The Roots of Political Philosophy
Ten Forgotten Socratic Dialogues
Edited by Thomas L. Pangle
This book consists of literal English translations of ten Socratic dialogues that have been largely neglected for the last century. Although everyone of these dialogues belongs to the classical canon of Platonic writings and was accepted as genuine in antiquity, most were condemned as forgeries in the early nineteenth century—and have remained under a shadow ever since. In his long introductory essay, Thomas L. Pangle offers a spirited criticism of arguments that have been adduced to support the view that some of the dialogues are counterfeit and shows in scrupulous detail why he believes in their authenticity.
Each dialogue is accompanied by an interpretive essay that demonstrates how a close reading of the dialogue sheds revealing light on the Platonic understanding of political theory, ethics, aesthetics, and the philosophic way of life as exemplified by Socrates. The essays include previously published pieces, some of classic stature, as well as studies written especially for this volume.
Opening an entirely new dimension of Platonic studies, The Roots of Political Philosophy addresses, in a fresh or unfamiliar perspective, major themes and puzzles such as: the nature of law, of property, and of acquisitiveness; the meaning of Socrates' famous "demonic voice"; what is at stake in the poetic claim to inspiration; and the psychology of the tyrannic as opposed to the statesmanlike or political personality.
Political scientists, philosophers, classicists, and students who are familiar with the textual approach associated with Leo Strauss will welcome this book, as will other readers with an interest in ancient Greek philosophy and political thought.
Contributors and translators: Allan Bloom, Christopher Bruell, Steven Forde, James Leake, Carnes Lord, James H. Nichols, Clifford Orwin, Thomas L. Pangle, Leo Strauss, and David Sweet.