[SydPhil] Notification: Rick Benitez (Sydney) @ Wed 12 Sep 2018 13:00 - 14:30 (AEST) (Seminars)

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Title: Rick Benitez (Sydney)
The Puzzle of the pseudo-Platonic Axiochus

The Axiochus is a Socratic dialogue written in the style of Plato’s early  
works.  In it, Socrates tries to convince Axiochus, who is near death, that  
he has nothing to fear. Although the Axiochus was already recognised as  
spurious by the 3rd Century CE, it has been associated with the Platonic  
Academy from antiquity to the present.  However, its arguments seem  
carelessly cobbled together.  They are mutually inconsistent and internally  
flawed. How could such a work be considered worthy of the Academy?   
Scholars have answered this question in different ways.  Some (Furley)  
argue that the Axiochus is irredeemably confused.  Others (Hutchinson)  
argue that the dialogue belongs to the genre of consolation literature, in  
which consistency was not expected.  More recently, Tim O’Keefe has argued  
that the dialogue demonstrates the Socratic practice of “therapeutic  
inconsistency”, showing readers how to use invalid arguments to induce  
comforting beliefs.  I shall argue that a better solution to the puzzle is  
available: the Axiochus underscores a long-standing Platonic emphasis on  
engaging in critical evaluation of arguments even in the face of imminent  
death.  This emphasis was already demonstrated in Plato’s Phaedo by  
Socrates’ commitment to argument when his interlocutors were afraid for him  
and themselves. It is demonstrated in the Axiochus by the way Socrates  
repeatedly encourages Axiochus to consider the (inconsistent) arguments he  
presents. The consolation of the Axiochus, I shall argue, is simply that  
the practice of reasoning calms fears by setting them to one side.
When: Wed 12 Sep 2018 13:00 – 14:30 Eastern Australia Time - Sydney
Where: Sydney Uni, Muniment Room
Calendar: Seminars
     * Luara Ferracioli- creator

Event details:  

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