Socrates in the Cave

On the Philosopher’s Motive in Plato

  • Paul J. Diduch
  • Michael P. Harding

Part of the Recovering Political Philosophy book series (REPOPH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Robert Goldberg
    Pages 11-38
  3. Mark Blitz
    Pages 39-52
  4. David Levy
    Pages 77-106
  5. Mark J. Lutz
    Pages 141-163
  6. Joshua Parens
    Pages 185-203
  7. Gregory A. McBrayer
    Pages 251-263
  8. Pavlos Leonidas Papadopoulos
    Pages 315-340
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 341-347

About this book


This book addresses the problem of fully explaining Socrates’ motives for philosophic interlocution in Plato’s dialogues. Why, for instance, does Socrates talk to many philosophically immature and seemingly incapable interlocutors? Are his motives in these cases moral, prudential, erotic, pedagogic, or intellectual? In any one case, can Socrates’ reasons for engaging an unlikely interlocutor be explained fully on the grounds of intellectual self-interest (i.e., the promise of advancing his own wisdom)? Or does his activity, including his self-presentation and staging of his death, require additional motives for adequate explanation? Finally, how, if at all, does our conception of Socrates’ motives help illuminate our understanding of the life of reason as Plato presents it? By inviting a multitude of authors to contribute their thoughts on these question—all of whom share a commitment to close reading, but by no means agree on the meaning of Plato’s dialogues—this book provides the reader with an excellent map of the terrain of these problems and aims to help the student of Plato clarify the tensions involved, showing especially how each major stance on Socrates entails problematic assumptions that prompt further critical reflection.


Plato's cave Socrates in Plato Motive Phaedo Parmenides Symposium Apology Alcibiades Lysis Theaetetus Crito Laches Theages Minos Euthyphro Republic

Editors and affiliations

  • Paul J. Diduch
    • 1
  • Michael P. Harding
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Colorado BoulderBoulder, COUSA
  2. 2.Montgomery CollegeGermantown, MDUSA

Bibliographic information