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Plato's Ethics$
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Terence Irwin

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780195086454

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195086457.001.0001

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Plato, Socrates, and the Dialogues

Plato, Socrates, and the Dialogues

(p.3) 1 Plato, Socrates, and the Dialogues
Plato's Ethics

Terence Irwin (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 examines both what is Plato’s fundamental moral problem and how to read the Platonic dialogues as philosophical works. Concerning the former aspect, it is observed that Plato articulates the basic moral question, “What is the good life?” into two different problems: an epistemological one, “How ought we to live?” and a normative one, “How can we know how ought we to live?” Respecting the way Plato’s writings have to be interpreted, the so-called doctrinal approach is followed, i.e., the most important doctrines are formulated by the principal speaker of the dialogue (usually Socrates), while the other characters present several steps relevant for the argument. In conclusion, both Plato’s and Aristotle’s ways of interpreting Socrates’ theories are taken into account.

Keywords:   Aristotle, Dialogue, Doctrinal approach, Good life, Plato, Socrates

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