Friday, September 19, 2008
Garver, Eugene. "Review of Marina McCoy's PLATO ON THE RHETORIC OF PHILOSOPHERS AND SOPHISTS." NDPR (September 2008).
McCoy, Marina. Plato on the Rhetoric of Philosophers and Sophists. Cambridge: CUP, 2007. Marina McCoy's book has a simple thesis: "Plato distinguishes Socrates from the sophists by differences in character and moral intention" (p. 1). She immediately notes two complications. First, there is no simple way of separating Socrates from the sophists, and the drama of several of the dialogues consists in exploring that complexity, as characters, not excluding Socrates, find the difference between Socrates and the sophists difficult to make out. So saying that Plato distinguishes Socrates from the sophists by their respective characters doesn't solve the problem; it instead tells us how to look at it. Second, McCoy's thesis has a polemical edge; it denies the claims of many commentators who think there is a difference between Socratic and sophistic method. Instead of distinguishing philosophy from sophistic, Plato, she thinks, is at pains to distinguish the philosopher from the sophist. The payoff from her thesis is in insightful readings of several of the dialogues. . . . Read the rest here: http://ndpr.nd.edu/review.cfm?id=14126.