good. Plato uses aya0 v/a(i8ivov (good/better) as synonymous with cocp ?u|iov (beneficial), %pf|ai|iov (useful),

    au|iUp pov, (advantage) XvgxxeXovv (profit, gain) (Charm. 171d 176a; Gorg. 468b; Rep. 333c ff., 338c, 339c, 505a; Pol. 297a; Brick

    house and Smith 1985). Former commentators have tried to describe the Platonic distinction using modern ones, namely between an actual

    object (de re) and an intended object (de dicto) of desire (Santas 1979, p. 186; Vlastos 1991, pp. 150-154). But this blurs the crucial point of Plato's argumentation, for Socrates argues that we want an action to

    gain something truly good (opposed to an apparent good). Only something that is truly good leads to a truly good, i.e. happy life, and

    nobody wants to be apparently happy instead of being truly happy (Penner 1991). The distinction between an actual object (de re) and an intended object (de dicto) of desire cannot account for this existential aspect (Kahn 1996, p. 139), and this may have lead to an interpre tation in accordance with Aristotle's position (cf. E.N. 1113a32-2),

    which claims that the object of the will is a good, in the sense that we think of it as a good, regardless whether it is a true good, or in fact

    something bad. Thus it would be possible to describe Plato's position using the distinction between an actual object (de re) and an intended object (de dicto) of the will, but only if we say that the intended object is always something truly good. Von Kutschera recognises the peculiarity of Plato's position stressing that the distinction between a true and an

    apparent good forces us to pursue knowledge of the good and act

    accordingly. He then embeds his analysis in a description of Plato's notion of philosophy as a way of life using the concepts "value" and

    "preference" (Kutschera 1999, ch. 1.2 and 1.4). Plato's position, he argues, can be understood as the assumption (i) that there is an objective

  • PLATO AND ANALYTICAL PHILOSOPHY 271

    order of values, which exists independently of time and persons, (ii) that something objectively valuable is also subjectively beneficial, and (iii) that Plato wants us to transform our preferences (our subjective order of values) via knowledge of the objective order of values in accordance with that knowledge (I, pp. 109-114) and to lead a life of reason.

    (b) Regarding the first two points it can only be mentioned briefly that in contrast to many other commentators (e.g. K. Albert, R. Ferber, J. Halfwassen, H. Kr mer) von Kutschera traces the question of the good life; and whether we, according to Plato, pursue (the knowledge of) the good for its own sake or for our own (prac tical) advantage through a couple of dialogues (I, ch. 11.2; 1.3; 12.4; 13.3; II, 2.3; 3.2; III, 5.5; 8.1; 8.8). He thereby provides the reader

    with a fair representation of Plato's philosophy. This connection between knowledge and our life, von Kutschera stresses, is in fact the

    most fundamental tenet in Platonic philosophy (III, 173-4). But he also carefully treats the more theoretical aspects:

    (c) Every reader of the Parmenides will ask himself: What is all this about? The next set of questions will be: Is it just an exercise, a playful refutation of self contradictory theses or does it entail any positive doctrine of Plato? Many commentators have positively answered the last question but von Kutschera's analysis is particularly striking:

    Basically he assumes (well founded) that the second part is about the relation of ideas (koivov oc iSecov) and that the eight hypothesis can be understood in in the light of a logical theory regarding parts and wholes (mereology). It is impossible to discuss his analysis (II, pp. 185-198) in detail (von Kutschera 1995; Graeser 1997), but it is noteworthy that he is carefully defending his interpretation against criticism, (i) The logical mereology is something that tacitly governs the argumentation in the second part, it is not explicit but it is used by

    Plato (II, p. 187). (ii) Due to his interest in mathematics Plato was able to develop such a theory (II, pp. 198-199). I will refer to his other defending arguments later.

    (d) The chapter concerning the Unwritten Doctrine (III, p. 7.) is worthy of note for two reasons. Firstly, it starts with a very concise and

    particularly neutral description of the topics and problems involved

    (III, 7.1), something that was missing in the rather hot-tempered German discussion centred around the so-called T bingen School.

    Secondly, his own interpretation of the principles (ap^ai), taking the Pythagorean and therefore mathematical roots of this notion seriously (III, pp. 155-156), links Plato's Unwritten Doctrine with a theory of

    numbers, according to which different types of numbers, i.e. mathe matical numbers, form numbers, which are in turn used to explain how

  • 272 MARCEL VAN ACKEREN

    an infinite amount of objects can be genereted from one single starting number ("Anzahlen") and numbers which measure (III, pp. 167-171).

    His interpretation of the Parmenides and the Unwritten Doctrine share the same advantages: Luckily, they are in sharp contrast with the virulent literature interpreting Plato along theological and neo

    platonic lines. And they set the path for new research in a very complicated field of Plato's philosophy, i.e. the growing importance of mathematical concepts in the late dialogues (Frede 2004).

    Unfortunately they also share the same disadvantage. Any inter

    pretation of the Unwritten Doctrine is bound to be highly speculative, for the sources we have are rare and not very reliable. It is acknowledged by von Kutschera that the best sources are still the dialogues (III, p. 159), but they simply do not say enough about different types of numbers in order to reconstruct a theory of (different) numbers. The problem concerning the logical theory of mereology faces a similar

    problem, which does not simply arise from the fact that it is not intro duced openly. But if Plato has used this logical theory, one wonders why it does not re-occur in the dialogues after the Parmenides, or why

    Aristotle does not mention it. Again, von Kutschera recognises both of these questions, but defends his interpretation as follows. He argues that Plato did not teach this logical theory, so Aristotle simply did not know of it. In any case, he continues, Aristotle's logical approach was so different that he simply elaborated a completely different one, instead of tackling his teacher's logic (II, p. 200). But only the first argument can account for the fact that Aristotle does not mention the

    logical mereology, for even if Aristotle developed a different logic for

    dealing with the same problems he probably would have criticized Plato's solution. And it seems highly unlikely that Plato kept all this

    entirely to himself. Further, if the logical theory of mereology is used so obviously, as von Kutschera stresses, then Aristotle would have noticed it, even if Plato was not lecturing it. The fact that the logical

    mereology does not reoccur is explained by stating that the later dia

    logues deal with problems for which the logical mereology could not be used. This is not very plausible, especially with regard to the central part of the Sophist, in which various aspects of the relation of ideas play a

    major role. But let us assume that von Kutschera is right and Plato's mereology does not appear in later dialogues, his interpretation may be justly called ingenious, but it rests on a very thin textual basis.

    It is probably obvious that a study of such scope will inspire new

    interpretations as well as criticisms. Here are then a few other critical

    points that could be raised:

  • PLATO AND ANALYTICAL PHILOSOPHY 273

    (i) In his preface von Kutschera argued that we have to consider the truth regarding the problems Plato raises independently, in order to gain a better interpretation. But some parts of the books are

    paraphrases which stick perhaps to closeley to the text. Furthermore, not all the dialogues have found von Kutschera's interest: In the

    Apology, Hippias Minor and also in the Statesman he cannot find much philosophical content. According to him the Apology does not entail any worthy epistemological considerations about self-knowledge or the problem of knowing what one does not know (I, p. 81).

    According von Kutschera the only import aspect of the Hippias Minor is its relative chronology (I, p. 66). He thinks that the Statesman just repeats what the Sophist had to say about "dihairesis" and that what is said about the Statesman is

    "unimportant compared to former dia

    logues" (III, 29). I am afraid, that in all three cases one can only wonders how in light of the enormous amount of literature (e.g. Brickhouse and Smith 1989; Weiss 1992; Rowe 1995) von Kutschera can write something so false.

    (ii) Given that von Kutschera's way of interpreting seems to be suc cessful in general and rewarding when he applies modern terminology to Plato's philosophy, the reader would simply wish to have more of the latter and perhaps less of the mainly paraphrasing passages.

    (iii) The interpretation of the dialogues is said to aim at philo sophical topics alone (I, p. 9), but von Kutschera pays a lot of attention to the question of the chronology of the dialogues. And

    although he puts forward excellent arguments for his chronological case, he leaves the task of drawing the conclusions with regard to the

    philosophical implications to his readers.

    (iv) This criticism might be extended to von Kutschera's second methodological principle: He explains that he has written about the entire Plato because in many cases interpreting one dialogue simply

    would not do, for sometimes the arguments in one dialogue are

    sketchy or should be seen in light of later dialogues in which the same issue reoccurs (I, pp. 10-11). But again, he does not apply this prin ciple of interpretation as much as he possibly could have done, so the

    question why he devotes so much space to the temporal order of the

    dialogues becomes even more urgent. Von Kutschera's claim to

    interpret dialogues in the light of others is linked to a again heated discussion of unitarianism (e.g. Gill 2000, 2003). But as he does not defend his claim or makes much use of it, his work unfortunately does not give an new arguments for that important ongoing debate.

    In sum we have to conclude, then, that this study by von Kutsc hera leaves the reader with a desire to go into a more detailed study of

  • 274 MARCEL VAN ACKEREN

    Plato, but more or less this has to be regarded as von Kutschera's

    achievment, not his failure.

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    I am very thankfull to Gabriela Carone (University of Boulder, Colorado). She has read an earlier version and helped me with many corrections, helpful comments and futher ideas!

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    Brickhouse, T. C and N. D. Smith: 1989, Socrates on Trial, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

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    Ruhr-Universit t Bochum MARCEL VAN ACKEREN Institut f r Philosophie

    44780, Bochum, Germany E-mail: [email protected]

    Article Contentsp. [263]p. 264p. 265p. 266p. 267p. 268p. 269p. 270p. 271p. 272p. 273p. 274p. 275

    Issue Table of ContentsErkenntnis (1975-), Vol. 62, No. 2 (2005), pp. 145-294Front MatterGoldman on Knowledge as True Belief [pp. 145-155]Intertheoretical Identity and Ontological Reductions [pp. 157-187]The Biconditional Doctrine: Contra Klbel on a "Dogma" of Davidsonian Semantics [pp. 189-210]A Non-Compositional Inferential Role Theory [pp. 211-233]Intentions Are Optimality Beliefs -- But Optimizing What? [pp. 235-262]Critical DiscussionReview: Plato and Analytical Philosophy [pp. 263-275]Review: Greco on Scepticism: A Critical Discussion [pp. 277-284]

    Book ReviewsReview: untitled [pp. 285-289]Review: untitled [pp. 290-294]

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