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The Art of Living

Socratic Reflections
from Plato to Foucault

Alexander Nehamas


Berkeley / Los Angeles / London


Volume Sixty-one


University o f California Press
Berkeley and Los Angeles, California
University o f California Press, Ltd.
London, England
First Paperback Printing 2000
© 1998 by
The Regents o f the University of California

Library o f Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Nehamas, Alexander, 1946-
The art o f living : Socratic reflections from Plato to Foucault /
Alexander Nehamas.
p. cm.-(Sather classical lectures; v. 61)
Includes bibliographic references and index.
ISBN 978-0-520-22490-2 (pbk. : alk. paper)
1. Conduct o f life. 2. Socrates. 3. Philosophers—Conduct of
life. I. Tide. II. Series.
B J1595N 37 1998
190—dc2i 97-25834

Printed in the United States of America
12 11 10 09
9 8 7

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements
of AN SI/N ISO Z39.48-1992 (R1997) (Permanence of Paper). ©

For Susan Glimcher
and Nicholas Nehamas



Introduction I


Platonic Irony: Author and Audience 19
Socratic Irony: Character and Interlocutors 46
Socratic Irony: Character and Author 70

PART t w o : v o i c e s

A Face for Socrates5Reason: Montaigne’s
“ O f physiognomy” IOI
A Reason for Socrates’ Face: Nietzsche on
“ The Problem of Socrates” 128
A Fate for Socrates’ Reason: Foucault on the
Care of the Self 157

NO TES 189
B IB L IO G R A P H Y 257

IN D E X 271

In that way. Preface The invitation to deliver the Sather Classical Lectures is per­ haps the greatest honor that can be bestowed on a classical scholar. and I realize in addition that some classical scholars may find that many of its concerns do not fit squarely with their own professional interests. the honor is even greater. and for a long time I was not at all sure that I would really be able to discharge my obligations in a reasonable manner. It is impossible to imagine how I can thank my colleagues at Berkeley . I am acutely aware of the book’s inadequacies. The terror soon outstripped the joy. it is an unavoidable feature of this work. When the scholar in question is not really a classicist. as I am not. A central part of the book’s argument is that the effort to combine diverse and sometimes conflicting features into a unity is an activity crucial both to philosophy and to life and that its model—the model of the most extreme and alluring unity —is the Socrates of Plato’s early dialogues. but the responsibility it imposes is very heavy indeed. The sense o f responsibility that came along with it filled me with terror. Though that is something I am sorry for. The lectures finally having been delivered in the Spring Term of 1993. 1 am now faced with the same sen­ timent of joy subdued by terror as I contemplate the book I have pro­ duced as a result. The honor the Department of Classics at the University of California at Berkeley did me by their invitation to be the Sather Professor of Classical Literature in 1992-93 filled me with joy. I combine my own philosophical interests with the little I know about classics and literary criticism. in the hope that the final combina­ tion can form a unity of its own.

Stephen Miller. I wish he could have been there and that I could have had the benefit of his stern but always considerate advice. I was particularly happy to renew my friend­ ship with Tony Long. X PREFACE enough without at the same time repeating what so many others before me have already said. by contrast. Giovanni Ferrari and Kate Toll were intellec­ tually interesting and socially elegant companions. Bernard M a m s . Hans Sluga. who died before the lectures were delivered and with whose views on Socrates this book engages in a run­ ning dialogue. and Thomas Rosenmeyer were consistently pleasant and profitable. will be too obvious to every reader of this book for me to have to do anything but mention it here. I disagree with him on many important issues. Myles Burnyeat heard me out on a number of occasions. personal as well as intellectual—and Jerry Schneewind interrupted their own research at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford to come to Berkeley and offer me their company and encouragement. Her book discusses many of the authors I too address. Paul Guyer. Ronald Stroud. but her approach differs so much from mine that to engage with her work. Mark Griffith was a constant source of good cheer and reassurance. Charles Murgia. and I am grate­ ful to him for his generosity. My interactions with William Anderson. and a particular suggestion he once made proved crucial to my final conception of Socrates’ version of what this book calls the art of living. The influence o f Gregory Vlastos. for which I have . I did not. Judith Stacey. whose comments on the second set of three lectures were particularly helpful. who also presented a set of very valuable comments on the first three lectures. 1989). Froma Zeitlin gave me invaluable guidance while I was preparing my lectures: I hope I was able to return part of the favor while she was herself preparing and delivering her own Sather Lectures in 1995-96. and Richard Wollheim vwere kind enough to discuss various aspects of my ideas with me while I was in California. John Cooper—a real model o f what a friend and col­ league should be. The department as a whole demonstrated an exquis­ ite combination of tact and hospitality —tact in leaving me to myself while I was madly at work on those lectures that were still not finished by the time I arrived in California. despite our vastly dif­ ferent approaches to philosophy. and to whom I owe so much over so many years and for so many different reasons. has always helped me formulate and hone many of my views over many years and in various places. and hospitality in welcoming me as one of their own once the series began. Vassilis Lambropoulos provoked me to think about some very difficult issues on the basis of his extraordinary reading of my introduction. seek to benefit from Sarah Kofman’s Socmte (Paris: Galilee.

Along with Gail Saliterman. has proved to me that Nietzsche’s quip. A family makes what this book calls a philo­ sophical life much more complex and difficult than it might otherwise be. I hope to be able to write about her ideas on a separate occasion. preparation. he has influenced every aspect of my work. I owe a deeper and more intimate debt to Thomas Laqueur. I must also express my thanks to James Miller. But that complexity is worth accepting and integrating with the rest of one’s life and work. delivery. PREFACE the deepest admiration. and for his inter­ est in the main subject of this book. thoughtful in advising. He has shown me why Horace was right to say that a friend is one half of one’s own soul. Philip Robbins. “A married philosopher belongs to comedy. who generously provided me with a transcript of the lectures of Michel Foucault that constitute the main subject of chapter 6. . in their vasdy different ways. put up with behavior on my part which I sincerely doubt I would have been able to forgive in them. and revision of these lectures. from the very beginning to the very end. Considerate in listen­ ing. quick in understanding. would have forced my argument to become even more convoluted than it already is. and Mika Provata provided me with efficient and cheerful research assistance. I am grateful to them for their efforts. who even agreed with all the good will in the world to cancel a long-planned trip to Greece on the eve of our departure so that this book could be finished in time. Rachel Barney. Susan Glimcher and Nicholas Nehamas. There are no constraints on the materials of which a philosophic life can consist: I am grateful to have learned that lesson and I offer them my thanks for having taught it to me.” is not simply wrong but a comically shallow and ignorant joke. who par­ ticipated in the conception. My own family. he took the most gen­ erous practical care of me while I was living in Berkeley: I don’t know what I would have done without him.

t When will you begin to live virtuouslyPluto asked an old man who was telling him that he was attending a series of lectures on virtue. Immanuel Kant. But today we think that those who live as they teach are dreamers. one must one day also think about actualpractice. Albert Camus. One must notjust speculatefor ever. The Fall . The Philosophical Encyclopaedia When one has no character one has to apply a method.

for example— have been quickly absorbed by the professions they concern.” Like many general statements. we also believe that our current practice displays the unchanging essence of philosophy. this one too conceals a perfect tense in its apparently timeless “is. Which is not to say that philosophy “really” is a practical discipline after all: that would simply be to confuse another one of its his- i . The “fact” that its “nature” is theoretical is nothing but the historically given reality that phi­ losophy has mainly been practiced as a theoretical discipline for as long as the knowledge and memory of most philosophers extend. a sense of puzzlement and even of dis­ appointment that the lives of philosophers do not reflect their convictions. The various fields of “applied” philosophy that have emerged in recent years—medical or business ethics.” The truth is that philosophy has become a theoretical discipline over time and as a result of many complex historical developments. Since we generally tend to consider what is true near us to be true everywhere else as well and to identify the products of history with the facts of nature. And yet there is a linger­ ing sense in most people as well as in a few philosophers that somehow that is not how matters should be. these fields belong more to medicine or busi­ ness than to philosophy itself. It has few practical im­ plications for everyday life. mathemati­ cians. What philosophers study makes no more claim to affecting their personal lives than the work of physicists. “ Philosophy is a theoretical discipline. To the extent that they really are practical. or economists is expected to affect theirs. Philosophy also has few implications for the life of those who practice it. Introduction Philosophy is a theoretical discipline.

They think that its adherents are cowardly. and. a person. To create a self . or be. One. for professors of literature. Each el­ ement is therefore to that extent significant. organized whole. The philosophers o f the art o f living accuse systematic philos­ ophy o f being a misguided and self-deceived way of doing what they con­ sider true philosophy to be. in any case. for the same rea­ son. in the first place. . It is not what Kant called the “transcendental unity of apperception. one becomes an individual. or be. Both are wrong. what for many amounts to the same thing.” the “I think” that in principle accompanies all my experiences and is required for me to be an 1 agent. 4 INTRODUCTION discuss here: they include (this is a partial list) Pascal. Expressions like “creating” or “fashioning” a self sound paradoxical. essential to the whole of which it has become a part. acquires or creates a self. at least in the beginning. For a long time. dry pedants who desire scientific objectivity because they are unable to create a work that is truly their own and use disinterestedness and de­ tachment to mask their own sterility. exist). It is a homelier notion. When the work is finished (if it ever is) few “ acci­ dents” remain. Kierkegaard. in the nature of the case. by integrating those materials with others acquired and con­ structed on the way. since the elements that constitute the individual produced are all part o f an orderly. Emerson. on one reading at least. by accident —by the views and events that are due to the particular circumstances in which one finds oneself and that. ^ The philosophers of the art o f living I discuss in this book all consider the self to be not a given but a constructed unity. which would be different without it. Each element makes a specific contribution to that whole. Schopenhauer. a self if one is to engage in any ac­ tivity whatever? How can one not already have. The materials for that construction are supplied. are different for each par­ ticular individual. neither v* of these approaches has an exclusive hold on the essence of philosophy (which does not. and it is no longer accidental. a self if one is even to be conscious o f the experiences and views one is supposed to integrate? That paradox may be mitigated if we distinguish this notion of the self from the strict philosophical idea presupposed by the very fact that I am and must be conscious of my experiences as mine. Wittgen­ stein as well. each side has been suspicious of the other. They both overlook the fact that each approach is a legitimate his­ torical development of philosophy as it began in classical Greece. as I will say. Thoreau. at worst as charlatans writing for precocious I teenagers or. How can one not already have. System- i atic philosophers think of the philosophers of the art of living at best as I “poets” or literary figures.

that they can become individu­ als. which he generally rejects. which will occupy me in what follows. however artfully it is has been woven together with the rest. much in the way that we accept.” is a matter of generality. not in each and every one of their features separately and in its own right. people we can admire even if we reject many of their views. if each and every one o f their views. a set of features and a mode of life that set one apart from the rest of the world and make one mem­ orable not only for what one did or said but also for who one jyas J It might seem that I am urging that we use philosophical terms in a nonphilosophical sense. However. we must have some respect for the content of what is organized into the whole we love or admire. but again not in the stria sense in which an individual is anything we can point out and reidentiiy. exists independently in space and time.(To become an individual is to acquire an uncommon and idiosyncratic character. It is to become an individual. only some people create themselves or become individuals. very unclear. some­ one unusual and distinctive. In the general. weaker sense of the term. As we say. I prefer to think that in many such cases we are faced with two different. especially within the writing of philosophers themselves. in becoming a character. So. I find the distinction between philosophical and nonphilosophical senses of terms. every person has a self and is an individual. we know our friends as individuals. is obviously or trivially mistaken. it is hard to believe that we can really keep as a friend someone who never thinks anything true and never does anything right. stronger sense. admire. But just as we can be wrong in choos­ . The distinction between them. it is hard to believe that philosophers can practice the art of living successfully. We are interested in their char­ acter as a whole. over time. Even their weaknesses are essential to their being the people we are happy to be close to. Similarly. INTRODUCTION s is to succeed in becoming someone. without quotation marks. These are people we remember for themselves. Nietzsche has often been thought to do that: to place the philosophical sense of a term. In the narrower. and even love our friends despite their weaknesses and faults. to begin with. within quotation marks and to continue using it in a nonphilosophical sense. for ex­ ample. though equally “philosophical” uses of the same term. that is. like human beings and material things. anything that. he is supposed to deny the existence o f “truth” (which many philosophers understand as the “correspondence” o f our views to the facts of the world) while he uses his own notion of truth (a nonphilosophical idea that has not been easy to explicate) without contradiction. especially in the case of terms like “self” or “individual. in his own thought and writing. In both cases.

the criticism. we must realize that the distinction is fluid: at its edges. The body of work that reflects on the philosophical life is the very content of the life it composes. the project of constructing a philosoph­ ical life is not easily separated from the activities or the goals of literary figures like Proust. (The Socrates who first practiced living as an art is the figure we find in Plato’s Socratic dialogues. More important. and even generals have often left similar legacies. or Oscar Wilde. and even physics. To study it is also to practicejtjj Not everyone who has constructed an unusual life has been a philoso­ pher. their inspiration always comes from the tradition that we al­ ready accept as the tradition of philosophy. for reasons I explain in chapter 3. scientists. to the extent that they do. 6 INTRODUCTION ing our friends. so the philosophers we admire reveal something about our own personality as well. And just as our choice of friends shows something about our own character. One is the fact that. Socrates wrote nothing himself. as we have already remarked. because they proceed from a concern with issues that have tra­ ditionally been considered philosophical and because those issues provide . Philosophical lives differ from others. The project of establishing a philosophical life is largely self-referential. The boundaries of philosophy have never been absolutely clear: just as. it slides over into literature at the other. And that is as it should be. Two features sep- |arate Socrates from those who have followed in his footsteps. This personal type of philosophy reflects on our own person. But differences still remain.The connection is historical: even though the philosophers o f the art oif living often introduce new questions. and the production of philosophical views—views. public figures. and it ispersonal in that additional sense as well.3 And though. psychology. the philoso­ phers of the art of living make the articulation of a mode of life their i central topic: it is by reflecting on the problems of constructing a philo- 1 sophical life that they construct the life their work constitutes.fThe study of philosophy as the art of living discloses our own eth­ ical preferences and compels us to reveal part of ourselves. that is. Philosophy as the art of living began with Socrates. philosophy comes close to mathematics. visual artists. /Those who practice philosophy as the art of living construct their per­ sonalities through the investigation. at one end. What distinguishes the philosophers from those others? To begin with. Great literary authors. especially in modern times. that belong to the repertoire of phi­ losophy as we have come to understand it. we now find it difficult to believe that . Rimbaud. so we can admire the wrong philosophers.the material out of which they are fashioned.

Their biographers have been disputing even the most basic facts concerning their lives and per­ sonalities. in their effort to cre­ ate themselves. Even if we could isolate those elements in Plato’s representation that correspond to his his- toricaloriginal. Nietzsche. no Mount o f Olives in his story ^Does the fact that our Socrates is a literary character distinguish him from philosophers like Montaigne. even at the hour of his death. Goethe once wrote. But when Socrates appears in Plato’s dialogues. would certainly render us an extraordinary ser­ vice and contribute greatly to our education. not some smaller cluster of his features. the fact is that to all effects and purposes Plato’s literary figure is a fictional character. the self. and Foucault had to face and arrange as they tried to combine their many ten­ dencies into one. And that. can find in their writings convincing models of how a unified. For the most important accomplishments o f these modern thinkers are the self-portraits that confront us in their writings. Perhaps these people succeeded in ap- . what they wrote from conviction and what merely for the sake of the argument. We know many o f the views and events that Montaigne. whose bi­ ographies are available to us?^The difference is less decisive than it appears. We can follow them. it is the whole character who confronts us in those works. is itself in principle indivisible and that it is therefore impossible for us to do any­ thing other than what we consider to be the good. His own unity is so extreme that he even believes that the human soul. meaningful life can be constructed out of the chance events that constitute it. of course. Nietzsche. INTRODUCTION 7 Plato’s Socrates is not the Socrates of history. no conflicting set.”4 That is one case no one will ever explain.oF values or desires. “He who would explain to us when men like Plato spoke in earnest. There is no Garden of Gethsemane. he never wavers in the slightest way from the course of action he has chosen as best. that~can ever'push us in a different direction: there is no room for multi­ plicity in his view o f the soul. more or less. that has fired the imagination of the tradition he created. he appears ready-made: he is already one. raises the question whether it was in fact Socrates and not Plato himself who originates that tradi­ tion: the Platonic Socrates is also the Socratic Plato. The second feature that distinguishes Socrates from the rest of his fol­ lowers is that we know much less about his life than we do about theirs. and Foucault. Apart from our judg­ ment that something is a good thing to do. however. Their readers. when in jest or half-jest. Socrates believes that there is no other source o f motivation. he never makes an effort. That is a view that Socrates consistently ex­ emplifies in his own life as Plato depicts it: he always does only what he considers the right thing to do.

with the mode o f life of those who hold them. Whether they did is a matter o f biography. One can either try to apply someone else’s conception to one’s own ! life. The question whether its practitioners applied it successfully to them­ selves is secondary and in most cases impossible to answer. and though it too will remain a matter of contention. and it will most likely remain a matter of contention as well. one’s ) art will not be able to constitute a model for others in the longer run. That is a different question altogether. The same is true of Plato’s Socrates. would probably become even more con­ troversial than he already is. not the question whether Plato’s character actually led the life Plato attributes to him. though a practical art. perhaps they did not. But it is difficult to imagine that one can \ formulate one’s own art of living without writing about it because it is j difficult to imagine that the complex views that such an art requires can j be expressed in any other way. of course. as a matter of historical fact. The art o f living. And 1 the moment one writes about the art of living. the question whether life can be lived. the contention will be over whether that image is or is not coherent or admirable. Nietzsche. . The monument one leaves behind is in j the end the permanent work. not the transient fife. The same j is true of Montaigne. but derivatively. as they claim. living. is therefore practiced in writ­ ing. or one can for- l mulate one’s own art of living. It concerns the nature o f the character constructed in their writings. reject. But the life it requires is a life I in great part devoted to writing. unless one writes about it. But the image of life contained in their writings is a philosophical matter. someone else succeeded in living that way but whether one can construct such a life oneself. no art and no model to accept. Further. whether he corresponds to a historical figure whose life is now beyond our reach and who. The purpose of philoso- | phy as the art of living is. manipulate. and Foucault. and whether it is worth living. perhaps. It is a question about us and not primarily about them. That can be done in two I ways. the question for others again becomes not whether its originator succeeded in practicing it but whether they can in turn practice it on their own. Is it possible and desirable that someone might live as Socrates is shown to have lived? Is it worth living that way? That is the question that matters. or even pass by indifferendy. But the main question still is not whether. if we learned a lot more about him than we now know. We want a phi­ losophy that consists o f views in harmony with the actions. But had not Plato created an art of living in his name —and in writing—there would be nothing for us to think about. 8 INTRODUCTION plying their models to themselves. and to that extent live well. Socrates himself wrote nothing.

also belong to this version o f the tradition o f the art o f liv­ ing) tries to prove that a single type of life is best for all people. no other voice. Practicing his art in public. The So­ cratic dialogues reflect Socrates without reflecting on him. Nietzsche. both beyond his reflections and nothing above their sum total. The philoso­ phers of the art o f living keep returning to Plato’s Socratic works because they contain both the most coherent and the least explicable model of a philosophical life that we possess. But he remains untouched. Convinced that it is. that we have no idea how he came to be who he was. The art of living comes in three varieties. He is a mystery because of his irony. One of the most vivid characters in world literature. but he has no means by which to prove that is right. One is that of Socrates in Plato’s early dialogues. to explain who he was and how he came to be that way. then. Plato (and in that he is followed by other great philosophers who. There Plato claims that a mode of life inspired by (though not absolutely identical with) the life of Socrates. Plato. Like a blank sheet. he provokes us into shouting. especially the Phaedo and the Republic. Socrates has no arguments to persuade others that his conviction is correct. Socrates invites us to write. offers fur­ ther reflections of that reflection as well as reflections about it. but he has nothing to say when someone like Euthyphro simply walks away from their confrontation. and he offers a se­ ries of controversial arguments in order to convince those who can do so to choose that life for themselves and those who can’t to try to approxi­ mate it as closely as their abilities allow. three genres. A second genre is found in Plato’s middle works. like Aristotle and perhaps Kant. and Foucault. His ideal may be universalist. But no interpretation. Both his .5 In other words. his persistent silence about himself. is best for all. staring back with an ironic gaze. INTRODUCTION 9 It is. Socrates is also the least understood. the life of philosophy as he defines it in detail in these works. In the works that follow his Socratic dialogues. Socrates still cannot show that his mode of life is right for all. has filled the silence that remains Socrates’ main legacy. He remains tentative and protreptic. and to that extent committed to his interlocutors’ welfare. followed by Montaigne. He urges people to join him in the examined life he considers the only life worth living for a human being. In his later works. Plato offers a hypothesis about what enabled Socrates to lead the good life his own early dialogues attribute to him. The first of these voices is Plato’s own. which has given rise to a swirl of voices surrounding it and trying to speak for him. Socrates’ second peculiar feature that separates him from his followers: the fact that he appears ready-made. like a vast stillness.

They must not imitate others: if they do. and Foucault articulate a way of living that only they and perhaps a few others can follow. This last genre of the art o f living is aestheticist. As in the acknowledged arts. there are no rules for producing new and exciting works. Socrates remains persistently silent about him­ self throughout Plato’s early works. As in the acknowledged arts. Those who practice the individualist art o f living need to be unforgettable. since the proliferation of aesthetic difference and multiplicity. in this | context. I It is the least universalist of all. We will see in chapter 5 how Nietzsche in particular was tyrannized by that problem. which he shares with Socrates. the aim is to produce as many new and differ­ ent types of works — as many different modes o f life— as possible. enriches and improves human life. That is. Nietzsche. there is no best work—no best life—by which all others can be judged. They do not insist that their life is a ) model for the world at large. that does not im­ ply that judgment is impossible. This aestheticist genre of the art o f living forbids the direct imitation of models. l?hiIosophers likelvlon- ? taigne. According to it. then. even though it is not often in the service o f morality. It is within this third genre that the notion of the individual finds its central place. leaving the field to those they im­ itate. and Foucault all have a model? And why is their model always Socrates? What makes him capable of playing that role? The answer is again provided by Socrates’ irony. “a lover of talking” as he describes himself in the Phaedrus. Why is it. They must not be imitated by too many others: if they are. at least not directly. that Montaigne. by the silence that envelops his life and character. and his method. their own work will cease to be remembered as such and will appear as the nor­ mal way of doing things. In him we see a person who created . As in the acknowl­ edged arts. backward and forward. ! are universalist. but the someone one be- ) comes must be different from one’s model. Nietzsche. they believe that those who want to imitate them must develop their own art of living. As in the acknowledged arts. j i The third and final genre of the art of living is the subject of this book. Like great artists. their own self. that every work is as good as every other. they are no longer original but derivative and forgettable. Imitation. perhaps to exhibit it I for others but not so that others imitate them directly. human life takes many * forms and no single mode of life is best for_all. which he does not. They do not want to be imitated. they must avoid imitation. is to become someone on one’s own. as a fact of nature rather than as an individual accomplishment. IO INTRODUCTION | ideal. The central par­ ticipant in innumerable conversations.

he fashioned for him­ self but his self-fashioning in general. too. That. Plato. Both features—inducing self- deception in one’s readers as one is depicting it in one’s characters and constructing a hero whom it is impossible to understand once and for all—constitute a deeply ironical relationship between author and audi­ ence. it is to make oneself different from Socrates as well. the weakest echo. his young hero. Since Socrates5 irony is so important to my conception of the art of living. with different materials. he also presents its final product as nonbinding: a different pro­ cedure. INTRODUCTION n himself without ever showing anyone how he did it. To imitate Socrates is therefore to create oneself. discussed in the book. and since that includes Socrates himself. . the particular self. Socrates is the prototypical artist of living because. I argue. in Plato’s Euthyphro. as Socrates did. we join him against them. From it. than about the particular type of person he became. deceive himself. Mann furnishes a clear contemporary case of a practice originating in Plato and an instance of the irony that surrounds Socrates. I turn. places the readers of his early dialogues in that situation as well. it is impossible to tell whether he is perfecdy ordinary or totally extraordinary. aestheticist artists of living whose main purpose is to be like no one else. In addition. by leaving the process he followed absolutely indeter­ minate. without once mentioning Socrates’ name. I devote the first half of this book to an examination of its various aspects. What they take from him is not the specific mode of life. These philosophers care more about the fact that Socrates made something new out o f him­ self. that he constituted himself as an unprecedented type of person. he causes them to deceive themselves in exactly the same way. but Plato forces us to oc­ cupy unwittingly the very position on account of which we feel such con­ tempt for them and deprives us of any reason to think ourselves —as we do—superior to them. As Socrates demolishes his various opponents. who is fully part of his world and yet totally outside it. is a feature of Plato’s Socrates. in the rest of the chapter. That is the most distant Socratic re­ flection. and to the manner in which Plato’s irony is directed toward his readers. Chapter i begins abruptly with a discussion of a seemingly irrel­ evant subject—Thomas Mann’s use of irony in The Magic Mountain. can create another life and still be part of his project. As Mann places his readers in the apparently superior situation of observing Hans Castorp. Hans Castorp is an essentially am­ biguous figure. but it is also to make oneself different from anyone else so far. to one of the closest reflections and loudest echoes. before them or after. That is why he can function as the model for the indi­ vidualist.

Plato presents Socrates as a paradoxical character in his own right: convinced that the knowledge of “virtue” is necessary for the good life. Plato im­ plicitly admits (since he never appears in his dialogues. ever since Romanticism brought irony into the center o f our literary con­ . which remains concealed and in­ scrutable. he could have done so in no other way) that he does not understand the character he has con­ structed. we have no sure way of knowing the ironist5s meaning: all we know is that it is not quite what we have heard. One can care for one­ self without disregarding others: one can be a good human being with­ out devoting oneself to them. It does not ever indicate what he thinks: it leaves us with his words. his ultimate purpose was his own im­ provement. That is another reason he has been able to function as a model for the artists o f living whose own goal was equally individualist though not for that reason egoistic or oblivious of others. so is ours. In the latter. if we know that we are faced with irony we also know what the ironist means: all we need to do is to negate the words we hear in order to understand what the ironist has in/mind. that he is also ironic— silent —toward Plato himself.55 which he considered necessary for living well and happily. turns to the structure of Socrates5irony toward the other participants in Plato’s dialogues. and a doubt that they express his mean­ ing. primarily for his own sake. Plato shows us that we have no grounds for mak­ ing it. That is why I think of Socratic irony as a form of silence. Plato does not resolve that paradox. Since Socrates5 attitude toward his interlocutors is ironic. what one means. I also claim that Socrates5silence is not lim­ ited to his interlocutors and to Plato5s readers. but only something differ­ ent from. INTRO DUCTIO N Plato is able to be ironic toward his readers because he beguiles them into identifying their point of view with Socrates’ own. 1 argue that Socrates’ goal was essentially individualist. despite the fact that he is the latter 5s crea­ ture. Chapter 2. I argue. In the former case. and his opacity explains why. Irony therefore does not allow us to peer into the ironist's mind. since. In one o f the greatest literary feats o f which I am aware. I argue —against the common view. although ironists always make an implicit claim to be superior to their victims. His Socrates is completely opaque. And our irony proves our undoing. then. exemplified in Gregory Vlastos’ own reflection o f Socrates—that irony does not consist in saying the contrary of. He pursued the knowledge of “virtue. In chapter 3. Though he invited others to join him in his search. In his early dialogues. and yet he leads as good a life as Plato has ever known. not without realizing how strange that claim must sound. even when we know that we are confronted with irony. Socrates admits that he lacks it. Socratic irony is of that kind.

did not long remain satisfied with his early portrait of Socrates. to himself. “ O f physiognomy” contains the core of his confrontation with. Chapter 5 examines Nietzsche’s lifelong involvement with Socrates. I argue that in fact Montaigne denies that “the physiognomic principle. for him. appears as a mark of the real. turns out to be his effort to displace him and to accomplish something that is truly his own. INTRODUCTION 13 sciousness. I ask why Nietzsche. who was uncannily capable of seeing every­ thing from many sides and who remained grateful even to Schopenhauer and Wagner after he denounced their views in the most poisonous terms.” Montaigne. who claimed to turn away from worldly affairs in order to think only of “Michel. Opacity. so different from his beautiful and self-controlled nature.” appeals explicitly to Socrates as a model of what a nearly perfect human being can be. Socrates. which. In the process. Xenophon’s writings have been our main source for the historical figure. to be the creation o f a self that is as different from Socrates as Socrates was different from the rest of his world. To practice the Socratic art of living turns out. a character’s being beyond the reach of his author and not subject to his will. however. In chapter 4 . but he claims that Socrates’ ugly. Everything about Ni­ etzsche suggests that he tried to fashion himself into a character who de­ nied everything he took Socrates to have stood for.” according to which a thing’s external appear­ ance should reflect its inner reality. sensual phys­ ical appearance. he began a series of efforts to explain how Socrates became who he was. often meant everything that was wrong with the world as he un­ derstood it. is totally different from his own open and honest countenance. which per­ fectly reflects his inner self. when the essay is read with that point in mind. No one tried to be more different from Socrates than Nietzsche. who fought consistently against everything Socrates represented. as before. In his later works. 1 examine Montaigne’s reliance on Socrates in his own effort to create himself as he composed the Essays. never showed the same generosity toward Socrates. especially the view . Plato. particularly in connection with the essay “ Of physiognomy. or to his own writing. he also produced a reflec­ tion of Socrates that differed from what he had done before and initiated a whole tradition of such reflections. has be­ come one of the central grounds of verisimilitude. Montaigne wants to emulate Socrates. and appropriation of. Verisimilitude. including “O f physiognomy” itself: none of them can be taken at face value. Plato’s early works and not. What Montaigne learns from Socrates is that to follow him is to be different from him. in turn. once again. applies to Socrates. Montaigne’s effort to emulate Socrates.

the fact that Socrates’ private project of self-creation could have been taken as a universalist praise of the life o f reason as best for all suggested that Nietzsche’s own effort to “become who he was” might one day be taken in a similar way. Foucault refuses to ac­ cept Nietzsche’s view that Socrates’ final words in thcPhaedo revealed that he had always thought of life as a disease and that he was relieved to be dying. Niet­ zsche was faced with two serious problems. Socrates and Nietzsche. on closer inspection. he turned out to be less original than he wanted to think he was: he was more of an imitator than his view allowed him to be. despite the immense specific differences that separate them. detached historical thinker of his early works to the compassionate advocate of “an aesthetics of existence” o f his late writings. In chapter 6. On the contrary. Socrates was primarily concerned with the care o f his own self.14 INTRODUCTION that a single mode of life. the fate of successful efforts at self-creation is that they cease to appear as per­ sonal accomplishments. What would that say about Nietzsche’s effort to escape the “dogmatist. on the basis of the argument that runs through the whole book. Foucault. who identifies with Socrates to the extent of mixing his own voice with his in a manner that seems designed to elim­ inate the distinction between them. First. and the world and that he had devoted himself to the improvement of his fellow citizens. then. from the forbidding. the whole state. But in that case. Athens. was best for all. were after all engaged in the very same project of self-fashioning. despite die differences that separate them. the life of reason. and he urged his fellow citizens to undertake a similar private project for themselves. I examine Michel Foucault’s final lectures at the College de France. And yet his unmitigated hatred of Socrates. that Socrates’ project was more pri­ vate than Foucault allows. insists on the usefulness o f Socrates to Athens and to the world at large. Second. as he believed Socrates had done. If so. might turn out to be allies after all. Nietzsche’s abhorrence of Socrates was not reflected in the attitude of his greatest twentieth-century disciple.” universalist philosophy he believed Socrates to have originated? Escap­ ing Socrates might prove for him as impossible as escaping himself. of . Perhaps. And I argue that he insisted on Socrates’ usefulness because he had come to believe that he himself could be o f use to the people for whom he cared. he was convinced that his project of self-creation. I offer an overview of Foucault’s intellec­ tual development. Foucault claims that Socrates loved life. turns out to be caused by the deep and not at all implausible suspicion that the two of them. I claim. Foucault took himself to have created a self and a life that could be important for others like him. And though he did not address himself to the broad audience.

And though. mine too is.” could serve as a model for groups. I have come to re­ alize that to study the art of living is to engage in one of its forms. rather. I slowly re­ alized that I too tried to find in Socrates a model for my own approach to the things that are important to me. That is an interest I discovered only recendy. My overview of how Socrates was treated by various philosophers who were concerned more with establishing new modes of life than with an­ swering independendy given philosophical questions finally turns out to contain its own version of who Socrates was. find themselves unable to speak with a voice of their own. and is bound to remain. I hope— to a more personal involvement with the figure who stands at the head of that tradition and with the other philosophers I examined. or. and I am not sure where it is likely to lead me. I hope that is not also true o f the part of the project this book constitutes. like all such projects. particularly ho­ mosexuals and other oppressed minorities who. unfinished. INTRODUCTION 15 “the care of the self. My own interest has turned from the study of the art of living to its practice. . repressed in today’s world. The historical objectivity I took to be my aim when I first began thinking about the lectures from which this book emerged gradually gave way—only partially.

PART O N E Silence .

both “ut­ ter sanctity” and “fleshly lust. Caritas is assuredlyfound in the most admirable and most depraved passions. Irresolute ?But in God’s name. and it would betray a dreary lack o f subtlety to worry about it Thomas Mann. that language has only one wordfor everything we associate with love—from utter sanctity to the most fleshly lust? The result is perfect clarity in am biguity. nor is it without sanctity even in its mostfleshly. the novel’s unassuming and unusual hero.. The M agic Mountain No novel can match the irreducible ambivalence that per­ meates The Magic Mountain. Mann’s irony induces self-deception in the novel’s readers in the very process of exposing them to a set of characters whose lives are filled with constant self-deception and to whom he makes these readers feel. I Platonic Irony Author and Audience Isn’t itgrand.” elegantly and irresolubly poised between these two seemingly inconsonant poles. Thomas Mann’s irony deprives his readers of any final ground. . isn’t it good. for no 19 . Mann makes self-deceivers of all those who try to determine once and for all the nature of Hans Castorp. leave the meaning o f love unresolved! unresolved—that is life and humanity. and o f the illness that brings him to a sanatorium for a stay that goes from three weeks to seven years.for love cannot be disembodied even in its most sanctifiedforms. No passage can sum up that ambivalence better than this short discourse on the double nature o f love.

Hans Castorp woke up earlier than usual despite his deep exhaustion the night before. as well as by his admirers. the character Plato created and to whom he gave a stronger foothold on reality than he gave himself. a whole approach to philoso­ phy not as a theoretical discipline but as an art of living. It has now become a whole family of traditions. where he had gone on a three-week visit to rest and to entertain his tubercular cousin. tried to make a life for himself. Tfyat tradition has been constantly reinterpreted and directed at the most disparate ends by Socrates’ enemies. 2 Sounds o f music drifted up from the valley below the Berghof as Hans . as we shall see. superior.” a critic has written. Which makes one wonder whether all his followers—friends and foes alike —are not. It has produced the most diverse pictures of Socrates as well as the most different con­ ceptions o f life itself. he devoted him­ self to his morning toilet before going down to breakfast. much less imposing and admirable but perhaps equally enigmatic character. but he had a sense of morning freshness” ( 3 8 / S 6 ) . who also. 20 TH E ART OF LIVIN G good reason. a whole tradition according to which life can be lived eventually came to grow. who remains perhaps its most dis­ turbing practitioner. refusing to let them see how he managed to live as he did. While. go back ex- plicidy to Socrates. Yet all these various individual lives. and it intimates that such a state may not exist at all. In particular. middle-class way. with characteristic fastidiousness. with the superior feeling a man has shaving himself in the clear fight of reason. “He recalled his confused dreams and shook his head complacently over so much nonsense. My goal is to examine the peculiar. It makes a mystery o f its author as well as of his characters. in his own phlegmatic. “Its questioning smile. It originates in Plato. thoughts about his troubled sleep rose in his mind. impenetrable ap­ pearance to them. But before we turn to Socrates. and it is neither purely genial nor wholly benevolent. in a way. it has inspired a particular approach that takes a human life to be at its most worthwhile when it is at its most individual and most inimitable. “em­ braces impartially the author and its subject alike. I will begin with Thomas Mann in order to illustrate a kind of irony that goes all the way down: it does not reveal the ironist’s real state of mind. also embraces the reader. who persistently presents a silent. On his first morning at the International Haus Berghof. we begin with a humbler. almost paradoxical phenomenon that out o f the irony of Plato and Socrates. Socrates’ fools. He did not feel precisely rested. and it often turns its read­ ers into fools. three o f which we shall address in the second part o f this book.” 1 But this smile.

as is proper for a man of his station and temperament. known to the Berghof patients as Tous-les-deux.3 And whether the readers do or do not re­ alize it. bloodshot eyes. “He listened. which turn out to be the symptoms o f his dis­ ease. And with that idea foremost in his mind. drinks his beer. The pose is throughout the work one way of expressing that he understands. had to be transported down to the village on bobsleds dur­ ing the winter. Hans feels that these sounds “no more suited the blithe freshness o f . Superficially organized as a playground for the idle rich. They (and others. though nei­ ther hero nor reader knows this yet. But the official story that both he and the readers have been told is that he has come to the sanatorium primarily to provide a distraction for his sick cousin. or sympathizes with a particular situation from which he is also keeping his distance. a feeling of not having rested. a pos­ ture associated with the contemplation of death (though Hans is no more aware of that connection than the novel’s first-time reader): something is not quite right with the young engineer. complacent. which shook him all over and dis­ torted his face” (9/17)—turned that grim fact into a comic outlandish­ ness. appreciates. that he remains at least superficially unaffected by it. his eyes a little bloodshot” (38/56). Hans is still pleased. But even as Hans’s hysterical laughter at the gruesome idea—“a violent. Soon after his arrival the night before he had learned that the bodies from another sanatorium. “from his heart. is there to tend her two dying sons. Hans. or almost so. The symptoms o f his unease. PLATONIC IRONY: AUTHOR AND AUDIENCE 21 Castorp stood on his balcony on the magic mountain. But death can still provoke laughter.4 Still on his balcony.” gave himself to it. his head on one side. well pleased. with his head on one side. death had already intruded into the young man’s visit and into his life. They pass unnoticed. this connects him further with death. higher up on the slopes than the Berghof. Castorp finds himself watching a black-clad woman walking about alone in the sanatorium garden.5 And while he is watching her. the moun­ tain is really a place of death. and confronts death. but they still mean little or nothing. are muted and understated. Again. Castorp be­ gins to hear “certain noises” in the room o f the Russian couple who live directly next to him. either manifest or merely intimated. Still immersed in the pure beauty o f his surround­ ings. Hans’s early sense of “morning freshness” is already tainted with intimations of death. First­ time readers of Mann’s novel cannot yet know that Hans always listens to music. and at ease. Confused dreams. They slip in just below the threshold of the consciousness of character and reader alike. irrepressible laugh. as we shall soon see) are there. since the woman. who loved music deeply.

He must have acquired both the facial ex­ pression and the self-deceptive strategy it manifests at some specific point in his life. resplendent in his uniform. putting on a seemly air of absent-mindedness—of obscurantism.6 He now recalls that he had heard similar sounds coming from the same room the night before.” His attitude. as he hears the sounds once more and begins to form a clear idea o f their nature. While the old man reposed in his coffin. He seemed to be practicing a seemly obscu­ rantism. the authentic grandfather” (25/39). knows how to defend himself—up to a point — against embarrassing or unpleasant events. try as he good-naturedly might to put a harmless con­ struction on them” (39/57). taking care not to touch the forehead o f the dead. a panting and giggling. he re­ sists them. When Castorp’s paternal grandfather. And his resistance is not innocent: “Perhaps something more or other than good nature was in play. as he was preparing himself for bed. to be telling himself that honour forbade his taking any cognizance of them. we have already been told when that was. in whose house he had spent part o f his childhood. Mann writes.9 .” sometimes hypocrisy. Castorp. And. The grandfather’s manservant tried to remove it without drawing attention to the situation: “Old Fiete shooed it cautiously away. to be mentally drawing the veil over these Sounds that he heard. Even this morning. and began to move its proboscis up and down” (27-28/42). “though his weari­ ness had prevented him from heeding them: a struggling.” sometimes “chastity.® Fiete’s lesson is not lost on the boy.22 THE ART OF LIVING the morning than had the sad sight in the garden below” (39/56-57). Hans Castorp has learned to be good at deny­ ing the obvious. he lay in state dressed not in his everyday black clothes but in an old-fashioned uniform that Hans had always felt expressed “the genuine. in fact. the offensive nature of which could not long remain hidden to the young man. died. is what we sometimes call “purity o f soul. Mann does not try to decide among those alternatives: “In truth. then.” and sometimes “an obscure sense of awe and piety. or even hearing them at all—it gave him an air of propriety which was not quite native.” As is his practice throughout the novel. his treatment of his neighbors’ lovemaking is a perfect case in point. as it were—as though he nei­ ther might nor would take notice o f what he was doing” (28/43). though he knew how to assume it on occasion” (39/57)-7 We are told clearly that such an air o f propriety is definitely not nat­ ural to the young engineer. something o f all these was in Hans Castorp’s face and bearing as he listened. Hans noted that “a fly had set- tied on the quiet brow.

Like many o f the patients he so . could ever en­ gage in it himself. But that is a total failure. He is shocked. He is not there on account of his health: his family doctor's prescription of a few weeks on the mountains has been presented so casually and without fanfare that it slips by without being noticed (36/53). and perhaps successfully. to convince Clawdia Chauchat. is there.” Clawdia. Good readers will remember this little incident later on. the narrative moves on and its brisk pace prevents us from fo­ cusing seriously on such an apparently incidental point. . Hans leaves the balcony for his room. PLATONIC IRONY: AUTHOR AND AU DIEN CE 23 In order not to have to listen to what is becoming more and more difficult to explain away. . He blushes. he tries long. the reason given for the prescription is that Hans is simply a little tired after his ex­ aminations and needs a short rest before he joins his firm and starts work in earnest. or at least one of them. There is also a second reason Castorp would never dream of behaving like his neighbors. but it is hard to turn it into a topic in its own right at this time. . And yet eventually he does be­ have just like his coarse neighbors. On carnival night. as we have just seen. Since he. could do with a little company. And. whose own demeanor is far from proper. unlike his neighbors. It is hard to imagine at this point that a man like Hans. Even more to the point. since the sounds of his Russian neighbors are even louder as they come through the thin wall that separates their room from his. I'm sure. who cannot admit in good conscience that such behavior even exists. He tries to excuse them: “Well. But of course they’re ill. For one thing. too. who take their meals at what is known as the “bad” Russian table. or they wouldn't be here” (40/57-58). that he really is ill— “one o f us”—and not just an impostor from the “flat-land. he is not sick. his cousin Joachim. And yet Hans's unthinking comment that at least one of the Russians must be ill “or they wouldn't be there” casts his own presence at the sanatorium in an ambiguous light.10 invites him to her bedroom. to the extent that the episode is noticed. and he spends part o f the night with her. He is a visitor at the Berghof. at least they are married. But in broad daylight—it's a bit thick! And last night too. We already know that he is a supremely proper and par­ ticular German young man. who is a patient at the sanatorium on account of a very real case of tuberculosis. He would never expose himself to the danger o f becoming the target of the sanatorium’s many gossips. the Russian woman with whom he has fallen in love in the meantime. and he knows. that the Berghof's walls are so thin that everyone can hear whatever goes on in its rooms. why should he be different from them? But before we can even raise that question.

as he tried to cool his hot face by bathing it in cold water —and only made it glow the more. As we observe Hans formulate and manipulate his feelings about his neighbors. He did not feel the friendlier for this discovery towards the wretched pair next door. at least up to a point.” But Mann counterbalances those allusions to Hans’s discomfort by his refer­ ences to the good feelings that are only to be expected when a man wakes up in the pure mountain air and shaves himself “in the clear light o f rea­ son. who he believes are coarser and less healthy than himself. heavier. as we see him first deny and then excuse their behavior on account o f their illness. looks like a sordid litde affair. He felt put out. subjects that upset or threaten him—in this case. his head on one side. The veil Hans draws is at best tullelike. semitransparent. nor its accompanying warmth: his face glowed with the same dry heat as on the evening before. But that too is something we do not yet know. It is a form—perhaps mild. more objectively so to speak. incapable of finally hiding the doings o f the Russian couple. and makes a topic of. “he listened well pleased. we miss—we should miss. . his voice vibrated with ill humour as he answered to his cousin’s knock on the wall. Those indications are presented subtly. yet he had a sense o f morning freshness”. (40/58) Hans Castorp practices this “seemly obscurantism” quite frequently in the course o f the novel. more substantial. but the blush had made it set in again. Hans’s ability to ignore. and he appeared to Joachim /. which is a subject of much greater importance to the novel as a whole. perhaps not—of self-decepdon. I have cited them already: “He did not feel precisely rested. Mann allows us to see Hans’s irritable voice and flushed face. The particular section devoted to his first morning at the sanatorium exhibits. the tact­ less lovemaking o f his neighbors. Hans too ends up having what. his eyes a little bloodshot”. Yet. when Joachim arrives to take his cousin to breakfast. vel­ vetlike.” At the very end o f the section. as Hans him­ self misses — a number o f indications o f his own state o f health. He had got free of it in sleep. Hans also draws another set o f curtains. at least from the outside. in the same motion. 24 t h e a r t o f liv in g disdains. on his entrance like anything but a man refreshed [erfrischt] and invigo­ rated by a good night’s sleep. “his face glowed with the same dry heat as on the evening before. I think. in fact he stuck out his lips and muttered a derogatory word in their direction. What we do know at this early point is that the behavior of his neigh­ bors has upset Castorp immensely: The flush which had mounted in his freshly shaven cheek [die frisch msierten Wangeri] did not subside. from Joachim’s point of view.

even at the end of the book. becomes for a long time our own second self. we refuse. because our point of view is so close to his. Indications that Hans Castorp is and has been ill for a long time are strewn all over The Magic Mountain. we disregard his much more suc­ cessful disregard of his tubercular symptoms. just like the rest of the pa­ tients from whom. In depicting self-deception in his character. with whom Hans shares so many characteristics—physical. Throughout most of the narrative. We remain deceived about this character who. His errors are also errors of our own. and the reader. the narra­ tor.11 That strategy enables Mann to produce in his read­ ers the same incomplete awareness of Hans’s state that Hans himself pos­ sesses. and angry. choose to ignore the information that.12 “Inflammation of the . Mann induces it in his readers. too. Mann identifies the points o f view of Hans. We. we will still be trying to distinguish him. or are simply unwilling. has come so much to the forefront of our attention that it provides a convincing psychological ex­ planation of his unsettled appearance: Hans is flushed because he is shocked. that both Hans’s young father and his paternal grandfather. We overlook the fact that we have at our disposal all the evidence that is necessary to decide that Hans is in­ deed sick. though progressively less in its later stages. They are errors about ourselves as well. he has no “theory” of it. that it would be nice to visit his cousin and relax before he took up his first professional position. The effect is chilling indeed. We. too. as we are told. in retrospect. 26/39). psychological. And they are not only errors about Hans. are deceived for a long time about Hans’s illness. and even spiritual —died of an inflammation of the lungs (19/30. very early on. As we attend to Hans trying to deceive himself about his neighbors. We know. But Hans’s mount­ ing anger over his neighbors’ behavior. dismayed. It is difficult to interpret his red face as the first symptom o f the consumption that keeps him on the mountain and ultimately makes him. Our ignorance regarding Hans’s illness is also ignorance regarding ourselves as well. PLATONIC IRONY: AUTHOR AND AUDIENCE 25 Joachim has no excuses for his cousin’s appearance. should have con­ vinced us that Hans had been sick (however sickness is to be understood in this questionable book) for some time—perhaps since childhood and certainly before he was told. Mann does not explain how self-deception works. to confront that evidence directly and to interpret it as we should. But his mere depiction of the phenomenon creates a chill­ ing effect. from one point of view. to which most of the paragraph leading to Joachim’s entrance has been devoted. This tiny part of this very long novel exhibits the workings o f self- deception.

his state is peculiar indeed: he laughs without measure. and continues to display throughout his visit. we would have realized that since Joachim is actually ill. is in the midst o f a serious tubercular episode. too.14 But both he and the narrator and. In that way. is al­ ways blotched and red-faced. comes to reclaim him and bring him back to the “flat-land” (425/580) that the real function o f Behrens’s diagnosis o f anemia becomes apparent. all the symptoms that Hans had experienced during his first days at the Berghof. and Hans’s condition is made to seem different from that of the (rest o f the) Berghof patients. On the evening of Hans’s arrival at the sanatorium. then. by Behrens’s pronouncement that the young man is obviously anemic (46/67).18 But next morning. James exhibits. for example.13 especially because at this early stage of the work the disease has not yet become a central theme. he is short of breath and unusually sleepy But all that is explained away the next morn­ ing. such a change of point of view is difficult to accomplish be­ cause every indication that Hans is ill is counterbalanced by an explana­ tion that minimizes each symptom’s significance and accounts for it in a different way. Hans. But if we were to change our point o f view to the slightest extent. for ex­ ample. the par­ allel between the two cousins is actually evidence for the presence o f the disease rather than evidence against it. Hans’s uncle. Joachim is her half-sister’s son. I told you it is not easy to accustom oneself to the life up here. the flush is dismissed. his face is flushed and yet he feels cold.17 It is only much later. he is unable to enjoy his cigar.16 However. is. That is surely the reason Mann uses that more neutral expression.26 THE ART OF LIVING lungs” (“Lungenentziindung”) does not call tuberculosis immediately to mind. his cousin tells him that that was exacdy what happened to him when he first came to the Berghof: tcI was rather queer at first. exacdy as it had happened with Hans. who is not untainted by the disease he fights. when Consul James Tienappel. And though it is true that Hans’s mother died not of lung problems but of cardiac arrest. a classic symptom of the disease: the sanatorium’s chief physi­ cian. who ap­ plauds his idea of coming for a visit but adds that James “has served his . Don’t think too much about it. On the evening of his arrival. but in retrospect its significance is unmistakable. was there­ fore in all probability predisposed to the disease. Hans’s flushed face. Hofrat Behrens. by means of the identification of the points of view we have already mentioned. James runs into Behrens. Her family.15 But when Hans brings up “this damned heat I feel all the time in my face” during his very first walk with Joachim. But you will get right again after a bit” (52/74). the readers o f the novel as well wave its symptoms away. we shall come to understand.

What is cer­ tain is that less than five weeks after his arrival. And yet Hans also begins to feel that on the magic mountain sexuality acquired “an entirely altered emphasis. Hans Cas- torp’s propriety gives way to a willingness to see the sexual affairs that spice the life of the Berghof patients in an equivocal light.” despite the fact that both his state o f health and his mode of life are indistinguishable from those of everyone else. It was weighty with a new weight. The narrator sometimes describes those affairs in contemptuous. Taking the evening cure like everyone else. that James follow the sanatorium’s regimen (434/592). he turned on his side and invited slumber” (202/279). in other words. his behavior.20 TheMagicMountain depicts a character who deceives himself. Mann replicates his character’s self-deception in his readers. everyone refers to Hans as a “visitor” to the sanato­ rium. “Hans Castorp too took his temperature for the last time. We have spent a considerable amount of time examining that procedure. We have already said that his distaste at his neighbors’ be­ havior is eventually belied by his own visit to Clawdia’s room after their long conversation during carnival. for that he was totally anaemic was plain to any eye. in addition. about his health as well as about his differences—physical. or perhaps both. the fact that Hans seems to be suffering from anemia appears to distinguish him from the rest of the patients of the Berghof and to place him in a class by himself. a value. is the sanatorium’s way of “breaking in” new pa­ tients. and spiritual—from the people among whom he happens to find himself. it had an accent. with vary­ ing success. we must . Hans has become so ac­ customed to the Russians in the next room that he no longer pays any at­ tention to them. he heard the pair from the cbad’ Russian table. He heard Joachim. moral. The diagnosis of anemia. Not only does Hans suffer from consumption. stole up from the dark valley. or as a “vacationer. In the process.” Behrens even suggests. while soft music. sarcastic terms (236/326-27). The cure ended at ten.19 Much more important. One is left wondering whether Hans’s bourgeois atti­ tudes have really changed or whether his new insight is just his way of excusing his mounting passion for Clawdia. near or far. gradually becomes iden­ tical to theirs. mostiy by identifying their point of view with that of the nar­ rator and thus with the point of view o f his character as well. But until we are able to see through that stratagem. which in its propriety and fastidiousness placed him apart from them at the beginning of his visit. and a significance which were utterly novel” (237/326). as surely as they all do. For a long time. intimating that Hans’s own attitude toward them is equally negative. as he had suggested to Hans. PLATONIC IRONY: AUTHOR AND AUDIENCE 27 own interest even better in so coming.

the narrator claims.” That is why. we shall see. he fancies himself a gallant. which. Hans. 28 TH E ART OF LIVIN G now address another aspect o f the novel. Lodovico Settembrini. His maniacal commitment to his absurd project is not so different from the ardor o f Hans Castorp’s devotion to playing the same game o f solitaire over and over again. For example. the distaste is forgotten as Hans. as Mann suggests throughout the novel. When Settembrini raises for the first time the topic o f Eu­ rope’s headlong rush to destruction. he was aware of . he never saw the point of the efforts made by everyone around him: “He positively saw no reason. is the physical expression of his spir­ itual inability to fit into the bourgeois world of the flat-land. By that time. . . one still wants to say that Hans really is differ­ ent from the rest o f these people. Blumenkohl in the side. . Not even his general demeanor can be distinguished from theirs. Hans is not like the rest of the Berghof clientele. his case of consumption is not a mere mindless physiological phenomenon like theirs. . and then looked about at their own and other tables. You have brought me luck. why “we may not call him mediocre: . Castorp can only reply: “Seven and four. more precisely. did he become conscious that Joachim had kept his eyes directed upon his place. for exertion. Hans had listened with deep dis­ taste to the loud banter o f Herr Albin as he was trying to impress the ladies on the Berghof veranda (78-81/110-13). is suffering from tuberculosis: he is nothing but a patient himself. queen and king. On his first day at the sanatorium. somehow or other. Eight and three. . acts in a similar way in order to attract the atten­ tion o f Clawdia Chauchat (232-33/320-21). . also finds its origins in Plato. Knave. It is coming out. . in a manner obvious to everyone and extremely em­ barrassing to Joachim. trying to catch people’s eyes” (231/319). heroic figure: “Only after the whole thing was over . like the rest o f the Berghof patients. Two months later. or. despite all that. we are told. After all. And yet. saw no positive reason. he realized that Frau Stohr had nudged Dr. He is so preoc­ cupied with it that he is not even capable of holding a reasonable con­ versation about the coming war with his self-appointed mentor. Hans’s disease. Hans’s infatu­ ation with Clawdia has turned him into an object of derision and gossip. Herr Settembrini” (632-33/867-68). the lawyer Paravant at one point abandons sex for the sake o f dedicating himself to squaring the circle (or perhaps it is the other way around. . After­ wards. too. 417/569). When he crosses the dining room in order to draw a curtain that allowed the sun to disturb Clawdia’s conversation. The novel establishes beyond a doubt that Hans Castorp. never really belonged to everyday life.

By the end of the narrative. playing the same game. . . or anyone else’s. Hans is aware o f its irreducibly double nature —as much a physiological phenomenon as a desire to give up the commonplace life o f the flat-land — and he muses when he learns that his cousin is return­ ing to the sanatorium soon after his unauthorized departure: And directly before the maneuvers he has been so on fire to go to. . But is it really so clear that the other patients’ illness is as purely phys­ iological (or “stupid”) as the narrative often tempts us to think? Consider. all waiting for you at Frau Stohr’s table? (500/682)21 Everyone on the magic mountain is sick. Hans’s disease. unlike Joachim. and join the ranks o f the German army. the giggling Marusja. And. as only one instance among many. unlike perhaps the com­ monplace complaints of vulgar Frau Stohr. . seems spiritual in origin. Is Joachim’s illness physical or spiritual? The novel will not let us decide. . return to the world. a tendency to giggle. and puts it through—a slap in the face of all those lofty-minded people who teach that the body is subordinate to the soul. whose dream o f joining the colors died with him on the slopes o f the magic mountain. more seriously ill than before. Joachim’s conversation remains com­ pletely private. and leaves the Berghof to return to the “flat-land” without the doctors’ permission. a swelling bosom. The question I raise is how far they were right when they set the two over against each other. But his effort is a com­ plete failure. Joachim’s only purpose in life is to get cured so that he can resume his military career. on the night before he finally takes to his bed never to rise again. Is it possible that you have not been able to forget a certain refreshing perfume. . And yet it is clear that Joachim is also attracted to the mountain because. No one thinks of the disease as a purely physical indispo­ sition to be set aside so he can go about the serious business of life more than Joachim does. He does once try to renounce her and the mountain. but everyone’s disease is as much a physiological as it is a spiritual phenomenon. the case of Joachim. in contrast to Hans’s long talk with Clawdia. despite his efforts to hide it. . . . case is purely one or the other is to fall . He soon returns. and whether they aren’t rather in collusion. he approaches Marusja and addresses her for the first and last time. PLATONIC IRONY: AUTHOR AND AUDIENCE 29 the lack of such a reason” (32/47). The body triumphs. No one among the Berghof patients is more eager than he to return to the world below. he is deeply in love with' his tablemate. he is able to leave the sanatorium behind. another Russian. though. it wants something different from the soul. That is why even to de­ cide that Hans’s.

though Mann’s irony includes “in its range the most passionate intensity of ex­ perience. find the essence of the novel distilled in the chapter entitled “Snow” gen­ erally accept this optimistic interpretation.30 THE ART OF LIVING into a trap that Mann has constructed with the greatest care and is difficult to avoid. The novel relentlessly undermines our ability to make unconditional judgments in the same process that it tempts us to keep doing so. exclaims. and he knows it: “ cThe port was not at all the right thing. the correction which my reason tries to .” That is his great insight. I can’t depend on them—not only the first thought that comes into my head. having had a miraculous vision during a snowstorm he runs into while on a skiing expedition. following Mann himself. say. it refuses to yield the clarity o f its vision for any price. Any unqualified judgment of this sort requires an almost in­ tentional overlooking of clear. enough information to decide. The same is true of the disease o f all the other protag- 6nists and o f the minor characters as well. but even the second one. though subtle. More correctly. and my thoughts are all just confused. Hans’s disease is due to love or any other psychological or spiritual factor or to stark phys­ iological reasons. stupid quibbling with words. The novel simply does not give us.” But Hans seems to be able to use his illness to accomplish something that the oth­ ers cannot: he finally accepts that life really occurs in the flat-land and re­ turns there of his own free will.25 Those who. . Mann’s irony. evidence and is therefore one more episode of self-deception. The factors that cause it seem to be similar to those re­ sponsible for the illness of his companions.’ didactic device valued by Settembrini [but] the ambiguous kind the humanist sternly warns his pupil against.26 But Hans beholds that vision only after he has had a healthy dose of the port he has carried with him on his excursion.23As Hermann Weigand has observed. it gives us too much. “not the 'classic.”22 As we shall see in the next chapter. the idea that distinguishes him from the rest of the Berghof’s world. is irony that goes both ways. enough to support both interpretations. just the few sips of it have made my head so heavy I cannot hold it up.”24 Is Hans’s illness different from or the same as that of the other patients? It is and it isn’t. and in large measure its irony consists in such abundance. “For the sake of goodness and love. The port has muddled his head. it is an irony that goes back to the very origins of the concept. Its climax occurs when Hans. man shall let death have no sovereignty over his thoughts. . both physiological and spir­ itual: all of them suffer from genuine cases o f tuberculosis and all o f them are also in one way or another unable to cope with life “below. It undercuts every effort to determine once and for all whether.

after his seven years of “sympathy with death” on the mountain? Not where many o f the weak former patients of the sana­ torium would have ventured. he learns a lot from his seven teachers during his seven years: he learns about love. The chapter ends with these words: “An hour later the highly civilized atmosphere of the Berghof caressed him. And though he says that his dream has given him that insight “in utter clearness. . But this casts doubt on both the seriousness and the clarity of his vision. too. they crowded them to the footboard . He ate enormously at dinner.” so that he “may know it for ever. about the body. behind. we cannot make an un­ equivocal judgment of Hans’s qualities and accomplishments. Does Hans Castorp accomplish anything remarkable on the magic mountain? The answer. But where does Hans go. friendship. From one point of view. PLATONIC IRONY: AUTHOR AND AUDIENCE 31 make upon the first— more’s the pity” (489/667). What he had thought—even that selfsame evening it was no longer so clear as it had been at first” (498/679). the spirit. as well as on the mes­ sage he receives from it. again. That is. Hans does indeed leave the mountain. his self-appointed “pedagogue” who has been urging him to leave the sanatorium from the day they met. Or. and feeling. the central reason Hans does seem so differ­ ent from the rest o f the Berghof world. who is both an ordinary young man (“ein einfacher junger Mensch”) and “Life’s problem-child” (“ein Sorgenkind des Lebens”) — both common and un­ usual at the same time. rather. ex­ changing his effort to understand death on the heights for a march to­ ward it on the plains where we take our final leave of him. But even in this case. He goes direcdy into the trenches. five thousand feet downwards to the catastrophe- smitten flat-land. . he marches. and courage. about life and death — and perhaps he even comes to terms with them. heels over head. It is certainly true that Hans finally returns to the flat-land. the “Berghof was the picture of an anthill in a panic: its little population was flinging it­ self. We do not need to discount this extraordinary episode completely27 or to argue that Mann actually portrays Castorp in a purely negative light28 to sense that here.29 His vi­ sion in the snow is as significant as his disease is purely physical. but then so does almost everybody else. They stormed the little trains. obedient to his duty. What he had dreamed was already fading from his mind. it is — like Hans himself.” his state changes rather quicldy once he finds his way back to the sanatorium. He lib­ erates himself from both his fear of ordinariness and his dependence on a set of questionable influences. is yes and no. leaving some other characters. particularly Settembrini. his behav­ ior is not as unusual as it seems. to a . of course. When the war begins. and Hans Castorp stormed with them” (712/975).

remains a mystery. as much a part o f the world. like Hans Castorp. he has a sordid secret one- night aifair. Mann has created a character who. One thing that distinguishes him is that he does become aware that taking sides is a very complicated affair. to the dialogues’ readers. Mann reveals the self-deception involved in the attempt to take a moral stand on characters and issues that are irresolubly ambiguous. Mann simply does not allow us to take sides on these questions: he forces both points o f view equally on us. By tempting his readers to think they understand Cas­ torp. however. at the same time. There are no irresolubie moral ambiguities in Plato’s Socratic dialogues. to his own author as well. and finally. We simply don’t know who he is. despite all we know about him. a blank. an extraordinary character. as anyone else in the novel. who cannot fit into a com­ monplace mold.30 That has been my main reason for beginning this discussion o f issues drawn from classical literature and philosophy with a consideration o f an . We could perhaps hold his self-deception against him. But these works revolve around a character who remains completely mys­ terious to the other figures that share his fictional world. what exactly he has accomplished. he listens to and utters a lot o f philosophical gibberish. Most centrally. 32 TH E ART OF LIVING hero’s death. that expressing one’s “real. and how he accomplished whatever that was. but then we would also have to hold the same self-deception against our­ selves. and to believe that they are either superior like him or superior to him. His endless conver­ sations ultimately yield an impenetrable silence. And though Castorp and Socrates are vasdy different characters. he idles away some o f the best years o f his life: he eats and drinks like an animal. The Magic Mountain shows that the attribution of self-decep­ tion to others is one of the surest paths to the deception o f oneself. But he is also. Hans Castorp is as ordinary. he becomes a companion o f people he detested when he first arrived and would have abhorred had he met them anywhere else (660/904-5). Mann’s novel and Plato’s Socratic dialogues are two of the most scornful displays o f the weakness o f readers who assume they are morally superior to various characters while they are in fact revealing that they are made o f the same stuff as those they deride. and he leaves only to die a meaningless death on a horri­ ble batdefield before his life ever really begins.” final view o f things is far more complex than we generally tend to think: C£cYou have to take humanity as it is—but even so I find it magnificent3” (370/506). From another point o f view. In Hans Castorp.

its connection to Socrates could even be . are not— and cannot—be discussed without being constandy illustrated by the affair between Hans and Clawdia. philosophers. Just as the historical origins o f Socrates may now be beyond our reach. too. But it is true enough in the case o f our main sub­ ject here. Even if philosophy is in the end “a kind o f writing.” it still has characteristics that are specifically its own. reality and appearance. justify. That is true neither of all literary authors nor o f all philosophers. and systematize Socrates’ way o f life. Socrates. both images of that original charac­ ter and ways o f thinking that are shaped by considering his character and accomplishment as well as the strategies that have constituted him as the character he has become. A third reason is that considering Mann’s literary strategy enables me to be­ gin my discussion o f Plato by discussing his own literary practice. through whom Plato introduced the philosophical distinctions between original and image. despite the fact that it is in great part motivated by his specific desire to account for. who claims that in contrast to literature “philosophy wants to be more than universal: it wants neces­ sity as well: truth for all the worlds that are possible. perhaps as central. reach philosophical conclusions by means o f features we tend to associ­ ate mainly with literary authors. An­ other reason. None o f this implies that philosophy and literature collapse into one another. On the contrary. is himself an original that is nothing over and above his images. may confront us even when the name “Socrates” does not appear in a particular work.31 One’s aims for philosophy can be more modest than Arthur Danto’s. how­ ever “philosophical.” remain tied to the texts in which they appear.” that is. his reflections often outrun the treatments that con­ tain his name.”32 and still believe that the two are distinct institutions and practices. the au­ thentic and the fake. Literary ideas. Plato’s distinction between the appetitive and the rational part o f the soul. That is not to say that I propose to read Plato as a “literary” and not as a “philo­ sophical” figure. It can and must be discussed with­ out any reference to Socrates. and the distant echoes we hear in works like The Magic Mountain. By contrast. But the original cannot be separated from its reflections. reflections. I hope to show that just as literary au­ thors often raise and illuminate philosophical issues. a Platonic way of writing and treat­ ing one’s audience. PLATONIC IRONY: AUTHOR AND AUDIENCE 33 author who is neither a philosopher nor part of the classical canon. as it does not appear in Mann’s novel. Mann’s speculations about the mixture o f the sensual and the intellec­ tual in the human soul. also has a life o f its own. for example. A Socratic reflection. is the fact that this book concerns what I call Socratic “reflections.

It is one of his shorter. Nietzsche. He asks Euthyphro to define piety for him. Even authors who long for particularity and individuality—Montaigne. Socrates infers. . who has been ea­ ger for a talk with Socrates anyway..” and to consider that the “ introduction. Philo­ sophical ideas are in that sense abstract. that Euthyphro must have a clear and articulate view of what piety is: otherwise he could not have pressed such a suit (4eff.38 That is not at all to say that the arguments by which Socrates refutes Euthyphro’s four definitions of piety are not crucial to our understand­ . Since Euthyphro’s action is controversial enough to seem obviously impious. is devoted to the definition o f piety Though it is inaccurate and misleading to refer to the work as “a play. and Socrates. . philo­ sophically more complex and most widely read earlier works. like Euthyphro’s own relatives. Foucault—construct ideas that can be detached from their texts in a way that the most abstruse spec­ ulations of Mann’s Settembrini and Naptha cannot. it is—to many who reflect upon it. isd-e). But many of the prob­ lems literary authors address belong as surely to philosophy as many of the practices philosophical authors pursue are drawn from literature.”36 it is equally unjustified to claim that literary analysis is useless in the case of the Eu­ thyphro: “Formgeschichte . which is eventually to send him to his death. is irrelevant to his interpretation. Consider now Plato’s Euthyphro.33 Socrates has come to the King Archon’s stoa to respond to Meletus’ writ of impi- dy. cf. So far as the Euthyphro is concerned. and that is all Socrates needs. unfortunately. capable of living independendy of their original manifestations.34 THE ART OF LIVING unknown —as. who has come to press a suit against his father for murdering one of his own day laborers. cannot be mechanically applied.” 37 The author who holds this latter view is forced to conclude that the work’s real business begins only after “ a lengthy introduction—lengthy in relation to the total bulk of the dialogue. agrees that he does indeed know the nature of piety. At the entrance.34Euthyphro’s action is at least shocking if not downright impious. ex­ presses his amazement that Euthyphro has decided to pursue it:35 sons are not to prosecute their fathers according to classical Greek moral and reli­ gious tradition. reasonably enough. I say “the dialectical portion” because only part and not the whole of the dialogue. its relevance is slight: no substantive issue in the interpretation of the dialogue turns on it. as one might think on the basis of most of the commen­ taries written about it.” which actually occu­ pies a full quarter of the dialogue. and the dialectical portion of the dialogue gets under way. Euthyphro. he meets Euthyphro. livelier.

obviously enough. of course. that another genre (say. only partly revealed to Euthyphro [who. he uses the structure and characterization of his works to undermine their obvi­ ous meaning and to suggest his real intentions to those who can follow the secret thread of his thought.40 and there is no reason to believe that Plato was the first among them. is that of the Republic. to a great extent. despite their emphasis on the literary character of Plato’s dialogues. not piety. both philo­ sophical and literary. Those strategies need to be investigated in their own right. as Plato seems to argue (473cff. The main idea is that Plato holds a number o f explicit philosophical views that. Accordingly. connects the hu­ man and the divine. could and did use the genre for purposes of his own. wouldn’t understand it]. like any other author. the true message o f which—according to this approach—is not that philosophers should rule the city. and whole schools o f thought revolve around the issue whether Plato’s choice of genre is or is not relevant to the interpretation of his works. for example. Whoever wanted to commemorate Socrates mosdy wrote dialogues. that justice. Plato wrote dialogues not for any deep reason but simply because that was the established form o f Socratic literature at the end of the fifth and the beginning of the fourth century b c . Some people think that Plato uses char­ acterization to advance a doctrinal point that the actual discussion o f the dialogue does not articulate. Many authors composed Socratic dialogues.41 I am there­ fore suspicious of interpretations that take the dialogue form as an end in itself. that it belongs to a genre that allows Plato to pursue strategies. But I also believe that Plato. pre­ suppose an absolute distinction between the literary and the philosoph­ ical and rigidly subordinate the former to the latter. for a num­ ber of reasons. this author be­ lieves.).”42 It is somewhat ironic that such readings. “gentlemen” like Glaucon and .39 My own view is that. which Plato chosefireely and intentionally among other possible genres in order to exploit isome particular features he discerned in it. a treatise) would not have permitted. he does not want to make public. which are often identified with the approach of Leo Strauss and his students. PLATONIC IRONY: AUTHOR AND AU DIEN CE 35 ing of the dialogue. The most famous of these cases. A great deal has been written recently about Plato’s use of the dialogue form. doubtless because that had been Socrates’ favorite mode of discourse. One of these purposes. is the characterization of Socrates and his interlocutors. So. but that they should leave the government to the types represented by Socrates’ interlocutors. one interpreter has argued that Plato stresses Euthyphro’s gross ignorance to allow himself to make “the suggestion. But it is to say that the work is in fact a dialogue.

as in most o f Plato’s Socratic dialogues.49The impression we get is that Socrates and Euthyphro know each other relatively well. since it is not clear that the doctrinal points even of a short work like the Eu- thypbro can be articulated clearly enough for us to be able to say what the dramatic structure o f the work reveals about them. the voice that pre­ vented Socrates from engaging in certain courses o f action from time to time. even though Euthyphro does not understand the first thing about Socrates’ complexity. Euthyphro himself. is himself the instigator o f a suit: he is sure that Socrates must be a defendant (2bi-2). I am not even concerned at this point with the question whether Strauss’s interpreta­ tion of Plato is correct. Because of the daimonion. What concerns me is the more general idea that Plato uses the dialogue form to encode his real position and reveal it only to those of his readers who are capable of reading his code.”48 He finds it impossible to believe that Socrates. whom he knows to be a just and peaceful man.45 More important. Such a role is one we might in good conscience consider philosophical: the character­ ization turns out to be itself part of the philosophical point of the dia­ logue.44 We must leave the immense complications of the Republic aside. 36 THE ART OF LIVIN G Adeimantus. What do we know about the character o f Euthyphro? Nothing apart from what this dialogue and a few scattered references in Plato’s Cmty- lus tell us. Contrary to what most people think. it is not Socrates who stops people in the street and.46 But the Euthyphro itself gives us a lot of information about its protagonist. out of the blue. In Plato’s case.43 The details of the case are not important. The first thing to note is that. For that idea actually subordinates literature to philosophy and transforms it into a sup­ plementary carrier o f a detachable philosophical message. Euthy­ phro seems to know Socrates: he is certainly familiar with his habits and is therefore surprised to find him at the King Archon’s portico instead of his “usual haunts in the Lyceum. we must realize that Plato’s characterization plays a role that is not con­ nected to the illustration o f some independent doctrine. at least. he is convinced that that must be the reason Meletus has accused Socrates o f impiety (3b5-8). asks them to define virtue and to justify their fives but someone else who draws him into conversation. and though some of that has already been discussed in the secondary literature more remains to be said about it.47 So it is in this case as well. Euthyphro is also familiar with Socrates’ daimonion. and not Socrates who makes a point of initiating their discussion. the easy distinction between literature and philosophy does not even begin to capture his complex practice. it is the interlocutor of Socrates. Euthyphro thinks that Socrates shares with .

Euthyphro’s own religious views are a matter of controversy. He is proud of his knowledge o f the various traditional stories concerning the gods (6b3-c7). that he does in fact understand the religious complications of his case perfecdy well (4e4-8). portrayed Socrates being so transparently nasty with one of his interlocutors. who knows how to take care of himself. in which the sophist. “are easy to make in the pres­ ence of the crowd. for example. Socrates begs Euthyphro to take him on as his student (fiaOrjriijS') and to teach him ($i8 olok€lv) his wisdom (<3o<f)ia) about piety so that when he goes to court himself he will be able to mount a successful de­ fense against Meletus’ suit. missing the ironic overtones of the latter’s question. “is unclear except to you seers” (3e2~3). Even at me—even at me they laugh as if I were mad when I discuss the divine at the assembly. in a manner that is as obvious to the work’s readers as it is invisible to its target. But his confidence in the accuracy of his theology and in the correctness o f his legal position is so extreme and absolute that it destroys from the very first any confidence we might have had in the soundness of his judg­ ment: “Religious accusations. He asserts that what makes him different from the rest of the world is precisely the fact that his knowledge of these matters is so ex­ quisitely precise (d/epics'.” he says about his impending trial. . in my opinion. and yet nothing I have predicted has not turned out true” (3b8-c3). are “envious of everyone who is like u f’ (3C2-3) — an identification Socrates is quick to reject: “How all this will turn out.54 Seldom has Plato. It is much less humorous here.” he claims. predicting the future for them. Socrates uses these three terms and their de­ rivatives twenty-four times in the course of the work.52 He preens himself on his wisdom concerning the gods and contrasts his own knowledge to the ignorance of the crowd (4ei~3). He self-confidendy tells Socrates. than it is in the Protagoras. Socrates’ irony is so extreme that it soon ceases to be humorous. That makes him eager to try to speak for both of them in a single voice: the Athenians. PLATONIC IRONY: AUTHOR AND AUDIENCE 37 him the special knowledge of the divine he believes himself to possess.53 Plato’s portrait of Euthyphro —a portrait he goes to great lengths to construct—is one of a prodigiously conceited character: so conceited that he remains totally impervious to the incredibly heavy-handed irony with which Socrates treats him throughout the dialogue. he says. There is in general no agreement whether Euthyphro is represented as a “sectary” and religious innovator50 or as an expert in traditional theology51 — whether he is part of the Athenian religious establishment or its enemy. and he pre­ dicts that he will easily win his case if only the judges are able to listen to him impartially (9b9-io). Again and again. 4e9~5a2).

We feel. Plato’s Euthyphro.”57Ac­ cording to Laszlo Versenyi. Even his name. is made to seem like noth­ ing but a pompous fool. . that Euthyphro is stupid because some historical person of that name happened to be an intellectual simpleton. in short. he wrote. a boastful pretense to being different. “You say I make [words] walk. what piety is. means not just that he is intellectually hard up.”58 “ In his fanaticism.”56 Gregory Vlastos. is unusually stupid.” Socrates tells Euthyphro. Euthyphro is not responsible for his stupidity. His pretended elevation above [his contemporaries] is pure imposture and alazony. Yet the exceptional verisimilitude of Plato’s writing overcomes our staunchest precautions and seduces us into taking his dialogues not as works o f literature and imagination but.” which is what “Euthyphro” means in Greek. for you make them Walk in circles. Plato makes an explicit point of the image of going about in a circle: c<You call me a Daedalus. is an obvious joke and in stark contrast to the structure of his conversation with Socrates. This “straight thinker. in the context of the dialogue. a holier-than-thou attitude that has no basis in reality. Paul Friedlander described Euthy­ phro simply as a “ bigoted nature. His stupidity thus seems to be a brute fact that needs no further explanation: a witless man cannot possibly appreciate the importance of the questions Socrates puts to him. . “Euthyphro has gotten everything backward.” writes another commentator.55 And as if that was not obvious enough. . aporetic ending is at least in part due to Euthyphro’s “conceit. But that is just the point: Euthyphro is a literary character and not a real person. as usual. instead. But in fact it is jo u who are a good deal more skillful than Daedalus. did not mince words: Euthyphro.”59 while yet another claims that the dialogue’s un­ successful. an ignorant claim to know what they ignore. made to formulate new definitions of piety that are continually reduced to his original. and to his general dullness. .” 60 That is all doubtless true of the character in Plato’s dialogue. Plato is. Euthyphro. . therefore. . but that he is morally corrupt. by contrast. “is as good as told that his failure to make his confident claim to know exactly . “Euthyphro is essentially a comic figure.38 THE ART OF LIVING actually fights back successfully on a number of occasions during his con­ versation with Socrates. Plato’s disdain for Euthyphro is reflected in the attitude o f his readers and is replicated by his interpreters. is led again and again in a circle. easily refuted account of piety as what is pleasing to the gods. Or aren’t you aware that our discussion has gone round and come back to the very same place?” (i5b7-ci). lack of prior philosophical reflection in an area in which he claims to be an expert. as transcriptions of actual conversations.

his choice of its repre­ sentative is quite unfortunate. There is no such fact. as James Arieti has also noticed. familiar (as we have seen) with his character and habits.66 . Why then is Euthyphro so stupid. that does not make Euthyphro a good representative o f traditional­ ism in Athenian religion. quite as conceited as he is dull. I f Plato intends to satirize ei­ ther religious conformity or religious deviance. And that is a fact that any interpretation of the dialogue must explain. which does not correspond with the little we know about the skepticism with which such stories were generally regarded at the very end of the fifth century b c . and why is Socrates’ irony toward him so heavy handed? The beginning o f an answer to these questions can be found in the fact that.”65 All the elements of Eu- thyphro’s character that we have listed so far —his supreme confidence. But this does not help very much either. He would have done much better to show how a highly intelligent and respected religious figure was unable to ar­ ticulate his beliefs—not how a foolish fanatic was apt to botch them. refuse to take him se­ riously. we might think that Plato wanted to expose the silliness of religious innovators (“sectaries” ). The dialogue also shows him to be a literal believer in Hesiod’s tales about the quarrels of the gods (6b-c.63 By contrast. well disposed toward him.). can remain painlessly unaware of Socrates’ personal and dialectical pressure. The actual fact is that Eu- thyphro is stupid only because Plato decided to create a character with those features. his sense that the people cannot understand him—seem perfectly chosen to constitute a person who. the fact remains that the Athenians. For the question both alternatives fail to answer is what Plato would have to gain by such a strategy. and even unwilling to lose his temper in the face of Socrates3relentless and far from gentle questioning. 7bff. then. his arrogance. What­ ever Euthyphro’s relation to religious traditionalism. then. And if they don’t.61 Perhaps Plato wants to use Euthyphro to caricature the complacency of traditional religious attitudes in Athens. the Euthyphro is “ about self-delusion so intense that it thrives even when the hollow­ ness of its foundation is absolutely manifest.62 But we have already seen that Euthyphro’s relationship to traditional religious practices in Athens is difficult to determine. PLATONIC IRONY: AUTH OR AND AUDIENCE 39 But that is a delusion. did Plato make Euthyphro such a fool? So much contempt does not sit well with the farther fact that he represents him as a friend of Socrates. as he himself explicitly complains. Socrates3outwitting him as he does cannot serve either “to reveal Athenian religious orthodoxy in all its absurdity”64 or to display the folly of its religious radicalism. Why.

3i7e3ff. Euthyphro’s action falls into a similar category. “just now I need to hurry to get somewhere. how ignorant. he suddenly remembers a pressing appointment: “Some other time. The excuse is transparently lame. His self-assurance is a form of blindness. despite his grand claims. you had better have a clear conception of what you think justice is and a number of good rea­ sons to support it. has no idea regarding what piety is and no idea that he lacks all knowl­ edge concerning it. 447b8. At the beginning. to believe that he could have missed Socrates’ point so completely. G. he suggests that in remaining un­ aware of his ignorance. And that in turns explains why Plato chose to compose his dialogue around him. He was eager to “teach” him what piety is and also to tell him all sorts of shocking stories about the gods which only he knew. 40 THE ART OF LIVIN G Given how silly. and I am already late” (1563-4). Pr. and how self-confident Euthyphro is. He was therefore ready to engage in what would have been a tra­ ditional epideixis—a formal exhibition of one’s talents and abilities. He may have lost the argument. And it is precisely such ^truths about himself that Euthyphro’s personality is designed to prevent him from being able to see. of self-deception. How could he have seen it given how dull. Euthyphro exhibits the lack of self-knowledge that Socrates considers the most serious human failing. And yet. and how self-satisfied he is? Euthyphro’s personality explains why Socrates fails to have any effect on him. how slow. as the dialogue’s imag­ inary audience. after yet another failed effort to say what piety is and confronted with Socrates’ invitation to begin again at the beginning. Socrates. but the character who makes it has been drawn appropriately: this self-satisfied. Given Euthyphro’s character. But Socrates makes it perfecdy clear that Euthyphro. Despite all Socrates’ efforts. it is only to be expected that he would miss the main points Socrates has been trying to make throughout their conversation. Plato has prepared the ground perfecdy for the dialogue’s completely negative end.” he says. at the end o f the work. Euthyphro took great pains to engage Socrates in conversation. Most important. often associated with orators and sophists (cf. as he has clearly already started on his way. Euthy­ phro’s supreme self-confidence allows him to remain quite unshaken in his conviction that his legal action is correct and that no one can match . overconfident man has just had enough of Socrates and his tricks. it is natural for us. For Socrates has claimed that an action as disputable as Euthyphro’s own cannot be undertaken without a secure understanding of the nature of piety: if you tell me that it is just to steal from the poor and to give to the rich. but that means nothing to him: he departs undaunted and unchanged.).


his knowledge of the gods5desires. No argument can move him from his
Olympian assurance.
But we know better. We can see through his self-deception. We look
on as Euthyphro, blind in his self-assurance, misses Socrates’ point again
and again, and we manage to avoid the traps into which he falls. We re­
alize, as generations of Plato’s readers have realized, that self-delusion of
the kind Euthyphro manifests is Socrates’ greatest enemy. Detecting self-
deception in others is not such a difficult thing to do, after all; as Lionel
Trilling remarked, the “deception we best understand and most willingly
give our attention to is that which a person works upon himself.”67And
we are not like this grotesquely silly, conceited, and inane man: how could
we be like this gross caricature, whose only reason for being is simply to
misunderstand what Socrates believes? But we understand; we are on
Socrates’ side; we know better.
And knowing better, what do we do? Mostly, we read this litde dia­
logue and then we close the book, in a gesture that is an exact replica of
Euthyphro’s sudden remembering of the appointment that ends his con­
versation with Socrates. We too go about our usual business, just as he
proposes to do. And our usual business does not normally center on be­
coming conscious of and fighting against the self-delusion that charac­
terizes Euthyphro and that, as we turn away from the dialogue, we demon­
strate to be ruling our own lives as well—which is really the aim ofthis whole
mechanism. Socrates’ irony is directed at Euthyphro only as a means; its
real goal is the reader.
The Euthyphro is not alone among Plato’s works in taking such an in­
sultingly ironical approach to its audience. Though the Charmides, un­
like the Euthyphro, ends on a positive note, with Charmides accepting
Critias’ advice to stay close to Socrates and to continue his search for tem­
perance with him (i76a6-d5), its effect is similar. For Critias excludes him­
self from that project even though it has been shown that his own un­
derstanding of temperance is anything but satisfactory (i75a8-u). We also
know that Charmides eventually became one of the vicious Thirty Tyrants
who ruled Athens at the end of the Peloponnesian War, under the brutal
leadership of Critias himself. So we know that, despite the dialogue’s
promising end, neither ever learned Socrates’ lesson. But we are able to
explain their lack of understanding, and to distinguish ourselves from
them, because we know as a matter o f historical fact that they were de­
praved, evil characters. That, however, is an easy and unsatisfactory way
out. Are Critias and Charmides oblivious to Socrates because they are evil,
or do they become evil because they do not take him seriously? Plato does


not answer that question directly. But this gives reason to pause and ask
whether avoiding Socrates, as we ourselves so often do, may be the rea­
son for depravity and not its effect. If Charmides, who is portrayed as a
particularly admirable character in the dialogue, and Critias, who does
not seem to be at all corrupt at that time, eventually became evil because
they paid no attention to Socrates, and not the other way around, why
should we suppose that we are so different from them after all?
The Laches—to take one more example—ends with an expression of
warm fellow-feeling on the part of all its participants. But Nicias and Laches,
the generals who have been shown to know nothing about the nature of
courage, bow out of the continued investigation of the nature of virtue
(200C7-d8) and turn the matter over to Socrates and the fathers of the two
young boys their conversation originally concerned. Even someone who,
f like Nicias, is perfectly aware of the point of the Socratic elenchus (i87e6-c3)
finds it easy to shrug it off and return to his everyday life. Being Socrates’
friend is not the same as joining him in the life he advocates as the only life
appropriate for human beings (Ap. 38as). And though we, too, think of our­
selves as his friends, we are very like Nicias: we go our own way.
Some people do, it is true, spend a reasonably large part o f their lives
examining Socrates’ arguments and reading Plato’s works again and
again—I myself am one of them. But though a direct examination of the
dialogues’ doctrines and arguments is absolutely necessary to come to terms
with Socrates, it is simply not enough. The Socratic dialogues demand of
their audience what Socrates asks o f his interlocutors: to examine their be­
liefs on any subject of importance to them, to determine to what other be­
liefs they are logically related, to accept only those that are compatible with
one another, and to live their lives accordingly. That is a question we are
as good at ignoring as any of Socrates’ simple interlocutors.
The close study of Plato’s texts is mostly a logical exercise; its appar­
ent dryness may disappoint those who expect more of philosophy. But
when it comes to justice, wisdom, courage, or temperance—when it
comes to the virtues that were Socrates’ central concern—our beliefs about
them are central to our whole life, to who we are. To examine the logical
consistency of those beliefs, when undertaken correctly, is to examine and
mold the shape of our self. It is personal, hard exercise, a whole mode of
life. As Michael Frede has written, “to revise beliefs which are so deeply
interwoven with the fabric of our life in such a way as to achieve and main­
tain consistency is extremely difficult, in part because it means, or at least
might mean, a basic change of life.”68 The logical examination of belief
is a part—but only a part—of the examined life.


The dialogues ask their readers, as Socrates asks Euthyphro, to make
their life harmonize with their views. Is there, as Plato’s Socrates seems to
think, a consistent set o f beliefs in accordance with which life can be lived?
Can we have the harmony he is after? I am not sure. And even if we can,
I am almost certain that there isn’t a single set o f beliefs that supports a
single mode of life that is good for everyone. But that is not directly the
issue that faces us here. That issue, in Frede’s words again, is that “to know,
we learn from the early dialogues, is not just a matter of having an argu­
ment, however good it may be, for a thesis. Knowledge also involves that
the rest of one’s beliefs, and hence, at least in some cases, one’s whole life,
be in line with one’s argument. . . . In this way, knowledge, or at least a
certain kind of knowledge Plato is particularly interested in, is a highly per­
sonal kind of achievement.”69Philosophy is not here a matter only o f read­
ing books: it is a whole way of life, even if, as I believe, it does not dictate
a single manner of living that all should follow.
The simple investigation of the structure of Socrates’ arguments is not
enough to enable us to live a philosophical life. Nor is that accomplished
by a more “dialogical” interaction with Plato’s works, by an investigation
o f their dramatic form as well as o f their arguments.70 The enterprise is
personal as well as intellectual; and it may even proceed in part, as I shall
argue in the second part of this book, independently of the detailed study
o f Plato’s works, though never without attention to Socrates himself. To
the extent that most o f us do not engage in a project o f that sort—and
we don’t —we end up, despite our dedication to his study, as Plato’s ca­
sual readers. And that is the result of a deliberate strategy on Plato’s part.
The Charmides prompts us to look down on its characters because of our
knowledge of their depraved nature. The Laches allows us to excuse the
generals because of their age, complacency, and general good nature. The
Euthyphro makes it easy for us to take Socrates’ side and to feel a contempt
for Euthyphro that, in reality, we should also feel for ourselves. In each
case, Plato provides a different reason for the incomprehension with which
Socrates’ interlocutors react to him. One of these reasons is bound to be­
come our own excuse.
In fact, our situation is in some ways worse than Euthyphro’s. For Plato
puts us in the position of believing that we know what is better and of
doing what is worse: we tell ourselves and our students that Socrates is
right and Euthyphro wrong, and yet we refuse the kind of life our agree­
ment with Socrates demands. But as Plato has Socrates argue through­
out his early dialogues, there is no such thing as knowing the better and
doing the worse: there is only ignorance o f the better.71 Euthyphro, at


least, does not agree with Socrates: we do, or say that we do. The Eu­
thyphro shows us that in our positive, enthusiastic reaction to it, we are
simply displaying our ignorance o f our own ignorance—the same self-
delusion that generations of commentators have discerned in Euthyphro
but overlooked in themselves; the same self-delusion we found in Hans
Castorp and ignored in ourselves.
Plato’s irony is more disturbing than Socrates5. It uses Socratic irony
as a means for lulling the dialogues5readers into the very self-complacency
it makes them denounce. It is deep, dark, and disdainful. It is at least as
arrogant a challenge to Plato5s readers as Socrates5irony was to his inter­
locutors and perhaps even more so. Plato’s irony, if I am right, is as easy
for his readers to miss as Socrates5s irony, sometimes to our shocked sur­
prise, is easy to miss for the characters he addresses. But by inducing the
same structure o f self-deception in Plato’s readers, Platonic irony explains
why,Socrates was so unsuccessful in convincing his interlocutors o f his
view and way o f life. For in the process o f producing in us a disdain for
Socrates’ interlocutors, the dialogues turn us into characters just like them.
In observing Euthyphro deceive himself in Plato’s fiction, we deceive our­
selves in our own life.
It is in this sense that Mann’s irony constitutes an echo or reflection
o f the Socrates o f Plato5s early works. Though the characters they con­
struct are deeply different from one another, Mann’s and Plato5s strate­
gies are similar and their purposes identical. They both produce or repli­
cate self-deception in their readers as they exhibit it in their characters.
Plato5s dialogues, however, involve an additional, more troubling ele­
ment. Being works o f philosophy, they require a philosophical, ethical
response. We may decide Socrates is wrong and try to refute him; we may
perhaps even try to show that Euthyphro was not so bad after all.72 We
may consciously decide to ignore Socrates5approach, freely choosing an­
other sort o f life for ourselves. We may agree with him and, in no uncer­
tain terms, live a life like his with all its attendant difficulties, dangers, and
risks. Or we may, as the authors we shall examine in the second part of
this book all did, interpret his activity on a more abstract level and imi­
tate not the content but the form o f his life — not necessarily his dedica­
tion to reason but his creation o f and devotion to his own inimitable voice.
What we cannot do, even though that is just what we usually do, is to
agree with Socrates on the one hand and turn away from Plato5s work,
as Euthyphro turns away from his difficult interlocutor, on the other.
In the next two chapters, we shall turn from the irony o f the author
to the irony o f his character, from Plato to Socrates. First, for the simple


reason that'Socratic irony is a necessary element of the Platonic irony we
have been discussing so far. Second, because Socratic irony is the prod­
uct o f a literary strategy the effect o f which has been to convince modern
readers that the “real” Socrates is to be found in Plato’s texts and not in
the works of Xenophon, whose own literary strategy created a sense of
verisimilitude for an earlier era. We shall ask, among other things, why it
has become so natural to believe that in Plato’s work we can confront
Socrates himself, why we think that Plato’s Socratic reflection is not a re­
flection at all but a direct view o f its original. Finally, we shall examine
Socratic irony because, as I will argue in the second part o f this book, it
provides in large measure an explanation o f two strange and important
facts. First, the fact that a number o f modem philosophers have imitated
Socrates in taking philosophy to be, as he thought it was, the art of liv­
ing. Second, the fact that the lives they describe and exemplify in prac­
ticing his art are radically different from, perhaps even contrary to, his own.
Socrates’ irony, his silence, is the reason he created a tradition that man­
ifests itself in the most diverse ways o f life and of which even some of his
most vicious opponents, like Nietzsche, sometimes, to their own horror,
find themselves to be a part. The art o f living is a Socratic art. Even those
who reject him are bound to perpetuate him.

if not with every single one o f Socrates’ views. we see Socrates’ point. we shall see that “the pursuit o f reason and virtue” is not the only appropriate description of Socrates’ philosophical project: the Socratic art o f living can take many forms. The Compass o f Irony Plato lures the readers o f his early dialogues into a cun­ ningly induced state o f confident ignorance. In the second part o f this book. at least with his general oudook on life. unlike them. but ignorance compounded with the least degree o f confidence counts as intellectual hubris and is a punishable offense. C. And he displays our ignorance by showing that in fact we do nothing o f the sort. Muecke. 46 . Simple ignorance is safe from irony. Irony regards assumptions as presumption and therefore innocence asguilt. But those who claim to agree with Socrates that the rational pur­ suit of the knowledge of virtue is the right way to live face a hard test the moment they turn away from Plato’s early works to face the rest of their hves. He makes us presume that. we remain ultimately indifferent to it. D. He instills confidence by lulling us into believing that we know better than Socrates’ interlocutors. i 2 Socratic Irony Character and Interlocutors The typical victim o f an ironic situation is essentially an innocent. he makes us imagine that we agree. He forces us to see that although we claim to agree with Socrates’ uncompromising demand to devote our life to the pursuit of reason and virtue.

Not everyone val­ ues it as much as Socrates and his direct followers do. SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND INTERLOCUTORS 47 Plato therefore places his readers —he places us —in a particularly difficult situation. And those who choose to ignore Socrates may not even be wrong. Sometimes. Plato turns us into participants in his dialogues. And if that is so difficult for us. those who think o f Socrates as a bore or a cheat may be less objectionable than those who claim to be convinced that he is right but do not act on their conviction. That shows how difficult it is to recognize when the elenchus is being practiced on us. As a matter o f fact. We must therefore not be so hard on them. there is no reason it should have been easy for Socrates’ own interlocutors. The former are wrong. The dialogues5final audience. almost into characters of his own fictions. observing Socrates5own. Nietzsche. Just so. that we are a second group. without such an unquestioning commitment to a life o f pure reason. our situation is just that in which Socrates’ own victims find themselves in the course of the dialogues. as I hope to show in the course o f my argument. Plato creates a fictional physical distance that separates us from the action of the works: he allows us to imagine that we are part o f the audience observing Socrates practicing the elenchus—the devastat­ ing question-and-answer method by means o f which he tries to puncture his interlocutors5self-confidence. It seems perfectly reasonable to us to brush Socrates aside and to go on with our lives as before even while we are agreeing with him that we shouldn't. since it is not at all obvious that we should accept Socratic dialectic as the best guide to life. And while we watch Socrates engage others in the elenchus. when it is that we are being shown that we know less than we think. who stands behind the most dis­ tant observers o f Socrates5 dialectic and follows ironically the dramatic action he has created. “Our eyes see nothing behind us. who was himself such a Socratic but insisted on identifying Socrates with ra­ . the distance is even greater: Plato then allows us to imagine that we stand a little further back. is Plato himself. A hundred times a day we make fun of ourselves in the person o f our neighbor and detest in others the defects that are more clearly in ourselves. the elenchus is being practiced on us all the while. the latter are hypocrites. watching all watchers. as Montaigne wrote. immediate audience as well. One can even be a Socratic. In convincing us that we are his ultimate audience. and wonder at them with prodi­ gious impudence and heedlessness. Moreover. As we read those works. His gaze is one we cannot see.551 Platonic irony forms the ultimate background of the dialogues. For. it appears natural to them to refuse to take him seriously even if they sometimes suspect they have failed to answer his questions.

we would do better to think that arrogant innocence is. corrupt. o f course. do not carry their reasons like that. the creature is essential to its creator. difficult to notice and to overcome—a general human state that characterizes many o f us even if we are not particularly stupid. where one does not give reasons but commands. Plato’s later works. dialectic manners were repudiated in good society. unaware of our own misplaced confidence. It is part o f the dialogues’ subject matter. . like honest men. one does not take him seriously. What allows us to be ironic toward Socrates’ interlocutors? Obviously enough. or self-important. and self­ -important is just what most o f us are. arrogant and innocent in his own way and for his own reasons. higher-order irony. the fact that Socrates’ attitude toward them is itself almost un­ failingly ironic. or self-important like Protagoras — not unless we ourselves miss it because we are equally stupid. or self-important. . Being ironical is therefore a dangerous affair: “The only shield against . it is represented within them and plays a specific role in characterizing Socrates and his relations to others. therefore. we become ourselves the objects o f Plato’s own. It is a very com­ mon state. corrupt like Charmides or Critias. . Socratic irony. as part o f the di­ alogues’ notional audience. Plato.”2 Socrates5interlocutors do not miss his point simply because they are stupid like Euthyphro. As we treat Socrates’ victims ironically. naive. naive. may well have thought that stupid. we ourselves are being manipulated by Plato. naive. whose disdain for people is matched only by his passion for im­ proving them.” was not exaggerating when he wrote that “Before Socrates. and encourages us to think that by and large our point of view is the same as Socrates’. which seldom give Socrates reason to be ironic. He encourages us to assume a superior. 4-8 THE ART OF LIVIN G tionality “at any price. Wher­ ever authority still forms part of good bearing. . . Honest things. But at least in order to salvage some o f our self-esteem. He then places us next to Socrates and his interlocutors. do not make life as difficult for their readers as his early dia­ logues so often do. cor­ rupt. . he turns us into arrogant innocents like them. The character’s irony is indispensable to his author’s. ironic attitude toward Socrates’ dialectical partners. plays a double role in Plato’s work. As we watch Socrates manipu­ late his interlocutors. corrupt. a mechanism for creating one o f the dialogues’ most powerful effects. But it is also a formal structure. naive like Ion. And in so doing.not found only in caricatures like Euthyphro or Ion. Plato populates his works with arrogant innocents—each one o f them. the dialectician is a kind of buffoon: one laughs at him.

. they “would not listen to him. as well as an agent. he continues.”3 Ironists are vulnerable to their own tactics because their assumption that they are superior to their victims proves to be their fatal weakness. and one can never quite know whether one is not also a victim. he now imagines someone might ask. which is part of the reason irony has always been met with such suspicion. they will think that his claim is also a claim that he is supe­ .”5 But this interpretation misses an important aspect of what Socrates says here. whose desires he is carrying out by engaging in philosophy. is exactly what he goes on to do—that if he were to stop doing philosophy he would be disobeying the god’s command (rqj d^qj. In Plato’s Apology (37e3~38ai). . is absolute circumspection. That can never happen: as long as he is alive. . Irony always implies that the ironist knows something that someone else does not and. is the most difficult thing for him to explain. there is an element of boastfulness.). He is not offering just any “sly evasion. and he translates the last phrase of Plato’s Greek as “regarding this pretext as a sly evasion. airtiQeiv).”4 What exactly does Socrates mean by eironeia? Where would the irony be in his claim that his philosophical activity constitutes a divine mission? John Burnet relies on the original sense of eironeia as “shirking responsi­ bility by sly excuses” (among which he counts “the Socratic profession of ignorance” ). Whether his judges believe that Socrates is sincerely convinced o f his divine connection or is making fun of them. In all irony. . he tells the court that they should not spare his life in the hope that he will change his ways. “The ironist is therefore faced with the same need to be universally cir­ cumspect and with the same chance of success. of irony. think­ ing that he was engaged in eironeia (cos' etpcoveuo^eVo.” Ironists themselves are particularly vulnerable to irony: the tables can always be turned. Socrates himself connects irony with boastfulness and anticipates the suspicion it provokes on the one occasion when he uses that term in con­ nection with himself. for the very act of being ironical im­ plies an assumption of superiority. If this seems to put the ironist at an altogether unfair advantage it has to be observed that the ironist is equally vulnerable. to live in peace and quiet (oxyoov /cat rja vx^ v aycov) ? That. cannot know. he will continue to ask his fellow citizens the very same disquieting questions that have brought him to court in the first place. a shield no man can lift. therefore. o f course. That assumption is essential to irony in all its forms. at least for the present. For if he told the court—which. But why should he refuse. SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND INTERLOCUTORS 49 irony . from its simplest rhetorical cases to its most cosmic and ethereal romantic versions.” He is saying that he has a special connection to the god.

ironists. o f which Socrates is the . in the roughest terms. for they are thought to speak not for gain but to avoid parade. and here too it is qualities which bring reputation that they disclaim. “who understate things. and deceiving.and boasting in mind as we review. Irony is listed as a common trope in Anaximenes o f Lampsacus5 Rhetoric to Alexander16 as well as in the Letter to Alexander. he offers a rather traditional and negative view o f eirdneia. and that is whyihe finds it so difficult to make it.5513 Interestingly enough. Aristophanic sense. Theophrastus followed the Rhetoric and gave a purely negative portrait of the eiron in his Characters. writes positively o f it. The most common ancient understanding of irony is what Cicero calls “refined dissembling55 (urbana . The dis­ sembling is no longer secret. Socrates5“evasion. returning to the term5s original. Aristode contrasts eirdneia with boastfulness. which I intend to articulate in what fol­ lows. however. not surprisingly.7 The history of the word is relatively well known. an outright de- f ceiver who intends and needs to escape completely undetected. which derived essentially from Aristotle5s school.11 The eiron—the person who uses eironeia—is now no longer simply a cunning. . that he does not always mean what he says. the rhetorical tradition. carried the sense of dissembling. In the Rhetoric. dissimulatio). as Socrates used to do.8 The same sense is sometimes found in Plato. would be taken to involve a boast. 5o THE ART OF LIVING rior to them. dissembling hypocrite. This new understanding o f the term. eirdneia and its derivatives. seem more attractive in character.9 and in a form slightly more complex than that of its original Aristophanic uses it survives as late as Demosthenes. And the con­ cept was finally codified—with an important qualification we will soon discuss —by Cicero and Quintilian.15 bypassed the Rhetoric and approached irony in the affirmative manner of the Ethics. The eiron is now transformed into a much more subde character who lets part of his audience know that his words do not obviously or necessarily express his considered opinion. shamming.14 But equally interestingly. The first ancient author to offer a systematic discussion o f irony is.6 Let us keep the connection between eironeia. .55whether truthful or dishonest. is made concrete and personified in Socrates. Aristode.10 But in some other cases in Plato. the general outlines of the sense of eironeia in classical Greek. which first appear in the works o f Aristophanes. Originally terms o f abuse. and who does not mind if some people are aware of his dissembling. a radically new sense of eirdneia emerges for the first time. and establishes once and for all its connection with Socrates: in contrast to the boastful. at least not from all of one’s audience.u In the Nicomacbean Ethics.

in the Nicomachean Ethics Aris­ totle distinguishes between eirdneia. from alazoneia. is a trope that belongs to the genus allegory and “in which something con­ trary to what is said is to be understood. is preferable to alazoneia. and we cannot understand one without the other. I am convinced. But we need to pay closer attention than we have done so far to the implicit claim of su­ periority that is. which at best applies to one of its minor and least interesting variations. Boastfulness com­ plicates the clear. for ex­ ample. ele­ gant pretense of hiding what one really thinks.” 18 This. Irony and boastfulness are never far apart. Irony. The stark contrast between the term’s Aristophanic and Ciceronian uses. to force them apart leads us into mistaking Dr. the use which had been marginal in the classical period became its central. We have already found a connection between irony and presumed su­ periority in Plato’s Apology. elegant. then. according to Quintilian. is the traditional picture of the development from Aristo­ phanes5eirdneia to Cicero’s irony—from coarse lying to the avowed. In particular. the mock modesty that makes people pretend they lack valuable qualities they actually possess. SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND INTERLO CU TO RS 51 greatest example. the best instance of which is represented by Socrates. it can be traced back to one (though. not the only one) of Quintilian’s formulations.” 19 The general outlines of that picture are beyond dispute. was so exaggeratedly simple that it turned into its opposite and became a form of bragging: “ Both great excess and great deficiency are . Through the eventual influence of the after-image of its Socratic incarna­ tion. Aristotle thinks that both are vices. Johnson’s for­ mulation. and forceful story Gregory Vlastos has recently told about the development o f irony from its early Greek to its later Ro­ man version and to which I now turn: “ The image of Socrates as the par­ adigmatic eiron effected a change in the previous connotations o f the word. as we shall see. Though Socrates is indeed crucial to that story. which Dr. But—what is most important for us here—he goes on to point out that understatement itself can be overstated.20though he thinks eirdneia. And so is his most characteristic practice. extremes between which lies the virtue of truthfulness. The Spartans’ clothing. for irony’s central sense. his character is both darker and more complex than Vlastos supposes. the boastfulness that causes them to brag o f possessing valuable qualities they in fact lack. its normal and normative use: eirdneia became ironia” (29). Johnson described as “ a mode of speech in which the meaning is contrary to the words. More clearly. inherent to irony.17 Its most familiar contemporary sense —saying some­ thing but meaning its contrary—is derived from that understanding. between pure deception on the one hand and refined honesty on the other is much too simple. In particular.

Indeed when a per­ son is under an illusion. both as a means and as a goal. express disdain for their victims and draw themselves above them. “is for the most part a species of the boastful. I believe. is the keystone o f Vlastos’s extremely influential interpretation of the concept. for example. and in this strong version. that irony and deceit absolutely exclude one an­ other. who would be pleased to refute anyone who says something untrue. does it follow that irony. It then turns into its own contrary. But the keystone needs to be reshaped and the construct must be rebuilt. Even if we grant that in its early uses eironeia was almost synony- ^mous with dissimulation and deceitfulness. which Vlastos endorses. sometimes secretly and sometimes not. (458a2-bi) Vlastos asks: “ What could he stand to gain by slipping in a false premiss or a sophistical inference?” (43). which in turn supports his own grand Socratic construct. al­ lows. Truth is much more important to Socrates than Kierkegaard allows. perhaps as transformed by Socrates. Vlastos’s Socrates is overwhelmingly sincere. eventually becomes jtotally innocent o f deceit? That it does. Vlas- tos’s image o f Socrates would disintegrate if Kierkegaard was right to claim that “one can deceive a person about the truth and (remembering old Socrates) one can deceive a person into the truth. And nothing.24 That irony always presumes the speaker’s superiority shows that the relationship between irony and shamming or dissembling is more com­ plicated than the traditional picture of irony. neither can I. con­ firming beyond the shadow of a doubt the connection on which I have been insisting. it is only by deceiving him that he can be brought into the truth. 52 TH E ART OF LIVIN G boastful.”21 Montaigne also noticed the same point: to Aristotle.” he wrote.25 Truth is his only goal. uncompromisingly hon­ est. ironists.”23 In putting themselves down. It is essential to his image of a Socrates . For I consider that to be much better—as much better. “ self-appreciation and self-depreciationioften spring from the same kind o f arrogance. exactly as Philodemus even­ tually claimed during the first century b c : “The ironist. as avoiding the greatest evil oneself is better than helping someone else avoid it.” 26 Vlastos cannot possibly accept Kierkegaard’s position. is a greater evil for a human being than to have false opinions about the subjects we are now discussing.”22 Irony does not only insinuate superiority: it can actually assert it. and truthfulness his sole means to it. and who would be even more pleased to be refuted than to refute. In the Gorgias. Socrates says that he would rather lose than win an argument for a wrong conclusion: What kind of man am I? One of those who would be pleased to be refuted if I say something untrue. in fact. he wrote.

27 Irony makes itself immediately understood: if it is missed. The puzzles o f irony have a simple solution. not to the voice. for Vlastos. “we can finally choose a new meaning . There is no question that the version of irony Vlastos describes surely exists—even children. romantic irony— have little to do with Dr. then Socrates cheats. Even then. when it succeeds. When we decipher an ironic state­ ment. SOCRATIC IRONY: CH ARACTER AND INTERLOCUTORS 53 who is absolutely and in all ways committed to truth that his irony be completely unconnected with deception. in turn. “Even the most simple-minded irony. cannot see it. Irony. For that reason. often involves a considerably more complex relationship between what one says and what one means. For if it is not transparent. Its other species—dramatic irony. as he writes. John­ son's pithy formulation.” which he considers the central species o f the trope. o f the speaker. And. we shall now see. “is simply expressing what we mean by saying something contrary to it. we must always be aware o f it and understand the point he is making by its means. Vlastos believes that successful irony. involves only one species of this all-pervasive figure. in harmony with the un­ spoken beliefs” we attribute to its author. But the mockery. either the speaker botched it or the listener was not careful enough. . Successful irony is honesty that is accompanied by a slightly mocking smile. like Euthyphro. is directed primarily at oneself. . or duplicity. Vlastos insists that Socrates5irony must be ab­ solutely transparent. as Kierkegaard would have put it. therefore. ultimately cancels itself: the listener listens to the soul. if Socratic irony has anything in common with the lying Aristophanic eironeia with which Vlastos contrasts it. it is the simplest case only o f the rhetorical understanding o f the term.29 And even rhetorical irony. This is something we do all the time— even children do it— and if we choose to do it we forfeit in that very choice the option of speaking deceitfully” (43). Wayne Booth makes ex- acdy that point in his discussion of what he calls “stable irony. in the form of deprecation. reveals in both participants a kind o f meeting with other minds. overlooks one of its major features. do it. a cheating Socrates is no better than his sophistic opponents. and that allows us to know precisely what we are really being told.30 . dissimulation. Vlastos writes. the irony o f fate or circumstance. But “the primary use” or the “stable form” o f irony— saying the con­ trary o f what you mean—is primary only in the sense that it is the sim­ plest case o f irony. which is in that respect representative o f a number o f recent discus­ sions. dissembling. But his general interpretation of irony. Rhetoric.5528 Faced with irony. we perform the simple operation o f es­ tablishing the contrary of what is said. Even if his interlocutor.

” “different55) does . does not separate irony from indirectness. a simulator (as Cicero calls Socrates). He thinks. To begin with. whose translation of Cicero I used here. “pretending” must be understood in its “sub­ sidiary use. for example. all the while leav­ ing my audience (and perhaps myself as well) in doubt as to whether I really am one or not. occurs in De oratore:32 “Urbane is the dissimulation when what you say is quite other than what you understand. But many activities that go under the name of “pretending55cannot be recced to either of these two starkly defined opposites. But when he writes that “of the Greeks. . 24).55“deceitful concealment. To take another sort of case. as Vlastos does. that “pretense” here does not have its “basic use” of “deceiving” or “alleging falsely. THE ART OF LIVING Cicero himself. . . either: children have a much more complex rela­ tion to toys than the dichotomy between the primary and the subsidiary use o f “pretending55can possibly capture.” This “ subsidiary” use. In this irony and dissimulation Socrates. insists that even if dis- simulatio is translated as “dissembling. we are told that a pleasant and humorous and genial con­ versationalist. I may pretend to be—I may act like —a classical scholar.” Instead. o f course. who put up a pretence whenever he spoke. shows neither that we know their mind nor even that they know it themselves. . .” allows us to understand eironeia as a figure of speech totally devoid of “willful misrepresentation” (27).” as it is applied for example to “children ‘pretending5that their coloured chips are money . Sometimes we pretend in order to find out whether we already are something or not. To call someone a pretender. The children who pretend that some colored chips are money may not intend to deceive anyone by their pretense. on which Vlastos bases his interpretation. Cicero’s best-known statement about irony. . but that does not mean that to them the chips clearly are not money. in my opinion. it is not obvious that Vlastos5s translation of Cicero5s “alia dicuntur ac sentias” as “what you say is quite other than what you understand” is correct. “altogether innocent of intentional deceit. . But the mat­ ter is much more complex.31 One might object. o f irony in positive terms. was Socrates (the Greeks called him an eiron). The addition of “quite” suggests something much closer to “contrary55than the simple term alium (“other. is ab­ sent from the figure of speech Cicero has in view” (28 n. or that their dolls are sick or die or go to school.” Vlastos. far excelled all others in charm and humanity Most elegant is this form and seasoned in seriousness. Sometimes we pretend in order to eventually be­ come what we pretend to be.” his reference to pretending (simulare) leaves the question of transparency open.

For.”34 Quintilian’s two references to irony are no less complex than Cicero’s. as Crassus did to Lamia. is more revealing (apertior) than the figure: though it expresses something different from what it means. as we can see by looking at the passage that Vlastos surprisingly elides in his citation. But what it is that you are thinking is thereby left unclear. irony gives the impression that you are saying something different from (alium.” He then returns to the case he is now discussing. therefore. with “another kind. And if what you mean when you speak ironically is sim­ ply different from what you say. not contrary (con- trarium) to. he is saying. Johnson’s definition. For Cicero praises this form of urbana dissimulation in which what you say is different from what you understand. he writes. but neither is it revelation. in the elided passage. And though that may not amount to de­ ceit as we most commonly understand it. In general. aliter). SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND INTERLOCUTORS 55 by itself and makes Cicero appear as if he is anticipating Dr. though Quintilian claims that the trope doesn’t differ much from the figure. of which I spoke earlier. but we have seen that the simple contrast between deceit and truthfulness can­ not begin to capture the complexities o f irony Irony allows you simply to refuse to let your audience know what you think and to suggest sim­ ply that it is not what you say. it doesn’t really make any effort .”37 a closer look shows that they are after all distinct. Here we must be very careful. however. But Cicero has just that simpler term in mind. O f course. and explicitly contrasts it. “since in both the contrary of what is said is to be understood. then your words do not make your mean­ ing clear. in which you say the contrary. believes that apart from the very simplest cases of irony the words you use when speaking ironically do not make your meaning obvious.35 He first makes some vague and general comments about it as an expres­ sion of a speaker’s character (ethos) and claims that “it requires that some­ thing different from that which is said be understood. which involves not the contrary of what is in your mind but a case “where the whole tenor o f your speech shows that you are gravely jesting in speaking differently from what you think. Cicero doesn’t seem to think—and he certainly doesn’t say—that irony involves “deceitful concealment” . Quintilian’s theory does not seem to reflect his practice. what you are thinking. The trope.tropos) and irony as a complex figure (schema or jigura). preventing your audience from knowing what you actually think is far from constituting “ a meeting with other minds.”33 Cicero does not describe the irony he finds in Socrates as saying the contrary of what one means. Even Cicero.”36 In his second dis­ cussion. That is not deceit. Quintilian distinguishes between irony as a simple trope (.

That would be a wrong interpretation o f Socrates. That. you immediately under- standpessimus (“most awful” ). may be characterized by irony. we would have to conclude that Socrates did after all know what justice. do not believe that irony always points to the contrary o f what it says. it is difficult to say that the latter allows us to know a speaker’s mind as read­ ily as the former. nor do we have any independent reason for thinking that he did.40 Even though Quintilian writes that Socrates was called an eiron because of his pretended ignorance and feigned admira­ tion of those who seemed to be wise. which involves not just words but phrases and whole sentences. to repeat. and not just contrary to. 56 TH E ART OF LIVIN G to hide it. the figure puts the whole sense of a passage in question. then Vlastos cannot be right when he defines Socratic irony . do not go together. if irony does not make one mind so readily accessible to another. and knowing Cicero’s views. This example shows that irony as trope ap­ plies to words and that its meaning is clear. Cicero and Quintilian. In addition. or courage. And if it does not. was Cicero’s point when he described Catiline’s accomplice.39 Despite Quintilian’s remark on the similarities between trope and figure. “the whole intention is disguised. more a matter of suggestion than avowal. it becomes very difficult to see how the simple formula of saying something by uttering its contrary is to be applied at all: this most complex case o f irony does not even de­ pend on words. and it is not clear what the contrary is for which we should be looking. as a “ most excellent man” (vir optimus): you hear optimus. if it involves saying something other than. Here.” While in the trope a word or two are different (diversa) from their real mean­ ing. neither Cicero’s nor Quintilian’s general view of irony entails that Socrates knew the nature o f the virtues. And when finally Quintilian claims that “a whole life.” ^like Socrates’.41 Quintilian’s theory and prac­ tice. even if Quintilian believes that as a matter of fact Socrates’ irony consists in falsely pretending not to know the answers to his own ques­ tions. then. Metellus. I f we took Quintilian’s explanation of Socratic irony too seriously. makes it much more difficult to know what meaning is being expressed. Quintilian says. If we cannot move transparently from what Socrates says to what he means. what one means. The rhetorical texts are not committed to such a general interpretation of irony. then it is difficult to be­ lieve that Socrates’ irony always allows us to know exacdy what he means. or virtue really was and that his claims of ignorance were never serious.38 But irony as figure. the fact remains—as I shall argue in what follows—that this rather simple explanation cannot do justice to the phenomenon it is intended to capture.

is not real. which is directly relevant to the superiority I have already mentioned. or between the speaker and that which is spoken about. “This is Socrates’ habitual shamming (eicodvia elpajveia). I cannot. or even between the speaker and him­ self.44And as long as we think that we can only choose between honesty and fraud. That is the point Lionel Trilling made when he wrote that irony implies “a discon­ nection between a speaker and his interlocutor. You can hide the truth (assuming that you know what it is) even when you are not lying. Thrasymachus is protesting. Even though Socrates was part and parcel of “the Sophistic movement. Ly­ ing is not the only mode of deception.42 did not mind thinking of the Greek thinker as a sophist using sophistry against sophists. .48 Thrasymachus5only complaint is that Socrates is lying about knowing or. rather. That dilemma. One element in the traditional picture of irony is not aifected by the criticisms I have made of it so far.46 in order to con­ struct a different interpretation of Socratic irony. I had predicted to these people that you would refuse to an­ swer and would sham (eipajvevooio) and would do anything but answer if the question were put to you. between the malicious and deceitful irony of Aristophanes and Theophrastus on the one hand and the rhetoricians5ob­ vious trope through which nothing is hidden on the other. whose admiration of Socrates paled before his love of Jesus. irony always includes an element of dissimulation. a distancing between speaker and audience. however. Let us begin with Thrasymachus5well-known attack on Socrates dur­ ing the course of their discussion of justice in the first book of the Re­ public: “Heracles!” he said. about believing that he knows what justice is. but pretends he hasn’t to keep it under wraps so he can have a field-day pouncing on ours and tearing it to pieces while he is shielded from attack” (24). there is no question where Socrates belongs. Kierkegaard.”43 our image of Socrates makes it impossible to attribute to him outright. The essential connection between irony and superiority shows that even when it is not straightforwardly deceptive as it was in Aristophanes.”47 Vlastos’s translation of eirdneia as “ shamming” allows him to argue that Socrates5opponents regularly saw him as an Aristophanic deceiver: “ Thrasymachus is charging that Socrates lies in saying that he has no answer of his own to the question he is putting to others: he most certainly has. SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND INTERLOCUTORS 57 simply as “ the perfect medium for mockery innocent o f deceit” (28). And sometimes you may yourself not be sure what the truth is even if you are convinced that it is not what your words mean. in­ tentional deceptiveness.”45 I want now to use this sense o f disconnection.

for not hid­ ing his lack of sincerity. unable to contain himself any longer. But they are essential to irony as we un­ derstand it today.” Must we think that he accuses Socrates of shamming or deceiving? Thrasymachus is drawing attention to what he takes as Socrates’ mock humility. he appears to flatter Thrasymachus while in reality he shows his contempt for him. he says. is to pass unnoticed. But what about those cases when the term is used positively. understood sim­ ply as lying. Thrasy­ machus must not for a moment suppose that they were anything less than completely serious about finding what justice is: “You surely mustn’t think that. like the point of all lying. not that he has been swindled to no effect. Socrates has laid on so thick that it can­ not deceive anyone. to hide his mock­ ery. 58 TH E ART OF LIVING But. the contrary of what he says) and with failing. “but rather —as I do—that we’re incapable of finding it. through which he claims to be able eas­ ily to see and which. Thrasymachus’ point is more complex. in addition. Socrates responds calmly by asking Thrasymachus not to be angry at Polemarchus and him: if they have so far failed to de­ termine what justice is. Socrates obviously doesn’t believe. Hence it’s surely far more appropriate for us to be pitied by ^you clever people than to be given rough treatment. he distances. Thrasymachus claims not just that Socrates is trying to deceive him— his ploy is too transparent for that—but that he is evading the issue: he says things he does not mean. that the sophist is more clever than he. disconnects himself from the words he is actually using. The sophist has been silently fuming at Socrates’ discussion of the nature of justice for some time. the point of which. in fact. but his transparent refusal to take responsibility for his real meaning. he blames him for not meaning what he says and. Taunting and mocking are at best pe­ ripheral features of Aristophanic eironeia. Thrasymachus can be sure that they have done so unwillingly. He charges Socrates with pretending to be innocent of his real meaning (which here is. for what is to them even more precious than gold. This passage shows that even the most negative uses o f eironeia against Socrates do not centrally involve the notion of deceit. intentionally. He knows that Socrates does not consider him wise or clever. not as an accusation but as a mere description or diagnosis of Socrates’ . He feels that he has been taunted successfully. Thrasymachus is saying.|Not Socrates’ intention to deceive.” Socrates continues.”49 It is only this last statement that prompts Thrasymachus’ attack against Socrates’ “habitual eiromia. they would never have intentionally compromised their search. in his eyes. is what enrages Thrasymachus. Thrasymachus does not accuse Socrates of lying. he has just exploded with a vicious attack. in fact.

Alcibiades had offered Socrates his beautiful body in exchange for Socrates5wisdom. as Vlastos argues? They do not. he now tells his audience. but they imply precisely the distance. “Here.5550 Vlastos offers us a choice between an irony that is ultimately transparent on the one hand and a case of intentional deceit on the other: “If we follow Quintilian we shall understand Alcib­ iades to be saying that Socrates is a lifelong ironist. the offer would not be to his own advantage: since wisdom is so much more pre­ cious than beauty. The Symposium presents us with one of them. that we have already mentioned. “ most ironically (eironikos) in his extremely characteristic and habitual manner55 (2i8d6-7). If we follow [a group of contemporary scholars] we shall understand him to be saying that Socrates is a lifelong deceiver” (34). some cases of pretending are also cases of deceiving. But “deceit” is too strong a word for my purposes. that if indeed he was as wise as Alcibiades thought. SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND INTERLOCUTORS 59 personality. why should Socrates exchange one for the other? But. But is the clarity Vlastos discerns incontestable? Throughout his discussion of this passage. even from one5s own self. Such cases are not weak enough to turn pretense into a totally transparent game that takes no one in. Socrates. Socrates is turning down flat the proposed exchange.51 A little later.52 O f course. Irony allows us to pretend we are something other than our words sug­ . One of the first things he says is that Socrates “spends his entire life in eironeia (elpcuveuofievoS') and jesting with people. He then answered. for the context gives no foothold for the notion of pretence or deceit. perhaps Alcibiades was wrong: Socrates might not be wise and might have nothing to offer him. Vlastos equates the notions of deceit and pretense. “ it is incontestably clear that ‘ironically5 has to be the sense of eironikos. Alcibiades uses the adverb eironikos (“ironically” ) to de­ scribe the manner in which Socrates. heard him out to the end. The simple contrast between truthful­ ness and lying cannot capture either Socrates5character or his way of do­ ing philosophy. some time ago. the disconnection from one5s own words. I submit. perhaps even as a compliment? Do these absolutely exclude the notion of deceit. In his great drunken speech in the Symposium. Alcibiades promises to reveal Socrates as he really is to their friends. Socrates continued. He claims that those who take Socrates as a de­ ceiver do so because they understand Alcibiades to be saying that Socrates is pretending either not to know the answers to his questions or some­ thing more vague and more general. But others are not.55Vlastos writes. had appeared to re­ ject the younger man5s sexual advances. saying that it is a swindle” (36).

But though Socrates might never have intended to deceive him when he re­ fused his offer. Fowler gets part of this right when he writes that irony consists in “the use of words in­ tended to convey one meaning to the uninitiated part of the audience and another to the initiated. Alcibiades had just asked Socrates to help him improve his soul. let us now look at Alcibiades5speech in the Symposium in more detail. it looks as though you are not stupid. He has now come to realize that Socrates5 self-control is unassailable. the delight of it lying in the secret intimacy set up'between the latter and the speaker.54 With these general points in mind. And in fact it was not. One speaker does and one does not mean what is said. when you hint that what you say may not be what you really mean. an in­ cident between Socrates and himself that occurred some time ago. Now suppose for a moment that Alcibiades had not used the ad­ verb eironikos in his account of Socrates5reply: Dear Alcibiades. Their words do not bind them. I say ccget away with it” not because I presume always to know what an ironist means but precisely because I believe that it is often not clear what iro­ nists mean. indeed. whether we really are anyone. Irony always and necessarily postulates a double speaker and a double audience.”53 The sense o f superiority that al­ ways accompanies irony has its source in this intimacy between the speaker and the initiated part of the audience. And so you allow your audience to act on its interpretation of your meaning. Inexperienced as he was. Ironists can maintain a distance that allows them to say. not what I meant at all. ccBut that is not what I meant. when you suggest that you just might possibly be of two minds about what you are saying. It entailed the pretense involved when you detach yourself from the obvious interpretation of your words. his ironical manner need not at that time have been free of pretense. whatever it takes it to be. rather than on its understanding of your words. It enables us to play at being someone. when pressed. Coy is just what Alcibiades took Socrates to be when they were alone together at dinner. even though we can strongly suspect it is not what they say. Alcibiades is relating past events. without forcing us to decide what we really are or.” and to get away with it. An ironic refusal of someone's offer to go to bed with you may suggest coyness rather than virtue. and in return he offered his body to him. if what you say about me is true and there really is in me some power which could make you a better man: you must be seeing something inconceivably beautiful . 6o TH E ART OF LIVIN G gest. one au­ dience does and one does not understand what is meant.

But he has suggested that he has not quite meant what he said. he would have meant to deny that he was capable o f accomplishing what Alcibiades expected of him. . speaking as a sober man who is rejecting an impetuous boy’s offer. joins him on his couch. Socrates has not lied to Alcibiades. Vlastos believes that when Socrates tells Alcibiades “that it looks as if you are not stupid. but it has no easy solution. and what do we have? We have a young boy faced with a radical uncertainty about whether an older man does or does not mean what he says to him. at the time when Socrates spoke to him as ironically as he did? And why should we not even sup­ pose that Socrates might have been for a moment uncertain of his own feelings. at least while he was making his ironic and therefore ambiguous response? Socrates does not offer Alcibiades a “riddle” with a clear answer that he expects him to reach on his own. blessed boy. By being ironic. he has left his meaning and in­ tention concealed. the boy. But add the qualification “ironically” that Plato puts in Alcibiades? mouth. But look more closely. Socrates disso­ ciates himself from his words. We already suspect it from our general knowledge of Socrates’ character.56 Through his irony. he at least suggests that what he says may not really be what he means. he does produce a riddle. But is it clear that Alcibiades.” he means precisely the opposite: that Alcibiades really is stupid and that he would never even conceive of accepting his offer (36). even if he were the most gifted interpreter. you mean to take a huge advantage of me: you are trying to get true beauty in exchange for seeming beauty— “gold for brass” . The mind’s vision grows sharp only when the eyesight has passed its peak. and you are still far from that. Is Socrates serious or is he not? Does he want Alcibiades or does he not? Alcibiades soon learns the answer to those ques­ tions when he joins Socrates on his couch and finds him absolutely un­ moved. on hearing Socrates’ words. and he would have allowed Alcibiades to see that he did.55 Socrates could well have uttered these words without a trace of irony. should have taken that as Socrates’ point? Should he have re­ alized that Socrates could be valuable to him only as a fellow searcher for the truth and not as a source of information about it?57 Why should he? What evidence does he have for that conclusion? Socrates gives him none. lest you have missed that I am nothing. It is no wonder that. In that case. If that is what you see and you want beauty for beauty. He simply does not let Alcibiades see clearly what he means when he re­ sponds to his proposition. But why should Alcibiades know it. enormously superior to your good looks. SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND INTERLOCUTORS 61 in me. alone in the middle o f the night.

if only to teach him a further lesson. Vlastos tries to absolve Socrates of all responsibility for Alcibiades’ reaction. Socrates does not mean that Thrasymachus is stupid in some well- specified sense. I believe he tempted him into it. it does not reveal it. he claims a double su­ periority for himself. who is the more clever of the two. For example. Concealment. Socrates. In hiding his meaning. Once we have rejected the view that irony consists simply in saying the contrary of what you mean. he insists that “to be reserved and to be de­ ceitful are not the same thing. Socrates succeeds in concealing himself more deeply than he could have done by saying the contrary of what he meant. captive by his stark dichotomy between pure de­ ceit and utter truthfulness. In Alcibiades’ image of Socrates as Silenus (ugly outside. prompted the boy into the wrong reaction. concealment does not distort the truth. Just how stupid. when Socrates ironically calls Thrasy- machus “ a clever person. however simply. even when ^the irony is detected. All we can get from the simile is conceal­ ment. Perhaps Alcibiades did want to believe that Socrates wanted him.” That is not false. Concealment introduces complexity even in the simplest cases of irony It is also connected to the sense of superiority that is irony’s con­ stant companion. it shares features with both: like truthfulness. but it was Socrates himself.” But. He puts himself above Thrasymachus both by im­ plying that he is more clever than the sophist and by showing that he is keeping something back from him. at the same time. He be­ lieved what he did [that Socrates wanted to sleep with him] because he wanted to believe it” (41). however. lead us to the ironist’s real meaning. his toying with him. Even though Socrates may never have intended to deceive Alcibiades. but by himself. in saying that Thrasymachus is clever. concealment cannot. does Socrates believe Thrasymachus is? The question has no an­ swer. through his irony. 62 THE ART OF LIVING Vlastos notes that fact. Intermediate between lying and truthfulness. I don’t agree. a man nobody knows.” we cannot immediately say that what he really means is that Thrasymachus is “ a fool. full of the most beautiful statues inside) he sees “the picture of a man who lives behind a mask—a mysterious enigmatic figure. what he lets us know is that. constitutes a third and distinct ironical effect. but it is a poor interpretation because it lacks sufficient texture. for ex­ ample. like lying. who helped him transform his belief into action. his concealing himself and his real desire behind his words. And. Vlastos agrees that in his exchange with Socrates Alcibiades was in­ deed deceived: “But by whom? Not by Socrates. he is implying that it is really he. . not deceit” (37).

the only true teacher: his dialogue with his fellows is meant . as saying something other than what you mean. of which Alcibiades and. as in the simple cases of saying just the contrary of what you mean. SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND INTERLOCUTORS 63 If we take irony as saying the contrary of what you mean. denying them in one and asserting them in the other. and. it still presents you as superior: for that is an uncertainty you do not openly reveal. denies that he is a teacher. something you do not consider your audience worthy of knowing. the meaning of an ironic statement is much less determinate. It may be more complex. And it always suggests that you are holding something back. more generally. Quintilian speak. But in the sense in which he would give to “teaching” —engaging would- be learners in elenctic argument to make them aware of their own igno­ rance and enable them to discover for themselves the truth the teacher had held back—in that sense of “teaching” Socrates would want to say that he is a teacher. Socrates means what he says. I will end this chapter and prepare the ground for the next. for example. When Socrates. But it can also be something much broader and longer lasting. following him.”59 Socrates’ constant questioning of his companions. . Now Socrates did claim that he was ignorant. where to “teach” is simply to transfer knowl­ edge from a teacher’s to a learner’s mind. as in the case of Socrates’ exchange with Alcibiades. . Enright: “ Socrates introduced irony into the world. You use your words in two distinct senses. in which I examine not the reaction of Socrates’ interlocutors’ to his irony but Plato’s own. The tradition to which some of Quintilian’s remarks have given a voice construes Socratic irony as a transparent self-disparaging pretense to know less than he actually does. With that issue.58 It is succinctly summarized by D. Concealment may be very specific.” In complex irony. he taught others. therefore. And that finally brings us to the irony of Socrates’ whole life. If we take it. under the guise of seeking to be taught by others. He pretended to be igno­ rant . instead of simply saying the contrary of what you mean. It can remain hidden even from those who know full well that you are being ironic. That was the Socratic mode of teaching. It constitutes a refusal to put yourself on the same level as your audience. the mean­ ing of an ironic statement is perfectly clear. in the conventional sense. And even though it may intimate that you may be uncertain about your own intention. was his ploy to get them to see for themselves what he already knew. Did he or did he not mean what he said? A serious answer to that question was recently given by Gregory Vlastos by means of his notion of “complex irony. you play a double game. J. and he did deny that he was a teacher.

once interpreted in this man­ ner. and does have. as Hans Castorp remarks just a little later. irony exercises healthy minds and leaves them in doubt about its purpose. but he is will­ ing to lead them to see them for themselves. in the ancient sense of the term. Friedrich Schlegel. In any but its coarsest varieties. . where it shades into cheap sarcasm. . the purpose of which no healthy mind can doubt for a moment. Plato understood Socrates as well as Socrates understood himself—perhaps even better— and planted in his works the same hints for understanding him that Socrates himself had included in his own conversations.5what sort of irony is that for heaven’s sake. it becomes a source of depravity. He does not tell his students the answers to the questions he puts to them. disappears into a protreptic device. His ironic insistence that he neither knows ^what virtue is nor is capable of teaching it. a mechanism for motivating oth- erwise unenthusiastic students. Hans Castorp’s humanistic pedagogue. who understood the nature o f his irony and depicted its workings in his early works. Socrates is no longer enigmatic to his modem readers who have deciphered the double code he used to communicate with his contemporaries. espe­ cially the virtues. It also presupposes that. though now in a sense of his words his audience is not likely to understand. and vice. (32)60 t Socrates thus both does and does not mean what he says: he is a teacher in one sense and not in another. if I may ask? . According to this view. too. Should we allow Socratic irony to transform itself so easily into an ed­ ucational ploy? Is that still irony at all? In The Magic Mountain. But this “teacher who holds back the truth” is. not at all. though he knows them. a barrier to civilization. however mysterious and enigmatic Socrates may have appeared to his interlocutors. he did not present a mystery to Plato. In the same way. Settem- brini. a squalid flirtation with inertia. It still depends on the idea that Socrates means precisely the contrary o f what he says. though he praised “a rhetorical . 64 TH E ART OF LIV IN G to have.61 Complex irony is actually a sophisticated version of the simplest cases of rhetorical irony we have already discussed. nihilism. a dogmatist: he be­ lieves that there is a truth to be known about the nature of things. That would just be dry pedantry. “if ‘no healthy mind can for a moment doubt its purpose. proclaims that when irony “is not employed as an honest device o f classical rhetoric. He is as “So­ cratic” as any professor o f torts in the first year o f contemporary law schools —that is.” But. and that he himself is in possession of it.”62 Hans Castorp is right. the effect of evoking and assisting their efforts at moral self-improvement.

66 But he often disavows it. it is only a very small part o f what irony does. I will explain my reasons for being unhappy with it. has an excellent effect. Set- tembrini notwithstanding. and Dionysiodorus. uncertainty. La. it is like the pomp of the most splendid oration set over against the noble style of an ancient tragedy. and Meno. but Plato leaves the question of Socrates’ long-term effect completely unresolved.. if Socrates is us­ ing “knowledge” in the same sense in both sorts of cases?65 He appeals to complex irony precisely to eliminate such conflicts.68 The Laches and the Lysis end on a positive note: the participants promise to continue the efforts they have begun. yet. who .64 In Plato’s texts. The same is true o f Euthyphro. Vlastos asks. we have. we shall see. And though nothing is wrong with that. the moment I leave his side. which is supposed to reveal Socrates’ hidden depths and is essential to the view that Plato saw no mys­ tery in his creature. As to his influence on Alcibiades. sparingly used. SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND INTERLOCUTORS 65 species of irony which. i86d8-e3) as complex ironies. and there are other reasons for refusing to read those disavowals (e. So do Gorgias. especially in polemics. Callicles. How is that possible. as we shall see in the next chap­ ter. apart from the testimony of history.”69 How could Socrates. since Socrates not once claims the role of teacher for himself. the confession Plato himself has him make in the Symposium: “I know perfecdy well that I can’t prove him wrong when he tells me what I should do. Euthydemus. The idea that Plato understood Socrates as if the character of the dia­ logues is a real person with whom Plato is thoroughly acquainted leaves me deeply dissatisfied.67 Ion.g. Socratic irony is more complex than “complex irony. there is no conflict in connection with teaching. But first I want to examine the idea of complex irony. Who among Socrates’ inter­ locutors in Plato’s dialogues is improved by him? Protagoras remains un­ moved. Socrates sometimes claims and sometimes disavows knowledge of virtue. Polus.” claimed that “compared to the sublime urbanity of the So- cratic muse. “Moral improvement” grossly misdescribes the trajectory of the lives of Char- mides and Critias. Uncertainty. is not depravity. Hippias.”63 Rhetorical irony generally leaves its listeners in no doubt about what is said. Actually.” and Plato’s own understanding o f Socrates. One o f those reasons is that Plato’s works do not at all show that Socrates’ dialogue with his fellows has the beneficial effects Vlastos so confidently attributes to him and on the basis of which he con­ siders him “ the only true teacher” of virtue. and I will make a few suggestions toward an alternative. may have been less perfect than the latter notion allows. is o f the essence. I go back to my old ways: I cave in to my desire to please the crowd.

And the reason he gives is that these people took it upon themselves to follow him around Athens. he never was. In the Gorgias (456a4~46ib2). though they disagreed about the quality of his influence. but the issue remains unresolved. His secret is there for all to see: it is that we cannot comprehend him.66 TH E ART OF LIVING constantly criticized the failure of the great Athenians to make not only their fellow citizens but also their very own children better. slighdy confused. who has claimed to be a teacher of rhetoric. his students could never be unjust: how could some­ one who has learned what justice is not act according to that knowledge?71 Gorgias.”75 That difficulty is what we must capture.73 It is true that both his friends and his enemies took Socrates to pro­ fess to teach what arete is. it is difficult for me to imagine that Socrates3contemporaries and near-contemporaries must have understood him better than we do today (which is not to say that I be­ lieve that we do understand him well ourselves). Strange as that may sound. The implication is that either rhetoric is not after all concerned with justice or that Gorgias does not teach his students what he professes. Kierkegaard was right: “Even if I were to imagine myself his contemporary. accepts the conclusion.70 claim suc­ cess for himself in light of such a record? Socrates’ attitude toward a teacher’s obligations provides a second rea­ son for taking him at face value when he denies being a teacher of any­ thing. disclaims any responsibility for the use to which his students might put the knowledge he gives them: his task is to teach them to speak. their teacher. in the Apology (3335-b8).72 he would never have disavowed the responsibility for his students’ charac­ ter which he considered essential to all teaching. the sophist. especially o f virtue. Socrates assumes just the position he refuses to allow Gorgias to occupy: he argues that he cannot be held in any way responsible for the character and behavior of those who lis­ ten to his discussions. Socrates then argues that since Gorgias has agreed that the nature of justice is part of what his course on rhetoric reveals. “he would still always be difficult to comprehend. The fact that his friends and companions composed so many togoi or dialogues depicting him in the most contradictory ways and quarreled seriously among themselves suggests that he was never an easy man to understand.” he wrote.74 Proximity does not always secure understanding. But that is no reason for refusing to take his own disavowal of the role at face value. not to speak with justice—whether they do so or not is their choice and responsibility. By contrast. nor claimed to be. I think that if there ever was a sense —any sense—in which Socrates thought o f himself as a teacher o f arete. That is not a secret . We do not need to find the key that will unlock his secret.

Irony is ac­ knowledged concealment. Difficult and impos­ sible to understand. an irony that “doesn’t reject or refute or turn upside down. and the best way of dis­ playing it is by seeing the vast diversity of interpretations he has provoked over the centuries.76since complex irony gives us a window into his soul. if a mask is supposed to cover a real face. It is to fail to notice that irony does not always hide an unambiguous truth and that it can be directed toward oneself as well. paradoxically.”77 Irony often insinuates that something is tak­ ing place inside you that your audience is not allowed to see. if anything. That—we must be very clear—is a case o f very deep irony. perhaps im­ possible. It does not show what. as Enright writes. be­ ginning with the Gorjjias and xhcMeno™ do we find an attempt to account for Socrates. he constitutes a real enigma. is masked. And he never let us know how that was possible. it does not even imply that a whole picture exists. To think that irony can always be de­ ciphered. There is. Irony often communicates that only part of a picture is visible to an audience. he is as he seems. but quietly casts de­ cent doubt and leaves the question open: not evasiveness or lack o f courage or conviction. SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND INTERLOCUTORS 67 that can be explained: it can at best be displayed. Only in Plato’s later works. It does not guarantee it. He disavowed that knowledge and the ability to com­ municate it. Taking it as sincere supplies him. with a deeper ironical mask—a mask so profound that it proves difficult. Sometimes. no underly­ ing story distinct from the story these texts contain. If Socrates believes sincerely that he does not know what arete is and that he cannot teach it to others. It suggests depth. but it does not always entail that you see it yourself. the Socrates of Plato’s early dialogues has no depth. He held that knowledge of arete is necessary for the good and happy human life. but it does not always en­ tail that the speaker sees the whole. Uncertainty is intrinsic. Irony seems to create a mask. or that ironists are themselves always in clear possession o f a truth they are holding back. in Plato’s eyes as well as in the eyes of the tradition the two o f them initiated. a set of views and theories he never had expressed before de­ signed to explain how he could have lived as virtuously as he had. And. and one can decide to conceal or to pretend to conceal oneself for many reasons. is often just to miss the point. of the essence. I now want to claim. The . not so much because we don’t know enough as because uncertainty is intrinsic. And yet he succeeded in living as good a life as anyone had ever done so far. of the essence. but an admission that there are times when we cannot be sure. to remove: perhaps not even a mask at all. Taking Socrates’ attitude toward his teaching as a complex irony robs him o f much o f his strangeness.

found it unacceptable. who lacked that knowledge. Convinced that Socrates was the best man o f his generation (Phd. Socrates did not have what he himself considered necessary in order to be what he was.55 Xenophon seems to have been satisfied with such an answer. as we shall see in the next chapter. perhaps the best man who had ever lived so far. on any occasion.79But Plato's new re­ flection o f Socrates is also a reflection on him. We are now concerned with Socratic irony not as a rhetorical figure but truly as a way of living. Socrates responds. We have left those texts o f Plato in which eironeia is explicitly attrib­ uted to Socrates behind. and the Sym­ posium mark the beginning of Plato's own attempt to provide Socrates with a depth that explains his paradoxical surface. And when Hip­ pias asks him to say what justice is. could not have been virtuous and could not have lived well. then Socrates. There is no more to Socrates than this series of reflections. faced the same problem and gave it his own answer. did the beautiful statues find their way inside? H ow did Socrates become the virtuous man he was? Alcibiades has no answer to that question. Plato had to face the fact that. And “deeds. Socrates replies that his demonstra­ tion consists in the fact that he never. The Gorgias. Socrates confronted Plato with a paradox. Xenophon. Ii8 a i5 ~ i8 ). But when Alcib­ iades opens Socrates like the statue o f Silenus. And what Plato is reflect­ ing on.4. and he did. that he constantly demonstrates (anodeikvvvcll) what he thinks justice is. acts unjustly.55 he sententiously adds. who thought that knowledge of justice was necessary for act­ ing justly in a consistent manner over a long period and that such knowl­ edge could always be expressed in words. In these dialogues. his virtuous life. The sophist Hippias at one point charges that Socrates only asks ques­ tions about the virtues and never offers answers of his own (Mem. and neither —that is the main point —does Plato.80 But Plato. his absurd appearance. is nothing but another reflec­ tion as well. his own reflection of Socrates by means o f views and theories new to his philosophical work. This way o f living—a . the Mem. “ are much more serious evidence than words. which describes how one will remain indifferent to apparent beauty once one has seen the true beauty o f the Form.10-11). 4. is made by Alcibiades in his speech in the Symposium. on his own admission. too. to expose what he is like inside. and thus explains how Socrates could have remained unmoved by Alcibiades5seductive offer. perhaps surprisingly. after all. If knowledge of arete is required for having arete and so for living well. he is still confronted with a mystery: how. Yet he was. up to that time. 68 TH E ART OF LIV IN G first effort explicitly to display Socrates5depths. And his speech follows the discourse of Diotima on the Form of Beauty. Plato begins to make an explicit effort to construct his own interpretation.

the most disparate attempts to try to understand him. as we shall see in the next chapter. the first attempt to take off the mask his Socrates had been wearing and to bring to light what it concealed. In the works of his middle and late periods. That in turn gives that character the verisimilitude and vivacity that account. perhaps not as pervasive as the first but still alive and worth pursuing again. .”81 Gregory Vlastos seems to have ac­ cepted Schlegel’s point o f view and to have tried to free Socrates from all possible deception. and to survive. or any other. For the moment. That has enabled Plato’s Socrates to invite. including those great tricksters. a reflection. But his early works. did not remain content with that character. the sophists. and displayed his puzzlement without offering an explanation of the character who was their central hero. SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND INTERLOCUTORS 69 life of arete that did not meet the conditions necessary for being such a life—presented Plato with a deep problem of his own. and initiated a major philosophical tradition. puzzled about it. to explain how he came to be what he was—we will dis­ cuss three such attempts in the second part o f this book. Plato’s early works produce two important effects. for the fact that for almost two hundred years now he has appeared to be not just a char­ acter. a character whose irony does not allow us to see what made him a possible human being. in which Socrates is an unexplained mystery and simply lives a philosophic life. Kierkegaard appears to have taken delight in what he sees as Socrates’ tricking the whole world. soul. I would like to end with Friedrich SchlegePs obser­ vation that Socratic irony “aims at deceiving no one except those who consider it deception. For that purpose. One is that they cre­ ate a particularly silent Socrates. he offered the first explicit interpretation of Socratic irony. Plato. in the end came to see that he too may have been a target of his own creature’s irony and tried to strip his mask away. I think. stand at the beginning of a different philosophical tradition. As for me. Part of his genius consists in his ability to have written a number o f works (the Socratic dialogues) in which he por­ trayed that personality. and either take pleasure in the wonderful knavish­ ness o f tricking the whole world or become upset when they suspect that they too are intended as its targets. with a personal­ ity he could not understand. Plato. he developed most o f the ambitious resources that characterize the sys­ tematic thought that continues to dominate philosophy up to our own time. however. The second effect is that Plato’s Socratic works created a character who remained a mystery to his own author. I would like to think that my refusal to see Socratic irony as deception does not force me to consider it a path to the innermost depths of his. but a direct duplicate of his original. exhibited its irony.

Kierkegaard’s contrast between the silent figure of Socrates and “the noisy attempts” of his followers is nicely anticipated by Hegel. standing still and contemplating—in other words. His irony was not the instrument he used in the service of the idea. But Kierkegaard is serious. The Concept ofIrony The idea that the most voluble figure in the history of phi­ losophy is someone “we do not hear at all” seems at first to be just a cal­ culated effort to shock and unsettle. S0ren Kierkegaard. He has left nothing by which a later age can judge him. Earlier in The Concept of Irony he writes much the same: “ What Socrates himself prized so highly. namely.”1 And Kierkegaard is right. I 3 Socratic Irony Character and Author *- Socrates’ life is like a magnificentpause in the course of history: we do not hear him at all. aprofound stillnessprevails—until it is broken by the noisy attempts of the many and different schools of followers to trace their origin in this hidden and cryptic source. who de­ scribed Socrates as the founder of moral philosophy and wrote that “all succeeding babblers about morality and popular philosophy constituted him their patron and object of adoration. the torrent of words that surrounds him eventually flows on past him and finally leaves 70 .”2 Despite our common picture of Socrates. and made him into a cloak which should cover all false philosophy. passionately devoted to talk and conversation. irony was hisposition—more he did not have. silence—this is his whole life in terms of world history.

“has stepped out of line with his age. “is that man has to find from himself both the end of his actions and the end of the world. upon this he focuses his burning gaze. then. SOCRATIC IRONY: CH ARACTER AND AUTHOR 71 him perfectly silent. some in order to understand him only. Kierkegaard believed that Socrates ended that early period of Greek civilization when the Athenians acted as they did simply because they adhered without question to the ethical norms they inherited along with the rest of their culture. irony is “ infinite” because it does not put in doubt the validity of this or that particular phenomenon of a culture but the culture as a whole. The ironist. It is “negative” because it undermines what it opposes but is incapable of offering any serious alternative to it. Kierkegaard writes. . It is that silence that prompted most o f the ancients and many of the moderns to look back at him again and again. Socrates fought against the authority of ex­ ternal codes of behavior and emphasized for the first time the primacy of subjectivity and the individual conscience: “Socrates’ principle.”5insisted that irony was all that Socrates ever had at his disposal: “ more he did not have.” Hegel wrote. lies behind his back. these were only realized in Christianity as Kierkegaard understood it. Influenced by Hegel’s grand view of the development of Greek phi­ losophy.”8 Socrates. has turned around and faced it. And it is “absolute” because it negates what is actual by means of an implicit appeal to a fu­ ture that.”7 In that sense. That which is coming is hidden from him. introduced subjectiv­ ity and individual conscience into the world. and must attain to truth through himself.”3 Hegel. but he remained unaware of their nature and their ultimate significance. according to Kierkegaard.”6 Kierkegaard claims that in its most important sense (sensus eminentior) irony “is directed not against this or that particular existing entity but against the entire given actuality at a certain time and under certain con­ ditions. The clamor that has always surrounded Socrates is ultimately the echo of a fundamental stillness. others also in order to follow him. but that was not something Socrates could know. It is that stillness I want to recapture through my own noisy efforts in what follows. represents a higher stage of development but of which the ironist remains unaware. was Christianity. but the actuality he so antagonistically confronts is what he must destroy. who rejected Friedrich Schlegel’s conception of irony and tried to distinguish Socratic irony from it. in a Hegelian sense. who followed Hegel in defining irony as “infinite absolute negativity.4 But Kierkegaard. argued that irony was only a part of Socrates’ method for showing that moral questions must be answered by individuals through self-examination. The higher stage toward which Socratic irony was pointing.

But to say that Socrates really does not know what virtue is. through which a questioner who knows the answer to a question of which the re­ spondent is ignorant brings that respondent to the necessary knowledge by means of a series of cleverly designed questions. These works. courage. nor. He is also ironic when. am I sure that justice can be fully done tq them. This most com­ mon understanding of Socratic irony10 must be rejected. in contrast to dialogues like the Phaedo and the Republic. and he is earnesdy devoted to finding someone who might actually have that knowledge and communicate it to him. as Michael Frede notes. to ask his questions in the first place. One of these principles. . Socrates does not feign the ignorance we find him avowing in Plato’s early works. or temperance is but pretends he does not so that his interlocutors will endeavor to discover it for themselves. do not represent Socrates “as leading a respondent by an argument in didactic fashion to come to see the truth on some matter.” 12 But the respondent’s unconscious ignorance also reflects the ignorance that prompts Socrates. Central among those questions is how Socrates’ profession of igno­ rance.9 But I do want to appeal to Kierkegaard in order to develop Quintilian’s notion that Socrates’ whole life was characterized by irony without also accepting Quintilian’s further view that Socrates’ irony is nothing but feigned ignorance. for example.” But that makes nonsense of the early “elenctic” or “aporetic” dialogues we are trying to understand.14 But he is honest when he says that he himself does not know what virtue is. Such a view of Plato’s works. be­ cause it is an argument Plato has and endorses and which Platt) just puts into Socrates’ mouth. he calls Thrasymachus “ clever” in Republic i. who is at least conscious o f his lack of knowledge. as Aristode did when he rightly wrote that “Socrates used to ask questions and not to answer them—for he used to confess that he did not know. in Socrates’ own . for exam­ ple.13 Socrates is often ironic when he claims to believe that his interlocu­ tors know the answer to his questions. assumes that “in each case Socrates . 72 TH E ART OF LIVIN G These are heady ideas. I cannot. I am not sure I can do them justice.” 15 raises a number of serious questions about his philosophi­ cal practice. is represented as advancing an argument he already has and espouses. accept Norman Gulley’s view that Socrates already knows what piety. . indeed. and that is perhaps the most important fact about him. Plato’s early dialogues are not instances of “didactic” dialectic. if it is sincere. They rather lead the respondent by an ar­ gument to come to see the ignorance out of which he made some claim. fits with the fact that he often accepts a number of ethical views and principles.11 His ignorance is genuine.

. If Socrates demands this stringent justification . it is not sur­ prising that he claims no knowledge for himself. which lack this stringent explicit justification but are still reliable. considerably more controversial. Socrates . say what it is. whether divine or human: that I know to be bad and shameful. is “ that to do injustice and to disobey a superior. The conflict between the conviction he expresses here and his various disavowals of knowledge is starker than Irwin allows. in some way or another. self-evident princi­ ples. . fail to qualify as knowledge. but they can still be true. This kind of knowledge requires necessity and produces certainty: what we know this way cannot be otherwise and we cannot doubt it. 4900-11). How can we understand Socrates5 disavowal of knowledge when we are confronted with his claims to know that these things are true? Is he just contradicting himself? Or is the con­ flict. Irwin. His beliefs. . H. 477e6-7) and what Aristotle is thinking o f when he argues that “we all suppose that what we know is not capable of being otherwise. He rejects Irwin’s appeal to the distinction between knowledge and true be­ lief and argues that the paradox created by Socrates5 simultaneous dis­ avowals of and claims to knowledge can be resolved if we distinguish be­ tween two different conceptions of knowledge itself. SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND AUTHOR 73 words in his Apology. according to Vlastos. allows knowledge about virtue only to someone who can . he is under no obligation to disclaim all true belief about them.”19 It is the knowledge that the ancient philosophers. Socrates in the Apology claims more than true belief about the principle he articulates: he says that he knows that disobeying a supe­ rior is bad and shameful. first. who writes that “a disclaimer of knowl­ edge does not require a disclaimer of all positive convictions.” 17 However. generally .” 16 An­ other. It is what Plato has in mind when he claims that knowledge is infallible (Rep. But he can still claim positive beliefs. That is the interpretation o f T. merely apparent? Plato’s representation of Socrates in his elenctic works has given rise to many different interpretations. . . . . One possible way of resolving the con­ flict we just noted is by means o f the common contemporary distinction between knowledge and true belief Though Socrates can disavow knowl­ edge of virtue and ethical truth. . the knowledge that is based on deducing a truth from some fundamental. no matter what one suffers at their hands” (O . which are not supported by the strong justification only the understanding o f the essential nature of virtue can provide. This problem has led Gregory Vlastos to propose another alternative. .18 What are those two conceptions? There is. idea is that “one should never re­ turn an injustice nor harm another human being.

more engagements in the conversational bouts we call the elenchus. who was never concerned with deduction from fundamental axioms. certainly knows nothing. A central problem with this view is that the notion of a “philosophi­ cal” knowledge as Vlastos understands it is systematically articulated only in the middle and later writings of Plato and in the works of Aristotle. Socrates. Socrates’ disavowal of knowledge turns out to be one more instance of Vlastos’s “complex irony. 74 TH E ART OF LIVING aspired to. for the truth is in the depths” and “In real­ ity we know nothing with certainty. is something weaker. In that case.” ac­ cording to Vlastos. for that reason he calls it “philosophical” or “certain” knowl­ edge.21 Unless the concept of philosophical knowledge was reasonably current at the time of Plato’s early dialogues. Socrates could not be made to deny possessing it without any explanation. It applies to whatever statements remain standing at the end of one or. will col­ lapse in pieces. according to Vlastos. there is no guarantee that you will not lose the argument next time around. he means what he says if knowledge involves deductive cer­ tainty and infallibility. perhaps even unassailable. which goes at least as far back as Xenophanes. what he means by “knowledge. Vlastos cites two passages from Democritus: “In reality we know nothing. That is a knowl­ edge he can and does claim for himself. and his disavowals of knowledge are perfectly sincere. Such “elenctic” knowledge (if knowledge it is) is weaker than “certain” knowledge because it is essentially fallible. is just what Socrates feels in con­ nection with the principles he states in the Apology and the Crito: since he has never lost an argument when he depended on them. will prove to have been indefensible after all. more common and homespun. In that sense of knowledge. Socrates.”22 But Democritus’ traditional skep­ ticism. That is the knowledge Socrates derives from his own dialectical practice. But as long as you have not yet lost an argument that depends on that view. what had seemed secure. That. you might feel justified in claiming that you know it. on which you might even have staked your life. is no less sincere when he says he knows a number of ethical truths since. he considers that he can claim to know them. The view on which you had so often depended in the past. and the evidence that it was cur­ rent is very weak indeed. it certainly is not de­ . No matter how of- ^ten you have won an argument that depends on a particular view.”20 When Socrates says that he lacks ethical knowledge.23 seems a popular commonplace rather than a philosophical theory. but he does not mean it if knowledge is under­ stood as the fallible product o f his dialectical victories. in those cases. preferably. however.

and Evenus claim to understand and teach (Ap. which does not begin from the fundamental principles Plato and Aristotle were later to require of knowledge) almost exclusively in order to refute the commonsense views of most people and not in order to establish posi­ tive results of their own.24 But the Eleatic school. who on Vlastos’s own account had no interest in natural philosophy or in the theory of knowledge. With Vlastos. though it did not. I take Socrates quite literally when he says that in respect of virtue (arete) he lacks the sort of knowledge he would truly consider worthy of that name. who was aware of his ignorance. I9er-20C3). SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND AUTHOR 75 veloped enough to suggest that a well-defined concept o f a knowledge that was certain and infallible had been articulated and was generally avail­ able at the time. he could not have allowed Socrates to rely on them without a single word of explanation.25 would have had no access to what was still at best an esoteric epistemological inno­ vation. even among the natural philosophers. like the idea that it is better to suffer rather than to commit injustice or that the fear of death makes it shameful to disobey the orders of one’s superior. I have just argued. Socrates speaks gen­ erously of their mastery of their craft in the Apology. The knowledge Socrates has is the knowledge he has gained through his lifelong practice of the elenchus. But the artisans’ knowledge o f their crafts is solid and indis­ putable. Hippias. My own view of the matter combines the sincerity Irwin attributes to Socrates with Vlastos’s idea that there are two kinds of knowledge. and he was not wrong: they knew things he did not. the knowledge he contrasts it with is not the knowledge of the philosophers (which. He was sure. I take Socrates to believe that he does have a kind of knowledge in regard to some ethical principles. relied on deductive proof (though mostly on proof by reductio ad absurdum. too. and to that extent they were wiser than he. even though they know nothing o f the ethical subjects that Gor- gias. With Irwin. Vlastos also ap­ peals to the strong claims Parmenides had made on behalf of his view of the world. he says. that they knew many fine things (77-oAAa /cat /caAa). the artisans proved as ignorant as any­ one else and to that extent less wise than Socrates. Socrates. had not been properly articulated at the time) but the knowledge he believes craftsmen and artisans possess.28 The latter. which Parmenides initiated. Though he denies that such people know anything about the ethical topics that interest him. In that respect.26And even if Plato was familiar with such philosophical debates. Prodicus.27 The problem with the artisans was that they seemed to believe that knowledge o f their crafts also gave them knowledge of the good life. obviously have no interest in philosophical .

or at least better than others. would allow him to live a virtuous and there­ fore a happy life. in response to the question posed by his friend. if he but had it. certainty. Socrates. It generally results in products that people can agree are good. they can articulate and transmit this knowledge to others with a reasonable chance of success. They simply lay claim to technical or expert knowl­ edge of arete. as artisans do with their techniques. ex­ plain and transmit it to others. one can transmit it to others. 76 TH E ART OF LIV IN G knowledge. you cannot lose it. and shoemakers to produce results that are by and large good and allows them. Technical knowl­ edge can be more or less articulated. Chaerephon. great or small. the invective heaped by the author o f On AncientMedicine on those who don’t share his conception of how medicine is to be practiced is another. he spent much o f his life searching in regard to arete for the kind of knowledge that enables sculp­ tors. that no one in Athens was wiser than he: “ What on earth does the god meani1 What is he hinting at? For I am aware of being wise in nothing. It is by no means a foolproof method. himself a statuary and a statuary’s son.34 All those qualifications notwithstanding. at times. It enables you to give rea­ sons for what you are doing in many particular cases. of course.29 Socrates. and it certainly cannot be fully expressed in rules. when the Delphic oracle said.32 The evidence suggests very strongly that fathers trained their sons and that training began earlier than in modern times.35 But he lacked it and knew that he did. as we learn in the Apology. to learn a craft. Socrates knows that he lacks knowledge o f arete. or allowed.31 knew perfectly well that the crafts were at the time most often trans­ mitted along with their secrets within a single family from generation to generation. at least in principle. Thinking that it was the most precious human possession. And it is his knowl­ edge o f that ignorance that produced his amazement. the knowledge of artisans is stable: once you acquire it and practice it. They possess nothing like the technical knowledge o f arete he is after. thinks that the sophists are wrong. your prod­ ucts are generally o f high quality. Socrates would have considered that such knowledge. And disputes cannot always be eas­ ily settled. Habituation is as essential to the practice of the crafts as it is to their appreciation. The famous case of the constant competition between Zeuxis and Parrhasius is only one o f many. doctors. What then could he mean by say­ .33 The knowl­ edge involved in the crafts is not purely rational. or infallibility: dialectical and rhetorical success is all that concerns them. to explain to others how they were able to bring them about. you can also. even if it sometimes takes time and trouble to do so.30 and not everyone was capable.

which he considers a superior form o f wool (it grows on trees rather than sheep). for an appropriate fee. too weak.38 So far.42 A vast industry is now devoted to imparting the secrets o f success in innumerable fields of en­ deavor either through manuals or through “seminars” held around the world by experts who. and to fertile soil as well. It is also why. once he has learned of the oracle. SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND AUTHOR 77 ing that I am wise?” (2ib2~5. Arete applies to many more human qualities than “virtue” .40 while Thucydides too speaks of the arete of good earth. All those are ver­ sions o f the sophists’ promise and they prompt Socratic and Platonic re­ . I have translated arete loosely as “virtue. have their own characteristic arete: Herodotus assigns arete to Indian cotton. like everyone else. of animals (352d8-353cio). he follows the procedure he describes (2ob9-22e5). without any indication that he is being innovative or revisionary.” is not simply the fact of holding some views about ethical matters. He disavows precisely what these people claim for themselves. he naturally has certain beliefs about what is right and wrong. even when it concerns “small things. That is obvious in those passages in the Republic where Plato discusses. are just as eager to travel from place to place as the sophists were in their time. while the more recent “excel­ lence” is. at least in their own fields. For those he approaches in order to locate someone wise in the matters that con­ cern him are statesmen and poets (people with the reputation of being themselves good and of making others better as well) and artisans (people who possess. 2id2-6). I believe. I f nothing else. Cf. we would do well to construe arete as “suc­ cess” or as the quality or qualities that account for it. colorless. too. What he wants is the ability to articulate and justify those views to himself and thus to be able to transmit them to others—an ability he is painfully aware he lacks.” It is of course a com­ monplace that “virtue” is not an accurate translation o f the Greek term. and vague.39 Inanimate objects. by implication. such an interpretation would explain why the Greeks were so concerned whether arete can or cannot be taught and would show that their debates are immediately relevant to our situation today. it can also refer perfecdy well to fea­ tures o f nonhuman and even inanimate beings. “Virtue” is simply too narrow a concept. the arete o f utensils and instruments and.36 What Socrates would count as wisdom regarding the good life. the type o f knowledge he con­ sidered necessary for being a teacher of arete).41 In regard to human beings. Homer attributes arete to horses.37 That too is why in the Apology Socrates makes such a point of con­ trasting himself with the sophists who have a reputation for teaching people how to be successful (i9d7~20C3).

and the audience that is to appreciate them. it is better to try to understand the term in a more general manner. It is crucial to the ability Socrates disavows that it has nothing to do with deduction and certainty. We could do no better. But since arete applies to inanimate objects as well as to human beings. Arete is the feature that accounts for something's being justifiably notable.78 THE ART OF LIVING sponses from everyone who doubts that success in such contemptible en­ deavors constitutes anything of which one can be truly proud: is it really praiseworthy to succeed in real-estate get-rich-quick schemes? can any­ one consider it “real” success? Benjamin Jowett was surely wrong to con­ strue arete strictly as moral virtue and so to conclude that “no one would either ask or answer in modern times” the question how arete can be ac­ quired with which Plato's Meno begins. but such a struc­ . Hyperides wrote that those who die for their city’s sake “leave arete behind them” (41). And I answered to myself and to the oracle that I am better off just as I am” (22ei~5). then.”44And in his Funeral Oration. than to think of it as that quality or set of qualities that makes something an outstanding member o f the group to Vhich it belongs. Plato once again proves to be very much with us. I suggest. being neither wise in respect of their [sc. in his awareness. some­ times almost equivalent to fame («rAeoS'). they received arete in return. which was delivered much later. their conviction that they know and can teach it. And this is as it should be. The question. but it survives in the classical period as well: on an inscription commemorating the Athenians who fell at Potidaea (432 b c ) we read that “having placed their lives onto the scale. after Alexander's death in 323 b c . since he does not know what arete is in the first place. their ignorance of their limitations. which come to the same thing. That dimension of the term is clear in the Homeric epics. their rep­ utation. Both suggestions. and his elenctic examination of others proves to him that they are no better at it than he is. or whether I would prefer to have both. the idea of arete was intrinsically social. whether arete can be taught is the question whether one can teach what it takes to have a justifiably high reputation among one's peers. Socrates knows that he cannot do that. From earliest times. makes them. It is important for teachers of all subjects to be masters of the systematic structure of their fields.43 The nature of success and the means of acquiring it are central issues in contemporary life. in­ volve three elements: the inner structure and quality of things. In fact. the artisans’] sort of wis­ dom nor ignorant of their ignorance. As he puts it in the Apology^ “I asked myself on behalf o f the oracle whether I would prefer to be as I am. As always. inferior to him.

Second. in this context. it is minor in comparison to the immense complex­ ity o f recognizing an expert in arete. the problem of recognizing an expert is particularly acute for someone who approaches the problem as Plato’s Socrates does. as we have seen. even though the question whether arete can be taught may have been a commonplace. Hence there were many quacks and incompe­ tent doctors. who can’t wait to run to the sophist’s side. and even if we understand arete as a justifiably high rep­ utation among one’s peers.”46 However vexed the question of identifying a reliable expert in medi­ cine may have been. too. which Socrates often uses as his paradigm of what a craft is. SOCRATIC IRONY: CH ARACTER AND AUTHOR 79 ture is far weaker than the rigorous set o f relationships that underwrite the deductive validity that mathematical thought manifests. 3i3di—3). as Socrates is made to insist throughout Plato’s early works. For none of these terms is noncontroversially connected with any particular set o f human qualities. may have been more frequent than Socrates suggests. What really makes a difference here is a reasonable degree of reliability. the passage in the Protagoras where Socrates warns the young Hippocrates. may well be “igno­ rant whether their wares are harmful or beneficial to the soul” (7T0 vr]pdv V XPVOT^v 'KpoS T71V X V 3i3d8-ei). a likely con­ sistency of results. is “a merchant or peddler of the goods [learning. Buyers cannot make the right discriminations themselves. Sophists are for the soul what greengrocers are for the body Merchants praise their products indiscriminately. And that. one had to try to make some informed judgment about whether one should trust the competence of the doctor who offered his help.45 The art of med­ icine. is not to know what arete itself is at all. they must ask such experts for advice regarding what to buy and eat. We know neither the proper domain within which one is supposed to be outstanding nor the qualities that justify such a person’s reputation nor the proper group that is qualified to recognize an out­ standing person: in short we don’t know what constitutes the very idea of being outstanding. whether they are good or bad (irov^pov rj xpyjarov. The latter involves two problems. The sophist. for example. unless they are themselves physicians or teachers of gymnastics (3 ^ 3-5 ). was much less neat than he claims. even if disagreements among artisans. Socrates says. not to rush to Protagoras for instruction in arete (31^1-314x2). it was practically impossible to hold them responsible. One always had to be on one’s guard: “Since doctors tended to be itinerant. a prior question is still unanswered. Consider. And the same is true o f their . First. fjLaOrffjLaTa] that nourish the soul” (313C4-5). even though they know nothing about them. The peddlers of mental nourishment.

The dialogue begins with the question whether training in fighting with armor is good for boys of good families. he now asks. Socrates continues. 80 THE ART OF LIV IN G clients. 3i8a6-9. Experts on the soul's nourishment. to harm it is to make it worse. is it “safe for you to buy learning from Protagoras or from anyone else” (31362-5). to impart arete to it. Socrates tells Hippocrates. to fill it with vice (/ca/cta. d7-e5). To decide that. Not so for food for thought: “You cannot carry learning away in a jar. really will enable one to possess it. But what makes the soul better is arete. So one should not approach a professor of arete unless one is sure that the professor really does teach what arete is and thus. who is an expert (rexyiKos) in the care of the soul and who therefore knows how to turn the boys into good men (18534-6) ? To know how to accomplish that. there are no acknowledged experts— people can’t even agree on what arete is in the first place. Only if you are yourself an expert ( i 7norrjjjLOjv) regarding what ben­ efits and what harms the soul. cannot be consulted after the initial transaction: that transaction is all there fe. Once you have paid for it. one must know what is that which. quickly turns the discussion to the issue how the boys can be made to be as good as possible. Let’s now turn for a moment to Plato’s Laches. but Socrates. and therefore only someone who knows what arete is will also know how to make the boys good men (i89d3~i9oc6). 3i3ei-2). But to benefit the soul is to make it bet­ ter. you will endanger yourself much more than if you were to buy unhealthy food. For you can take the food away in a basket and ask an expert to examine it before you eat it (3i4a3-bi). when pres­ ent in the soul. to that extent. unlike experts on the body’s food. you must accept it directly in your soul. One must determine in advance whether approaching a professor of arete will help or harm one’s soul—whether it will lead to arete or to vice (xa/aa). makes it better than it was without it. they must know what they are talking about. In the case of arete. who is as always concerned with arete in gen­ eral. Is there anyone in the group. and in contrast to medicine or gymnastics. . unless one of them happens to be “a physician of the soul” (irepi rrjv ifjuxtfv larptKOS'. and having learned it you must leave with the harm or benefit already inside you” (3i4bi-4). If you are not. But there is an additional problem. . And therefore the same difficulty that originally applied to the sophist will now apply to those putative experts as well: how will you be able to tell whether their advice regarding the sophist’s wares will be in its own turn harmful or beneficial? And the predicament gets even worse. One should not ap­ proach professors o f arete unless one already knows whether what they offer will help or harm the soul. however.

like the expert of the Laches (t<e){vlk6 s). That is clearly suggested by Socrates’ refusal to agree with Euthyphro’s definition o f piety as doing what the gods love (Eu. Plato’s Socrates believes that knowledge is sufficient for virtue. if they do. it is not clear that we can recognize the experts independently of the fact that we find their views and their reasons for them—their reasons for living as they do—convincing. But to know that it will do so. despite Euthyphro’s traditionalist view that they often disagree with one another—love the pious for a particular rea­ son. And that reason explains why the pious is pious in the first place and why the gods command us to do it. how they are to be recognized? In the case of shoemakers or doctors. So. constitutes piety. as we have just shown. But in the case of ethical experts. know what arete itself is. and to make it part of the reasons for which we do what we do. you cannot . is an acknowledged expert on arete. But then that reason itself. What matters is only the gods’ reason for want­ ing us to act in one way rather than in another. It is also to be able to make that definition our own. Professors o f arete are totally useless! Experts in arete therefore present a very complex problem. But to find such reasons convincing is already to follow them. we can tell whether the shoe fits or the fever has gone: we have relatively clear ways o f recognizing them. And if one knows that. one needs no instruction from anyone. 9ei-3). the expert of the Protagoras (larptKoS\ irracajv) must. they don’t make it pious by their love (9e4-nbi). SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND AUTHOR 81 In order. But if such an expert exists. Do such experts exist at all? And. to realize how it fits with definitions o f the other virtues. But what would it be to find such a reason rationally acceptable. prospec­ tive students of professors of arete cannot appeal to an independent au­ thority. to judge whether a sophist’s course on arete will help or harm the student. to recognize it as the definition of the nature o f piety? It is clearly more than being unable to refute it when someone proposes it in a dialectical bout. requires knowing what arete is. Professors of arete should be ap­ proached only by those who already know what these people profess to teach. Socrates claims that this reverses the right order of things: the gods love the pious because it is pious. why go to the sophist in the first place and not learn direcdy from the one who has already been determined to know? The reason we cannot is that no one has been determined to know— no one. And that reason can be con­ vincing only if we understand it and find it rationally acceptable. The gods— experts in arete if anyone is. not the gods’ love. therefore. as we have said. They can be sure that a course in arete will benefit them only if they themselves can tell that it will. that if you know the right thing to do.

to know that someone is in fact a good person. among established communities. “assigned to the negative an intrinsic importance by itself.51 Socrates. how does one learn to be good? Socrates believes that be­ ing good requires knowledge of the definition of arete. after many efforts. the respondent becomes convinced that the def­ inition is secure. according to Grote. but ig­ norance mistaking itself for knowledge—false or uncertified belief—false persuasion of knowledge.49The elenchus. f the elenchus is essentially negative: it shows only that someone’s beliefs do not cohere with one another and that at least one of them must be abandoned. The only way of dissipating such false persua­ sion was. The two participants must become noncoercively convinced of the views and therefore of the ways of each other. For to be able to recognize the expert. His only method of searching for that definition is the elenchus. one’s mode of life can collapse in ruins at any moment. . is to be convinced of that person’s views. one must be good oneself. . . He thought that the natural state of the human mind. I said above that “everyone knows” that the elenchus is a negative pro­ cedure. the elenchus itself does not logically determine which view must be rejected. Socrates seems to realize that. we must have to that extent accepted it and become pious ourselves. or cross-examining elenchus. only if both parties reach the relevant un­ derstanding together. And even such a result is tentative at best: the next encounter may un­ cover a contradiction where none had been suspected before. to recognize an expert in arete. More generally. The questioner realizes that the proposed defini­ tion cannot be refuted. and both can act on the basis of that definition without falling into conflicts with the rest of their beliefs and principles. The recog­ nition of an expert in arete through the elenchus can in the end only be mutual. But. we are faced with an additional problem: how does one become.”52 The most important recent discussions of the elenchus make . someone who truly is good. as everyone knows. it seems. and to be convinced of those views is to act on them in a rational. the respondent’s account of arete remains intact and the questioner finds it personally acceptable and becomes able to act upon it. the effective stimulus of the negative test. can have a positive result only if.48 But if that is so. 82 THE ART OF LIVING fail to do it. was not simply ignorance. if at all. articulate manner. since he constandy emphasizes his will­ ingness to continue the elenchus as long as anyone wants:50 the elenchus can succeed positively.47 If therefore we recognize a statement as the definition of piety. That is one of the most crucial and paradox­ ical consequences of Socratic ethics: only one good human being can rec­ ognize another.

And. none of the dialogues in which Socrates searches for the definition of the virtues ever reaches a positive end. and we have not appreciated its immense significance either in re­ gard to the notion of truth that is at play within dialectic or in relation to its implications for the structure of the rest of Plato’s Socratic dialogues. he also tells them how puzzled he was by the god’s pronouncement. he decided to test the oracle by means of a search (£77Thais'): be turned to those with a reputation for wisdom in order to provide an elenchus of the oracle by proving that some o f them were wiser than he despite the oracle’s message (Ap. as a matter of fact. he performs his elenchus by examining the Athenians who are thought to be wise. And though he knew that the god could not lie. For there is a definite. Socrates refutes various definitions of the virtues by showing that they are inconsistent with certain other views that he elicits from his re­ spondents.”53 Gregory Vlastos. SOCRATIC IRONY: CH ARACTER AND AUTHOR 83 the same point. in his introduction to the Protagoras which has been the most widely known introduction to Socratic method for many years. Those examinations are in turn elenchi in their own right. writes that in its strict sense the elenchus is simply <ca form of cross-examination or refutation. No one is ever proved right. and that its practice is quite compatible with suspended judgment as to the material truth of any one o f its con­ clusions. for example. Socrates’ general attitude is not.55 It is now time to deny what everybody knows. Though the word he uses (iXey^cov). Those views are not tested for their truth. The fact that they are inconsistent with the definition does not show that the latter must be given up but only that one cannot hold all o f them together at the same time. that it cannot ever prove that someone is right. indisputable case in Plato’s early dialogues o f an elenchus that leads Socrates to the positive conclusion that someone’s view is indeed correct. None of them is suc­ cessful: Socrates’ interlocutors know no more about the virtues than he . this enormously interesting case has not been noticed before. As far as I know. When Socrates tells the court that he received Apollo’s oracle that no one in Athens was wiser than he.”54 All these views share the assumption that the elenchus can­ not reach any positive results.56 Since Socrates cannot address the oracle directly. He knows that the god cannot He and thus that what he needs to do is to interpret the oracle.” is perfectly clear. 2ibi-C 2). Richard Robinson. be­ lieves that Socrates himself realizes that the aim of the elenchus “ cannot be final demonstrative certainty. which is cognate with “elenchus. But he also intends to re­ fute it by means of an elenctic demonstration that he is not as wise as some other Athenian.

and not by reference to any other practice or institution. Socrates has no right to infer that the or­ acle is right on the basis of his examinations. he says. The dialogues o f search don’t fail to determine the na­ ture o f arete because the elenchus is structurally incapable of establishing . How could he have found such a person? Obviously. and Plato with him. then. And yet Socrates. he concedes its truth. strategic explanation for the negative conclusions of all of Plato’s elenctic dialogues. 84 t h e a r t o f liv in g does. the truth o f a particular conclusion. though the oracle had said that no such person existed.\[ndialectic. actually describes an elenchus that proves that someone is right. I f the god were to be proved right. a new encounter can always destroy whatever confidence the elenchus has given us so far. 23b6-7). by the laws that govern them. That elenchus is positive because Socrates failed to find a single Athenian who was wiser than he was. would have made a liar of the god! Anyone who knew the nature o f arete would be wiser than Socrates. He therefore concludes that the oracle was right after all. His successful elenchi of the Athenians have convinced him that his elenchus of the oracle has failed. has no hesitation in thinking that his conclusion is impregnably true. in order to “help the god and to show that those who seem to be wise re­ ally are n ot“ (Ap. a meeting between Socrates and someone who knew what arete is. Socrates therefore concludes that he is wiser than everyone else. logically. valuable as it might have been for Socrates. a broad enough examination of reasonable alternatives can establish. through an elenchus that convinced him that at least one o f his respondents actually knew some o f the “great” things of which Socrates knew he was ignorant. dialectic is akin to the law: questions o f guilt and innocence are still determined by eliminating all reasonable competing alternatives. disposing of the alternatives that have been offered as a matter of fact is sufficient to establish the truth o f a conclusion. pure and simple: the *god was right. and they are all in addition unaware of their ignorance. di- alectically. And that now gives us a new. at least because he knows he is ignorant. Plato. From a logical point of view. There is no sense in which such truth is second best: it is completely determined within these practices. a new case can undermine our conclusions so far. As we have already said. He continues to practice the elenchus. He accepts the god’s pronouncement. as in the law. Even though. then. But such an elenchus. That implies that we cannot identify the notion o f truth Plato’s early works presuppose with any stronger philosophical notion. In that respect. it was imperative for Plato not to show a single case in which Socrates reached the definition of arete through the elenchus.

not simply a philosophical reason. It does not offer a successful solution to it. His early portrait o f Socrates exhibits that paradox and lays it out for our inspec­ tion. or the uncertain assurance that consistent dialectic victory affords. Vlastos writes that Socrates “holds that virtue cis5knowledge: if he has no knowledge. dictates the way the dialogues end. We may attribute to Socrates fallible be­ liefs about arete. or any other cognitive state weaker than knowledge in the strictest sense of the term. however we ultimately specify the precise sense of Socrates5disavowals of ethical knowledge or his views regarding the na­ ture of arete and its role in the good life. without exception. and the god of Delphi would have been wrong. for closing his dialogues of search on a consistently negative note. Within the world of the dialogues (it makes no difference at this point whether that world is fictional or historical). Plato has a literary. therewith. my central claim is that we should not assume that Plato un­ derstands what enabled Socrates to be the type o f person he was. They fail because if they did not Socrates would not have been the wisest man in Athens. For being reliably good is one of the central results o f possessing the strict knowl­ edge that Socrates considered necessary for arete58 and that he was con­ vinced he lacked. as technical or expert knowl­ edge. how Socrates managed to live as he did remains a mystery. Early on. nor does it even attempt to solve it in the first place. or even as the knowledge only the gods possess. What exactly is that paradox. Plato has no deep account of the paradox Socrates constituted for him. That is the real paradox of Socrates. over the course of his whole life. I have avoided many complex issues in my interpretation of Socrates5 ethics and method so far. This is not because they are unimportant or un­ interesting. when he hears that the Del­ . Contrary to the prevailing approach to Plato’s early works. and why does it remain unresolved? Let me illustrate it with a pair of quotations from Gregory Vlastos5s essay on Socrates5disavowal of knowledge. SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND AUTHOR 85 truths: we have seen that. But the fact remains that in Plato’s eyes Socrates. How is it then that he is serenely confident that he has achieved both?5559Toward the end of the essay. Not the nature of the elenchus. he claims that Socrates.57 But. We may construe the strict knowledge he desires in any manner we want—as deductive knowledge. No one was ever more consistently virtuous. no one managed to act as well as he did. though he lacked that knowledge. but the character of Socrates. he has missed out on virtue and. his life is a dis­ aster. always acted in a virtuous manner. we will leave the main question I want to raise here unanswered. Without exception: but also without explanation. on can.

from the words they use. But he is also “serenely” confident in thinking that he has actually lived such a life. endlessly perplexed as it is.61 But his explicit claims are not to the point if he honesdy disavows the knowledge he considers necessary as a guide to the art of living. the per­ fect security. ironists distance themselves. provisional. they remain “negatively free.”60 The paradox is involved in Vlastos’s use o f the term “serene” both to characterize Socrates’ confidence that he possesses arete and happiness and also to describe the completeness of the knowledge only the god can have—the knowledge that is the only guarantee that one will invariably. can “hardly bring himself to believe that his own understanding of the good life. That is Socrates’ final and most complex irony. For Plato depicts him as the only master of that art. how he. chancy. We have seen that irony does not always. . But since he did live a good life. Sometimes it makes it impos­ sible to know whether ironists even know who they really are. more im­ portant and also more paradoxical. Socrates does not really make any explicit claim to lmowledge in Plato’s early works. does he or does he .86 THE ART OF LIVIN G phic oracle said that no one was wiser than he. It makes it impossible to decide whether ironists are or are not serious either about what they say or about what they mean. what.”62 Irony presents what seems at first sight a mask. infallibly and with absolute reliability do what arete and happiness require. but they are equally unwilling to deny it explicidy: as Kierkegaard put it. perpetually self-questioning. if anything. Sometimes it leaves the question open whether we really see a mask or. Our discussion must now return to irony. was possible. his own author. the serene completeness of knowledgec. . in a variety of ways. Irony creates an essential uncertainty. and never in its more interesting cases. And we have no reason to believe that he himself had a view about how that. Sometimes it presents a real mask. They are unwilling to accept full responsibility for what they say. How can Socrates. patchy. More often. Socrates is a paradox not only for the dialogues’ readers but. whose knowledge is so different. if we do. That paradox animates those works and their hero and makes it neces­ sary to return to them again and again in the search for the “real” Socrates. He disavows the knowledge he himself considers necessary for a life of arete. mean the contrary of what it says. for his own student. be as serene as the god? With the exception of his clear statement that committing injustice is *Worse than suffering it. Socrates’ paradox is that he is aware that he lacks what he be­ lieves the art of living requires but is still its best practitioner. should have any value at all in the eyes of the god who enjoys . it is a mask of.

. totally impli­ citly. SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND AUTHOR 87 not think that he really has that knowledge? Does he or does he not mean his disavowal seriously? Does Socrates think that he knows what virtue is after all or doesn’t he? Plato’s early works do not answer that question. Prompted by correct and systematic questioning. he also. Dialectic no longer defines the sense of truth involved in the elenchus. in turn. these beliefs can even­ tually turn into knowledge (8 1C 5 -8 6 C 2 . In this dialogue. This work introduces us to the theory of recollection. cf. he is ironical toward Plato himself (and so toward Plato’s readers) as well. becomes the pivot on which thcMeno revolves. The distinction between knowledge and belief. asserts more than once and with considerable self- confidence that a number of his elenctic conclusions are true (486e5-6. cf. for the first time. Though Socrates is Plato’s creature. and they thus en­ dow Socrates with a further ironical dimension. Some of the views the elenchus elicits can now be known to be true independently. his own literary character. 5i2bi-2). 50633-4). we also find for the first time in Plato’s work the distinction between knowledge and belief: since belief (7tions') can be either true or false but knowledge (imoTrfiirj) can never be false. he remains opaque to him: he is a character his own creator admits he cannot understand. I can’t think of a single other case in world literature or philosophy in which an author presents a character and. though Socrates still persists in disavowing knowledge in general (50934. So far I have been speaking consistendy o f Plato’s early works. according to which our immortal souls possess “within” them true beliefs (So^ou) they gathered when they were not incarnate.64 The reason is that with the dialogues that inaugurate his middle period Plato embarks on a long and ambitious effort to understand and explain the paradox that Socrates had earlier constituted for him. That effort is part of what allows me to consider that works like the Gorgias and the Mem introduce a new stage in Plato’s thought. In the Gorgias. 9 7 ^ 5 . This epistemo- logical model allows the Socratic elenchus a much more positive role in establishing ethical views than ever before. Not just ironical with his interlocutors.9 ^ 5 ) . for even Plato cannot answer the question Socrates poses for him. The theory of re­ collection explains how we learned them at first and how we can recog­ nize them when we meet them again. “it is clear that they are not the same” (454d5~8).63 Yet that is exactly what Plato acknowledges in regard to the central figure of his early works. acknowledges that his character is incomprehensible to him. by being recognized as truths we learned during another stage of our fife.

as the Mem argues. support one another. But Socrates’ consistently unerring behavior requires something considerably stronger—something much closer to the knowledge he disavows having.65 To stay permanendy in the soul. But. As long as they remain in the soul. 88 THE ART OF LIV IN G TheMem also argues that since only knowledge can be taught and since arete appears not to be teachable. be forgotten in isolation.” which he identifies with the recollection he has already said trans­ forms belief into knowledge (97b5~98b5). But precisely because they are not systematically con- * nected to one another. arete may after all be mere true belief. one can act correctly and well: Wowledge is not necessary for right conduct. That answer is not entirely successful. which are not systematically connected with one another as the elements o f knowledge must be. true beliefs pro­ duce all sorts of benefits: while they last. The elements o f knowledge. however one arrived at them.67 His effort is the first in a long series and is perhaps the most re­ markable among them because Plato tries to explain a character he him­ self had created—a character who. But be­ liefs are haphazard. so to speak. That is. the Mem identifies . perhaps many. especially of knowledge modeled on the axiomatic structure o f mathematics. occasions. as Plato says. beliefs can be easily lost. gradually assumes the role of the original for which any subse­ quent attempt to come to terms with Socrates must account. is unstable. beliefs need to be tied down by what Plato mysteriously calls ^reasoning about expla­ nation. It is difficult to forget what we know because every single thing we know is related to everything else and cannot. Further. Plato wants to understand how the beautyAlcibiades discerned in Socrates made its way there in the first place. It is almost as if Plato’s later works try to articulate die deep structure of a Socrates whose surface structure is the subject matter of the early dialogues. are inherently un­ stable. If belief. Plato abandons his project o f presenting Socrates simply as he saw him and makes instead an effort to explain the phenomenon Socrates consti­ tutes. True belief about arete can explain how one can act well on some. beliefs. they are as good a guide to arete as knowledge itself. The theory o f recollection provides him with an answer. no matter how true. though he is a reflection of a lost original. if one holds the right views. beliefs. then Socrates’ remarkable reliability in always acting well is still left unexplained.66 With Callicles’ radical attack on Socratic ethics in the Gorgias and with the fundamental doubts regarding Socratic dialectic expressed in the Mem. so lifelike that they would take off on their own unless they were tied down. can be easily forgotten. They are not likely to stay long in the soul: like Daedalus’ statues.

with true belief. complex. Plato is forced to conclude that people have arete nei­ ther by nature nor by teaching but by divine dispensation (Oela fxoipa. as author o f the dialogues. had he made people better. Plato puts this last claim in Socrates’ mouth at the end of the Meno. why. does Socrates suc­ ceed in making someone else good. 492ai-5. His absence. But the theory o f recollection holds that belief cannot be taught: it inheres in the soul and provides the material that. SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND AUTHOR 89 arete.69 Who is it. that is. 99e3~iooc2). But. were born with each new generation. His claim is subtle. which he iden­ tifies with speaking for the sake of truth. Had he been suc­ cessful. even though he is not explicitly a character within them. absent as a character. Plato. Plato’s early works never allow their readers to doubt that Socrates is a good human being. then. is­ sues it with every word he writes. even if we often make it in the throes o f self-deception?70 Asked this way. through the questioning the dialogue identifies with teaching. which at first appears an act of humility. Plato is therefore forced to conclude that Socrates is a di­ vine accident (cf. perhaps in contrast to Xenophon’sMemorabilia. the question answers itself.71 . The one person who rec­ ognized Socrates as the good human being he was is the one who never appears in the dialogues —Plato himself Although. on Plato’s own terms. not pleasure (52id6-8). Rep. Does Socrates then lack that knowl­ edge after all? I f only matters were simply that complicated! For consider the fol­ lowing point. Here Socrates argues that he may perhaps be the only Athenian who truly practices politics. he cannot make that claim explicitly. only one good human being can recognize another. But then there is no good reason why some people are better than others. and we cannot possibly count on the continued existence of arete in the world: why should another such accident occur? Arete would appear consistendy in the world only if its true practitioners. And the claim returns us to the Gorgias. and not a little arrogant. But nowhere in Plato’s early works. and that is the reason I described him as Socrates’ student above. some have more true beliefs in their soul than others do. turns out to be a further ironical act of disdain. the best exemplar o f arete so far. we might have concluded that Socrates somehow possessed the knowledge he craved. who saw him as what he really was and enabled the rest of us to make a similar evaluation.68 and with making one’s fellow citizens better (5i5ai-b4). be­ comes knowledge. It implies that Plato is the only other good person in the world of the dialogues. truly good statesmen capable of creating other good statesmen like them. Oeojv rvxy). tentatively.

” he is made to say in the Laches7 2 Did Socrates then perhaps keep something back even from his author. Once that knowledge was articu­ lated. but was much more extensive and ambitious than. which were beginning to flourish in Athens and. But the philosophers. so that the state can be governed by the best people in it.9o THE ART OF LIVING Still. And yet that is as necessary for knowledge as anything else: “ We can surely say what that which we know is. unsystematic manner —a manner that qual­ ified it at best for the status of belief. His new heroes are famous. he came to believe. not by accident. In the Republic. the arete of tradition. psychological. Could he then perhaps have known more than he said? Socrates might appear as an expert on arete because his behavior was reliably good and he finally proved (in the single case of Plato) capable of transmitting it. philosophers rule the city so that its educational sys­ tem can continue to be successful. people with sufficient talent could be educated to acquire it through a lifetime of practice. political. in Plato’s own Academy. But he was not capable of articulating what he knew. epistemological. Socrates’ trial and execution convinced Plato that in a corrupt state the internal aspects of arete and its external face can be­ come totally disconnected from each other. which spells out the content of arete and the method of acquiring it through the theory of Forms and its immense metaphysical. it was made to include the rigorous study of the mathematical sciences. who presents himself as his greatest student? Plato never knew. until Plato composed the Republic. just like the old Homeric .73 He articulated and gave formal expression to the knowledge that. He urged them to search with him for the knowledge without which doing the good is impossible but lived as if he actually possessed it. Socrates invited people to agree that one will do the good if one knows what it is and to confess with him that they did not. who possess the internal psychic harmony that Socrates regarded as arete. those whom he was the first to call “philosophers. That practice was modeled on. a divine ac­ cident. Socrates remained a mystery to him —an ironic crea­ ture through whom he could not see. also possess. He outlined the city of the Republic partly to ensure that people like Socrates. He always regarded Socrates a mystery. and educational system. the recognition and rep­ utation that were part of the archaic ethos that Socrates himself may have tried to annihilate. as the city’s rulers.” would be part of every generation. Socrates had somehow come to possess in an inarticulate. and so that what happened to Socrates in Athens can never happen again. Plato’s political radicalism has a deeply conservative side. In that respect. education in the crafts: in particular.

an inexplicable phenomenon. Socrates never allows us to see that. Socrates’ opaqueness. In relation to him. The three elements required by arete—internal struc­ ture.” E. Socrates’ opaqueness makes him solid and three-dimensional. ultimately hold no secrets. ironically concealing himself from his interlocutors.” Amélie Rorty has written. to the extent that he remains incomprehensible. and his own creator does not pretend to under­ stand it. is an in­ complete character. his amazing success in reproducing Socrates’ irony not only toward his interlocutors but also toward himself. we are both gods and victims. Plato’s Socrates. “achieved his greatest triumphs . remains opaque to his own author as well. their soul has the right structure. convinced that they provide a transparent window that opens direcdy onto the light of reality. Plato’s implicit admission that he does not understand him. Gombrich has written. But this does not alter the fact that in Plato’s own early works. He is both predictable and incomprehensible. is the mechanism that explains why generations of read­ ers have inevitably returned to these texts. If this idea is at all correct. the grand philosophical system of the Re­ public is in the first instance an effort to make sure that Socrates and oth­ ers like him (perhaps people like Plato himself) will arise consistently with every new generation.” 75 Socrates may in a sense be predictable: we know that in the end he will almost always win his argument and that he will do the right thing. The two aspects of arete have now become inseparable. a surd. And incompleteness is essential to verisimilitude: “Leonardo. But they are famous for a new reason: they are good. SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND AUTHOR 91 and Athenian heroes he would like them to displace. public recognition. And a population has been created that will be ready to recognize the best among them as worthy of being their leaders. because they entitle us to the superiority of gods who can lovingly foresee and thus more readily forgive what is fixed. to his author as well as to us. But the gods are superior because they also understand why things happen as they do. and the right audience—are now woven inex­ tricably together. Plato’s early Socrates has acquired a solidity and robustness few literary charac­ ters can match. But Plato’s Socrates seems to hold a secret. how­ ever complex they may be. What is the window that leads to such light? It is. H. ironically. a lucky stroke who. Socrates remains a divine accident. the darkness that prevents us from feeling that we can see through him as we can see through other literary characters who. Incomprehensible and opaque. “characters are dear to us be­ cause they are predictable.76 That is why he appears more real than fictional.74 “In fiction. and his solidity creates an unparalleled sense of verisimilitude and realism.

is that human beings are constantly oscillating between the desire to understand things fully and the realization that complete understanding is impossible.”79 Schlegel believes that ironic authors describe their subject matter with the great­ est seriousness. primarily through the writings of Friedrich Schlegel. But that temptation. Rem­ brandt could dare to leave the eyes of his most moving portraits in the shade because we are thus stimulated to supplement them. Does this make Plato’s picture of Socrates accurate. Resistance to the will is one o f the most crucial features of the real. That is the point he makes. what could be more fascinating than the question of whether such communication is actually possible?”78 Schlegel’s answer.”77 Plato’s leav­ ing Socrates opaque is the literary analogue of these visual strategies. when he writes of “the in­ dissoluble antagonism between the absolute and the relative. in terms that are themselves not fully comprehensible. Plato’s Socrates resists our will to an extent unmatched by any other literary or philosophical figure. I believe. gener­ alized irony from a rhetorical trope into a basic literary and philosophical device. 80 keep themselves at a distance from their work. very roughly. despite appearances. We may leave aside the ironic taxonomy of irony Schlegel supplies in his essay c<On Incomprehensibility” and ask with him. what he understands by irony. the authors o f Old Attic Comedy. Such are. thus compelling us to complete the act of creation. THE ART OF LIV IN G o f lifelike expression by blurring precisely the features in which the ex­ pression resides. They suggest to their read­ ers that. they cannot play God: they are not in total control of their materials and characters. as the chorus o f Aristophanes’ Frogs rebukes the Athenians for the decline of their great city. His early works present a character who is subject neither to our will nor to Plato’s own. That is why he seems more than a fictional character. a portrait of the man as he really was? I am not at all sure. but at the same time. like Goethe in Wilhelm Meister.81 Socrates’ irony toward Plato results in such a permanent parabasis: it . The temptation is great to say _that Plato has portrayed a real person. And that is why Schlegel once characterized irony as such a permanent pambasis. sometimes. is the product of a literary strat­ egy that was not and could not have been appreciated until German Ro­ manticism. Ac­ knowledging that predicament and being able to live with it is. “O f all things that have to do with communicating ideas. whose characters seem to leap out of their fictional confines during the course o f thcpambasis to address their audience di­ rectly. expressed with characteristic hyperbole. an ironist who kept his secrets to himself.

And he proposed a principle by means of which he hoped the discrepancies between them could be eliminated or at least minimized. therefore. The problem has a slighdy longer history: a number of Enlightenment schol­ ars at the end o f the eighteenth century had already attempted to establish the facts of Socrates’ life. Despite his deep religious commitment. particularly in connection with his trial and ex­ ecution in 399 b c . sometimes known as “Schleiermacher’s Canon.82 But. That principle. and what must he have been like so as to give the inspired Plato the right and grounds for presenting him as he does in his dialogues?84 It may. not because he inhabits ours. Socrates is real because we inhabit his world. SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND AUTHOR 93 makes it hard to remember that the figure who addresses his interlocu­ tors and.” was expressed by the following question: What could Socrates have been like to have exhibited without contradiction those traits of character and principles of action the pedestrian Xenophon attributed to him. like the Aristophanic chorus that regularly berated its Athenian audience. He had belonged to the group Schlegel gathered together to publish thcAthenaeum in 1798. was first posed in the nine­ teenth century by Friedrich Schleiermacher. it was Schleiermacher who posed the Socratic problem in the starkest form.83 Still. but Schleiermacher was a particularly close friend of Friedrich Schlegel. He believed that both Xenophon and Plato were reporting on the historical Socrates. Schleiermacher had worked closely with Schlegel during the last years o f the eighteenth cen­ tury and the first years of the nineteenth. The two even lived together for a number of months in 1798 and were planning to trans­ late Plato’s works into German together—a project from which Schlegel finally withdrew and that Schleiermacher almost completed on his own before his death in 1834. he sweeps Plato’s readers into his own fic­ tional world and seems to include them in his fictional discussions. It is often thought that “the Socratic problem. by implication.” the task of distinguishing the real person from his literary representations. On the contrary. Verisimilitude is not reality Socrates does not literally step out of the dialogues and into our world any more than the Aristophanic chorus ever does so. which eventually pulled them apart. He thus appears more real than a character who acts as if the audience does not exist and who is therefore free (or forced) to reveal everything that makes him what he is. That is not quite true. though they did not always un­ derstand him in the same way. may have become in­ terested in the historical aspects of Plato’s Socrates partly because Schlegel’s . Socrates does not thereby cease to be a literary char­ acter. o f course. the dialogues’ readers is a literary character in the first place. have all been a coincidence. Schleiermacher.

even though Alcibiades5picture of Socrates as Silenus has a long history in Eu­ ropean thought. But in regard to the content of his teaching and the point reached by him in the development of thought. He accepted Plato’s robust. Labri- ola. Mario Montuori has written that Schleiermacher and even more Hegel. dialectician. the externals of his teaching.87 The real authority of Plato as the true source for the historical Socrates is the product of Ro­ manticism. Socrates the man could not really be different from the picture given by Plato in the two apologetic essays.86 None of the figures Montuori mentions predates Romanticism.85 In his study of the Socratic problem. as the eighteenth century had by and large assumed. we have in the main to look to Xenophon. we may certainly receive from Plato a satisfactory and perhaps a more complete representation of what Socrates was. full o f complex philosophical views and theories could have been. have considered theApology and Alcibiades5speech in the Symposium as an historically faithful description of Socrates5personality and one which was capable of containing a mass of dissimilar ideas. had relied on Xenophon as the primary source for Socrates5views and character: If we inquire whether [Xenophon] or Plato depicts Socrates to us most faithfully in his personality and doctrine. but neither with­ out historical evidence nor without interpretative force.88 Hegel. there is no question that in re­ gard to the personality and method. until his time. THE ART OF LIVING new emphasis on irony endowed Plato’s writings with a verisimilitude they had never been seen to have before. . metaphysician. as well as Grote and Zeller. in particular. But that Socrates had very little to say. Hegel. Whether he be concep- tualist or moralist. impenetrable character as what Socrates must have really been like in everyday life. That is a speculation. though he despised Schlegel’s version of romantic irony. Accordingly. . But he continued to .89was still enough under its sway to believe that the ironic Socrates o f Plato’s early dialogues must have been the person one might meet in the streets of Athens. going back all the way to Erasmus. Gomperz. For a transformation indeed it was. occupies a fascinating transitional position between our present attitude toward Socrates and the approach that. protreptic or problematic. and I am convinced that the importance of irony both to Plato and to the Romantics played a crucial role in that transformation. Hegel divided the issue. while the Socrates of Plato later 5s works. and all those who have followed their traces up to own day.90 nothing but Plato’s own mouthpiece.

became con­ siderably more urgent. valuable as it may be in itself. holds explicitly positive doctrines. on whom Hegel and many others before him relied. but positively as well. so congenial to the eighteenth century: clar­ ity. as Plato says. our exclusive interest in Socrates’ theories pre­ sented no problem. But no analy­ sis o f those views. SOCRATIC IRONY: CH ARACTER AND AUTHOR 95 rely on Xenophon’s picture of an inveterate purveyor of commonplace views. one may still succeed in doing it from time to time. how did he become who he was? We have seen that the Platonic Socrates presents the following prob­ lem.96Nietzsche’s view is that one acts well only when one acts “instinctively. But is that re­ ally possible? It is reasonable to think that if one does not know the good.94 And yet we still read Socrates primarily for the content o f his positive philosophical views —his denial of retaliation. can answer the question in which I am interested. and pieces of advice for Socrates’ philosoph­ ical positions. he also claims that he does not himself know what the good is: and yet. the divine voice that he claims advised Socrates not only negatively. theories. relatively few people turn to Xenophon as a source either for Socrates’ personality or for his philosophical views. you will in fact do it. when we do not rely on inde­ pendent reasons for our action.” by which he means through habits that no longer need rational articulation and justification. as Plato presents him. Xenophon attributes them to a particular source. if he believed anything. he seems to do the good as consistently as anyone ever had. opinions.95 But as Plato began to displace him. his view that no one errs willingly. absence of ambiguity. the obvious fitting together of parts. the daimonion. As long as Xenophon was our main source for in­ formation about Socrates. He holds that you need to know the good in order to do it and that. his conviction that knowledge of the good is sufficient and even necessary for doing it. Is he then toying with all of us after all? Nietzsche attacks Socrates because he believes that we act well only when we don’t do the good knowingly. But is that so different from . But Socrates’ con­ sistent success suggests that he had the knowledge he denied.92 Today. I do not mean to argue that Plato’s Socrates holds no views of his own or that they are not deep and important. when our actions are simply expressions of our whole personality. the question what it was that Socrates believed.91 Xenophon’s Socrates.93 The Romantics changed our taste away from what (had he not been a classical author) we could call Xenophon’s neoclassical style. crisp oudines. the main question I am asking here: How did Socrates manage to live as he did. if you know the good. his constant reminders that he speaks as an eyewitness.

he needs to describe what human be­ ings are really like. there is no reason one should be prior to the other. I5eg-i6a3). What we can at best expect from a philosophic life is that the views and the actions that make it up be in harmony with one another. 96 TH E ART OF LIVIN G the way the Platonic Socrates acts? If. On his own assumptions. such a t €x vV T°v jBcov. He has nothing to say to Euthyphro to make him stay when the lat­ ter walks away from their conversation (Eu. philosophers and non­ philosophers alike. But Plata’s early dialogues do not make clear the exact connection between the views one holds and the life one leads. 36id5~362a4). as we should. Holding philosophical views is of course essential for living a philosophical life: the philosophical art of liv­ ing combines practical activity with philosophicaPdiscourse. Here he produces a grandiose set o f considerations to show that the life o f philosophy—inspired by the life of Socrates but not strictiy identical with it98—is really best for everyone. Socrates seems certain that his way of life—the examined life of the Apology (38a5~6) —is the best life for all human beings. each one of which repays seri- ^ous study. Though Socrates holds a num­ ber of extraordinary philosophical views. but he has no argument by which to prove that it does. the . to me. not that the views will entail the actions. To produce such an argument is just what Plato undertakes in the Re­ public. And perhaps that is always so.97 How did he devise that art? That is the question the Platonic texts don’t answer for us. a new art of living. And his major accomplishment is that he established a new way of life. Socrates issues an invitation that no one is obliged to accept. Socrates’ views are simply not sufficient for explaining his mode o f life. That. how can we describe his actions except by say­ ing that he became accustomed (no one knows how) to doing the good and acted well without knowing the reasons he himself considered nec­ essary for such behavior? What Socrates considers the good thing to do differs gready from what was considered good in his time. And for that. and we don’t know how. as Plato eventually was to put it. the nature of the human soul and the good life. we take his disavowal o f knowledge seriously. 352d6). But he did. is the real Socratic problem. His art of living is intended to apply to all. Both “views” and “actions” are equally parts of life. a new art of living. He cannot press his proposal to start his discussion with Protagoras from the very begin­ ning all over again when the latter says that the time has come to talk about something else (Pr. But he has no ar­ gument to convince those who disagree with him or who simply don’t care. Socrates could not have established such an art of living. He originated a new set of customs. his main concern. is how to live {Rep.

Plato’s art of living produces only one work. Socrates’ invitation to his interlocutors is protreptic and nondogmatic. But in addition to those two approaches. educational. the educational system that will allow people to value the life of philosophy above all others. Nietzsche. was not ob­ viously one that everyone was obliged. Plato’s position is more ambitious and more extreme: he believes that a particular philo­ sophical way o f life is best for everyone and is convinced that he can prove it. neither an imitation of nor a direct model for anyone else. It pays less attention to the specific contents of his views. First. took philosophy to be. more indi­ vidualist alternative. And it is easy —at least. it is intended to apply to everyone without exception: it aims to show that the philosophic life is in everyone’s best interest and that therefore everyone has a reason for following it as closely as possible. poetry. there is a third. and Foucault. it has become easy —to believe that the sole purpose of philosophy is to ask and answer those questions with no regard for the further purpose to which they were once subordi­ nate. and meta­ physical questions. vi­ tal purpose of philosophy is not the production of views for their own sake but the establishment of a mode of life. to follow. aesthetic. Philosophy might also be an effort to develop a mode of life that is unique to a particular individual. . which everyone should try to imitate. science. the sub­ stance of the particular life he advocated. There is no question in my mind that these questions deserve to be asked and answered. political. Plato’s project has two important implications. as well as the limits and limitations of philosophy’s alternatives—sophistry. That is what Montaigne. But that should not obscure the fact that another. Those are philosophy’s “perennial” prob­ lems. epistemological. the art of living Plato presented through Socrates in his early works. Such an approach centers on the novelty o f Socrates’ art o f living and considers that novelty as his great achieve­ ment. The Republic inaugurates philosophy as most of us understand it today. Second. and religion. Plato’s univer- salist approach cannot proceed without answering a vast number of sub­ stantive ethical. on rational grounds. And the mode of life. His attitude is moderate: he wants people to follow his new way of life but has no arguments to convince them they must do so. a new sort of individual. SOCRATIC IRONY: CHARACTER AND AUTHOR 97 kind of political system that gives philosophy the preeminence he believes it deserves. whose own arts of living will occupy us from now on. and concentrates instead on his having constituted himself as a radically new type o f person. the kinds of objects that such an educa­ tion will lead them to know and value (the Forms). traditional ethics. The interest and importance of these views give them a life of their own.

our own combination of views and actions. we can try to establish. no way to understand once and for all who Plato’s Socrates really was: however much we learn about him. beginning with Plato him­ self. Many of them. There are innumerable ways of pursuing that goal. First. the assumption that those who can trulyibe considered philosophers must produce positive views—in a sense of “positive” that I will try to make clear as we go on. to fill in the outlines of the hero of the Socratic dialogues. Socrates’ ironic gaze is turned not only toward his interlocutors but toward his interpreters as well. . as he did. I will keep two issues in mind. better. Why is that? What allows Plato’ Socrates to function as a model in an enterprise that seems. through its emphasis on originality. to require that no model exist? And why is it that even those who think of them- ^selves as his enemies find themselves returning to him? The answer in­ volves Kierkegaard’s view. Though I believe that a large part of philosophy is de­ voted to producing views of that sort. We can emulate the structure of his project without accepting the particular shape he gave his own life. Even looking at thinkers who shared that purpose with him and thinking about how they constructed their individual reflections of Socrates by means of reflect­ ing on him may be a way of practicing the philosophic art of living. our own philosophic art of living. But there seems no way to do that securely. I will argue that this is not its only legitimate concern. particularly like Nietzsche and Foucault. have tried to see through it. with which this chapter began. In the remainder of this book. I shall try to open a space where his silence can be heard. 98 TH E ART OF LIVING In reading these philosophers. we shall never know how he did what he did. the fact that even philosophers whose goal is to construct a totally original mode of life and who. have profound disagreements with Socrates’ views and way of living keep returning to him as a model for their own work. our own way of doing things. We can try instead to take advantage of his silence. that a real philosopher can sometimes remain silent. Though the enterprise is hard and for most of us unlikely to succeed. I shall try to articulate and give voice to Socrates’ silence. Second.

PART TWO Voices .

i f. ..

. it is in orderpromptly to apply it to myself. But Xenophon’s Socrates both speaks—he speaks constantly—and says things that are obvious enough not to seem to require the mediation o f Plato’s genius. but about the essence and movement of their soul? 1 Michel de Montaigne. .2 IOI . It is manyyears now that I have had only myselfas object of my thoughts.. The Socrates o f Plato’s middle and late works says too much. Xenophon’s Socrates holds views that even someone o f Xenophon’s modest philosophical gifts— perhaps especially someone of Xenophon’s modest philosophical gifts— would have been able to reproduce. “Of practice” The Socrates o f Plato’s early works says very little.1 In addition. but my study. that I have been examin­ ing and studying only myself. Xenophon’s constant reminders that he was himself present at many of the conversations he reports.. once helped convince generations of readers that Xenophon’s image corresponded to Socratic reality. or rather within myself. not about the lesson oftheir book. it is not a lessonfor others. and if I study anything else. . as opposed to Plato’s magisterial (and calculated) absence from his work. 4 A Face for Socrates’ Reason Montaigne’s “O fphysiognomy” [AJWhatl write here is not my teaching. his views are too complex and grandiose: his voice has always been considered to be unmistakably Plato’s own. What does Socrates treat of morejully than himself? To what does he lead his disciples3conversations more often than to talk about themselves. butfor me.

this “biography” appeared in 1650. vehemently by Cynicism. moral and po­ litical) investigation has caused us to lose sight of the different concep­ tions of philosophy that were prevalent in antiquity. “Positive views” usually include theories about the nature of things in general and human beings in particular. including most philosophers. . the writings of Xenophon were the main source for the life and views of the historical Socrates. THE ART OF LIVING During most of the two hundred years preceding the nineteenth cen­ tury. They secure the good life for themselves and help others come as I close to it as their abilities allow them. Aristotle) envisaged for them and that many played. If we went by this assump­ tion. truth. But our present-day emphasis on theoretical (including. the artisans. Fénelon also composed a Xenophontic life of Socrates. They are the craftsmen.4 We generally think that philosophers must have positive views of their own. there would not be many persons who would count as philoso­ phers. though intermit­ tently and with enormous variations. and goodness and about everything else that is considered necessary for understanding one’s place in the world and how to live well within it. based on Xenophon. and their understanding of human nature enables them to know what is I best for their fellow citizens. That has made it im­ possible for philosophers to play the role that Plato (and. One of the crucial texts was François Charp­ entiers Life of Socrates. about the essence of knowl­ edge. the artists j of life. Euphrates was an enormously respected philosopher of the end of the first century . Today most people. That is the tradition initiated by Plato’s Republic. Plato’s philosophers are such experts because their theoretical knowledge enables them to live well themselves. Michael Frede has written that “we do not as a rule assume that somebody who does not have any demonstrably distinctive philosophical views of his own does not for that reason count as a philosopher. no longer believe that the life o f philosophy is the best human life. of course. the Platonic-Aristotelian view that the practical significance of phi­ losophy derives directly from its theoretical nature was rejected by vari- ' ous schools—moderately by Stoicism. and was widely disseminated.3 Plato’s Socrates began to displace Xeno­ phon’s loquacious reflection only when irony acquired the prominence Romanticism attributed to it. which he included in his Lives of the Philosophers of 1726. until recent times. was reprinted many times. following him. that assumption is more common than we suppose.”5 But as Frede’s own discussion of Euphrates of Tyrus demon­ strates. who both live best and determine how everyone else in the city should live. in which the philosophers are the experts of life. Even in ancient times.

but it has finally lost its hold on our imagination. But that has not stopped philosophers from thinking that they still have much to say about how life in general should be lived. too. But Euphrates was at least according to Epicte­ tus “ a philosopher who had conspicuously succeeded in doing what on Stoic theory a philosopher is required to do: to live up to in practice to what one has learned or seen to be true in theory. tried to understand Socrates in similar terms. after all. Though still concerned with the nature of goodness and the right po­ litical organization. even though Euphrates produced no great theoretical innovations and issued no prescriptions for others. derived from Stoicism. that the idea that philosophy rep­ resents the best life was just Plato’s dream and that philosophers have never been better than the rest of the world (except. reading the dialogues instead for the fife and character they present. If Socrates was a philosopher and Plato’s dialogues show us who he really was. The life o f philosophy has grad­ ually lost its exempla^ status and philosophyTTas incjre¥smgly retreated mtontTtheoretical component: we no longer believe that the life of philosophers constitutes a model that others should follow. harmonious with the rest of his life. at dreaming). partly because he seems to have produced no original views we are willing to consider philosophical today. Plato’s dream was for a long time most people’s wakefulness. suppose we combine Plato’s view that philosophers must have positive views with Xenophon’s depiction of Socrates as someone who never missed an opportunity to tell others what was right or wrong.8He did . In that case. One could argue. perhaps. then Plato’s Socrates must have had such views him­ self. opposed both to the asceti­ cism of Cynicism and to the theurgical trappings of the life of Apollonius of Tyana. it appeared natural to appeal to Plato in or­ der to discover Socrates’ positive views. of course. if it doesjiot teU people what to do?7/ Now. And then the temptation to read the dialogues only in order to de­ termine Socrates’ views becomes virtually impossible to resist—virtually. Montaigne. MONTAIGNE’S “ OF PHYSIOGNOM Y” 103 ad who. has all but disappeared from the philosophical canon. for Socrates’ mysterious art of caring for himself.”6 Euphrates5life seems to have been a life of ease and public success. But it qualifies as a philosophical life. philosophy today is faced with the irreparable loss of the authority it once derived from being thought to constitute the best way of fife. though not actually: I have been resisting it in the course o f this book. and if philosophers must have positive views. because it resulted from Euphrates5 effort to make his views. jWhatjs^the good of philoso­ phy. once Plato’s Socratic dialogues replaced Xenophon’s texts as the source for the “real” Socrates.

I have had to fashion and compose myself so often to bring myself out. the book and the self became inextricable parts of one another. not con­ cerned with some third-hand.” 12 Montaigne’s is not a project we com­ monly associate with philosophy today. and get away from my subject. THE ART OF LIVING not only try to interpret him but also followed him in his project of self- fashioning: “ [A]I am myself the matter of my book. I go astray when I write about anything else. In its first version—Socrates’ project in Plato’s early works—it constructs a mode of life its author con­ siders appropriate for the world as a whole. concerned with my own self. entertaining myself for so many idle hours with such useful and agreeable thoughts? In mod­ eling this figure upon myself. to grant every person the same right to the freedom o f being himself that the author claims for himself. But apart from philosophy as we most often conceive it —as an effort to offer systematically connected answers to a set of independently given problems—another tradition. an integral part of my life. equally philosophical.13 The universalism o f this version needs to be justified by a number of positive theories that account for its general application. I have no more made my book than my book has made me—a book consubstantial with its au- ’ thor. Its aim is less to construct a theory of the world as it is to establish and articulate a mode of life. It comes. is concerned with what I have called the art of liv­ ing. or self-fashioning. . The second —Plato’s aim in the Republic as well as the goal of philosophers from Aristode to Kant—is to construct an art of living that does in fact apply to all. That is the tradition to which Montaigne. but it offers no arguments to show that everyone is rationally obliged to follow it. Painting myself for others. that the model itself has to some extent grown firm and taken shape. And the inherent inter­ est of such theories underlies the modern understanding of philosophy as a discipline concerned with such theories solely for their own sake. as we have seen. Montaigne’s “only real aim. “is . have I wasted my time. extraneous purpose. The third variety o f philosophy as an art of living is designed to establish a .” 10 He dedicated much of his life to depicting his life—and only his life—in a book that. having became its most im­ portant part.” according to Hugo Friedrich. but to speak only o f myself. gave his life its shape and substance: [C]And if no one reads me.”9 Montaigne’s in­ ward turn animates his writing: CC[C]I dare not only speak of myself. . following Socrates. belongs.11 The work and the life. I have painted my in­ s’*■ ward self with colors clearer than my original ones. the care o f the self. in three varieties. like all other books.

the cosmologist of thePhaedo^ the epistemologist. Montaigne. The sixteenth century. and the metaphysical dialec­ tician of the Sophist and the Philehus. even though his own ap­ proach occupies a middle ground between individualism and universal- ism. and late works. wove all his Socratic sources together.17 Is it possible to take Xenophon’s reflection of Socrates seriously and consider one’s task to be.14 How did Montaigne use Socrates? What did he learn from him? What can we learn about depending on someone else in fashioning our own selves from Montaigne’s example? And how are we to use Montaigne if that is a project we want to make our own? These questions are pressing because Montaigne’s project is so intensely individualist: “ [C]It is many years now that I have had only myself as ob­ ject o f my thoughts. At first. political theorist. as Montaigne did. MONTAIGNE’S “ OF PHYSIOGNOMY” 105 mode o f life that is appropriate for its author and not necessarily for anyone else. who is full of advice for others and is al­ ways ready to show them how to live.” 16 Yet Mon­ taigne often appeals not only to Plato’s silent figure but also to the gar­ rulous Socrates of Xenophon. twenty new additions were made in the 1588 edition.” to which I shall soon turn. Remarkably. did not distinguish among Plato’s early. Socrates’ name occurs fourteen times in the 1580 edition of Montaigne’s Essays. educational reformer. and metaphysician of the Republic. this individualist version of the art of living has always returned to find its source in Socrates. The Platonic Socrates was the dialectical searcher of the Euthyphro and the Laches. who had been reading Cicero and Seneca since childhood. it is in order promptly to apply it to my­ self. very ill-formed. however. and if I study anything else. or rather within myself. Plato is absolutely central to the essay “Of physiognomy. as well as to the rest of his work. others <c[B]form man. I tell of him. and no fewer than fifty-nine more appear in the posthumous edition of 1595 . and it is not always easy to say who among the ancients was his main source for each particular version of Socrates we meet in the various essays. that I have been examining and studying only my­ self. that appears paradoxical: why should such a tradition of self- fashioning appeal to anything outside the author’s own consciousness? Is it possible to appeal to a model and also to construct a mode of life that is unique to its author and not an imitation of the model’s achieve­ ment? And what is it about Socrates in particular that makes him an ap­ propriate model for this tradition? These are questions that I will try to answer as we go along. middle. the description and formation only of one’s own self?18 Though Xenophon’s Socrates was always crucial to Montaigne.” 15 His task is unusual. and portray a particular one. .

It is a knowledge of how far your abilities extend. Montaigne always used them selectively. ethics. There is not a single thing as empty and needy as you.21 It is this purely ethical Socrates who is essential to Montaigne. “Know yourself. ac­ cording to its needs. and the Philebus or the Timaeus.11-16). That knowledge allows you to be aware of what your needs are and what your accomplishments can be. no less than Xenophon’s. when the Delphic oracle spurs Socrates into his search and his eventual realization that his wisdom is his knowledge of his own ignorance. the magistrate without jurisdic­ tion. ethical] matters” (1. though more rarely than the works we now classify as early. the Republic.1. has limits to its labors and desires. the ability to live within the constraints of one’s nature. and that is more a feature of Xenophon’s version than of the picture we get from Plato’s middle and late dialogues.24-29). O man.24 his view is a development of an idea that is explicit in Xenophon: Socrates.’ said that god. “ consistently praised the verse ‘Render sacrifice to the immortal gods according to your power’ . and in need of explication.”19 Cicero’s picture reflects the Socrates of Plato’s Apology and his other early dialogues more than the hero of the Phaedo. good and evil.” Plato appeals to the precept im­ plicitly in the Apology. according to Xenophon. io 6 THE ART OF LIVING Whatever his sources. ■ Plato’s Socrates. according to which Socrates turned com- f pletely away from the investigation of nature and devoted himself instead ^to a dialectical examination of human [that is. idiosyncratic. Xenophon identi­ fies self-knowledge more broadly with the knowledge of the nature and limits of one’s powers (SuvájueifT). placed great importance on the Delphic precept. It en­ ables you to get what you want for yourself and for your friends.’ ”23 Montaigne believes that there is an essential connection between self- knowledge and the awareness of the limits of one’s powers. the fool of the farce. And though Montaigne’s idea of “nature” is extraordinarily complex. Montaigne’s own gloss on Apollo’s maxim characteristically combines his two sources: “ [B]’Except for you. and. His Socrates confines himself exclusively to'ethics. ‘each thing studies itself first. though it was less his avuncular garrulousness than his ethical focus that attracted him to Xenophon’s figure.20 Later authors probably took Socrates as a purely ethical thinker under the influence of the Memorabilia. and all in all. which Montaigne cites. who embrace the universe: you are the investigator without knowledge.2. Montaigne often alludes to Cicero’s fa­ mous statement that “ Socrates was the first to call philosophy down from the heavens and establish it in the towns and introduce it into homes and force it to investigate life.22 In the Memorabilia (4.

Montaigne. and keep it in freedom and power to judge things freely. Both Plato and Xenophon (though more the latter) provide elements of the background of Montaigne’s claim that [A] the wise man should withdraw his soul within. combines elements from a number of ancient sources to form his own portrait of Socrates. but that mystery would have deprived us of the greater and deeper mystery of the figure around whom the Platonic dialogues revolved.27 Xenophon’s Socrates is full of advice. 1. cto render according to one’s power (/<aS6um/xtv)’ was a noble principle” (Mem.’ that was the refrain and favorite saying o f Socrates.26 They are the moral and psy­ chological limitations of each particular individual. The character who cares only about ethical issues derives more from Xenophon and from Plato’s early works than from the Phaedo or the Republic. of course. a say­ ing of great substance. always prepared with an appropriate recommendation for those who approach him for counsel and whom he often approaches him­ self first. but as for externals. That is perhaps a more homely lesson. MONTAIGNE’S “ OF PHYSIOGNOM Y” 107 and claimed that in our relations both to friends and strangers and in all our activities. For suppose for a moment Plato’s account of Socrates had been lost.” and he derives from it the advice to “direct and fix our desires on the easiest and nearest things.31 Xenophon succeeded admirably in his purpose.3).3. then. . a conventional teacher. perfectly in tune with Xenophon’s figure but important enough to Montaigne to have had an Italian version of it inscribed in many of his own books. Montaigne comments: CC[B]‘According to one’s power. of which the Platonic Socrates. Xenophon’s victory would have been. almost a schoolmaster.28 He has none of the arrogance and very litde of the irony of his Platonic counterpart.29He is so innocuous that Kierkegaard wondered why the Athenians would have ever been tempted to put such a man to death.30 But. the answer is that Xenophon’s purpose was pre­ cisely to show that it is totally incomprehensible why a man like Socrates should have been executed in the first place: “I have often wondered what arguments Socrates’ accusers can possibly have used to convince the people of Athens that he deserved execution” —that is the very first sentence of the Memorabilia. followed by Montaigne. But these are not simply the universal lim­ itations of human wisdom. even though we are lucky that his work was not the only one that survived. out of the crowd. makes so much in the Apology. It would then be a complete mystery to us why the Athenians had put Socrates to death.”25 Self-knowledge is the awareness of one’s limitations. our loss. to that extent.

There is no harm in this: we could not make a worse choice than our own in so feeble an age. just as the great and the good Socrates re­ fused to save his life by disobedience to the magistrate. he found no basis for the divine judgment. and more eloquent. the short­ comings of learning. They are beyond our experience. even a very unjust and very iniquitous magistrate. The version of the sayings o f Socrates that his friends have left us we approve only out of respect for the universal approval these sayings enjoy. the fear of death.33 it is only the latter who interprets it. I f anything o f the kind were . only in that he did not think himself so and that his God considered the opinion that we possess learning and wisdom a singular piece of stupidity in man. as valiant. as learned as himself. butithe rest—our actions. like Plato’s. our work. and more useful to their country. He f " knew of men as just. he was astonished.34 What use did Montaigne make of this complex compilation of his sources? What role did this many-sided portrait o f Socrates play in his thought? What was the function of this intricate character in his own self- fashioning? To answer these questions we must turn to Montaigne’s next- to-last essay. Finally he concluded that he was distinguished from the others.36 We shall see if they are right. the evils of the civil war and the troubles it caused Montaigne. handsomer. and that his best knowledge was the knowledge of his ignorance. Phys­ iognomy itself appears so fleetingly in it that a number of scholars actu­ ally doubt that it really constitutes its main theme. among other things. and the nature o f Montaigne’s own writing. takes the Delphic oracle seriously. like Montaigne. examining and searching him­ self through and through. and sim­ plicity his best wisdom. our fortunes.” The essay is immensely complex. ap­ parently disorganized. “O f physiognomy. the fortitude of the common people. and. difficult to place in a broader context. as temperate. as a warn­ ing about the limitations of human reason: [CJWhen Socrates was advised that the God of wisdom had given him the title of Sage. and wise. io 8 TH E ART OF LIVIN G he should wholly follow the accepted fashions and forms. and impossible to discuss with anything approaching the care it deserves in this context.32 And though Xenophon’s Socrates. the stature o f Socrates. Society in gen­ eral can do without our thoughts.35 It addresses. not by our own knowledge. The essay begins abruptly: c£[B]Almost all the opinions we have are taken on authority and on credit. often contradictory. and our very life—we must lend and abandon to its service and to the common opinions.

cobblers. The contrast between the natural and the artificial. by imagining that one cpuld address him in these words: “Sancte Socrates. there are few men who would prize it. “the most extraordinary Silenus of all. so says a child. and secret learn­ ing. The image of Socrates as Silenus was a commonplace o f Renaissance humanism. even economics. are superficially silly and coarse.”40 Many discussions of “O f physiognomy” assume that Montaigne is forking solely with Alcibiades’ speech in Plato’s Symposium. the inner and the outer. Under so mean a form [“si vyle forme”42] we should never have picked out the no­ bility and splendor of his admirable ideas. which transforms the ugly Socrates into a forerunner of Christ. [C]His mouth is full o f nothing but carters. but also politics. His books. ugly on the outside. It was made famous by Erasmus in adage 2201. you wouldn’t give a bite of onion.” Everything here comes from Alcibiades5speech.”38 Erasmus even ended his Convivium religiosum. if you were to try “to weigh him from the outside. not only concerning religion.” But even though his own books. SileniAlcib- iadis. you’d find it im­ . he writes. for whom. which were as superficially commonplace as they were deeply original. in which he compares Socrates to St. .”37 Mon­ taigne will use this temporal contrast between a golden past and a fallen present to criticize his age because it can no longer perceive anything that is natural and not artificially inflated. everyone understands him. will allow him in turn to in­ troduce the main image that. Paul. where the image o f Socrates as Silenus is so marvelously developed. [B]His are inductions and similes drawn from the commonest and best-known actions o f men. “or simply unfamiliar with him. gov­ erns the structure o f his text: the contrast implied by the image of Socrates as Silenus. though it appears only in a few places. “you’ll find all sorts o f flavors here . a paragon of “natural beauty” inside—in appearance as well as in his views.43 except for one element that is in stark contrast with Alcibiades5 actual words in the Symposium: “If you are foolish. MONTAIGNE’S “ OF PHYSIOGNOMY” 109 brought forth at this time. joiners. So says a woman.”39 Rabelais circulated the image even more widely when he included it in his preface to Gargantua. Montaigne introduces a Xenophontic element that.41 That the Sym­ posium was Montaigne’s main inspiration is beyond doubt. ora pro nobis. which will open in front of you the highest sacraments and the most hair-raising mysteries. and masons. has not been noticed before: “ [B]Socrates makes his soul move with a natural and common motion. are just like Socrates (“without any argument the prince of philosophers” ). so far as I know. But in his ref­ erence to the episode.” Plato makes him say there. he continues. .

to the utmost point of vigor. too. “when­ ever he argued. a knowledge much more general. made his listeners willing to agree with him better than ^any man I have ever known. however. and difficulties down and back to his natural and orig^ inal level. and “natural” as can be. you’ll realize that no other arguments make any sense. he is stitching together | various accounts o f Socrates to suit his particular purposes. he will answer. ‘Subdue the world’. none of you really understands him” (2i6c-d). unlike Plato’s figure (who found it difficult to make himself understood. | straightforward. then.”46 | Xenophon considered Socrates’ self-control (iyKpdreia) as his most | important virtue. free of artifice and contrivance. Or.44 Where. a Socrates who is as common. Alexander in that of Socrates. but rather brought vigor. First. and more legitimate. If you ask the former what he knows how to do.” Alcibiades maintains that only very few people are capable o f opening Socrates up and seeing him for what he is—he claims that he may even be the only one among his intimates who does really know him: “You can be sure of it. does Montaigne’s “everyone understands him” come from? It comes directiy from Xenophon. and raised himself. But if you see them when they open up like the statues [of Silenus]. who mosdy kept his own counsel and asked questions designed primarily to show him what arete was. he raised nothing. Xenophon was determined to demonstrate that Socrates was supremely useful and beneficial to his friends. Unlike Plato’s character. more weighty. THE ART OF LIVING possible not to laugh at his arguments. Above all else. to speak more exactly. I cannot. 793F). Montaigne.4. he | is constructing a nonesoteric Socrates. which I he considers to be the virtue that enabled Socrates to follow nature and I act according to his power: “ [B]He was also always one and the same. 1. let alone believed). Montaigne keeps returning to Socrates’ ardessness: “ [B]I can easily imag­ ine Socrates in Alexander’s place. if you ask the latter.”45 j Montaigne is pursuing a double strategy. Xenophon’s character “was so helpful in every activity and in every way that anyone who considers the matter and estimates it fairly must see that nothing was more profitable than associating with Socrates . For one of the essay’s central ! ideas is that we should admire and try to emulate Socrates because he is t the best example of a natural human being.4-5). and he described it as the foundation (Kpr^rris) of arete \ (Mem. not by sallies but by disposition. ‘Lead the life of a man in con­ formity with its natural condition’. he will say. if you go behind their surface. . Second. emphasizes Socrates’ self-control. whose Socrates always argued from the most widely agreed premises and who. and subjected them to it” (1037. hardships.

793F). we have the useful. the witnesses we have of him are wonderful in fidelity and competence” (1037. They have a delicate and hidden beauty. can we trust appearance. can be taken at face value.” but because they have already come to be universally re­ spected. . as we saw. That. self-control] but a graceless compos­ ite of cynicism and bourgeois philistinism. neither Socrates’ nor Montaigne’s various stories. The essay “ O f physiognomy” is striking because it is full of conflicts of that sort—and others we shall soon face. conflicts with the opening of the essay. Even Alcibiades’ de­ scription of Socrates as Silenus must be read as a “ Silenic” description: it cannot be taken for granted. 793F). | acter. How. which. What do these conflicts sig­ nify? Montaigne. Instead of the good. . since we live in a world that al­ lows us to “ [B]perceive no charms [graces] that are not sharpened. and it plays a serious role in | his writing. | tunately that the man most worthy to be known and to be presented to the world as an example should be the one o f whom we have the most certain knowledge.”48 Nevertheless. both unusual and easy to understand. nor even Montaigne’s own writing. Nothing in the essay. . and inflated by artifice. Montaigne himself evaluates his sources: “ [B]It happened for.”47 That infuriated Kierkegaard: “Xenophon portrays in Socrates not that beauti­ ful. I believe. . I believe. puffed out. MONTAIGNE’S “ OF PHYSIOGNOM Y” iii and spending one’s time with him in any place or circumstances. uses them to warn us against accepting the testimony o f Socrates’ “witnesses” without question. We have light on him from the most clear-sighted men who ever lived.” since they are “beyond our experience. harmonious unity of natural determinant and freedom indicated in the term oaxfrpoovvrj [temperance.50This statement. it is Xenophon’s and not Plato’s image that is reflected in Montaigne’s own portrait: “ [B]At a gentle and ordinary pace [Socrates] treats the most useful subjects [utiles discours]” (1038. instead of the beautiful the utilitarian. Those which glide along naturally and sim­ ply easily escape a sight as gross as ours. He is both Silenic and natural. in the course of the essay. in that respect. is the result I of a cpnscious strategy on Montaigne’s part.49 Montaigne’s Socrates has compound sources and a compound char. claims that we approve of Socrates’ views “not by our own knowledge. both self-controlled and useful to I others. however. he gradually constructs a new composite im­ age of Socrates that combines the views of Plato and Xenophon as well as the testimony of Cicero and Plutarch. That is surely part o f the reason that. It also conflicts with the fact that Montaigne appears not to trust 1 any one o f his sources completely. we need a clear and well-purged sight to discover their secret light. after all. it must be deciphered if it is to be under­ stood.

1 j Montaigne introduces Socrates as a model of someone who lives ac- \ cording to nature and not by artifice in order to set our world apart from I an earlier time when life was simpler and more forthright: “ [B]Socrates makes his soul move with a natural and common motion. but we are trained to borrow and beg. 793-94F). Socrates had no need: <£[B]See him plead before his judges. “ [Cjwhere she was wasting her time. . and he concludes that food for the soul. He did a great favor to human nature by showing how much it can do by itself” (1038. . he has al­ ready moved on to an attack on learning. as we buy . . 794F). . . . This man did not propose to himself any idle fancies. 793-94F). . Before we can even formulate them. Learn­ ing was merely useless to Socrates. or are we not? Once again Montaigne seems to be warning us that his obvious practice may be less than we need to understand this essay. even the simplest can rccognizc in him their means and their strength. under color of curing us. Montaigne now denounces the prac­ tice. THE ART OF LIVIN G Is not naturalness. we might naturally ask ^whether relying on Socrates is not itself a case of using the resources of others more than our own. In connection both with Montaigne’s essay in particular and with the philosophical issue of self-fashioning in general. . . . . he argues. .[Y^e are each richer than we think. 793F). down to earth” (1038. 793F). . . according to us.51 Montaigne illustrates the uselessness of learning through an attack on Cicero: “ [CjShould I have died less cheerfully before having read the Tus- culans? I think not” (1039. most of the learning iC[C] which we swallow . we are taught to use the resources of others more than our own” (1037-38. There is nothing borrowed from art and the sciences. To prove his point. Our world is formed only for ostentation. The attack on learning continues. . . But just a page earlier he had relied on the authority of that very work for his description of Socrates as the figure who brought hilman wisdom from heaven. and Cicero in partic­ ular. common even among £C[C]the most compact and the wisest” authors o f his time. 794F). poi­ sons us” (1039. to the rest of us it can be positively harmful. . Montaigne repeats almost verbatim the pas­ sage o f the Protagoras that denounces buying knowledge from the sophists. o f which. . in­ dividual mode of life and still depend on someone else as a model? When does dependence become imitation? But Montaigne does not allow us to raise these questions. akin to stupidity and a matter for re­ proach?” (1037. Can a philosopher try to articulate a new. Are we to trust learning.52 Another conflict of the sort we were just discussing confronts us. . o f piling up many worthless arguments around a few good .

802F). 795F).J duce into the essay what we know he considers his “only subject. or the self his prose constructs. At this point. not to read complacendy. to deceive us. not to take things. only after an elaborate discussion of that new topic does he return to the issue of learning (1048. learning is more an obstacle than a means to wisdom. It is up to us to guard ourselves against them. Second. MONTAIGNE’S “ OF PHYSIOGNOMY” 113 ones: £C[C]These are nothing but verbal quibbles. the idea of a war in which a single country is divided against itself is an image writ large o f the psychological break­ down of the self. and elaborate discussions.” his own j . In­ stead. extremely vulnerable— turns into a praise of ordinary people. First. not even Montaigne’s prose. Socrates and the common people Montaigne had just begun praising have escaped such a psychological civil war: relying on “nature” and shunning “ artifice. Common and uneducated. with two or more o f its parts fighting against each other. at face value. too. that is not an impression that lasts long: Montaigne’s atti­ tude toward the practice and the authors he has just condemned suddenly changes: “ [CjBut inasmuch as this may be done usefully. But Montaigne does not pursue that seemingly obvious point. keeps one whole. the misery the civil war has brought to France functions as a metaphor for the break­ down of the natural order of things in Montaigne’s world with which the essay begins. The attack on learning—to which he is himself. we may well begin to think that we are faced with another expression of the skepticism that is the central theme of the “Apology for Raymond Se- bond. I do not want to expose them any further. the civil war gives Montaigne the opportunity to describe his own self. From them Nature every day draws deeds of constancy and endurance purer and harder than those that we study with such care at school” (1040. allusions. in light of his constant quotations. he interrupts himself almost immediately in order to give an ac­ count of his life during the civil war and the plague that accompanied it. neither example nor precept.” 53 But.” He may himself occasionally engage in it: “ [C]There are enough of that sort in this book in various places.54 There may (who knows?) even be some ccworthless arguments” in the very essay we are in the process of reading.55 But in fact the dis­ cussion of the war serves a variety of important reasons. either from borrowing or from imitation” (1039-40. - Many of Montaigne’s readers have found it difficult to integrate the passage on the civil war into the essay as a whole. Perhaps these people are the only real followers of Socrates in Montaigne’s age. 795F).” avoiding the conflict between them. Third. they “ [BJknow neither Aristode nor Cato.” Here. j controlled behavior under extreme circumstances and thus also to intro.

to the Guelph a Ghibelline” (1044. because no one has arrived at himself” (1045. especially since the conclusion he draws from the troubles the civil war brought him resonates with Socratic self-sufficiency: CC[B]I recognized that the surest thing was to entrust my­ self and my need to myself. too. others. During all the troubles the war brought. he never jus­ tifies himself: ct[C]And as if everyone saw into me as clearly as I do my- ^self. I advance to meet it and rather enhance it by an ironic and mocking confession. In both cases. 799F). [T]o the Ghibellines I was a Guelph.56 he was never formally accused of treason: CC[B]I never trans­ gress the laws. is Montaigne’s first clear hint that his purpose in this work. remained consistendy moderate. 798F). . It is a strong hint. on his own account. despite his differences from the artless and uneducated common people. as it is throughout the Essays.and an identification of himself with Socrates that becomes clearer as the essay continues. And though. [C] Everyone rushes elsewhere and into the future. . they taught him “ [B]by the rod” to keep to himself: CC[B]I have long been preaching to myself to stick to myself and break away from outside things. Montaigne. True free­ dom is to have power over oneself for everything” (1046. and if anyone had proceeded against me. has some­ thing of Socrates about him. he would have been found guiltier than I. Silenuslike. I believe. Montaigne himself. 799F) in what may well be one more allusion to Xenophon’s Memorabilia. prob­ ably worse. . Cť[B]I incurred the disadvantages moderation brings in such maladies. and attach myself.57 Whatever people say about him. he writes. . since his own rational powers had proved inadequate. where one difficulty exists. The reference to irony and mockery. a favor­ able word from a great man. and look all the more closely to myself. he presented different aspects to differ­ ent people. . Second. . the troubles he had were a preparation for facing worse ones in the future. instead of retreating from the accusation. for that reason. 799F). are possible. The dangers of the war showed him the advantages of keeping one’s own counsel. ii4 THE ART OF LIVING self. and that if it happened that I was lodged only coolly in fortune’s favors I should recommend myself all the more strongly to my own favor. which drove two lessons home to him. Montaigne realizes that the civil war furnished him with <£[B]useful troubles” (“utiles inconveniens”). Montaigne continues.” he writes (1044. if I do not flady keep silent about it as something unworthy of an answer” (1044. 800F). First. nevertheless I still keep turning my eyes to one side. 800F). His troubles taught ct[B]me in good time to re­ strict my way o f life and arrange it for a new state o f things. is to liken himself to Socrates. Inclination. Montaigne succeeded in replacing some natural incli­ . In the end. a pleasant countenance tempt me” (1045.

Montaigne’s use of his troubles for constructing a different self shows that he needed to work upon his own nature in or­ der to improve it. The materials for the art of living can come from anywhere. but not therefore the goal. In addition. to give its disciples models of constancy. even though natural dispositions seem in general to be superior to learned ones. o f life” he writes in what seems to be a direct attack on the Socrates of Plato’s Phaedo. the troubles the war had brought also contained a crucial les­ son: they showed that chance events can help to eliminate natural weak­ nesses and to arrive at a balance within oneself. how can he think that we can still recapture it and. . it is necessary for the people who lack the simplicity o f the uneducated to use their learning to recap­ ture the natural tendencies they have lost in their corrupt age and state. follow it and be truly ourselves. and suffer it­ self” (1051. why has he been attacking it so relentlessly? Once again. Montaigne refuses to face these obvious prob­ lems. quite unconvincingly. In other words. Instead. He claims. Even so. and tran­ quillity” (1048. 805F). conduct. if we have left it so far behind. as Montaigne has just suggested.” But now he has a different view: cc[C]Death is indeed the end. “ [B]the traces o f her teaching and the little that remains of her image —imprinted. They needed no such lessons. its rightful study is to regulate. by the benefit o f ignorance. and despite the fact that learning has been declared to be nature’s opponent.” to whom he now finally returns. Montaigne’s hesitations seem to have created a muddle. 803F). learn­ ing can help in that search. truly who we are? And if. MONTAIGNE’S “ OF PHYSIOGNOM Y” 115 nations of which he was ashamed with learned behavior of which he could be proud. Philosophy had traditionally been taken as “ a preparation for death” —a tradition Montaigne himself had accepted in his early essay. innocence. on the life of that rustic. inspired by the example of Socrates. They acted well and nobly without ever having learned how. Learning once more turns out to be nature’s opponent: cc[B]We have abandoned Nature and we want to teach her a lesson. however. But apart from their contribution to the improvement of his character. however. to construct a better self than one'had before. 803F). If nature is so elusive. that the com? ^ people do not spend their time contemplating and preparing for ( and concludes that the learned should follow their example. and on Stoicism in general. unpolished mob—learning is constrained every day to go and borrow. on Cicero. she who used to guide us so happily and so surely” (1048. “ [C]Life should be an aim unto itself. he lets his reference to the common people remind him of their resoluteness in the face of death—a seemingly new subject altogether. But that distinguishes him from cc[B]the people round about. a pur­ pose unto itself. “ That to phi­ losophize is to learn to die.

Montaigne finally returns to Socrates. which Nietzsche. rearrange­ ment. he speaks in about this sense to the judges who are deliberating over his life” (1052. It is Montaigne’s own description of Socrates in “On Some Verses of Virgil.60 CC[C]Should his rich and powerful nature.”63 he continues. Fur­ ther. and just beyond all example?”59He contrasts the speech he has just cited with the address. Montaigne immediately appeals to Xenophon’s view (which we never find in Plato) that Socrates’ manner in court was due to his unwillingness “ [C]to prolong his decrepitude by a year and betray the immortal memory o f that glorious end. to bedeck itself with the make-up o f the figures and fictions o f a memorized oration?” (1054. the orator Lysias had prepared for Socrates'. For as far as I can remember.” “cheerful. “ [B]Is this not a [C]sober. and eclectic paraphrase of Plato’s Apology. [C] truthful.” which strikes me as a direct echo o f Xenophon’s use of the word cjxiiSpoS' (which means. renounced truth and sincerity. This description of the blithe Socrates in turn echoes another. [C]but at the same time natural and lowly. 807F). Socrates shows how to approach our own death properly. 805).” “nonchalant” ) to describe Socrates’ demeanor as he left the court62—an attitude in stark contrast to his solemn tone at the end o f Plato’s Apobgy. ii6 THE ART OF LIVIN G With that idea. [Bjinconceiv- ably lofty.” he continues. what is? And as if to underscore once again his refusal to trust any single source for his view o f Socrates. Montaigne warns his readers that he is quoting from memory and that his words are not a strict repe­ tition o f Socrates’ apology. “ blithe. Socrates will be one. [B]sane plea. we shall see in the next chapter. in its loftiest test. he asks. he shows how to recapture our nature and be ourselves again. pre­ cisely.” which. having said that he loves “ [B]a gay and sociable wisdom. we are told. But the oration Montaigne has put in Socrates’ mouth is itself a version of a speech originally written for him by a third party —Plato himself. the ornaments of his speech. Still.” where. that version is in fact one that Montaigne has just admitted he has himself composed for Socrates! If this procedure is not artful and fictional. and. frank. interpreters of the simplicity of nature. “have committed his defense to art. should have kept better in mind.58 There now follows a remarkable passage. whom he seemed to have forgotten during his long digression. from which Montaigne has excised Socrates’ references to his divine voice and his tentative view that the soul may survive the body’s death. more important. “ [CJSocrates had a settled expres- . c<[C]excellendy fashioned in the forensic style.”61 He also de­ scribes Socrates’ way of dying as “ [B ]nonchallante. but unworthy of so noble a criminal. “ [B]We shall have no lack o f good teachers. a condensation.

and of what is naturally my own” (1055. who was never seen to laugh.f ness lies. Can we accept Montaigne’s defense? I believe that we can. allusion. and our own lie idle” (1055. sometimes. As we have \ seen in Socrates’ own case. it is not).I poses (as in the case of Socrates’ speech). Whether it is successful in general depends on the importance of the particular pur­ poses to which he puts his “borrowed ornaments. he claims. the path to the self must cross the paths of f others. not setded like that of old Crassus. Mon­ taigne insists that Socrates7speech. Montaigne’s reflections on the naturalness o f Socrates’ apology open still another twisting path within the maze of this essay They send him off on a meditation on writing. it could only have been accomplished in a simpler past. as he has rendered it. “ [B]is the opposite of my design. Montaigne has just praised Socrates for having given a simple and “natural” speech (which. also apply directly to Montaigne’s own writing? Isn’t the charge true that “ [B]I have here only made a bunch of other people’s flowers. Doesn’t that complaint. we have just seen. [BJVirtue is a pleasant and gay quality. and paraphrase through­ out his book. which was probably made the first time human beings ever realized they had a past. He pleads guilty to his extensive use o f quotation. using them to fashion some­ thing truly his own by their means. his defense is legitimate.atifro^^ is~^ nosiTcETSiing^sTdirea^nfrontaEion^iQioheseTfrffiatwayohlyempti. however. I who wish to make a show only of what is my own. 807F). “ [B] we invest ourselves with those of others. He now claims that such a way of speaking involves “ [B]the ex­ treme degree of perfection and difficulty: art cannot teach it” . That. having furnished nothing of my own but the thread to tie them” ?65 Montaigne admits that it is. M ONTAIGNE’S “ OF PHYSIOGNOMY” 117 sion. Yet he de­ fends himself on the grounds that his own borrowings are not intended to “ [Bjcover and hide” him. Today we no longer fol­ low our natural “ [BJfaculties. cruel as thTt seems.” The question is . 808F).”64 Despite his various sources and his own manipulation of them. How is that possible? What can “nature” mean here if it describes such artful composition? But our questions remain unanswered yet again. is perfectiy nat­ ural: cc[C]In an unstudied and artless boldness and a childlike assurance [B]it represents the pure and primary impression [C] and ignorance [B]of Nature” (1054-55.” Instead. 808F). But he justifies his dependence on such CC[B] borrowed or­ naments” by claiming that he defers to the fashion of his times—the very fashion for artifice he denounced on the essay’s opening page. but serene and smiling. To the extent that Montaigne uses earlier texts for his own pur.

has grown cc[B]constipated and sluggish” with age. Not all of Montaigne’s allusions and quotations are clear and explicit. What does that have to do with anything that preceded it? To answer the question. the question whether the surface of his texts indicates their real meaning. [C]he who was so madly in love with beauty. he turns once again to Socrates: <£[B] About Socrates. whether their appearance expresses their nature. near the end of the work. These others put their thefts on pa­ rade and into account. I give it some particular application with my own hand. am very glad to be able to hide one now and then. ii 8 THE ART OF LIVING whether his borrowings are really ornaments and not part of his very substance. if he had not corrected it by training” (1058. he goes on. His game is more complex: [C]I.67 What is the relationship between the outer and the inner? What does the appearance of something show us about its nature? Montaigne has just been preening himself on his use of quotation. But as we should expect by now. Mon­ taigne has raised. as explicitly as any author of his degree of indirectness ever could. and so in­ congruous with the beauty of his soul. And at this point. and no knowledge except that of the lack o f knowledge. we must read further. that Montaigne finally comes to the topic that gives his es­ say its title. 809F)66 * Through his discussion of Socrates’ speech and his own borrowings. among so many borrowings of mine. [BJThere is nothing more likely than the conformity and relation of the body to the spirit” (1057. We naturalists judge that the honor of invention is gready and incom­ parably preferable to the honor of quotation. That is the central question of physiognomy. he writes. and it is only at this point. in a manner ap­ parently both strained and abrupt.” All that life now holds for him is the prospect of his death. He forgets his nimble use o f the ideas of others in fashioning his own. so that it may be less purely someone else’s. and W[C]there is nothing I treat specifically except nothing.68 By contrast. he suddenly changes tacks and puts himself down. and so they have better credit with the laws than I. <C[B]I have very simply and crudely adopted for my own sake this an­ . At the risk of letting it be said that I do so through failure to understand its orig­ inal use. (1056. His mind. And what we find next is Montaigne’s repetition o f Cicero’s story that CC[B]Socrates said of his ugliness that it had betrayed what would have been just as much ugliness in his soul. it vexes me that he hit on a body and face so ugly as they say he had. who was a perfect model in all great qualities. Nature did him an injustice. 810F). disguising it and altering it for a new service. 809F).

Montaigne has claimed both that he is different from and similar to Socrates. while Montaigne. Montaigne writes. And once those incidents have been related. that feels in itself enough to sustain itself without help. changed himself so that his ugly face. 813F). the essay closes with some seemingly inconsequential but actually crucial re­ marks. My general question is how So crates. who lives in an age that glo­ rifies artifice. frankness” (1061. no longer corresponded to the beau­ tiful interior he constructed for himself as a result o f eliminating. a man who neither presented himself as. since Socrates. . In a manner so maddeningly typical of him. makes him obedient to the men and gods who com­ mand in his city. This reason. His first enemy was disarmed by Montaigne's C£[B]face and . once within his castle. 814F). 811F). 811F). to which I will come at the very end of this chapter. . which straightens Socrates from his inclination to vice. I have not. corrected my natural disposition by force of reason. both that Socrates5virtue is natural and that it is the result of his correcting his natural disposition. From the skein of these disordered thoughts. But Montaigne's own face does reveal his soul: the principle does hold for him. . who has up to now been held up as a paradigm of naturalness. according to which the outside should reflect the inside. the ugliness inside. let me now try to pro­ duce some whole cloth. the differences be­ tween them are greater than the similarities? Socrates. Montaigne immediately undercuts his own contrast: “ [CJWhat I like is the virtue that laws and religions do not make but perfect and authorize. which he could do nothing about. the second was captivated by cc[B]my face and the freedom and firmness of my speech” (1062. is now said to have fought against his original nature. I let myself go as I have come. . I combat nothing55 (1059. describes himself as nature’s true follower. So far. He now accentuates their differences. . one very unlike that of Socrates” (1059-60. That is very puzzling. another time in a forest. whose main concern was to care for himself. In Socrates5case. like Socrates. seems not to hold. that the sov­ ereign precept is to conform to her. Twice in his life. 811F). from the seed of universal reason that is implanted in every man who is not denatured. Perhaps then. He proceeds to relate two episodes when his life and property were saved because of his £C[B]favorable bear­ ing both in itself and in others5interpretation . Montaigne was captured but eventually freed. that we cannot go wrong by following Nature. and have not troubled my in­ clination at all by art. through training. born in us from its own roots. the physiognomic princi­ ple. MONTAIGNE’S “ OF PHYSIOGNOM Y’ 119 cient precept. in the end. But matters get worse.69 courageous in death not because his soul is immortal but because he is mortal” (1059.

4 1 C 7 ) —an ignorance o f its nature. But that is an empty thought.”71 Another reason. From Cicero. The prospect of my death confronts me with the incontestable fact that I am not irreplaceable. Montaigne gets the idea that Socrates turned philosophy to the study of the soul. Nietzsche was obsessed with that idea. particularly if that is a difference the world knows that I and not someone else has made. 4odi). From Plato. as Jean Starobinski has written. is a fear of death or —as Socrates says in the Apol­ ogy ( 4 0 C 3 . The real fear is that the world will go on without me. Having lost his faith in the immortality the church promised. . to art. . I presented myself to myself for argument and subject. finding myself entirely destitute and void of any other mat­ ter. Writing. a teacher of anyone. is also con­ cerned only with the care of his own self: “ [C]My trade and my art is liv­ ing. “ not by an act of faith in the divine promise.”70 Montaigne’s reasons for undertaking to portray and simulta­ neously form himself are complex.73 Montaigne’s Socrates is the result of stitching together the testimonies of Plato and Xenophon. which motivates all the philosophers of the art of living with whom I am concerned. incoherent feeling: it will be nothing for me when I am dead. We shall never know exacdy why he undertook that task. What is the main idea Montaigne derives from these various authors? It is that Socrates is the great model of naturalness. To exist in the pages of a book is better than to vanish into nothingness and oblivion. THE ART OF LIVIN G nor was. And then. but Montaigne too was moved by it. o f turning away from idle speculation to a life according to one’s power. The fear o f death is not a fear of what it will be like for me when I am dead—that is a silly. the only immortality one can hope for lies in the mem­ ory of others and in the effect on the world one can have once one has died. Cicero and Plutarch. For if death is “dreamless /sleep” (Ap. that I am and will be nothing unless I do something that will make a significant difference. who left his own por­ trait to history without writing anything on his own. I have argued. . That. first put into my head this daydream of meddling with writing. sug­ gests that Montaigne is qualifying his stated view that these witnesses are absolutely trustworthy (1038. could function as an model for another. is Montaigne’s model as he draws himself with his own pen. Montaigne responded to death. 793F). His own explanation is that <C[A] a melancholy hu­ mor . no concrete counsel. like Montaigne. espe­ cially about oneself. often makes such a difference. It provides him with no substantial advice. but by recourse to literature. The Essays are to have the value o f a monument”71 Socrates. in order to fashion an im­ age of his life to be bequeathed to posterity. The question is more pressing when that other.

there may still be a sense in which art and nature are not opposed to one another. That speech is itself a highly artful work: it derives from the elaborate speech Plato wrote on Socrates5behalf. given that na­ ture appears to be the product of art? To answer these questions we must consider the possibility that Mon­ taigne does not think that nature constitutes only an origin from which we have all fallen but dlso an end that some can still reach. but their mixture creates three problems.75 Montaigne’s “need to borrow a speech from Socrates. One is his own correction of the natural disposition. as Montaigne understands it. The second is Montaigne’s combination of his various sources for his portrait o f his model and his composition of Socrates5 “natural55 apology for him. His model of naturalness is the silent Socrates to whom we ourselves have been listening so far. living according to one’s power: these are vague ideas. MONTAIGNE’S “ OF PHYSIOGNOMY” 121 he takes Socrates5 courage in the face of death and the naturalness with which he faced and discussed it.74 Socrates’ ability to live according to nature. The Socrates Montaigne puts together from his various sources is in the end closer to Plato’s figure than to anyone else’s. as the pursuit of “uni­ versal reason. in Stoic terms. they give no ex­ plicit guidance. but it is also deeply different from it. which. How is it possible for nature to be the product of art if the essay. Montaigne does not hesitate to embroider it with anecdotes from Xenophon and Plutarch.55 Terence Cave has written. asserts that there is a deep contrast between them? Does Montaigne think that Socrates did really change his nature so that his ugly face was no longer an accurate indication of his beautiful soul? How did Montaigne himself succeed in following nature. from its very beginning. Xenophon provides him with the prin­ ciple that one should live according to one’s power. Despite the rhetoric of the essay’s opening sentences. so that the self may say about death what is proper to . Turning to oneself. Montaigne found it necessary to create a speech for him. following nature. Art and nature interpenetrate. and though it is supposed to be much less rhetorical than the speech Lysias had composed. is still evident on his face. and what is the character of his success. according to Montaigne. Toward the end of his essay. Montaigne seems to insist that Socrates5 naturalness is itself a product of some sort of art—not an art of shallow artifice but an art he characterizes. is therefore the product of two highly artful processes. “seems to prove the point: in order to articulate nature.55To display Socrates5plain and unadorned reaction to his impending death. We shall see what he takes from Plutarch in a moment. a borrowed image of na­ ture is necessary.

those are not just “borrowed” material but original works. how one can oneself be the ob­ ject of one’s primary care. But is that term appropriate?77 Montaigne insists that he uses quotation and al­ lusion for his own purposes. to paint oneself is an art. perhaps everywhere. But “force of reason” need not signify the same as “universal reason.” 80 In Montaigne’s world. how one can fashion oneself. . Similarly. Joshua Scodel f has written that “Montaigne . “Montaigne is in no doubt as to the correct moral choice: insis­ tence on veracity remains his undying standard of judgment. As Jean Starobinski has written. if “Socrates” is the creature of tradition. a creature that exemplifies what it is to be natural. Cave writes that Montaigne uses a “borrowed” Socratic speech. often deforming their original meaning (“ [CJoriginel usage” ). avoids undue reliance on others by ap­ propriating the Socratic message and making it his own [another instance of borrowing’]. it is impossible to show oneself as what one really is. 809F). Montaigne finds himself by recreating Socrates. He writes that | Socrates followed nature by changing his soul through training (“ [B]in- stitution” ) and universal reason (“ [C]la raison universelle” ).”76 Montaigne wants to speak of his own death (1057. Montaigne has therefore fashioned a Socrates of his own. his perma­ nent criterion for criticizing morals and for governing his own behavior. . 809F): he uses Socrates’ fabricated speech. a “borrowed” first-person singular. To be heard truly. They bestow upon him not “ [C]the honor o f quotation” but “ [C]the honor of invention “ (1056. a borrowed first person singular is used. . a “borrowed” image of nature. however. by not simply reading about Socrates but instead writing as Socrates. THE ART OF LIVING it. though “the note to the reader lets it be known that Montaigne has set himself a rule of avoiding show and artifice . There seems to be a conflict here. artifice permeates nature. and no art can do without artifice in one form or another. . he is still a new character with his own face.” nor need all art suggest the “or­ namentation” the essay denounces throughout. Since he does use both the speech he writes for Socrates and his combination of his sometimes contradictory sources for his own particular purposes. .79 the Socrates Montaigne is writing “as” is a crea­ ture of his own art and imagination: perhaps recognizable in the tradi­ tional figure.” 78 But it is not clear to me that Montaigne is writing “as” Socrates. since Montaigne claims that for his own part he has not corrected his own disposition either by force o f reason (“ [B]par force de la raison” ) or by art (“ [B]par l’art” ).” At the same time. He wants to show that unlike the rest of his world he has not interfered with nature: he appeals to the naturalness of Socrates he has so equivocally con­ structed.

would chastise disobedience and sets the ex­ ample of it. We now see that the war. Montaigne was one of them.”82 Respect and compatibility are achieved through effort. That is what Socrates accomplished. though not in order to cc[B]pufP’ and “ [B]inflate” (1037. and that is. That is not a return. It is by nature so malig­ nant and ruinous that it ruins itself together with all the rest. Despite the apparendy central thesis of the essay “O f physiognomy. and even through truthful art. where (he believes) one grows inevitably through and into artifice. finally. and tears and dismembers itself with rage. how he presents him­ self as well. Simple purity may be the product of intricate complexity. training. . re­ straining and shortening not my steps.” but “ [B]to make a show only of what is [one’s] own. and of what is naturally [one’s] own” (1055. that is something one becomes. on a large scale. as a metaphor for na­ . Let me try to explain. not C£[B]to cover and hide. but my desires and cares. this one acts also against it­ self. It comes to cure sedition and is full of it. nature is reached through the grad­ ual acculturation of one’s tendencies. in the civil war. 796F) Montaigne learned from the civil war to withdraw into himself and to be ready for worse troubles. as Montaigne’s Socrates taught.81 Especially in the world into which Montaigne is born. one’s “powers. it is forward progress. Those who take that difference seriously and try to organize their powers in new and unprecedented ways produce lives and selves that differ from all others.” into mutual respect and compatibility. . that is how Montaigne has depicted him. is exactly what was lacking. MONTAIGNE’S “ OF PH YSIO GNO M Y” 123 one must follow the fashion of the age and use ornaments. Respect among our various tendencies.” one does not start as a natural being. and employed in defense of the laws. (1041. All discipline flies from it. eats and destroys itself by its own venom. What have we come to? Our medicine carries infec­ tion. But the powers of each person are different from the powers o f everyone else. Montaigne’s insistence that Socrates defeated his original inclination to vice through reason allows him to think of nature not as a lost origi­ nal state but as a state achieved through rational self-restraint. plays the part of a rebel against its own laws. Nature is. 793F). 808F). among the various parties that make each one of us up. This is another reason the war is so important to this essay on physiognomy: [B]Monstrous war! Other wars act outward. self-control and the ability to five ac­ cording to one’s power: “ [B]The solitude that I love and preach is pri­ marily nothing but leading my feelings and thoughts back to myself. .

” 84 Though. unlike Montaigne’s own. no exemplar can ever be followed direcdy. biend to­ gether: “ [BJThere is nothing so beautiful and legitimate as toplay the man well and properly. Rather. but what we learn from Michel is that we must know ourselves. More impor­ tant. Once again. and self-sufficient. is not simply the origin where individuals or society begin.” 83 Unlike Montaigne. natural. At the same time. he fought his own inner war from which he emerged victorious. what he keeps returning to is himself: CC[C] We arrange our thoughts in generalities. is the product of fashioning. Instead. and the causes and conduct of the universe. for one’s own purposes. no knowledge so hard to acquire as the knowledge of ^how to live this life well [C]and naturally. What of the contrast Montaigne draws between Socrates and himself? Socrates’ Silenic aspect masks the beauty and reason that reign within. if .” 85 Per­ haps we can use what we learn from Michel for our ourselves. who concerns us more closely than man in general. that discipline has every right to being itself considered a new nature. I tell. he distances himself from him because Socrates’ face. does not reflect his inner char­ acter. Montaigne established a new discipline in himself. and enable each individual to accomplish the best—the different best —of which each is capable. and neither does Montaigne: iC[B]I do not teach. for constructing the self. everyone’s features and circumstances are different. as we have said. refusing to trespass on one another’s ground. since that results in imitation—not in creation. of course. perhaps even to deform him. therefore. aware of what he could and could not accomplish. Nature. play and seriousness. Socrates has no specific les­ son to teach. he discusses and accepts many general ideas in his work. also taught Montaigne how to establish a new order within himself. self-controlled. THE ART OF LIVIN G ture fighting against nature. Socrates (so far as we know) did not learn his lesson from an actual civil war. which con­ duct themselves very well without us. As a result of his experience. and we leave behind our own affairs and Michel. Just as nature is not an origin but ah end. to follow him in making oneself the object o f one’s primary care. so the self. it is the final state in which our various inclinations work for a com­ mon purpose. is after all not to be like him—at least not like any o f the versions that have come down to us. art and nature. Being the accommodation of elements like inclination and reason. like the quo­ tations Montaigne puts “ [C]to a new service. The way to rely on Socrates. Montaigne uses Socrates. which are themselves natural. too. c<[B]the man most worthy to be known.” it is to use him. For the same reason. reconciled to hisfvarious powers—in a word. there is no general method for composing nature.” as his model. And since.

as we read in ccO f physiognomy” itself. 793F). Such writing depends on artificial rhetorical means and extensive quotations. MONTAIGNE’S “ OF PHYSIOGNOMY” 125 anything. is anything but the easygoing character he describes in the closing pages of his essay on physiognomy. which we accept because of their age-old authority. “ [CJgood historians avoid peaceful narra­ tives as if they were stagnant water and Head sea. in order to get back to the seditions and wars to which they know that we summon them” (1046. Montaigne. there are few men who would prize it. he changed his interior so that his face was no longer in line with it. Socrates is not the only Silenus. as he rather archly tells us. KOf physiognomy” is written in the fashion of the age. but Montaigne gives enough hints that more is going on within his text than a casual read­ ing would suggest. CC[B]I let myself go as I have come. 811F). sensual face. More of a Silenus than he explicitly admits.” O f course. he even suggests that the harmony between his ex- . because what he offers has its own delicate and hidden beauty. . Few o f his readers may prize what he offers. reveals itself even to his enemies as they are plotting to destroy him: “ [B]I let myself go as I have come. 800F). since people enjoy war stories and. is available today. Socrates had an ugly. His time would find it difficult to prize Montaigne’s Socratic sayings because. Montaigne changed his inte­ rior so that it would be in harmony with his frank and innocent face. Has Montaigne then made no effort to discover or fash­ ion his own nature? He has. its preference for artifice blinds it to simple charms (“ [B]graces” ) which have CC[B]a delicate and hidden beauty . it suggests a vicious nature. But recall also the essay’s first para­ graph: nothing like Socrates’ sayings. Part o f what he has become is a product of the discipline he followed as a result of the civil war. In fact. But Montaigne is right: that is still a difficult thing to prize. something of just that kind—a new set of Socratic sayings —is being brought forth in the essay those words introduce and in the whole book of which this essay is a part. It may even.” rings hollow when we recall what the war has taught him. Montaigne’s essay and Montaigne himself are also in­ stances of Alcibiades’ image. the essay suggests that Montaigne is Socrates’ mirror image. require an account o f the civil war. I combat nothing. I combat noth­ ing” (1059. But Montaigne’s internal harmony. then. he complains. . for good measure. [a] secret light” (1037. Montaigne finds it necessary to write in a way that will please a large audience. its own secret light that is obscured by the dazzling artifice that surrounds it. Montaigne’s protestation. C£[B]if anything o f the kind were brought forth at this time.

814F).126 THE ART OF LIVING terior and his inside may not be as perfect as his explicit claims boast. I do not portray being: I portray passing. Montaigne is writing on a very abstract level here. or. Who are diese people who consent to illegitimate actions against themselves ?Perhaps Mon­ taigne had some real people in mind and a particular action he did or might undertake against them. are different in each individual case. like Montaigne. since he is not bad to the wicked” . since he is good even to the wicked. And he taught him that to learn through Socrates is not to follow and re-create him but. from seven years to seven years. one must deter­ mine one’s particular powers. as Montaigne himself does in this Silenic text. concerned with my own self. as we shall see in more detail in our discussion of Nietzsche. even though one can learn a lot through him. may have been fools. The essay closes with these words: “ [B]As I do not like to take a hand in legitimate actions against people who resent them. it is not a clear indication of what is found inside. who ignore his hints that his book (“ [C]consubstantial with its author. I am not scrupulous enough to refrain from taking a hand in illegitimate actions against people who consent to them” (1063. Both Socrates and Montaigne need to be interpreted in order to be understood: Montaigne’s two ene­ mies. Not the pass­ ing from one age to another. .” Montaigne’s “ [B] favorable bearing” is after all not really “ [B] very unlike that of Socrates” (1060. but from day to day.” 87 Socrates taught Montaigne a few general precepts. as the people say. from minute to minute. so. Charilaos CC[B]could not possibly be good. to become his own model of nature. He even intimates that his character may not be as simple as he professes. To apply them. They are both still in process of being made even as they are being read: “ [B]I cannot keep my subject still. . Hav­ ing praised himself as lavishly on his accomplishments as on his honest face. But that is unlikely. which saved him from so many troubles. Ci[B]he must certainly be good. which. like “Live accord­ ing to your power” or “ Follow nature. . he calls himself in his very last paragraph “only a jack of clubs” (K[B]qu’escuyer de trefles” ). is still in the process o f fashioning himself. according to the other. since he says that both versions of what Plutarch said of Charilaos of Sparta are true of him as well. an integral part of my life”86) and therefore Montaigne himself are other than they seem. to tell the truth. Socrates also taught Montaigne that there is little to learnfrom him. According to one version. These people are a metaphor for those readers who take him at face value. who let him go on the basis of his honest face. especially when one.” which do not describe their end and offer no instructions for reaching it. Physiognomy cannot be trusted. . Like Socrates’ ugly exterior. 811F).

” 90 And be­ hind all such artists of living. it is to try to realize a new and different possibility. . He assumes Socrates’ Silenic aspect and shows his readers. too. and by flight than by pursuit.” 88 As mod­ els of how one can engage in self-fashioning—the issue that consumes Montaigne throughout the book in which he creates himself—examples play an equivocal role: “Manifesting their own uniqueness. Montaigne included. a work of the art of living. rejected when pursued and followed when denied. . if that is what we want. in a man­ ner as empty as Socrates’ own. Montaigne produced a self. . there stands the fig­ ure of Socrates. reflecting all things in all ways. is to try to be different from it. They testify only to their singular existence. . Do they? Montaigne was one of them. MONTAIGNE’S “OF PH YSIOGNOM Y” Montaigne uses the ironic Socrates ironically and puts himself in his place. but neither he nor we can articulate how he accomplished his task. . that the realm of possibility is not exhausted. “exempla point to a world composed of unique. Thus the only thing exemplified is that a possibility was in fact realized. Montaigne was cautiously optimistic about that question as well: cc[B]There may be some people of my temperament. That is how examples function within the individualist strain of the art of living. . if any such people exist. how he became himself and how.” Starobinski has written. can be realized as well. I who learn better by contrast than by example. dissimilar entities. we can do the same ourselves. To follow such an example. Anything short o f that is mere im­ itation. therefore.” 89 But that a possibility was in fact realized shows that other possibilities. . Can they succeed? As in all mat­ ters. His example is as paradoxical as Socrates’ own: CC[B]Example is a hazy mirror. supremely successful and irresolubly dark. that is the role they play for those who want to make something unprecedented of themselves.

1:338). the work in which we find his first adaptation of Pindar’s verse “Having learned. it is to him that I would cleave.1 It is. let them follow their conscience. Friedrich Nietzsche. and even above him. in point o f honesty. which calls to them: cBe yourself! All that you are now doing. I feel moved to say o f him what he said o f Plutarch: “No sooner do I look at him than I sprout a leg or a wing.” wrote this passage in Schopenhauer as Educator. desiring is not you yourself5” (UM III:i . Ecce Homo). “How one becomes what one is” (the subtitle of his intellectual autobiography. and that is Montaigne. one of his earlier and most absorbing works. whose task never was to make himself ££at home on this earth. not accidentally. Schopenhauer as Educator Nietzsche. Nietzsche eventually simplified that idea to his most central slogan. the third o f his UntimelyMeditations. his gradual fashioning of himself into the singular character we know by that name today 128 . become who you are” :2 “ Those who do not wish to belong to the mass need only to cease taking themselves eas­ ily. I know o f only one writer whom.” I f my task were to make myself at home on this earth. A t any rate. i 5 A Reason for Socrates’ Face Nietzsche on “The Problem of Socrates” f. since myfirst encounter with thisfreest and most vigorous o f spirits. Thefact that such a man has written truly adds to thejoy o f living on this earth. I can rank with Schopenhauer. which expresses the task he actually took on. thinking.

my becoming. how to start on the process of becoming who he really was. . 5:195). he can claim in one of his unpublished notes “that the history of all phenom­ ena of morality could be simplified in the way Schopenhauer believed— namely. .4 Still. neither essay even begins to suggest the vehemence with which Nietzsche even­ tually was to turn against his two early “educators. are “two hos­ tile brother geniuses in philosophy who strove apart toward opposite poles of the German spirit and in the process wronged each other as only broth­ ers can wrong each other” (BGE 253.”6 On the other. he is delighted to have been his friend: “ I must say a word to express my gra­ titude for what has been by far the most profound and cordial recreation o f my life. The essay Wagner in Bayreuth is a vision of my future. He has guessed what it means to excite weary nerves—and with that he has made music sick” (CW 5. is inscribed. while in Schopenhauer as Educator my innermost history. I’d let go cheap the whole rest of my human relation- . so that pity is to be discovered as the root of all moral impulse hitherto —only a thinker denuded of all historical instinct. that was my intimate relationship with Richard Wagner. But the work is also Nietzsche’s declaration of independence from his teacher and model.” Nietzsche can still describe his views on the primacy o f the will as “superstition. ‘Nietzsche as Educator’ ” (III: “The Untimely Ones” : 3. but his opposite. . All four of the essays.”7 and denounce them in the most bitter and bit­ ing terms. seems to have missed the point. 6:23). he took the UntimelyMeditations to have been not about their various ostensible topics but about a very different subject altogether. more through his own personal example than through his philosophical theories. was never unqualified. And even though Schopen­ hauer is “a genuine philosopher. [A]t bottom it is . Still. 6:32c). “ at bottom speak only of me. . .3 The fourth essay. rather uncharacteristically. in this as in almost everything else about him. Richard Wagner in Bayreuth. On the one hand. Eventually.” an adoption and exaggeration of “popular prejudice. is even more explicidy a criticism and attack. he wrote in Ecce Homo. although Wagner. never without ambivalence. NIETZSCHE ON “THE PROBLEM OF SOCRATES” 129 Officially. Nietzsche wrote the essay to praise Schopenhauer for hav­ ing shown him. he can write that Schopenhauer and Hegel. Among Wagner’s innumerable faults Nietzsche will also count “ a great corruption of music. and one who had eluded in the strangest way even that strong schooling in history un­ dergone by the Germans from Herder to Hegel. whom he also did not like much.” 5 Nietzsche’s vehemence. Beyond a doubt. could have attained to this degree of absurdity and naivete. not‘Schopenhauer as Ed­ ucator’ that speaks here.

” as Xenophon’s did. he is much closer to the . Such a combination of enmity and generosity on Nietzsche’s part is important and not at all uncharacteristic. Nietzsche now puts Montaigne together with Socrates. Nietzsche is in the end no more faithful to his sources than Montaigne was to his. does not attend to “the benefit of the human race. its great and small needs within the twenty-four hours of the day. In­ terestingly. a peaceful being for oneself and relaxation” (UM IV3. . on the final page o f which Montaigne writes. however. of the accumulation of reputation and possessions” brings to mind ele­ ments that are common to Montaigne’s and Xenophon’s portraits. the cruder and the more refined. * the service of the state. and the sublime lust for power of idealists of every description. for example. and with that we come to our own topic: “Already in ancient Greece Socrates was defending himself with all his might against this arrogant neglect of the human for the benefit of the human race. that “we seek other conditions because we do not understand the use of our own. away from ourselves: Priests and teachers.5. he writes. being unknowledgeable in the smallest and most everyday things.12 But such a positive image of a Socrates who has turned away from “the service of the state. are to be regarded as some­ thing contemptible or a matter of indifference. “ a coming to rest in oneself. 6:288). . 130 THE ART OF LIVING ships” (EH II. the advancement of science. In one of these.9 What could that be but an echo of the Essays. It is worth emphasizing. and go outside because we do not know what it is like inside” ?10 Nietzsche was aware o f the connection: Montaigne signifies for him.” The world teaches us to turn away from “the closest things. His concern is only with the care o f himself—in that respect.” our own habits and needs. hammer even into children that what matters is something quite different: the salvation of the soul.8 but only under his in­ fluence could he have written a number of passages in his middle works. as he has written countless times already. Nietzsche does not mention Montaigne often. while the requirements of the individual. nothing other than ‘that which I encounter of good and ill in my own house. and loved to indicate the true compass and content of all reflection and concern with an expres­ sion of Homer’s: it comprises. His Socrates. 1:444). Nietzsche argues that “ almost all the physical and psychi­ cal frailties of the individual derive from . for we shall soon enough find a contrary case. he said.’ ” n Nietzsche derives the story about Socrates’ quotation of Homer from Diogenes Laertius. or the accumulation of reputation and possessions. the advancement of science. all as the means of doing service to mankind ' as a whole.

Despite his fondness for world-historical generalization. that is to say. however. 1:97). Nietzsche eventually abandoned the thesis that all action is aimed at the good in the most uncompromising terms.14 In The Birth of Tragedy.’ while ‘good’ is taken without further ado to be identical with ‘use­ ful and agreeable’ ” (BGE 190. in Schopen­ hauer as Educator he writes that “ conditions for the production of genius have not improved in modern times. for example. he wrote that “Plato’s Socrates in a very real sense is a carica­ ture. that which seems to one good (useful) according to the rel­ ative degree of one’s intellect.” 15 Nietzsche’s change of mind. Socrates belonged to the low­ est class: Socrates was plebs. did not last long. that in itself may be­ long to greatness. ‘it is stupid to be bad. 5:111). we can still see for ourselves. AU-Too-Human and while he was grad­ ually emancipating himself from Schopenhauer and Wagner. . NIETZSCHE ON “THE PROBLEM OF SOCRATES” 131 image we find both in Plato’s early dialogues and in Montaigne himself. an excessive Socrates. His agreement with this moral position. while he was composing the Untimely Meditations zná Human. 2:99). for example. aversion to originality has so increased that Socrates could not have lived among us and clearly would never have reached the age of seventy. however. As his attitude toward Socrates changed once again into a condemnation —even more radical than his re­ jection in The Birth of Tragedy —Nietzsche came to believe that Plato held that view despite himself. the measure of one’s rationality” (H H 102.” the last extended discussion of Socrates in Nietzsche’s published works and our main topic in this chapter: 17 “In origin. In The Twilight of the Idols. In a note from 1875. Nietzsche makes a lot of the idea of the importance of such an inward turn. and . Two years later. though temporary. which he him­ self makes in all his later works. We know. he claims with characteristic hyperbole that “one misunderstands great human beings if one views them from the miserable perspective of some public use. how . he describes Socrates as the murderer of tragedy (B T 12. . 1:87) and his dark metaphor for Socrates’ influence is that of “ a shadow that keeps growing in the evening sun” (BT 15. That one cannot put them to any use. he felt that it is possible to agree with Socrates and Plato that “whatever one does one always does the good.” 16 By 1878. was serious.” 13 It is strange and difficult to explain why. whom he had attacked so bitterly in The Birth of Tragedy just a few years earlier. Nietzsche became fond of Socrates. because of Socrates’ pernicious influence: “This type of inference smells of the rabble that sees nothing in bad ac­ tions but the unpleasant consequences and really judges. Mention of “ the rabble” brings us to “ The Problem of Socrates.

that I am almost always fighting a battle with him. —What shall I do with these two young men! cried a . then Nietzsche’s unequiv­ ocal rejection may mean very litde indeed.” 18 The personal (one might say. 5:365). did Nietzsche never show Socrates the generosity of spirit. the gratitude.” aban­ don him (GM III: 12. or was he sim­ ply his enemy? I f he did not play such a role. For example. “to employ a variety of per­ spectives and affective interpretations in the service of knowledge. A beautiful passage from The Gay Science makes this absolutely clear: “ Un­ desirable disciples. Perhaps we should apply his diagnosis o f asceticism to his own treatment o f Socrates.” Did Socrates play anything like the role Schopenhauer and Wagner played in Nietzsche’s thought. and even the love he retained for his other educators? Why. Almost every criticism Nietzsche makes of Socrates in his late works is a personal one. no figure was more important to Nietzsche’s individual and intellectual development than Socrates. 5:364-65)? Is Nietzsche as one-sided as his writing on Socrates generally indicates? Or are things not as they appear? His ex­ traordinary bitterness suggests they are not. a denial of life. it is reasonable to ask whether Socrates was in fact one of Nietzsche’s “educators. Before we interpret that most suspicious of interpreters with such sus­ piciousness ourselves. to confess it simply. and he knew it: “Socrates. the respect. Ac­ tually. like the ascetic’s hatred o f life. Nietzsche generally refuses to take absolute positions for granted. “ must be a kind of provisional formulation. he was more deeply involved with Socrates than with either of the other two.”19 But why. he refuses to believe that the denial o f earthly pleasures which Christian asceticism preaches so shrilly really is. Per­ haps we should say that his unequivocal condemnation of Socrates. an interpretation and psychological misunderstanding of something whose real nature could not for a long time be understood and described as it really was” (GM III: 13. Why? Apart from Schopenhauer and Wagner. Nietzsche’s image of doing batde with Socrates must not mislead us into denying that the Greek philosopher had a place that was very sim­ ilar to the place o f Schopenhauer and Wagner in Nietzsche’s life and thought. THE ART OF LIVING ugly he was. to be in his sense objective. But though the question is good. stands so close to me. nonphilosophical) tone of this particular passage is not at all exceptional: the whole essay reeks with disdain and animosity. as it appears to be. apart from the truce he struck with him during his middle works (and with one exception we shall discuss as we go along). Nietzsche never believed that resistance excludes learning. does Nietzsche’s uncanny ability to see everything from many points o f view. in the single case of Socrates.

since in every morally j relevant respect these people are the same—which is to say that they are j rational—they will in fact perform the same action. It en. To see whether he was. for Nietzsche.5Supposing that they adopted my doctrine. whether Socrates was after all one of Ni­ etzsche’s educators. he would slowly die o f open and internal wounds. Nietzsche had denounced Socrates as the murderer of tragedy. Morality is therefore J for Nietzsche essentially universalist. we must look further. the former would suffer too much.24 Morality.5520 This “ disgruntled55philoso­ pher.26 According to Nietzsche’s rather naive image of archaic and classical Greece. a desire to hurt. implies that I if any people are in the same circumstances. by means of reason and morality. f visages one set of motives and one code o f conduct to which everyone | must conform. Throughout his writings. f In The Birth of Tragedy. for my way of thinking requires a war­ like soul. a hard skin. NIETZSCHE ON “THE PROBLEM OF SOCRATES” 133 disgruntled philosopher who ‘corrupted5youth as Socrates had once done. ? stroyed the tragic Greek world and its art and introduced the seeds o f what ^ we now are: he is in a serious sense the first modern individual. That. as Nietzsche sees it. he introduced morality into the world. as he puts it. from The Birth of Tragedy to Ecce Homo. I Socrates5emphasis on morality is a special case of his view that reason is f our essential feature. dogmatist. means j that Socrates introduced a way of thinking that justifies human action by I appealing to the reasons for which people engage in it. as we have seen. | etzsche associated Socrates with a complex of views and attitudes that we ] can characterize—very roughly —in the following way.”22 Yet clearly it was not enough for Nietzsche to have done batde with Socrates to have been his disciple. or life within it. Ni. who may not be so different from Nietzsche himself. the culture that expressed it­ self through the tragedies of Aeschylus and Sophocles did not believe that the world. or.5and that one says to everything ‘Half and half. they are unwelcome students. Socrate^ de­ nied the importance of instinct and stressed instead the value of reason and dialectic. which he considered as the most central human activity. This one cannot say ‘No . they must also be able to say “ No 55 to their teacher as well: “ One repays a teacher badly if one always remains nothing but a pupil.55If they can say “ No 55in general. then. Socrates de. Sec. And since Nietzsche thinks that reasons are by their J nature universal —if something is in fact a reason. First. then it is a reason for I all rational creatures—he also believes that morality is supposed to apply f to everyone in the same way.21 wants dis­ ciples who are able to say “ No . a delight in' saying No. I ond.25 Third.23 So understood.27 The early Greeks accepted both the world and life as they found them and celebrated . require explicit justification.

Individuals who pit themselves against the world. The weight o f tradition was the only source of the . Nietzsche writes that neither is art performed for our betterment or education nor are we the true authors of this art world. reveals that individuals and their actions. Nietzsche believed. despite all the changes o f appearances. tragedy exalts. Respect for tradition and authority. it rejoices in that very world of which that individ­ ual is in the end a part. They knew that there is no fi­ nal systematic understanding of the world and no ultimate rational justi­ fication of action. They can­ not affect the world. indestructibly powerful and pleasurable” and allows us to enjoy the power that.” But tragedy also shows that we are creatures. glorified the inevitably doomed efforts of all great individuals to tame and use for human purposes those aspects of the world that are totally indifferent to our fate and to which we are of no account. although they were aware that their actions would not alter the world in any fundamental way be­ cause they knew the limitations of reason. (BT 5. Individuals belong to nature and their efforts to subdue it are themselves natural and products of the nature they are in­ tended to vanquish. like cultures and their products. we may assume that we are merely images and artistic projections for the true author28 and that we have our highest dignity in our significance as works of art —for it is only as an aesthetic phenomenon that existence and the world are eternallyjustified—while of course our consciousness of our own significance hardly differs from that which the soldiers painted on canvas have of the battle represented on it. In a famous passage. Nietzsche nostalgically believed. tragedy. their greatest art. as such. we share with the whole to which we belong (BT 7. They were willing to continue to live and to act. in the guise of the chorus.” aware perhaps of its cruelty and of their lack of final importance.134 THE ART OF LIVING even their most horrible aspects. were bred into the aristocratic inhabitants of a world that produced such art: they were ccat home on this earth. despite the changes of generations and of the history of nations. 1:56). According to Nietzsche. like whole cultures that try to change the course of his­ tory. but willing to accept both their world and themselves just as they were. which remains “eternally the same. The conflict between individual and collectivity. 1:47) Tragedy. are ultimately of no significance. are for Nietzsche nothing more than “artistic” creations o f the world itself. On the contrary. the individual who stands in vain against a world impervious to human action while. is only apparent. in the person of the hero. part and parcel of a life that “is at the bottom of things. In particular. be­ tween culture and nature.

Tragedy finds beauty and good­ ness where no reason can be given. in general. as we constantiy see him doing in Plato’s dia­ logues. Socrates consti­ tuted himself as “the prototype of the theoretical optimist who. 1:89-90). according to Nietzsche's interpretation. Instead. far from guaranteeing success and happiness. 1:85). 1:100). . can change that world effectively and for the better. He rejected the idea that the world cannot finally be understood. they could not give an answer when Socrates. Wher­ ever Socratism turns its searching eyes it sees lack of insight and the power of illusion. He established dialectic.” which collapses beauty into intelligibility (BT 12. full of causes apparently without effects.” They acted “only by instinct. contained no rational “Because. destroyed tragedy as it de­ stroyed a whole world. with his faith that the nature of things can be fathomed. “to touch whose very hem would give us the greatest happiness” (BT 13. and effects apparendy without causes” (BT 14. N IETZSCH E ON “THE PROBLEM OF SOCRATES” 135 authority of their actions: they lived as they did because people like them (those with the aristocratic background) -had always lived in that manner. 1:89). Most important. Moral Socratism identifies virtue with knowledge. and from this lack it infers the essential perversity and repre- hensibility of what exists” (BT13. He repudiated the pessimistic view that. which aims to offer a reason for everything that is done. ascribes to knowledge and insight the power o f a panacea.” “ ‘Only by instinct5: with this phrase we touch upon the heart and core of the Socratic tendency. and defended it against attack— something neither the society nor the art he questioned could do. while understanding error as the evil par excellence” (BT 15. His at­ tack proved fatal because the culture Socrates assaulted lacked the reasons he demanded for being as it was. the idea that nothing is beautiful or good unless it is understandable. Socratism. 1:92). that it was not made for us. Nietzsche writes. was amazed by the power of tradition: neither the artists nor the great individuals of the tragic age of the Greeks possessed a rational understanding of their way of life or of the world in which they lived. asked them “ Why?” Their way of life. With it Socratism condemns existing art as well as existing ethics. How did Socrates manage to destroy a whole world? His “one great Cyclops eye” saw in it and in its art only “something rather unreasonable. that nothing we can do. Its companion is “ aesthetic Socratism.29 He re­ fused to follow the path of irrational tradition. Socrates. Socrates was horrified by the tragic vision of heroes destroyed even though they have made no errors and have done nothing wrong. as tragedy showed. knowledge and virtue can bring about the hero’s destruction. and he convinced his contemporaries to think of such a lack as an inexcusable infirmity.

so viciously attacked in Birth ofTragedy. i 36 TH E ART OF LIVING It is time to put The Birth of Tragedy aside: this rough discussion was intended only to introduce the themes that would occupy Nietzsche in regard to Socrates throughout his life. he now argued. That ancient way. was a sick man. Nietzsche’s attitude did not. as such. ground and consequence: and we mod­ ern men are so accustomed to and brought up in the necessity of logic that it lies in our palate as the normal taste and. . Plato’s dialogues vibrate with the joy of its invention. for which there was noth- .”30 And even this uneasy respite did not last long. “had remained taciturn also at the last moment o f his life. We have seen that during his middle period. and no other reasons than those of authority. Those moderns who dislike it are soundly denounced: In those days there still lingered on the palate of the Greeks that other. was thinking under the spell of custom. cannot help being re­ pugnant to the lustful and conceited. that of cause and effect. he was never unwilling to ridicule him: “The daemon of Socrates was perhaps an ear infection which. was a sign of the deep­ est degeneration. It was Socrates who discovered the antithet­ ical magic. “that a man like him. . (D 544. who had lived cheerfully and like a soldier in the sight o f everyone. Socrates. when he wrote that he wished that Socrates. more ancient and formerly all-powerful taste: and the new taste presented so magical a contrast to this that they sang and stammered of dialectics. Dialectic. Nietzsche claims that the disease Socrates is grateful of be­ ing cured o f is life itself. ing but established judgements. for which he had attacked him in The Birth of Tragedy. and Nietzsche remained suspicious of Socrates. while he was turning away from Schopenhauer and Wagner —the heroes o f The Birth ofTragedy—Nietzsche seems to have made peace with Socrates. he perceived— experienced and lived—life as a disease. “I owe Asclepius the Savior a rooster.31 Socrates’ last words in Plato’s Phaedo. f the ‘divine art’. . how­ ever. But he did not really try to come to terms with the problem o f Socrates until he wrote Twilight of the Idols. established causes. But though the themes remained stable.” to which I now return. in accordance with the moralizing man­ ner o f thinking that dominated him. as though in a delirium of love. Nietzsche had decided that Socrates’ theoretical optimism. 3:314-15) The truce was uneasy.” “ Is it possible.32 Nietzsche had already begun to formulate that view a little earlier. who had never said too much.” seem to refer to the cus­ tom of sacrificing a rooster to the god o f medicine when one was cured of a disease. now acquires a positive color. 3:569). should have been a pessimist?” (GS 340. he only interpreted differently from what it would be interpreted now. By the time of “The Problem of Socrates.” he asked. .

sir!’ ” (3. for Nietzsche. Though he had consistently emphasized Socrates’ trust in reason and self-control throughout his writing. is a perfect manifestation o f “the will to power. Indeed? All these great wise men—they were not only decadents but not wise at all?” (1. he suffered. never before had Ni­ etzsche tried to offer an explanation for it. one does not take him seriously. 69). according to Nietzsche. must have been at first repellent to his no­ ble Athenian companions: “ Wherever authority still forms part of good bearing. Here.” It “is suggested not only by the admitted wantonness and anarchy of his in­ stincts. for the first and last time. Socrates’ rationality is both a symptom and a result of his effort to escape the “disease” from which. 71)? Nietzsche believes that Socrates was successful for two reasons. and o f Athenian pederasty. . what really hap­ pened here?” (5. 71). And Socrates merely answered: Tou know me. He claims that not life but these sages themselves are no good: “Were they perhaps shaky on their legs? late? tottery? decadents? . The first is that Socratic dialectic represented a new form of the contest (aycov) to which the Athenians were devoted: Socrates “fascinated by appealing to the agonistic impulse o f the Greeks—he introduced a variation into the wrestling match between older men and youths. where one does not give reasons but commands. Socrates took the general structure of an existing institution and gave it a new content and meaning: he adapted the nature o f competition. he does. is “decadence. Socrates was also a great erotic (8. which is evident in Socrates’ face. to his own purposes. How did this repugnant figure win one of the great- est intellectual victories o f all time? How did Socrates manage to “fasci­ nate” his world (8. Nietzsche is fascinated by Cicero’s story regarding Socrates’ face: “ The criminal is a decadent. the dialectician^ is a kind o f buffoon: one laughs at him. 67 )- Like Montaigne. Nietzsche continues. . but also by the hypertrophy of the logical faculty and that sarcasm of the rachitic which distinguishes him” (4. NIETZSCHE ON “THE PROBLEM OF SOCRATES” 137 The essay begins with the view o f Socrates and “the wisest men o f all ages” that life “is nogood” But Nietzsche refuses to accept their judgment. 69). A foreigner who knew about faces passed through Athens and told Socrates to his face that he was a monstmm—thzt he harbored in himself all the bad vices and appetites. 70).34 In other words.” which is the ability to use the materials that already exist in the . That. Was Socrates a typical crimi­ nal? At least that would not be contradicted by the famous judgment of the physiognomist which sounded so offensive to the friends of Socrates. Socrates was the buffoon whogot himself taken seriously.33 Socrates’ reverence for reason. That disease.

Socrates put up a mirror to his contemporaries.37 Nietzsche answers that Socrates became master over him­ self by turning “reason into a tyrant” (10. acculturating them into mutual . ‘The im­ pulses want to play the tyrant. he comprehended that his own case. Socrates. . In Socrates’ mirror. though it did not know it: “Everywhere the instincts were in anarchy. an adaptation through which any previous ‘meaning5 and ‘purpose’ are necessarily ob­ scured or even obliterated. everywhere one was within five paces of excess: monstrum in mirno was the general danger. a solution. . transformed. all events in the organic world are a subduing. a becoming master. taken over. and redirected by some power superior to it. “he fas­ cinated.” His society was already falling apart.’ How did Socrates become master over him­ self?” (9. and all subduing and becoming master involves a fresh interpretation. 138 TH E ART OF LIVING world in a new and different way. But true self-mas­ tery requires moderating the impulses. attracted an audience that should have been repelled by him because he showed them their own central problem in himself and offered them a solution: “ When the physiognomist had revealed to Socrates who he was —a cave of bad appetites—the great master of irony let slip another word which is the key to his character. but the‘meaning’ is even more so. 71). his idiosyncrasy.” Most important. . The form is fluid. that is for him the mechanism that ac­ counts for all major changes in historyf “Whatever exists. even more as an answer. 71). a way o f life that needs to fight instinct is as “sick” and “decadent” as a life in which instinct is out o f control. The “apparent” cure he offered his contemporaries claimed to be the path to self-mastery.”35 The first reason for Socrates’ victory was his will to power. ‘This is true. Socrates did indeed show his degenerate con­ temporaries a way of becoming masters o f themselves. But why is self-mastery only an apparent cure for the “anarchy o f in­ stinct”? Because. was no longer f exceptional. one must invent a counter-tyrant who is stronger” ’ (9. 71-72). the Athenian nobles thought they saw a way out of the decadence to which they were themselves be­ coming subject. ‘but I mastered them all. then. The second was that his case was not at all unusual: “He saw through his noble Athe­ nians. of course. 72). is again and again reinterpreted to new ends. an apparent cure of this case” (9. having some­ how come into being. He was fascinating be­ cause he was the most extreme case “o f what was then beginning to be a universal disease” —the anarchy o f instinct.36 “His awe-inspiring ugliness proclaimed him as such to all who could see. Nietzsche believes in very classical style.’ he said.

Socrates chose one impulse. to consider it the seat of the self. extirpation . Socrates convinced us not to think we comprise many things. giving everything of which one consists some voice in self-government. Socrates’ ugly face is an outward reflection of the total chaos within. 6:83). for example. was classicism’s great enemy. NIETZSCHE ON “THE PROBLEM OF SOCRATES” 139 accommodation and respect. not peace. is instinctively cho­ sen by those who are too weak-willed. It de­ pends crucially on what Freud was later to call sublimation.”38 Moderation can be imposed. he pro­ vides a perfect application of the physiognomic principle. That is why his solution was merely apparent. he persuaded us to identify ourselves with this one impulse. a harmony of opposites. by spiritualizing. even by “deifying” a craving (TI V:i. to impose moder­ ation upon themselves. Curing is not excision but. by using it to accomplish what has never been accomplished before. beautifying. is for Nietzsche no less an “ instinct” — a natural feature and development—than the rest of our impulses and fac­ ulties. and willingly submitted the rest to its tyranny Reason. after all. Instead. 6:82). But “de­ stroying the passions and cravings. Nietzsche’s Socrates. . Instead of integrating our various capacities. too degenerate. perhaps even to destroy them. Instead.”39 Perhaps surprisingly for many of his recent admirers. Precisely such a preponderance of one virtue over the others (as in the case of a moral monster) is hostile to the classical power of equilibrium” (WP 848. Reason is just his means of keeping that chaos at bay His face reflects an anarchy of instincts. and to distrust everything else about us as lower.” Morality. . seemingly contradictory gifts and desires—but in such a way that they go together beneath one yoke. Nietzsche’s ethical ideal is in the end an expression of the aesthetics of classicism. . strengthened it into a domineering master. . a civil war (to return to Montaigne’s metaphor) that resulted in tyranny. 12:434). By giving it absolute preeminence. We no longer admire dentists who ‘pluck out5teeth so that they will not hurt atiy more” (7 7 V:i. he convinced us to try to subjugate. Nietzsche believes that in general the features that characterize each one of us cannot be eliminated: “Castration. In contrast to Montaigne’s figure. the ability to “possess all the strong. degenerate. is “in itself a contradiction of the classical. the mark of the human. by contrast. . hard effort to give what Nietzsche calls “style to one’s character. the sub­ jugation of desire. . all of them equally part o f what we are. merely as a preventive measure against their stupidity and the unpleasant consequences of this stupidity—today this itself strikes us as merely another acute form of stupidity. It requires the long. as features simply of the body or our fallen nature. as almost every ancient doctor would have agreed.

To have to fight the instincts— that is the formula o f decadence: as long as life is ascending. conscious. 73). We have been talking rather freely about instinct and reason.40 Ttwas therefore Socrates’ unconditional faith in reason that secured his apparent success: “The most blinding daylight. the rest of ourselves. in ori­ gin and essence. That in­ stinct represents something learned is one o f his most central ideas: “The great rationality o f all education in morality has always been that one tried to attain to the certainty o f an instinct: so that neither good intentions nor good means had to enter consciousness as such. for the same reason. life. when we read Nietzsche on this topic. without explicit awareness o f the steps it involves.5to happiness. and by no means a return to Virtue. understand him as if he were a vulgar Freudian. He thus introduced the elements that eventually led to the idea that each human being is. and practice. bright.5to ‘health. happiness equals instinct” (n. cold. it can include the unquestioned codes (if such they were) of behavior of the early Greek aristocracy —codes that by Socrates5 time may have broken down enough to drive Socrates5audience into dis­ ordered and inconsistent modes of life. effort.41 By “instinct” and “instinctive. We must never. the first to establish the notion thattfie soul (which he identified with rationality) is fundamentally different from the rest of us—from everything that according to Nietzsche in reality con­ stitutes the human individual. Instinctive behavior in that sense. In particular. In fact. He is neither an irrationalist nor an atavist. He wasnoronly the first modern but also the first Christian. i4o TH E ART OF LIVING Socrates is therefore for Nietzsche the figure who first identified the nature of what it is to be human with rationality. 3:383). As the soldier exer­ cises. an indissoluble unity. this unconsciousness belongs to .” Nietzsche generally understands any mode of behavior that is performed more or less unselfconsciously. though some of it may in fact be basic and unlearned. without instinct. and we must be more careful. Nietzsche5s way o f thinking about instinct allows him to believe that even knowledge can become instinctive: “ To this day the task o f incorpo­ rating knowledge and making it instinctive is only beginning to dawn on the human eye and is not yet clearly discernible” (GS n. in opposition to the instincts—all this was a mere disease. Socrates was also. Nietzsche does not consider the instincts simply as the basic tendencies or impulses that constitute the bedrock of the self and to which he urges us to return. rationality at any price. cautious. but such a unity is achieved only by disregarding the rest of our features. can also be the result of acculturation. so should one learn to act. another disease.

” as a result of a har­ mony between his various impulses. for Nietzsche. choices made consciously and uncon­ sciously. become irrelevant. But once Nietzsche abandoned his early conception o f philosophy. Accordingly.” 2. to become who he was. o f becoming an individual. and values dictate a single course o f action. per­ forming which is all we want to do. of becoming who he was. NIETZSCHE ON “THE PROBLEM OF SOCRATES5’ 141 any kind o f perfection. Some o f these elements. and those. In most cases. as we commonly think of them. unfortu­ nately. Nietzsche first had to ac­ complish at least two subsidiary tasks. that much is true. I now want to examine that opposition between them. not an origin but an end. unified whole that he could affirm altogether.e. And reasons. The Birth of Tragedy and the Untimely Med­ itations were conceived as blueprints for regenerating German culture. 4:248). Nietzsche believes that he has himself attained a state o f harmony. or. Nietzsche believed that philosophers should inter­ vene directly in their world.. beliefs. friendships made and lost.”42 “We must in fact seek perfect life where it has become least conscious (i. Nietzsche’s complaint against Socrates. its reasons. taken in isolation. as the self and nature are for Montaigne. can in turn have the greatest effect on the world at large. its means and intentions. I shall have to be both rough and dogmatic. he forced himself to act well by appealing to reasons. health and sickness.44 To achieve his end. therefore. His charge against Socrates. is that he was un­ able to act as he would have wanted “instinctively. Self-mastery is a state where all our desires. The task o f philosophy is not to improve the culture at large but to cul­ tivate the indiyiduairTKesetv^oonFe^oHs^"oTpKilosopfiy are not nec­ essarily incompatible: new individuals establish new modes of life. instinct is for Nietzsche.43 In his early works. he took a radically individualist turn. But one of his central ideas is precisely that no human fea­ ture (or any other thing in the world) can be judged in itself: “There is much filth in the world. might be objectionable. The very issue of choosing between alternatives seems to disappear. least aware o f its logic. 13:313). as he put it. features liked and despised—into a single. when “necessity [is] freedom itself” (Z III: “On Old and New Tablets. its utility)” (WP 439. works composed or left unfinished. The first was to put absolutely every­ thing he was faced with—events peculiar to him alone: accidents o f birth and growth. mark precisely the absence o f real self-mastery. But that doesn’t make the world . is that the two o f them stand at opposite poles o f a single scalć. Reasons. who must still act by means of reasons. not given but achieved. as Socrates’ case indicates. Here. He saw his task to be that o f fashioning him­ self.

. it is the thought that if one were tb live over again. the self one fashions. ensnared. hap­ piness! Abide. ensnared. 3:530) But what is it to affirm the whole o f which all these features and events have been made parts? The answer is provided by the thought of the eter­ nal recurrence. not in all eternity. when the work is finished. then you have said Yes too to all woe.—To “give style” to one’s character —a great and rare art! It is practiced by those who survey all the strengths and weaknesses of their nature and then fit them into an artistic plan until every one of them appears as art and reason and even weaknesses delight the eye. and nothing else:45 “My formula for greatness for a hu­ man being is amorfati: that one wants nothing to be different. if only it was a single taste! (GS 290. “Have you said Yes to a single joy? O my friends. 5:335). and living.” 14. it becomes evident how the con­ straint of a single taste governed and formed everything large and small. Not merely bear what is neces­ sary. And to accomplish that. all entangled. The second task presupposed by the effort to become who one is re­ quires that the whole one constructs. . one will have to become something significandy new. exactly the same down to its tiniest detail. enamored. if ever you wanted one thing twice. . enamored —oh. In Zarathustra’s words. all eternally. This is not the senseless view that everything in the world has occurred and will occur again exactly in the same way infinitely many times. That is the first aspect of Nietzsche's “im- moralism” : “If a temple is to be erected a temple mustfirst be destroyed: that is the law” (G M I I 24. moment!5then you wanted all back. Rather. one would want the very life one has already had. it will be necessary to break some long-accepted rules. one must develop an unprecedented way of doing things. feel­ ing.” 10. be significandy different from all others.142 TH E ART OF LIVING itself a filthy monster” (Z III: “On Old and New Tablets. All anew. The value of everything depends on its contribution to a whole of which it can be seen as a part: One thing is needful. then you loved the world” (Z IV: “ The Drunken Song. then one is not distinguishable from the rest of the world: one has not become an individual. 4:402). . If it isn5t. Whether this taste was good or bad is less important than one might sup­ pose. . 6:297). one will have to produce. But to be differ­ ent in a significant way. 4:256). “You please me. but love it” (EH II: 10. . still less conceal i t . if ever you said. not backward. in turn. of thinking. To want the eternal repetition of one5s life is to be perfecdy happy with the life one has lived. In the end. some principles and practices that have been taken for granted so far. not for­ ward. To become something significandy new. AJ1 things are entangled.

’ A: £So?’ ”46 Individuality. however. That is one aspect o f his “perspectivism. . I f everyone adopts a par­ ticular style. not to stand out. like Montaigne’s. as J do. a fact: “Imitators.” He believes. the style disappears: it becomes just the normal way to act. in any straightforward sense. He insists that human beings are “herd animals” because ) he believes that to be good is to fit in with one’s world. Morality. would have put it. It does not allow you to follow. to prevent the temple’s destruction: “ “Whom do [the good] hate the most?’ The creator they hate the most: the creator breaks tablets and old values and is a breaker. cannot. Nietzsche is remarkable among j the philosophers o f the art o f living because he was so conscious o f that danger and so disturbed by its possibility. is an essentially individ. like style. Success in creating yourself may cause its own failure. is an effort to prevent the creadon of new possibilities. I wish that every­ body would fashion his own example. requires multiplicity and opposition. if others imitate you. The individuality o f one’s own story is threatened both because it may be an imitation of a model supplied by someone else and because it may itself become a model that others will in turn imitate. it will be one’s own story and not the story dictated by the standards j accepted generally by one’s world. for instead of creating yourself you | would then be imitating that other person. For if others in fact imitate you. more | dangerous manner. NIETZSCHE ON “THE PROBLEM OF SOCRATES” 143 Nietzsche’s self-fashioning.—A: ‘What? You want no imitators?’ B : T do not want to have people imitate my example. living degree zero.47 ^ That is the second part of Nietzsche’s immoralism. that each individual’s life consists of a unique combination o f events. j The standards of good action enjoin everyone to act alike. j not to threaten or upset the lives that most people are capable o f living. They have even j been used to convince many of those who could have acted diiferendy to | deny their difference. Individuality. Individuals must be at least partially j independent of the standards that govern their world. It is no longer you. There is no general method for putting one’s own story together — if. as he sees it. to become members o f the herd. in a darker. Nietzsche is well aware that the life he fashioned for himself need not. as we shall see. j the example set by someone else. as Nietzsche . it becomes. j ual project. is i threatened not only if you imitate someone else but also. then what distinguished you from your world be­ comes part o f that world. if your way o f life appeals enough to the rest o f the world and can become a paradigm o f how life can be lived. But Nietzsche be­ lieves that these standards generally determine which actions count as moral and good. and probably should not be held as a direct example o f imitation. as Montaigne did. The combination o f these two dangers is one o f the reasons Nietzsche’s atti­ tude toward Socrates turns out to be so complex. that is.


whom they call lawbreaker. For the good are unable to create; they are al­
ways the beginning of the end: they crucify him who writes new values
on new tablets” (Z III: “On Old and New Tablets,” 26; 4:266).48 In very
general terms, morality begins by focusing on the principles dictated by
the needs of a particular group. These principles depend, they are “condi­
tional,” on the group’s desire to survive as it is: no one who rejects that
desire need follow them. But morality hides the interested and partial ori­
gins of such conditional principles. It requires that they be accepted not
because they are useful to a particular and common type of person and to
that type of person only. It claims that they are unconditional, that they
must be accepted simply because they are the right principles of action in
general and therefore binding on all people, whatever their particular views,
/ needs, and desires, and not only on some particular group for its own pur­
poses. For example, the moral imperative not to cause harm, “listened to
calmly and without previous bias, really amounts to no more than: cwe
weak ones are, after all, weak; it would be good if we did nothing/??- which
we are not strong enough*; but this dry matter of fab:, this prudence of the
lowest order which even insects possess . . . has . . . clad itself in the os­
tentatious garb of the virtue o f quiet, calm resignation, just as if the weak­
ness of the weak—that is to say, their essence—were a voluntary achieve­
ment, willed, chosen, a deed^ a meritorious act” (GM 1:13; 5:280). Morality
turns prudence into virtue and necessity into choice.
It was Socrates who, Nietzsche has claimed, first made value judgments
moral. In their original context within early Greek culture, value judg­
ments were made as a matter of course, on the unspoken assumption that
the culture and its survival demanded them. They were therefore condi­
tional on the welfare of that particular culture—in Kantian terms, they
were “hypothetical” and prudential. But Socrates claimed that value
judgments should be unconditional. He argued that if they were to be
binding on anyone, they had to be supported by reasons that apply to
everyone alike, whatever their different needs and purposes. Socrates
therefore originated the view that the fact that a mode o f life advances
the interests and purposes o f particular people or groups is never a moral
reason for accepting it. We should adopt a course o f action only if it is
right, if it embodies values that are real and views that are true. Follow­
ing a way o f life for prudential reasons is a matter of choice, a question
o f wanting to be like those whose way o f life it is, whether that fife is or
is not a good one. Following a way of life for moral reasons is a matter
o f obligation, a question o f recognizing its rightness. Goodness and truth,
like virtue and knowledge, go together.


Nietzsche rejects the “dogmatism55that recognizes only a single mode
of life as good. His perspectivism denies that truth and value are inher­
ently connected and insists that different people need to live in different
ways.49 Perspectivism has two components. The first is epistemological.
It is a denial of “the correspondence theory of truth,55the idea that all our
true views are true because they bear a particular relation—the relation
of correspondence—to the world. Nietzsche, who wrote that “facts are
precisely what there is not, only interpretations55 (WP 481; 12:315), can­
not possibly accept that idea. But are “interpretations55or perspectives sim­
ply a matter of taste? Or are some of them true? And if they are, what ac­
counts for their truth?
Arthur Danto has answered that Nietzsche believed that perspectives
are true if and only if they “enhance and facilitate life.55 Nietzsche, ac­
cording to Danto5s influential interpretation, “advanced a pragmatic cri­
terion of truth: p is true and q is false if p works and q does not.5550A few
passages in Nietzsche might seem to suggest that he was sometimes
tempted to accept such a theory.51 But others show that he rejects Prag­
matism in the most uncompromising terms: “Life no argument. —We have
arranged for ourselves a world in which we can live — by positing bodies,
lines, planes, causes and effects, motion and rest, form and content; with­
out these articles o f faith nobody could now endure life. But that does
not prove them. Life is no argument. The conditions o f life might include
error5552The most basic ideas and judgments that secure survival may, for
all we know, still be false. Nietzsche refuses to accept the Pragmatists5iden­
tification of truth with utility.
Textual reasons aside, to attribute this identification to Nietzsche is to
open his thought to one o f his own central objections against dogmatism.
Why do we believe that the value o f truth is unconditional, that “nothing
is needed more than truth, and in relation to it everything else has only
second-rate value55? No calculation of utility can lead to that conviction:
“What do you know in advance o f the character of existence to be able to
decide whether the greatest advantage is on the side o f the uncondition­
ally mistrustful or the unconditionally trusting? But if both should be re­
quired . . . from where would science then be permitted to take its un­
conditional faith or conviction on which it rests, that truth is more
important than any other thing? Precisely this conviction could never have
come into being i f both truth and untruth constantlyproved to be useful, which
is the case”53 Pragmatism denies just this divergence between truth and
value. In that, it is at one with classical Rationalism; but though Ratio­
nalism generally explains value by grounding it on truth, Pragmatism col­


lapses truth into value. Nietzsche is not a Pragmatist, nor does he accept
any other theory of the nature of truth. ‘H e holds instead the controver­
sial and important view that there is no point in trying to explain what
truth is. He does not believe that a definition of truth, a single informa­
tive explanation why all our true views are true, exists. Many people be­
lieve that unless there is such a definition, none o f our views can ever be
true; or that, if they are, they are true for no reason at all. But that is wrong.
We can give specific reasons, sometimes very complex ones, for everything
that we know: such reasons are different in each particular case; some are
as simple as the fact that the cat is on the mat, others as complex as the ar­
guments that support contemporary physics. Perspectivism denies that all
those reasons can be generalized into a formula that is both informative
and correct. If our definition of truth is correct, it will turn out to be triv-
ial; if it is informative, it will fail to apply to all truths.
, Nietzsche often tries to explain why people believe that some views
are true: sometimes he claims that their reason is their faith in their util­
ity;54 sometimes he writes that such views enhance their own feeling o f
power.55 But these reasons explain only why we are willing to consider
that some of our beliefs, whether that is or is not in fact the case, are true.
They have nothing to do with the truth o f the beliefs themselves.
It might seem that if we lack a general theory o f truth we cannot judge
whether any particular view is or is not true. I f you don’t know what truth
is, how can you recognize it when you come upon it> Some people, in
fact, might be tempted to believe that if you don’t have such a theory you
are not entitled to claim that anything is true: a theory of truth can be
conceived, in part, as a standard that allows us to decide which of our be­
liefs are and which are not true; without such a standard, it would be im­
possible to make that decision. I do not accept that position, which is,
ironically, a version o f what has been called “the Socratic fallacy.”56 This
latter view, which is in fact a fallacy but which, even more ironically,
Socrates did not hold, is that if you don’t know what, for example, jus­
tice or courage is you cannot recognize any of its instances. But of course
you can, and the Socratic elenchus requires it: Socrates, for example, could
not refute Laches, who said that courage is standing one’s ground against
the enemy, by arguing that the Scythians fight courageously while they
retreat unless he was able to recognize that their behavior was courageous.
But he clearly admits that he does not know what courage is. The fact is
that without a theory of courage we cannot always decide whether an ac­
tion is courageous; without a theory o f truth we cannot always decide
whether a belief is true. But it does not follow from the fact that we lack


such a theory that we can never recognize when we are being confronted
with an instance of courage or truth.57
Perspectivism entails that some cases are not decidable, not that none
is. There probably are perspectives that share so little ground that though
they compete with one another—though no one can live with both o f
them at the same time—it is still impossible for their adherents to resolve
their differences even under the best possible conditions o f communica­
tion. That all such differences can be resolved, at least in principle, is the
dream o f dogmatism. I f there are general ahistorical standards of cor­
rectness that establish what does and what does not count as true once
and for all, and if these standards are at least in principle acceptable to
everyone, then with enough time and good will no case would be left un­
resolved. But that is just a dream; I am not even sure it is pleasant.
Perspectivism holds that there are only “interpretations” because no
single overarching view o f the world is binding on everyone. But that
may seem to undermine itself: “Does perspectivism entail that perspec­
tivism itself is but a perspective, so that the truth o f this doctrine entails
that it is false?”58 It does not. Perspectivism entails only that it is itself a
perspective—nothing follows from that regarding its truth. To decide
whether perspectivism is or is not true, we need to argue the case in de­
tail and, as we do in all cases o f disagreement, offer specific arguments
against it. To be a perspective and “but a perspective” are not at all the
same. For one view is “but” a perspective only relative to another, ac­
knowledged to be superior. It is only in relation to such a superior per­
spective (which has yet to be produced) that perspectivism can appear*
merely as a perspective and to that extent false. Perspectivism may be
false—that is to be decided by argument —but it does not, as many people
believe and in contrast to relativism, undermine itself on purely logical
In slightly more detail, the situation is this. You try to refute my view
that all views are interpretations by arguing that my view is itself only an
interpretation. But to show that my view is only an interpretation, you
must produce your own alternative view. I f that view is itself an inter­
pretation, then perspectivism is not refuted. I f it is not, however, then we
need to discuss it. We may decide that you are wrong and that your view
was after all an interpretation (in that case, it would be appropriate to say
that it was only an interpretation!) or that you are right — that you pro­
duced a view that is not an interpretation. In that case, perspectivism turns
out to be false, but not because it undermined itself. It is false because it has
been proved to be so by a better view. But that is the way in which every


view, perspectivist or dogmatist, is refuted. There is therefore nothing log­
ically vicious or even suspicious about perspectivism.
Perspectivism may therefore be true after all, and perspectivists have
no difficulty in holding that many of their views are themselves true. But
does the fact that a perspective, or a view, is true give us enough o f a rea­
son to accept it? We generally think that it does: what other good reason
could we have for accepting a position? But Nietzsche answers that ques­
tion in clearly negative terms. That is the second, evaluative, and more
controversial component of perspectivism: people need not believe some-,
thing just because it is true, just as they need not reject it just because it
is false. This apparently paradoxical view is very important to him; any­
thing else would commit him to the idea that the value of truth is un­
conditional, that no other value can compete with it and that nothing is
really valuable unless it is also true—a Platonist position that, we shall
noyv see, he rejects in the strongest terms.
We must be careful here; we need to distinguish between someone who
is already within a perspective and someone who is looking at that per­
spective from the outside. From a first-person point of view, if I already
accept a certain view, I cannot also believe that I have a choice whether
to believe it or not. Belief is just the attitude we take toward (what we
consider) the truth. From within a perspective, the value of truth cannot
be overridden: I only accept the views I consider true and reject the views
I consider false. It makes no sense for me to say that I believe something
because it is in my interest to do so even though I know it is not true.59
From a third-person point of view, however, perspectivism becomes
more disturbing. From a third-person, point of view, truth and value di­
verge. I may agree with Nietzsche to “ reject the Christian interpretation
and condemn its "meaning5as counterfeit55(GS 357; 3:600), but I may also
think that there is no reason to convince Christians to give up their faith:
“ Christianity, it seems to me, is still needed by most people in old Eu­
rope even today; therefore it still finds believers55(GS 347; 3:581). It is not
at all obvious that it would be better for all Christians to lose their faith.
Perhaps they might then live in the truth, but it is not clear that they could
survive that life.
Truth and falsity are not relative concepts for perspectivism, as they are
for relativism: a view either is true or is not, whatever anyone thinks.60What
is relative—to particular people, to their abilities, needs, and desires—is
value. Section 344 of The Gay Science makes it absolutely clear that both
truth and falsehood are essential to survival. So truth does not have an un­
conditional value: it is not always and in all circumstances good. Whether

5:156). who claims that Nietzsche “opposes” Christianity. says that Chris­ tianity is “harmful.61 Perspectivism holds that I can believe both that your views are false and that it is good for you to hold them. Capable o f separating truth from value and of seeing Christianity from both points o f view. It also holds that you can believe the same about me. for example. according to Nietzsche. Nietzsche’s perspectivism implies that it is impossible for most people to accept the perspective that he himself articulates in his work. Christianity is. Perspectives are therefore to be judged. life as a whole. as Danto claimed. once we see that the question we must ask is “Harmful to whom?” the issue no longer is whether Nietzsche “opposes” Christianity—though of course he does not “accept” it either. Moralities must “finally reach agreement that it is immoral to say: Svhat is right for one is right for the other’ ” (BGE 221. It is just for that reason that Nietzsche does not simply reject Chris­ tianity (or any o f the many other perspectives he abhors). Nietzsche here man­ ifests perfectly what he means by “objectivity”—not “ ‘contemplation without interest’ (which is a nonsensical absurdity)” but. But it does not make him what most people generally accuse him of being: an authoritarian. There is therefore no obligation on the part of those who know (or think they know) the truth to try to convince all oth­ ers o f it. But “life” here cannot mean. who need to believe that their values are given to them indepen­ dently of their own idiosyncrasies and preferences.62 Such an attitude is haughty. as we have seen. disdainful. and contemptuous—just as it should be if it is to be true to Nietzsche. Nietzsche thinks that the idea of “the death of God” is harmful to most people. N IETZSCH E ON “THE PROBLEM OF SOCRATES” 149 it is or not depends on the kind of person you are and on the circumstances in which you find yourself. we must always ask. perhaps to­ talitarian thinker who believes that his point o f view (or the point o f view of some “select” group) must be imposed on everyone else. as he meant. “ To whose life does it contribute?” There is absolutely no reason to think that a perspective that is good for one type of person will also be good for an­ other—not to speak of “ all others. the life of all people. In evaluating a perspective. The effort to convince others o f it—the effort that Zarathustra makes.” We share no common ground that makes what is good for one good for all or good in itself.63 Maudemarie Clark. by their con­ tribution to life. . False as it is. good for most people: they would be totally asea without it. in the early stages o f his return to the world and in the early parts o f Nietzsche’s book about him—is bound either to fail or to cause them harm. in vain. On the con­ trary. For the truth may be harmful to those others: so.”64 But.

as with Plato). good and evil. ^The typical philosopher is here an absolute dogmatist” (WP 446. proceeds from the profound in­ stinct that one does not make human beings better when one represents to them that virtue is demonstrable and asks for reasons. And. The following passage ties together a number of themes we have already discussed and finally brings us back to the issue with which we began: “ The struggle against Socrates. desires. believe that the mode of life that is best for them in their particular circumstances is also best for all human beings. life but does not insist that many. Socrates attacked his illness. working. . all the Socratic schools. and willing —calm breathing. or any. He fi­ nally reached “maturity and mastery in the midst of doing. looked into him­ self and found within a mass of unruly. THE ART OF LIVING “the ability to control one’s Pro and Con and to dispose of them. a sick man. Socrates. He forced himself to act only when he found rea­ sons for doing so and convinced the world that everyone should try to be like him. Nietzsche claims. creating. On Nietzsche's own account. whatever their varying needs. Instead. He denounced all his impulses save one as evil and used that one —reason—to master the rest: in the end he thought that reason was the only part of himself that was truly good and that made him who he really was. 12:377). . 5:364-65). Socrates realized that his whole . or could. or indeed could. That he or­ ders human beings of all kindsgradatim up to his type as the highest. in Nietzsche's terms. at the hour of his death. and producing a coher­ ent self that he but no one else needed to.”651 think that he never partic­ ipates in what is simply another version of the apostolic mission. Ultimately. Only dogmatists insist on that: “ What is regressive in the philosopher? That he teaches that his qualities are the necessary and sole qualities for the attainment of the ‘highest good5(e. others should.g. Contrary to the view that Nietzsche can only condemn Christianity if he commends “the opposed ideal to universal attention. capable of acting in the in­ stinctive manner he praises as the mark o f perfection. battling impulses. so that one knows how to employ a variety of «perspectives and affective inter­ pretations in the service of knowledge” (GM III: 12. According to the same account. accept it. and abilities. dialectic. affirm. by contrast. Plato. Dogmatists. 13:330-31). he fashioned—created—himself by us­ ing everything he was faced with. He constructed a harmonious self. attained ‘freedom of the will5” (TI V:3. Nietzsche advocates his own personal view of the world and . But instead of simply acknowledging that he was. it is the measly fact that the agonal instinct in all these born dialecticians com­ pelled them to glorify their personal ability as the highest quality and to represent all other goods as conditioned by it” (WP 441. . 6:85).

73). . Socrates was not a “physician” . It meant standing truth on her head and denying perspective^ the basic condition of all life. is Plato’s creation. 6:295). . as I remarked earlier.5he said softly to himself.” But who are those “gen­ . . Socrates died denouncing himself and life. in the wisdom o f his courage to die: not Athens. Plato. Plato’s invention of pure spirit and the good as such. “I do not want in the least that anything should become different than it is. come from the Phaedo. the creature. matters were only that complicated! By and large. ‘Socrates is no physician. . wishing he had been someone else altogether. but he himself chose the hemlock. for his creator’s fault. have always found themselves. If only. Nietzsche actually admits as much in this very complex passage: The worst. . the effort to articulate an ideal mode o f life that all ought to ap­ proximate so far as they are able.. 5:145-47) may pro­ vide us with the beginnings of an answer: “Genuine philosophers. as a physician one might ask: “How could the most beautiful growth of antiquity. Indeed. The dogmatism that Nietzsche attributes to both66 may then be Plato’s and not Socrates’ in­ vention. Why? Why such obvious twists and turns? Why such unforgiving vehemence? Why this smallness of spirit that is so uncharacteristic of Nietzsche in all his other serious personal and intellectual relationships? Another passage from Beyond Good and Evil (212. he forced Athens to sentence him. . Socrates’ dy­ ing words. in which Plato has left the silent figure of his early works behind and has be­ gun to give expression to his own otherworldliness. and most dangerous of all errors so far was a dogmatist’s error—namely. But he insists on blam­ ing Socrates. Socrates himself has merely been sick a long time’ ” (12. And the question I return to is. 5:12) Nietzsche’s questions suggest that he saw that philosophical dogma­ tism. only death could cure him of the misery his life had constituted. It is difficult to think that the opposition between them could have been more stark. and had to find themselves. this most brilliant of self-outwitters? Was this what he said to him­ self in the end. I myself do not want to become different” (EH II 9. While Nietzsche could write. contract such a disease? Did the wicked Socrates corrupt him after all? Could Socrates have been the corrupter of youth after all? And did he deserve the hem­ lock?” (BGE Pref. ‘here death alone is the physi­ cian. in contradiction to their today: their enemy was ever the ideal of today. most durable. Nietzsche’s image of Socrates depends on Plato. being of necessity people of tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. NIETZSCHE ON “THE PROBLEM OF SO CRATES” effort —that he—had been a huge mistake: “Did he himself comprehend this. which are essential to that image.

Amazingly. But Nietzsche. consistendy choose disadvan­ tageous methods o relieve themselves o f their pains. was more complex than Socrates: “Apart from the fact that I am a decadent. What exacdy are the opposite poles o f the scale each is supposed to occupy if both. as he did into the flesh and heart o f the ‘noble. not cold enough.” That is. In the situation in which he found himself. unlike mere “philosophical laborers. “that in questions of decadence I am experienced?” (EH In .” But his readers know. surrounded by the degenerate aristocrats of his time who pursued pleasure but still re­ peated “the ancient pompous words to which their lives no longer gave them any right.” Decadents. by his own admission. I possessed a di­ alectician’s claritypar excellence and thought through with very cold blood matters for which under healthier circumstances I am not mountain- climber. But such a radical revaluation of values makes Socrates as surely an “immoralist” in relation to his world as Nietzsche wished to appear in relation to his own. he goes on to tell us in this strange book. accompanied by laborious vomiting o f phlegm. Socrates was a “decadent. that Socratic assurance o f the old physician and plebeian who cut ruthlessly into his own flesh. for example in the most famous case. And now the neat and extreme contrast Nietzsche has drawn between Socrates and himself begins to lose its clear outlines. “in what way I consider dialectic as a symptom o f decadence.”69 a sick man who could not control his inner chaos and tyrannized it by means o f reason and di­ alectic. But. irony may have been required for greatness of soul. it is Socrates.” “Need I say after all this. he has always “instinctively chosen the right means. Socrates rejected the anti-intellectual values and fashions o f his age that allowed some people to act differently from others. decadents always . relied instead on the universal reason that dictates that all should act alike. one could reply.’”68 Nietzsche goes on to credit Socrates with introducing the radically new principle of equality in opposition to the bankrupt hi­ erarchical ideals of his time. He explicidy connects his sickliness to his own dialectical abilities: “In the midst of the torments that go with an uninterrupted three-day mi­ graine. he confesses. Nietzsche was a “decadent” too.3with a look that said clearly enough: 'Don’t dissemble in front of me! Here— we are equal. I am also the opposite. TH E ART OF LIVING uine philosophers”?67 Nietzsche offers only one example. the case o f Socrates.” he concludes. and convinced the rest of the world to follow him. He opens Ecce Homo by writing that he has inherited his dead father’s deli­ cacy. 6:264-65). by contrast. not subde.” refuse to accept the values o f their world and instead create new ones? Well. he claims.

confessing that “a single glass o f wine or beer a day is quite sufficient to turn my life into a vale of misery” (EH II:i. He believes neither in “misfortune” nor in “guilt”: he comes to terms with himself. who wore the same tunic winter and summer and always went barefoot. he knows how toforget—he is strong enough. whose pleasure. Nietzsche. Nietzsche. But I cannot help thinking that his description o f the person “who has turned out well” applies perfecdy to the Socrates o f Plato’s early works. But even here. what does not kill him makes him stronger. and the question who is decadent and who is healthy begins to appear perfecdy senseless. . human beings. who believed neither in misfortune nor in guilt. . and never wrote a word —compare them in these and in many other respects. for I have just described myself” (EH In . . with Socrates. . too.70 Nietzsche. who was consistendy in his own company. his delight cease where the measure of what is good for him is transgressed. Nietzsche did not see the parallel between Socrates and himself. his pleasure. That allows him to conclude: “Well then. always in conversa­ tion. Perhaps he is right. while healthy people do not. has a taste only for what is good for him. . Perhaps all these are merely superficial features. 6:266-67). who was always in public. hence everything must turn out for his best. who prides himself that his bulging eyes allow him to see not only ahead but side­ ways as well. . What is re­ markable to me is that as astute an observer and as sensitive a reader as he was. who was the embodiment of health. with Socrates. spending his life writing frantically. with Socrates. conformity or distinction — and on the life one constructs. Or did he? Compare Nietzsche. the difference between . whose prodigious drinking always left him perfecdy sober. . sick most o f his life (and making his sickness part o f the subject o f his writing). . NIETZSCHE ON “THE PROBLEM OF SOCRATES” 153 harm themselves in the end. 6:280). squinting his way through the world. . away from everyone. I am the opposite o f a decadent. Nietzsche. with others. Real health and deca­ dence as Nietzsche understood them may depend on the goal one sets for oneself—stability or growth. with Socrates. . . ended where he saw harm to himself begin. or landscapes. He exploits bad accidents to his advantage. who also always knew what was good for him. Who are those healthy people? What allows us to recognize “who has turned out well”? Nietzsche answers: A well-turned out person . with Socrates. whether he associates with books. He is always in his own company. constandy bundled up against the cold. That is true.

it may also be true that. was one of the world’s truly great individuals. He tried to convince his readers that when the question is (as Socrates had put it) how we are to live. as if they were intended for everyone. his actions. in addition. Being able always to do the right thing without effort or hesitation and without reason. that in that respect great individuals are at the mercy o f their followers. It is true that Nietzsche also believed that. Nietzsche fought more passionately than any of the philoso­ phers o f the art of living to make it unforgettable that his views. one can never be sure o f pre­ venting it. his life were his own. Is that true of Socrates? We have seen that Plato’s early works show that Socrates spent his life searching for the technical or expert knowledge of the nature of arete that would have provided him with reasons for action. were not produced by such reasons. his val­ ues. In Nietzsche’s own eyes and on his own terms. then. Socrates was also at the mercy of his own author. Socrates. THE ART OF LIVING Socrates and himself turns out to be slighter than Nietzsche would want to believe. whatever else he thought o f him. who may take their views and try to apply them dogmatically. however. . if Socrates’ own project had not after all been so different from Nietzsche’s? What would that say about Nietzsche’s own philosophical work? One could argue that Socrates and Nietzsche differ most deeply because Nietzsche articulated a mode of life in which one’s actions follow essen­ tially and effortlessly from one’s nature while. Socrates always had to appeal to reasons—to force—to choose and justify his life. who created one of the greatest universalist philosophical systems in history. But perhaps that is what happens to all great individuals. whatever his theoretical views. those are their readers. as he saw it.71 But he knew that he had no control over the future. though he was an individual. which Plato depicts as invariably moral and right. But. The reason is that Socrates was the only one among Nietzsche’s “ed­ ucators” from whom he could never be sure he had emancipated himself. being admirable is more important than being con­ vincing. Socrates had succeeded in liv­ ing as “instinctively” as Nietzsche claimed he had lived himself. Socrates created a universalist conception of human life that became the signpost of a culture Nietzsche detested. To see that. But since that was a knowledge he never acquired. In most cases. And if that is so. not models for the world as a whole. of one’s self. Socrates and dogmatism are never far apart. we must return to the question why Nietzsche at­ tacked Socrates with such unrelenting passion. However much one anticipates and defends oneself against the dogmatic appropriation o f one’s life. What. they constituted a mystery: they had no source. is exactly what Nietzsche praises as “instinctive” action.

Nietzsche might have realized that in following Socrates. NIETZSCH E ON “THE PROBLEM OF SOCRATES” 155 And since Nietzsche. In addition. in “imitating” Socrates. too. was that he could never be sure that Socrates’ ugly face was not after all a reflection o f his own. after all.73 Could the great ironist. that in following. I believe. What. would there be for Nietzsche to fight against? I believe there was still much —especially Plato and the image o f Socrates o f his middle works that Nietzsche. I believe. who he said he was. forever gnawing at him. o f course. But he could never be sure that his own project was not also the project of the character who animated the tradition against which he defined him­ self. then. He could therefore never be sure that his project was not the same as the project o f the tradition he denounced. dogmatic philosophy and to make a conscious effort to fashion himself as an inimitable individual.”74 have yet another. Socrates constituted an immense problem for him. Socrates was neither his “model” nor his “villain. But Nietzsche’s gratitude to his whole life seems to stop short o f Socrates. which was not so different from that o f his great opponent? Could Socrates. sometimes suspected that just that was the case. Nietzsche must have asked himself. is because he felt so close and in such competition with him that to acknowledge him would have seemed to him an acknowledgment that he himself was not. because o f everything that had led him there. what did that say about the originality o f Nietzsche’s project? Can one be liberated from philosophy or from Socrates as long as one is still writing about them. Nietzsche took his project to be to attack traditional. part and parcel o f the philosophy from which he wanted to dissociate himself? Was Socrates perhaps not part o f the op­ posing tradition but Nietzsche’s ally? And if he was an ally. have been a self-fashioner in Nietzsche’s manner? But that would make Nietzsche a self-fashioner in Socrates’ manner. identified with the original behind the reflection. in whom Nietzsche discerned “three souls. he was still establishing a life o f his own and very dif­ ferent from that of Socrates himself. for his own purposes. even if only to condemn them? The problem o f Socrates was for Nietzsche the problem raised by all these questions. That. he was still fashioning his own example (as Socrates also had). and he could never resolve it to his satisfaction. Nietzsche’s attitude toward Socrates was therefore fundamentally am­ bivalent. despite the fact that he was one o f its most important parts.”72 His con­ stant problem. Ecce Homo begins with an acknowledgment o f Nietzsche’s gratitude to his whole life because o f what he had accomplished in its last three months and also. Was he perhaps. But I also like to think that there might have been moments in his life .

and when Montaigne and Horace will be employed as forerun­ ners and signposts to an understanding of this simplest and most imper­ ishable of intercessors. however pronounced one’s features happen to be. the time will come when one will take up the memorabilia of Socrates rather than the Bible as a guide to morals and reason. leads us back to the Socrates whose silence I am trying to hear among its many echoes. from which one might conclude that Socrates’ most personal characteristic was a par- f . 156 TH E ART OF LIVIN G when Nietzsche could have simply enjoyed the Socrates o f Plato’s early dialogues and might have appreciated a passage he had written years be­ fore he denounced Socrates as life’s great enemy. . once again. The pathways of the most various philosophical modes of life lead back to him. Let me end by quoting it. almost not to have a face at all. And that. especially because it returns us precisely where we began: Socrates. at bottom they are the modes of life of the various temperaments confirmed and established by reason and habit and all of them directed towards joy in living and in one’s own self.75 But to participate in every temperament is to participate in none. —If all goes well. ticipation in every temperament. to be blank.

All-Too-Human and the decadent. in its specifically non-political nature. care—whose care is the care o f the self Michel Foucault. Nietzsche’s interpretation o f Socrates’ last words—ccO Crito. Nietzsche needed to construct the later. n8a7-8) — 157 . pessimistic. for which Nietzsche came to hold Socrates responsible and which he took upon himself to unmask and fight. Do sacrifice it to him. 6 A Fate for Socrates5 Reason— Foucault on the Care of the Self W hat runs through the whole cycle concerning Socrates’ death is the establishment. And if they were. if they were after all allies and not enemies. 15 February 1984 Nietzsche left us two pictures of Socrates: his earlier por­ trait of the Montaignesque. do not forget” (Phd. Lecture at the Collegfe de France. thefoundation. the originality and importance of Nietzsche's own project might appear disputable. silent Socrates of the UntimelyMed­ itations and of Human. we owe Asclepius a rooster. He never could be sure that he and Socrates were not involved in the same project of self-creation. his individualist task ran the risk of collapsing into the dog­ matist view that one and only one type of life is good for all human be­ ings. cheerful. which cares for. Though the former is far preferable. gruesome figure of his later works whose last words revealed that he had suffered life as a disease. negative figure because his own feelings to­ ward Socrates were so deeply ambivalent. o f a form o f discourse which is primarily occupied with. More dangerous.

to truth and wisdom. among many others. he offered a radically new interpretation of Socrates5saying and his attitude toward philosophy and life. Foucault begins his new interpretation by repeating Nietzsche’s ques- tionin The Gay Science: “ Is it possible that a man like [Socrates]. with the theme of the care of the self (iavrov imixeXeLodat). had always assumed) but that “we” owe Asclepius a rooster. Crito visits Socrates in his prison cell and tries to convince him to escape from jail and avoid execution by appealing to what people will think of him for abandoning his children . Why. is etymologically connected throughout the Phaedo. Foucault assumes that part of the answer to that question is contained in the dialogue of which Crito is the protagonist.6 The debt is collective: Socrates and Crito. which is central to all three works. perhaps others as well. what can it be? Foucault approaches that ques­ tion through Dumézil. Foucault agrees that Socrates must be referring to a disease: that is the only possible interpretation of the reference to the sacrifice to Asclepius. He claims that Nietzsche’s pessimistic j Socrates does not fit with the figure we find either in the Phaedo itself or \ in the Apology. In that work. What is that collective debt (57) > Since Socrates addresses his last words to Crito. but only to a rooster?”3 He admits that he was disturbed by that question but was not able to answer it until he read Georges Dumezil’s interpretation of Plato’s line. In particular. is that important term now applied “not to the soul. He therefore concludes that Plato ! could not have meant Socrates’ last words as an indication that life is a disease. in various forms.” “to neglect” (a/xeAeiv). Let us start on our own interpretation of Foucault’s Socrates by look­ ing at his version of Socrates’ last words.1 Michel Foucault came to these words near the end of his own life. as well as in the Apology and the Crito. that health can be found only in another world. That word. 3:569). he was puzzled by the fact that Socrates’ very last word was the Greek term for ccto forget. who had lived his life cheerfully and like a soldier in the sight of everyone. following Dumézil. But while'Nietzsche answered that with his last words Socrates finally revealed the dark secret he carried j within him throughout his life. Foucault refuses to accept such a nega- | tive interpretation o f Socrates.2 He found them difficult to under­ stand. owe it to Asclepius together. i 58 THE ART OF LIVING has by now become almost canonical. from which he does not (as I would) distinguish the Phaedo j chronologically or philosophically. who had pointed out that Socrates says to Crito not that “J ” (as Nietzsche. should have been a pessimist?” (GS 340.4 And.5 But if the disease Socrates has in mind is not life itself. Fou­ cault asked.

7 We must there­ fore pay no attention to what people say. which will be able to prevent this cor­ ruption or to enable the soul to return to health from a corrupt state” (61). Inexpert advice harms and ultimately destroys (8loXXvol) the body (47a-c). then it is opinion reinforced by truth. nobility. 47di-2). If not. precisely the logos that characterizesphronesis [wisdom].Phd. FOUCAULT ON TH E CARE OF TH E SELF 159 and of his friends for abandoning him (Cr. we do not listen to what everyone says. that it was proper for Socrates to escape from prison. this is not a disease that can be treated by medical procedures. So also when we are concerned with the more important issues of justice. we shall corrupt and harm (8ta povfjLev . Socrates and Crito have their discussion. we must discuss the question of escape on our own. and a disease o f the soul at that.5. 3. Foucault consistently describes the Apology. his false belief. he continues. and goodness. namely.g. our soul (47c8-d5). engendered by his faith in popular opinion. He also . whether or not they are the views most people hold (46b-47a). 45a-46a). by the opinion of everyone and anyone. Crito loses the argument. Foucault points out that when the company that gathered round Socrates on the day of his execution was dispirited by the strength o f Simmias’ and Cebes’ ar­ guments against the soul’s immortality. we pay attention only to the advice of doctors or teachers of gymnastics. and the Phaedo as a single “cycle” concerned with Socrates’ death (e. with our eye not on opinion but on truth (48a5-n). . There is nothing obvious about the idea that false belief is a disease. The close connection he envisages to hold between the Phaedo and the Crito allows him to claim that Socrates’ last words refer to the disease of which Crito was cured in the course o f his dialogue with Socrates. . Socrates “cured” them (iaaaro) and convinced them to go on with their discussion (. as everyone agrees. When we take care of our body. To support his claim. 89c). But if it is true that it is produced by false opinion. it is even less worth living with a corrupted {hie^dapfjbivrj) soul.40). Socrates and Crito are therefore grateful to Asclepius because Crito has seen that it was right for Socrates to sub­ mit to the laws of Athens. Foucault claims that Plato’s comparison between the illness of the body and the soul’s disease suggests that the soul is sick when it has ideas that are unexamined and untested in regard to truth: “Certainly. it is not worth living with a corrupted (diefidap/jLevov) body. And if.. and Socrates remains in prison to die. as we are now: we must listen not to the many but to the expert (if one exists. the Crito. koX XcofirjoofieOa) the part of us that is improved by justice and destroyed by injustice. Socrates replies that we should pay attention only to the right views. it is the right logos.

and from which we must be cured” (67). This is <j. he on account of his imminent death (9oe-9ia). have no right to kill themselves without their masters’ permission (62b-c). . “ confirm . die with many false beliefs still in his soul. corrupts it. it suggests not the surveillance of prison guards but the solicitude o f parents: “It is therefore impossible to fit together . if it is. In that case. first. death can only serve to protect him from further infection. But if the false belief that Socrates should escape. why does Socrates use the plural when he refers to the debt to Asclepius? Why is the debt to the god for Crito’s cure Socrates’ own debt as well? Foucault answers. i6o TH E ART OF LIVING draws attention to Socrates5view that an argument that is pursued cor- recdy leads to the kind o f health (vytajs* &XeiV) ^ at ^ ° f them should desire—his friends on account of the rest o f their lives. He gives two reasons to showtEaTirdoes not. that “no harm can come to a good human being” and his statement that if his judges ac­ cept his accusers’ lies and condemn him they will harm themselves much more than him. Foucault argues that the vocabulary of “car­ ing” is always positive. he continues. But this implies that a false belief that harms the person who holds it also harms someone who does not accept either that or. Foucault argues that Socrates believes that the victory of error is everyone’s defeat. I therefore cannot accept Foucault’s idea that the illness Socrates has in mind is Crito’s false opinion. . expressed in the Apology (30c-d). potentially. since he can. and probably will. deprives it of health. not just the person’s whose error it is (69-71). But this implies that Socrates doesn’t see death as a cure that purges him of all false opinion. weak response: it is arbitrary and speculative. that Socrates is so close to his friends that if any one of them is ill. he claims that since Socrates runs the risk of being infected with a false belief as long as he is still alive. And that does not fit well with Socrates’ view. Socrates uses the plural “we” because he believes that Crito’s disease is his own as well. is only Crito’s. and therefore the disease it involves. no evidence supports it. Second. Crito’s disease is potentially his own as well. Thelirst is the pas­ sage where Socrates claims that suicide is wrong because “the gods care (i7n{i€\ovvTou) for us and we human beings are their possessions” . that a badly formed opinion is like an illness that affects the soul. and possessions. he should not be thanking the god for a cure that he is incapable of effecting.” Foucault concludes. perfectly the Critoh theme. I also cannot agree that. ccThese two texts. he himself suffers. Third. any other false opinion. Foucault’s case against the otherworldly interpretation of Socrates’ last words would be stronger if the Phaedo never represented life as a sick­ ness.

4 9 3 ^ i. 64d4-5). it is per­ fectly compatible with it: a sick person can always have excellent masters and companions. 8iai-2). so passionate. even though they may not always be able to effect a per­ fect cure and sometimes accomplish no cure at all. Plato himself uses it in such a context.9 In my view. Foucault’s second reason for thinking Plato cannot believe life is a dis­ ease is that Socrates believes that in the other world he will find. “no less than here. On the contrary. Much that he says is true. the Phaedo’s animosity toward the body is so intense. prevents Plato from using the vocabulary of caring to describe a life that he can be convinced is an illness. FOUCAULT ON TH E CARE OF THE SELF 161 the idea that life is a disease from which we can be freed through death and the idea that down here we are the charge and the concern of the gods” (51). “ Those who do philosophy correctly are preparing themselves for death. “this does not imply that we are here like sick patients who are trying to free themselves. That is true. Since death is the ultimate separation of the soul from the body.Phd.4 ) .10 Vulgar virtue. I believe that Foucault’s view o f Socrates is both suggestive and important and that his own con­ ception o f philosophy. Cmt. however. to liberate themselves. which places him solidly within the tradition of the art of living. His view o f philosophy is worth retaining. should be central to our own understanding o f philos­ ophy’s prospects. to live philosophically is to prepare oneself for death.8Noth­ ing. cf.” good masters and friends (O . care (em/xeA^ia) and disease do not at all exclude one another. 4 0 0 C 1 . To think philosophically—that is to say. “has nothing healthy [uyi£<T] about it” (69b8). But though Socrates’ view does not imply that life is a disease. in the Gorgias Plato had already appealed to the Or­ phic slogan “the body is a tomb” (acofia ayjfia. 64.-6. to live as close to death as being alive allows (6404-5. cf.a4. . to live philosophically—one must distance oneself from the body as much as possible and rely on the soul’s abilities alone. But despite my disagreements with him.” Socrates says while he is explaining how the body deprives the soul of true knowledge and virtue (. the term applies regularly to doc­ tors treating their patients. And even though those will be doubdess better than our present company. as opposed to the virtue of soul philosophers possess. 69c). to cure themselves of their illness” (51). Actually. then. Even by itself. that it is difficult to believe that Plato is thinking of life —the time when the soul is trapped in a body— as anything other than a dis­ ease. More strongly. that statement shows that Plato believes that an explicit con­ nection exists between embodied life and disease. His picture o f Socrates is worth contemplating. the virtue of the lovers o f the body ((j>iAoaa^arot).

relatives. and his explanation is that it is caused by the corrupt nature of the body. a preparation for death. The illness is life itself: the soul’s imprisonment in the body. . Socrates’ final words therefore also allude to the fact that philosophy has helped him and his associates come as close to a cure as it is possible for any embodied be- I ing. which is. independent of the body. False belief is. The body. For the first time. “itself by itself. The Phaedo. like all embodied beings. And though life and falsehood are inextricably connected. the soul. Only when the soul thinks rationally. and the intelligible world is a new one in Plato. How is that symptom corrected? It is corrected. he tries to ex­ plain it. not even sight and hearing. in­ troduces a radically new idea. its most accurate instruments. That is why the debt is collective. But the very idea that Socrates has philosophical associates with whom he shares views about the body. But if he thinks that the body is the source of error. Friends. however. The idea that Socrates now has philosophical disci­ ples also allows us to retain the plural subject of his last words and still accept Nietzsche’s otherworldly interpretation. when the soul finally leaves the body behind. is in any way his disciple. To practice philosophy is to leave more false ideas behind than other people do and to come closer to the truth than the rest of the world: it is to allow one’s life to be ruled by the soul and so to be as far removed from ordinary life as possible. can show us the truth. is the essence of philoso­ phy and the substance o f the philosophic life. Rational ( thought. Plato says. The Socratic dialogues contain many characters who are sympathetic to Socrates. but none o f them. Plato had always believed that most people live their whole lives in the grip of error and unexamined opinion: that is the underpinning of the elenchus throughout the Socratic dialogues. is the main obstacle to wisdom. through philosophy. he now writes in the Pbaedo. 1 can we hope to bring truth within our uneasy grasp (6sa-d).” free of the body’s bonds. false belief is not itself the illness of which Socrates suffers. so far as it can be. 162 THE ART OF LIVING Plato there adopted not simply the view that life is a disease but the much more pessimistic position that it is actually-a form of death. not even Nicias. that disease’s central symptom. our susceptibility to error. The group gathered round Socrates in the Phaedo reflects Plato’s own development and his expansion of Socratic thought into a system that can be communicated from one person to another in more or less explicit terms. Plato may well believe that death. he inevitably has. to re­ peat. will liberate Socrates from the false beliefs that. so to speak. Plato does not simply exhibit. as he had done before. a philo­ sophical group (iraipia) should all be grateful to the god for curing one of their own.


Foucault identified Socrates’ disease with false belief and asked how
he and his associates were (already) cured from it (71). I identified it with
life itself, but since I consider that error, false belief, and unexamined opin­
ion are symptoms of that disease, I asked how Socrates5friends came as
close as they did to the cure that Socrates (and only Socrates) is about to
accomplish completely. Our answer is the same: the cure is reached
through the process of taking care of oneself (em/xeAeia iavrov) that
constitutes the main task of philosophy. That is the central theme of all
of Plato’s early works, and it is given a radical expansion in the Phaedo.
The care of the self in the Apology and the Laches is the central theme
of Foucault’s final lectures. Foucault begins his discussion of thzApology,
which will be my own main concern in what follows, with the passage in
which Socrates tells the Athenians that his task has been to try to con­
vince each one of them, like a father or an older brother, to care for virtue
(€7Tt(jLe\<ELa6aL aperrjs). Socrates admits that it may seem strange that
he has admonished them only in private: if his task was as important as
he claims it is, why did he not try to communicate it to the citizens to­
gether, as a whole? Why did he avoid all involvement in public affairs and
politics (3ic4-d2)> He replies that his divine voice (daimonion), which
occasionally spoke to him and urged him to avoid certain courses o f ac­
tion, prevented him from doing so. The voice, he continues, was right:
had he tried to play a political role, the city would have already put him
to death long ago and he would have been of benefit neither to Athens
nor to himself (gid7-ei).
Socrates justifies his decision by appealing to two episodes When his
life was endangered because of his involvement in politics. But Foucault
points out that these are quite ambiguous: they undermine his claim that
the risk of death kept him away from politics as much as they support it.
In both episodes, Socrates took a public position against the prevailing
political system (democracy in one case, the Thirty Tyrants in the other)
because he thought “it better to be in danger along with law and justice
rather then take your side while you were contemplating injustice, out of
fear of prison or death” (32C1-3). The examples show that getting involved
in politics was really dangerous but also that the fear of death did not de­
ter Socrates from doing what he thought was right.
Was then the fear of death Socrates5real reason for avoiding politics?
Yes and no. No, because it wasn’t precisely the fear of death that kept him
out o f public life: his examples show that he was not afraid to risk his life
for the sake of right conduct. Yes, because if he had died, he would have
been useful neither to Athens, Foucault claims (16), nor—I add with


Socrates—to himself.11 Socrates’ voice kept him true to his “divine mis­
sion” ; that mission was personal: politics was irrelevant to it.12
Socrates’ mission is a radical new enterprise within the ethical and in­
tellectual world of Athens. It has two central features. First, it requires
: that one assume the task o f always telling the truth, even when that is un­
pleasant and distasteful to one’s audience. That is a version of the com-
i plex Greek notion of parrhêsia, which Foucault addressed in some detail
\ in the last two years o f his life.13 Parrhêsia, which means literally “saying
j everything,” was traditionally usedTô^desmBFffiê^ctivity oFcèltainln^
j dividuals who addressed the city or the monarch and confronted them
with difficult truths. It was, generally, a political category. It was Socrates,
according to Foucault, who for the first time extended the concept and
the practice ofparrbesia to the communication between individuals, one
o f whom—the truth-teller—is usually (as was often the case in the po-
htical context as well) o f a lower rank than the other. This confrontation
o f individuals constitutes a new, différent mode of truth-telling: it is the
truth-telling; associated not with poEScsbut with what we have come to
know"asjghilpsopi^In the person of Socrates,"pHÏÏôsopKyemerged as
the activity through which one individual confronts another with an im­
portant but not often welcome truth.
Philosophy, according to Foucault’s interpretation, began not so much
as an effort to present some general doctrines about the world or our
knowledge of it: its purpose was, rather, to change people’s lives on an
individual level. The view that philosophy was in ancient times primar-
ily a way o f life and not a purelytheoretical activity has been forcefully
expressed by Pierre Hadot, who had a considerable influence on Foucault’s
own thought. Needless to say, theory was never far away and very often
closer than Hadot believed. The Greek philosophers, from Socrates to
the Neoplatonists (with the possible exception of the Skeptics), were gen­
erally committed to many doctrinal views, but those were often instru­
ments in their effort to live the good life and not purely objects of pur­
suit in their own right.14 Eventually the philosophical life was pursued
not so much by individuals on their own but by members of distinct
schools.15 But Socrates, at least in the Apology ( 2 3 C 2 -7 , 33as-b8), insists
that he never established a school and that he undertook his divine mis­
sion completely by himself. He addressed individuals individually and only
as individuals.
The first feature of Socrates’ mission, then, is his individual attempt
to confront other individuals with some potentially unpleasant truths
about themselves. In the Apology, Socrates describes his practice in gen­


eral terms, though he also exemplifies it by telling the court a number of
things that please them not at all. In the Laches, the actual practice o f par­
rhesia becomes a central theme.16
Socrates’ philosophical truth-telling exhibits three crucial features.
First, its origin is very traditional: it springs from a divine source, the Del­
phic oracle, which said that no one was wiser than he (Ap. 2oe6-2ia8).
What is not traditional, however, is Socrates’ reaction to the oracle. He
does not either wait for its fulfillment or try to make an effort to inter­
pret it and then avoid it—that is what happens, for example, in the Oedi­
pus Rex and the Ion.17 Socrates3reaction to the oracle consists in a search
(tprjrrjoiS) and a test; in fact, the word he applies to his treatment of the
oracle is the very same word (iXeyy^etv) that refers to his usual dialecti­
cal practice o f refutation, the elenchus. Socrates, Foucault claims, does
not interpret the oracle; he discusses it in order to determine whether or
not it is true (20-22).18
Second, the test to which Socrates puts the oracle consists in his ex­
amining (e^erafeiv) his fellow citizens to determine whether in fact they
surpass him in wisdom. If anyone does, then the oracle will have been re­
futed (2ob9-C2). Testing the oracle is therefore testing the souls o f the
Athenians. It is an effort to see what they do and do not know, especially
about themselves, a confrontation o f their souls with Socrates’s own,
which therefore becomes, in Foucault’s word, the touchstone (fiaoavoS')
by which their own metal is tested.19
Third, Socrates’ test of the oracle, which consists in the elenchus, pro­
duces great hostility, including the charges that are about to bring him to
his death.20 But the dangers o f his mission do not in any way prevent
Socrates from persevering in it. A crucial feature, then, of Socratic par­
rhesia is that the risk of death, the risk that (he had said) prevented him
from playing a political role is also at the very heart of his own enterprise:
one should remain at one’s appointed task “and risk danger, taking noth­
ing into account, neither death nor anything else, aside from what is
shameful” (Ap. 28d8-io). Foucault, who definesparrhesia as “the courage
o f truth . . . the courage of speaking truly,” describes Socrates as a sol­
dier who remains always at his post, defending himself and his fellow cit­
izens (26-27).
The importance o f parrhesia, then, is the first central feature o f Socrates’
mission. Butparrhesia has a specific purpose, and that purpose constitutes
the mission’s second feature. That purpose, Foucault claims, is to attend
to his fellow citizens like a father or an older brother in order to show
them that what is important is not money or reputation but the care of


| themselves (cmfxeAeia&u iavrov, 3ib4~5; cf. 3605-7) —not a concern
j for the world but for wisdom, truth, and for their own soul ((f)p6vr}ocS‘,
dXrjO€ta, i/jvxrf? 29a). Socrates’ purposei^_tomake^eople care for them­
selves. And Foucault defines such care as the use of one’s reason in order
to find outjvho one is and how on£.can behest (28).
TKe divine voice that prevented Socrates from practicing politics, there­
fore, marks an immensely important distinction. It sets on one side tra­
ditional, political parrhesia, the public practice of telling one’s rulers or
fellow citizens a truth they might not want to hear and for which they
might punish the truth-teller. It sets on the other a different, more pri­
vate practice o f telling the truth, which, as Socrates’ fate itself testifies, is
equally risky and dangerous (31). As Foucault sees it, Socrates’ divine voice
inaugurates the practice of philosophy.
Socratic truth-telling is different from other modes of establishing the
truth: from prophecy, from the wisdom of the sage, and from the teach­
ing of the expert. Unlike the prophet, the diviner, or the ordinary person
who receives an oracle, Socrates, as we have seen, does not take divine
communications for granted. Unlike the sage, who intervenes only when
necessary, Socrates, so to speak, never leaves his post.21 Most important,
unlike the expert, Socrates does not transmit what he knows, or thinks,
or pretends to know to others. He has no knowledge to communicate.
As Foucault puts it, he shows courageously to others that they do not know
and that they must attend to themselves: “If I attend to you,” Foucault
writes, uncannily identifying his own voice with that of Socrates as he
does throughout these lectures, “it is not in order to transmit to you the
knowledge you lack, but so that, having realized that you know nothing,
you will learn thereby to care for yourselves” (35—3<S).22
We have seen that Foucault reads the Apology, the Crito, and the Phaedo
together, as-a single “cycle” concerning Socrates’ death. He establishes a
brilliant thematic link between these texts by connecting the theme of care
I (eTTLfjieXeia) with the idea of the family. We have seen that in the Apol­
ogy Socrates refers to himself as a father or older brother of his fellow cit­
izens (3^4-5). But the family motif appears again at the ve'ry end of the
dialogue, when, after having been condemned to die, Socrates bids his
judges farewell. He asks them for a favor. He wants his fellow citizens to
treat his sons just as he himself has treated his fellow citizens: they are to
scold them if they care for anything more than arete (iTrifjueXeTaOai
dperfjS') and to reproach them if they do not care for the proper things
( o v k imfjbeXovvrai ( b v So) or if they believe they are praiseworthy when

they are not (4iei-7). Socrates wants his fellow citizens to act, in their


turn, as fathers or older brothers to his own children, to take on, indi­
vidually,-for his family the role he has taken on for them.
In the Crito, the family motif first appears in Crito’s argument in fa­
vor of Socrates3escape on the grounds that if he were to die he would be
betraying his own children. He would be relinquishing his responsibil­
ity toward them because he would no longer be able to make sure that
they were being brought up properly: “A good and brave man must con­
tinue to do what he originally chose, especially one who claims that he
cared (eTnyLeXeXodaC) for arete throughout his whole life” (4sd6-8). In
the course of his long reply to Crito, Socrates eventually shows that his
just death is better for his children than his disgraceful survival. More­
over, one of his main reasons for refusing to escape is that, in his famous
personification of the laws of the city, he argues that he owes them even
more respect than he owes his own parents. The laws have cared for him
even more than his own parents ever could and they therefore do not de­
serve the violence his escape would do them. The city is his true family
(4 9 c- 52d).
The theme of the family also appears in the Phaedo, when, close to its
end, Crito asks Socrates for his last wishes concerning his children or any
other matter: what can they do to please him (ii5bi-4) >Socrates replies
that they should do what he has always been telling them to do: “I f you
care for yourselves [vfiojv avrojv em/xeAoufxevoi] you will please me and
mine and yourselves the most, even if you don’t see the point right now”
Socrates’ last wish, prompted by his concern for his family, is that his
friends care for themselves; only in that way will they be able to care for
1 his children or, for that matter, for anyone else. The care of the self, as I
have argued, precedes, or perhaps constitutes, the care of the other. And
Foucault finds that the theme of the care of the self also appears, in a more \
subtle form, both at the very beginning of thc Apology and at the very end
of the Phaedo. For in the first full sentence of the Apology, Socrates says
that his accusers have spoken so artfully that he almost forgot who he ac­
tually was (oXiyov ifia vro v iTTeXaBofirjv, 17a3). If oratory can provoke
self-forgetting, then Socraticparrhesiayhis plain and direct truth-telling, is
a way of finding out who one is; and that, Foucault argues, is the goal of
the care of the self. The opening of the Apology is therefore, he claims, a
“negative overture” to the theme of the care o f the self, while the closing
o f the Phaedo is a negative coda. For Socrates’ very last words to Crito, af­
ter his statement about the sacrifice, are “Do not forget” (/x?) dfxeXTjoere) —
a word that is derived from the very same root from which “care”

Foucault says: ccIn urg­ ing you to care for yourselves. Fou- J cault’s image of Socrates consists of two other essential elements. I am being useful to the whole city. and through it care for themselves in the way their own selves and particular . The second element in that image is Foucault’s insistence on Socrates’ usefulness to his city. 168 THE ART OF LIVIN G (i'nifJLCAeta) and its cognates are derived. on his importance to his fellows. use it for their own purposes. I believe that Foucault emphasized Socrates’ usefulness. 179CI-2. in particular. it is precisely in the city’s interest that I am do­ ing it. of saying exacdy what is on one’s mind. Foucault claims. in a negative way.23 Courage is central to'Foucault’s image of Socrates. the sons of two well- to-do Athenians often appeals to the idea o f speaking frankly. mixing once again his voice with the voice o f Socrates al­ most as if he were assuming Socrates’ role himself. The first is that Foucault. j In addition to the central place of the care of the self within it. as we have said. is good for the city as a whole. The latter dialogue. self-fashi6ners. to Socrates’ overarching. according to Foucault. oppressed groupsThat have not been able to speak in their own voice so far—he. wh^re^ate-ne^j30ssibilities for . are direcdy useful to the public. And if I try to protect my life. The Laches also concerns courage both because the definition of that virtue is its subject and because. or care for (em^ieAeia). which addresses the education of. Parrhesia. his care for his own self. And. who gradually came to see his writing as part o f philosophy understood as the art o f living^also believed that ghilosophers of his sort. Socratic parrhesia. The term therefore harks back. to be to develop a voice that others like him might be able to appropriate in their own terms. which Nie­ tzsche had derided in the most biting terms.24 and which Foucault may well have derived from his extensive reading o f Xenophon. i89ai) and in more general terms (i87e7-i88c3). is an issue not only in the Apology but also in the Laches. life. both by the wordparrhesia itself (i78a4. was primarily (though by no means ex* clusively) concerned with homosexuals. courage keeps getting displayed in a number of contexts within it.25 for two rea­ sons.concern with care. particularly with the care of the self. The first j is his emphasis on the courage required to tell others an unpleasant truth about themselves (in Socrates’ cas^TCftrtraito are i^orant aGout the most impoft ant things) to motivate them to determine that truthior tHemsdverahd to act accordingly. on his benefits to his friends. And he took his project. it is in the city’s interest to protect true discourse. the courageous truth-telling which urges the citizens to care for themselves” (37). They are particularly^useiurto^c^' eluded.

Tuke created an asylum where he substituted for the free terror o f madness the stifling anguish o f re­ sponsibility. which he derived from Nietzsche and never abandoned. This prevents us from seeing that our particular views. My view that Foucault belongs to the individualist strain o f the tradition o f philosophy as the art of liv­ ing is not uncontroversial. during the last months o f his life. he denied Socrates could ever have accepted. abolition of punishment. In many of his early works. a new form o f punishment. that he was trying to develop “a way to work on ourselves” that would allow us “to invent—I don’t mean discover —a way of being that is still improbable. and institutions are contingent: just as there was . was to treat them no better. with the deepest suspicion. He wrote. for example. Many will disagree with my in­ terpretation. Foucault regarded the very idea of change. it is true. Leg irons and the bonds of conscience are one: “Liberation of the insane. It is worth following this longer path. The real operations were different. was essentially individual. the prison — is doomed to perpetuate it. but that. habits. than before. even though it will postpone my examination o f Foucault’s second reason for thinking that Socrates was very beneficial to his contemporaries. fear no longer reigned on the other side of the prison gates. perhaps worse. we must take a look at his work as a whole. is that most o f the situa- tions in which we find ourselves are products of historyThcrtlgEwrare convinced they are natural facts. Foucault argued. The first. “is the prison of the body. reversing the Platonic formula that. Part o f Tuke’s reforms depended on holding the insane responsible for their actions.”26 To understand how Foucault reached such a position. of making something radically new either o f society as a whole or of a single individual. For many years. it now raged under the seals of conscience. he argued that Samuel Tuke’s replacement of the pris­ onlike confinement o f the insane in the asylums o f the early nineteenth century with a more humane mode o f treatment simply produced' a new prison. after all. the mad­ house. It took Foucault a long time—most of his life— to come to think o f himself as a philosopher who had always been con­ cerned with the care of the self and whose project. despite its general applications. FOUCAULT ON THE CARE OF THE SELF 169 circumstances required. constitution o f a human milieu— these are only justifications. In Madness and Civiliza­ tion.” he once wrote. he argued that every effort to reform an institution—the clinic. In fact. especially since it depends centrally on the notion that change is in general both possible and desirable — a notion Foucault was charged with denying during most o f his career.”28 Two central premises govern Foucault’s thought.”27 “The soul.


a time when they did not exist, so there could be a time when they will
no longer be part of our world. And though many o f his specific histor­
ical claims have been disputed,29 Foucault still had an uncanny ability to
discern history and contingency where others had seen only nature and
necessity. He was a master of exhibiting the emergence of radically new
objects—insanity, illness, even the human individual—where others de­
tected only a change in the appearance of unchanging realities.
Foucault’s second premise, which he modified in his later years, was
a relendess suspiciousness o f “progress.” He was always able—indeed,
eager—to see the dark side of every step toward the light, to grasp the
price at which every advance had to be bought. And he believed that the
price was never a bargain. Whether it was Tuke’s and PineFs treatment of
ttye insane or the penal reforms of the early nineteenth century, which ex­
changed physical torture for constant surveillance, Foucault always dis­
played one horror replaced by another.
The central idea those two premises generated was that both individ­
uals and groups were parts of a vast network over Which they had litde
or no control. Foucault tried to describe that network; he exhibited its
historical basis and he hinted darkly that it was self-perpetuating. Re­
versing Clausewitz’s formula, he sometimes claimed that politics is war
continued by other means and that power, the nature o f which was one
o f his most central concerns throughout his writing, is “a sort o f gener­
alized war which assumes at particular moments the forms o f peace and
the State. . . . Peace would then be a form o f war, and the State a means
o f waging it.”30
Foucault’s early views were to a great extent consciously opposed to
the Existentialist humanism o f Jean-Paul Sartre,31 for whom Foucault
never had any kind words: “When I was young,” he once said, “he was
the one —along with everything he represented, the terrorism of Les Temps
modemes—from whom I wanted to free myself.”32 Sartre had argued that
human beings are the ultimate subjects of their actions, free sovereign
agents, even if freedom itself is not the product of choice: “Man,” he had
written in a famous formulation, “is condemned to be free.”33 Foucault
detested that view and argued that, far from being free, human individ­
uals are not even the agents and guides but merely the creatures o f their
own history. The “subject” is itself the product of historical forces beyond
conscious control, and different conditions produce different sorts o f sub­
jects. In his early works, Foucault claimed that what we are today is a cre­
ation of the last two hundred years, brought about by the specific op­
pressive arrangements he discussed in books like Madness and Civilization,


The Birth of the Clinic, and Discipline and Punish and by the changes in
the human sciences he oudined in The Order of Things. His own formu­
lation, which is becoming as famous as Sartre’s, was this:

Man is an invention of recent date. And one perhaps nearing its end. If those
arrangements were to disappear as they appeared, if some event of which
we can at the moment do no more than sense the possibility—without
knowing either what its forms will be or what it promises—were to cause
them to crumble, as the ground of Classical thought [beginning in the 16th
century] did, at the end of the eighteenth century, then one can certainly
wager that man would be erased, like a face drawn in sand at the edge of
the sea.34

Foucault’s position was extremely radical. His suspiciousness of indi­
vidualism led him to think that even “the author,” a special case of the
“subject” and the individual, is a recent, oppressive invention, better left
alone and undiscussed. Far from being the origin of the meaning and value
o f a literary or philosophical work, the author is for Foucault a creation
that aims at preventing literature from being read, as he thought it ought,
in radically novel ways, unconstrained by considerations of genre, inten­
tion, or historical plausibility : “The author is the principle o f thrift in the
proliferation o f meaning.”35
This idea is easily misunderstood. “The death o f the author” does not
imply that writers do not exist, that books get written by themselves, any
more than “the death o f Man” implies that people are not real. Foucault’s
argument is that certain apparently natural ways o f treating both books
and human beings are specific to particular historical periods. In partic­
ular, literary and philosophical works, which are open to radically diver­
gent readings, have been treated as the products o f a special kind o f
writer—the author—who (unlike, say, the writer o f a modern scientific
treatise) is accorded ultimate power over their meaning. By and large, we
now read works o f literature and philosophy to find out what their au­
thors meant in composing them. But what, Foucault asks, is the real jus­
tification o f this comparatively recent practice? The real aim o f this con­
ception o f authorship, he answers, is not so much to glorify an individual
(though it does do that) as to create a mechanism “by which one impedes
the free circulation, the free manipulation, the free composition, decom­
position, and recomposition of fiction.”36
Foucault’s view o f the historical, contingent, and ultimately oppres­
sive nature o f both “the subject” in general and the author in particular,
his conviction that history is governed by the blind operations of imper­


sonal powers, makes it difficult to see how he could ever come to the po­
sition he seems to have adopted in his final lectures on Socrates. How
could individuals who inhabit the kind of world he had described
throughout most o f his life “care for themselves” and produce something
with which they could be justifiably satisfied? Still, in rough terms at least,
we can trace a clear trajectory from his early to his late views and connect
them with one another.
Like Nietzsche and Georges Bataille, Foucault was always fascinated
by what an individual or a social group has to exclude and suppress to
form a positive conception of itself. He argued that our conception o f
what we are like as individuals or “subjects” depends essentially on ex­
cluding and controlling whole classes o f people who do not fit the cate­
gories the Enlightenment developed precisely in order to establish what
it would count as “normal.” Foucault believed that the mechanisms used
to understand and control marginalized and ostracized groups were also
essential to the understanding, control, and even the constitution o f “nor­
mal” individuals. For example, the constant surveillance of prisoners that
replaced physical torture as a result o f penal reform was eventually ap­
plied to schoolchildren, factory workers, and population groups as a
whole. In fact, it is today becoming the norm for the treatment o f aver­
age citizens, whose police records, medical reports, and credit ratings are
constantly becoming increasingly more detailed and more easily available.
What counts as an individual, who one is, is whatever our many varieties
o f information regarding people describe.
Such information is always produced through the exercise o f power—
the power o f the state, the medical profession, the institution o f bank­
ing. Who we are, therefore, on Foucault’s account is itself the result of
the exercise o f power. In that sense, power is “productive” and the other
side o f knowledge: “It is not possible for power to be exercised without
knowledge, it is impossible for knowledge not to engender power.”37That
is what Foucault meant by his compound term “power/knowledge”:
“Power produces knowledge . . . power and knowledge directly imply one
another. . . . [T]here is no power relation without the correlative consti­
tution o f a field o f knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not pre­
suppose and constitute at the same time power relations.”38 To know
something is to have power over it; to have power over something, we
must know what it is. Knowledge is, indeed, power; but power is, no less,
itself knowledge.
Foucault’s was a vision in which everything is paid for. “Ah, reason,
seriousness, mastery over the affects, the whole somber thing called re-


flection, all these prerogatives and showpieces o f man,” Nietzsche had
written; “how dearly they have been bought! how much blood and cru­
elty lie at the bottom of all cgood things5!”39 But Nietzsche did not be­
lieve that nothing can ever change for the better. Eventually, Foucault came
to agree with him. But for many years, partly owing to the influence of
Heidegger’s uncompromising disdain o f modernity and partly owing to
his own political commitments, Foucault found it impossible to believe
that any change in what he regarded as an essentially corrupt era and po­
litical system could produce any improvement. Power might be exercised
in different forms, but its amount and, more important, its quality re­
mained constant. Indeed, as the expressions o f power came to be in­
creasingly cloaked in the vocabulary o f humanism and humanitarianism,
the conditions o f oppression actually became worse. For the benevolent
appearance of modern power makes it that much more difficult to resist.
In his early works, Foucault studied the “archaeology55 of the human
sciences—psychiatry, medicine, linguistics, economics, and biology.40 He
investigated the rules underlying and determining their practice. He
showed that these rules often underwent radical shifts (“ruptures”) that
could be explained neither by the usual appeals to universal scientific
progress nor by the innovations o f great individuals. Foucault’s aim
seemed to be to subvert the objective status of the human sciences, their
claim to arrive at an independent truth, and to expose them instead as a
tool of power, a means for creating and controlling the modern “subject.”41
The work Foucault undertook from the late 1960s to the late 1970s,
which coincided with his activist political period, was even more dis­
turbing. During those years he shifted his attention from the human sci­
ences to the disciplinary practices o f the nineteenth century and to the
direct analysis o f the power relations that he believed traverse everything
we do and provide no possibility for escape. The “genealogical55researches
o f this second period o f his writing were his most pessimistic. They were
intended to show that everything we take as orderly and rational (the
prison, the court system, the school, the statistical information govern­
ment collects about its citizens) is a product of domination and subju­
gation, in short, o f power; and that no system can be created from which
domination and subjugation can ever be even partially absent.
It was one o f Foucault’s most central ideas that power is not only some­
thing exercised by a central authority and thus primarily an agent of pro­
hibition. This “juridical55conception of power is at best part of what power
is and does. More important, power is a productive agent. It is not exer­
cised by subjects; it creates them. Though power flows through individ-


uals, it is most often not under their control. On the contrary, established
relationships of power, despite the intentions of those who try to con­
trol or modify them, reassert themselves in constantly changing forms.
Efforts to humanize, to rationalize, even to renounce power result only
in the exercise o f new forms of it —in the creation of new ways of know­
ing what individuals or “subjects” are, indeed, in the creation o f new in­
dividuals or “subjects.” People who are subject to the sovereign’s absolute
and total vengeance, though only when they act in deeply unusual ways,
are radically different from people whose every movement is constantly
observed and catalogued by minor functionaries, themselves observed by
someone else.42 New forms of knowledge and new forms of control, of
power, thus go together. That is why Foucault refused, throughout that
period, to offer alternatives to the “intolerable” situations he exposed in
his writings and in his political activities. Any alternative would simply
perpetuate power relations.
For more than twenty years, Foucault seemed dedicated to exposing
the seamy underside of the Enlightenment, conceding to it no positive ac­
complishment and refusing any vision o f a better future. He explicitly de­
nied that reason can transcend time and accident and lead us out of the
impasse he thought was confronting us, since reason itself is an instrument
and part of the program of the Enlightenment. Reliance on rationality,
too, constituted a form o f the exercise of power that determined what sort
of people the individuals envisaged by the Enlightenment would be.
Distant and ironic, an anatomist but not a physician, Foucault seemed
to withdraw more and more into a sort o f solitary philosophical despair.
As Maurice Blanchot wrote, in The Archaeology of Knowledge (and in all
the works o f Foucault’s middle period) “you will be surprised to re­
discover . . . many a formula from negative theology. Foucault invests all
his talent in describing with sublime phrases what it is he rejects: cIt’s
not . . . , nor is i t . . . , nor is it for that matter . . . , ’ so that there remained
almost nothing for him to say” in his own person.43 Amazingly prolific
as he was, Foucault seemed condemned to a peculiar kind of philosoph­
ical silence. His critics did not miss that point, and his “nihilism” was
widely criticized.
And yet matters were not quite so simple. As early as 1961 Michel Ser­
res had noticed something very important in Folie et déraison, which he
wrote was not simply a scientific treatise on madness but “also a cry.” Ser­
res realized that Foucault’s detachment, forbidding language, and abstract
formulations could not hide his own deep feelings for those who have
been treated as insane: “At the heart of the meticulous erudition of his-

“What Is Enlightenment?” he argued that the project o f the Enlighten­ ment is still not over. brought new aspects o f sex­ uality into existence. In a late piece entided. ostracism. literally. the prison population. against our present. The next two volumes were totally different from what had been earlier announced in subject. Instead of trying to establish those unchanging and universal human features that . however. FOUCAULT ON TH E CARE OF TH E SELF 175 torical inquiry.47 After writing the introductory volume. obviously enough. contrary to common views. however. an explosion of writing about it. he urged that we engage in a con­ stant critique of ourselves and die world. and with it new capacities for un­ derstanding and controlling human beings—that is. a few days before his death. Foucault put the project aside. and against ourselves. . even children attending the rigorous schools of the nineteenth century. Why are we repressed? but rather. factory workers. especially concerning children and perversion. was enor­ mously radical. that we are re­ pressed?”46 His thesis was that the proliferation o f talk about sexuality. . with so much passion and so much resentment against our most re­ cent past. but had noth­ ing to say about eliminating or reducing it. But Foucault’s “deep love” seemed to exhaust itself in letting the voices of these groups be heard. sexuality was to a great extent created in the nineteenth century. at the time when he was addressing Socrates’ dedicated service to his city and his effort to change himself and his contemporaries. Foucault’s own change. . . a deep love circulates . and approach. the period between the sixteenth and the nineteenth centuries did not so much repress sexuality as it produced. The first volume in the series argued that. the other oneself. Foucault asked “not. . the delinquent. Foucault began a work on the history o f sexuality. He exposed their plight. invited his readers to react to it with horror. Following Kant. They appeared only eight years later. The connections with the approach o f Dis­ cipline and Punish were clear.45 In the early 1970s. departing from him. is recognized. His unqualified vilification o f the Enlightenment was re­ placed by a serious if qualified respect. new types of human beings—came into existence. this transparent geometry is the pathetic language of men who undergo the greatest o f tortures. Why do we say. Instead o f being repressed. Or rather. that o f being cornered.”44 Serres’s description is true of everything Foucault wrote on the dis­ enfranchised—the poor. Conse­ quently. he began to think about it in drastically new terms. he claimed that our approach must be thoroughly historicist. of disgrace. and excommunication. style. like Kant’s. of quarantine. for this obscure population in which the infinitely close. the sex­ ually deviant. of exile.

the full complexity o f Nietzsche’s slo­ gan “Beyond good and evil” became clear to him. he wrote. Every original virtue. we must ask the question.” taking perhaps his own “dissolution” o f the subject too literally: if individuals are simply the playthings of power. nothing they do can produce a real. Among the barrage of number­ less obsessions with improving this or that aspect o f one’s personality. of course. but Foucault’s discussion strikes a startling new note. or thinking. lasting change in a continual war o f forces beyond their conscious control. but it will separate out. do. as Nietzsche had said. necessary. obligatory. Our critique. to the undefined work o f freedom”. from the contingency that has made us what we are. and to him always fascinating self-absorption o f his California friends. what place is occupied by whatever is singular. . as far and wide and pos­ sible. Foucault formulated his deepest and most impor­ tant idea. partly. Foucault discerned the possibility for the serious work on the self to which he devoted his last years. was one o f his old ideas. Foucault had clearly come to a new view o f human possibilities. It is seeking to give new impetus. had ' once been a vice. the idea o f the care o f the self. the possibility o f no longer being. And out o f the sometimes silly.49 “The undefined work of freedom”: these words represent a stunning reversal for the philosopher who had earlier argued that the Enlighten­ ment’s reforms did not in reality liberate the spirit but subjugated the body in darker and more efficient ways. In the United States. as a result of his increasingly frequent trips to America. and the prod­ uct o f arbitrary constraints?”48 That. ccIn what is given to us as universal. but also that everything bad can turn out to be good in t the right circumstances. doing. col­ leagues. contingent. I believe. At times he wrote as if there were no such “who. often valuable. Blanchot had once again read him correctly: “Were not his principles more complex than his official discourse with its striking . i 76 TH E ART OF LIVIN G give rational thought dominion over tradition and prejudice. or think. He grasped its double implication: not only — as he had thought so far—that everything good I has its bad side. But hadn’t Foucault simply eliminated the very concept o f the self dur­ ing his earlier antihumanist phase? Was he now rejecting all that he stood for? Not quite. what we are. . f Why the change? My own view is that Foucault’s earlier pessimism was I partly due to his inability to imagine who would profit from new social | and individual formations. and students. But Foucault began to see that the situation was more complicated. . “will be genealogical in the sense that it will not deduce from the form o f what we are what it is impossible for us to do and to know.

the subjects it produces. all aiming to make oneself into a kind of person of which one could be proud. in the ancient understanding of the good person. What he had tried to show is how different periods constitute subjects differ- entiy and how the subject is not the final ground of thought and history but their complex product. Couldn’t everyone’s life become a work of art? Why should the lamp or the house be an art object. . can be productive in their own right. Moreover. I think that there is only one practical consequence: we have to create ourselves as a work o f art. but in fact he had never denied that the subject exists. but it is not exactiy a fiction. every form of power. That the subject is a construct o f history implies that there is no such thing as a true self. These techniques constituted what . and though it is not ultimately (or “meta­ physically”) free. the notion o f the subject: no more oeuvre. either.52 The second was his interest in Greek attitudes to­ ward pederasty in particular and friendship and pleasure in general. no more author. One was his increasing pub­ lic acknowledgment o f his homosexuality. Foucault never abandoned his belief that such a “true self” is a chimera. that belief became the unexpected foundation for his most important idea. being them­ selves forms o f power. contains the potential o f its own undoing. it is not exactly a puppet. Foucault found a wide range o f different techniques. The subject does not disappear. who had written that “we want to be the poets o f our lives” ( GS 299. He came to see that if move­ ments like gay liberation were to be successful — as Foucault truly hoped they would be—he had to find a way out of his earlier pessimism about the finality o f power. 3:538) and began to think of life and art together: “From the idea that the self is not given to us. in Foucault’s new view. FOUCAULT ON THE CARE OF THE SELF 177 formulations led one to think? For example. Instead. remaining always the same underneath the changes o f appearance. no more creative writing. but not our life?”51 Foucault’s “rediscovery” o f the self and the art of living was accom­ panied by two other important developments. . creates the possibility of a new trans­ gression.”50 Foucault sometimes wrote as if the self is a fiction. He returned yet again to Nietzsche. since every prohibition. But things are not that simple. purely and simply. he came to realize. Since power is productive. The self may not be not the final reality underlying history. and in their place in the ethical enterprise of the classical and later pagan world. ranging from practical exercises to self-examination to the ex­ tensive writing o f daily diaries. rather its excessively de­ termined unity is put in question.53 In ancient ethical practice. . it is accepted as a certainty that Foucault got rid of.

and the objects in relation to which it was practiced changed radically over time. Creation demands rearranging the given. But the forms of discipline. the most important materials he had to work with during the last ten years of his life were his erudition and his homosexu­ ality. is always historically situated. Was this an ad­ ventitious event. Not everything is possible at every time. In Foucault’s case. and self-control a regular goal. artists have to work within the limitations o f their traditions. or was it integrally connected with his philosophical writing. following his ancient authorities.55He con­ nected these instruments of morality explicitly to medical thought and practice and used something approaching the language o f therapy re­ garding them. too. supremely interested in the cor­ rect management o f pleasure. from the fourth century b c to the third century a d . he believed that the care of the self was not a process of discovering who one truly is but o f inventing and improvising who one can be. like Freud. the reasons for which it was undertaken. For creativity. Lives. They could therefore be adapted to still other situations. Fou­ cault argued that the traditional picture. “the care of the self. innovation requires manipulating the dated. Talk of artistic creation always provokes thoughts of genius. Reversing yet another received view. he became progressively more fascinated with the sado­ masochistic subcultures of New York and San Francisco. He became. he denied the existence of natural or historically constant needs denied by social constraints or individual pathology. he did not believe in re­ pression. More important.54 Art would seem to provide an unlikely model for Foucault’s thought. must necessarily use the materials with which one is always and already faced.i 78 TH E ART OF LIVING he called. unlimited freedom. are no different: the artistic creation of the self. better left out of an examination of his work. In particular. seen aes­ thetically. But in the end there is no contradiction. Like everyone else. But unlike Freud. according to which the tolerant Greek attitude toward pederasty was replaced by centuries o f Christian repression. as James Miller ar­ gued in The Passion ofMichel Foucault? And did Foucault succeed in in­ tegrating it into the life he constructed for himself? The answer is that he did. was crude if not totally inaccurate. absolute spontaneity—the very ideas o f which Foucault re­ mained resolutely suspicious throughout his life. Foucault came to believe that he might combine ancient ethics (which “was not a question o f giving a pattern of behavior for everybody [but] . as both Mon­ taigne and Nietzsche testify. perhaps even to Foucault’s own. Foucault’s model for the care o f the self was the creation of art. Austerity was a constant concern.

FOUCAULT ON THE CARE OF THE SELF 179 a personal choice for a small elite3555) with the stuif of his own life and thereby fashion a self of his own. his dangerously .j teraction o f various individuals and groups with one another. In volumes 2 and 3 of The History of Sexuality. He tried. The conventional ascetic ideal o f denying pleasure altogether is not a fact o f j nature but the product o f centuries of Christian theorizing. much in the way that great artists enlarge our sense of what art can accomplish. as James Miller has argued. The point was not to be mastered by pleasure but to become its master and therefore to be­ come the master o f oneself as well. He also turned explicitly to the Niet- zschean project o f fashioning himself as a subject. Not all who write books are thereby authors.55The purpose of the complex ex­ ercises56 of which askesis consisted was not to deny the pleasures —o f sex. unifying his life with his thought. o f food. Morality. to produce nothing less than a new model o f how life 1 can be lived. Foucault argued. This is less banal than it sounds. and not all that writers write resonates within their own lives. by codes of moral behavior that govern the in. Foucault turned from the power exercised on. he showed that the ancient world was centrally interested in the control of pleasure by means of the serious and concerted effort. he be­ came more outspoken about his own personal attitudes toward the the­ oretical issues he was addressing. a new art o f living. " A t die same time that Foucault turned to thinking about ethics. Toward the end o f his life. is not exhausted | by our relations to others. which he rightly called askesis or “asceticism. It also con­ cerns tKe ways in which individuals relate to and regulate themselves— the ways in whicK we practice self-government and at the same time constitute ourselves as tEe moral subjects of our own desires and actions.57 j In the third and final period o f his writing.58 Ethics is the care o f the self. Foucault applied his historicism to him­ self. his homosexuality and sense o f exclusion. and enlarged our understanding o f what a “subject55can be. Foucault had always tried to allow the voices of excluded groups to sound out on their own. and forming. themselves. he included his own voice explicitiy among them.59 To become an author in this sense is to be uni­ fied and original. o f creating himself as the author he in fact became. to put together his literary and philosophical gifts and ideas. and through which they formed. Its objective is not denial but satisfaction. of worldly ambition —but to avoid excess. individuals to the power individuals exercised upon. Asceticism is not the repression but the regulation o f pleasure. That was part of what he meant by “ethics55—the subject that preoccupied him dur­ ing the last years o f his life. his strong political commitments.

Foucault finally managed to express his “deep love” for the excluded and the marginalized in practical terms. Montaigne. It was the theater o f power. and Foucault. and the Phaedo .61 Such freedom was unprecedented in Foucault’s earlier experience and not completely warranted by his earlier thought.” It is by transforming themselves that such philosophers effect the greatest changes in the lives of others. But it is not.62 Foucault extended the lim­ its o f what could count as an admirable human life. Politics. By turning to the self in his later works and by living in a way consonant with his ideas. To some. proved in the end to be a kind of blessing in his life. and even his fascination with death into a coherent and beautiful whole. an abandonment o f politics. In the cases o f great in­ dividuals like Socrates. He wrote about control and exercised it on himself in what became a single project. for good or ill. Foucault undertook to exert power upon himself andvin Nietzsche’s words. begins with the care of the self. the Cńto. Foucault’s personal. Having written about the ways the self had been created in history. i8o THE ART OF LIVING close lifelong relationship with madness. mostly by the power exer­ cised on us by others. o f a voice o f one’s own. as with all works of art. That (to remind ourselves why we under­ took this long discussion) is the first reason Foucault insisted on Socrates’ usefulness to his contemporaries.ć° In particular. approval and admiration often do not go together. to “become who he was” on his own. That was just what he claimed Socrates—the only philosopher Foucault ever discussed as an individual in his own right and not simply as a source o f ideas—had been telling his own uncom­ prehending contemporaries. He made himself into a model o f autonomy. not biographical. The point is philosophical. in which discipline could bring happiness and dom­ ination itself be dominated. a perfect il­ lustration o f Nietzsche’s idea that the value of everything depends on the contribution it makes to the whole to which it belongs. But. the aesthetic and the political. aestheticist turn may seem like an ab­ dication o f responsibility. But Foucault had a second reason for thinking Socrates Was useful to Athens. Nietzsche. the private and the public. It provided the occasion to experience relations of power as a source o f delight. His private project was o f public significance. partly by controlling its intensity. partly by exchanging roles. even if his was a life o f which few might approve. partly by submitting to pain voluntarily. an indulgence for the sake o f one man’s hap­ piness. Foucault’s sado­ masochism. as he might have put it. and that was that he read the Apology. about which he became increasingly outspoken in his last years. are as entangled with one another as the “life” and the “work.

makes the content of that care clear: it is the complex practice o f philosophy as the dialogue itself has defined and exemplified it. to recognize that someone is good one must know what good­ ness is. Socrates5primary object of care is his own self. his own soul. But what is the content o f the care of the self in the Apology? What is the only activity in which Socrates urges his fellow citizens to engage? It is the elenchus. He supplies him with a method for investigating change.63 One can argue that such care of the self will ulti­ mately make both the citizens and the city as a whole better. For though Socrates does make a point of his importance to Athens in the Apology.64 But when we recall the permanently unfinished state of Socrates5 elenctic project. That is not to say. And he does this primarily for his own sake: if he can convince himself that he has found such a person. But the fact remains that through the elenchus Socrates primarily and in good conscience tries to find someone who knows what arete is. Plato attributes to Socrates an articulate view of the na­ ture of philosophy and its relationship to the immortal soul and to the corrupt body. but (unlike the Plato of the mid­ dle and late works) he makes no effort to demonstrate that his mode o f life is best for everyone.65 In theApology. it is primarily in the Phaedo that Plato gives that importance an explicit and detailed content. that . For. o f course. Socrates5 last wish in the Phaedo. Socrates welcomes others as companions in his search. a “resort to argument” (Kara(f)vyrj €t<r AoyouS'. The elenchus — Foucault is absolutely right —requires a tremendous amount of courage. In the Phaedo. whose interests Socrates had completely disavowed in the Apology. 99C5) that competes direcdy with the methods of the natural philosophers. But its usefulness to the city as a whole is more disputable. especially since part of Socrates5mission has been to urge the Athenians not to attend to the affairs o f the city before they at­ tend to themselves. not the souls o f others. Plato makes Socrates interpret the elenchus as his effort to improve his fellow citizens. he urges them to join him. that his friends care for themselves. the constant questioning of one’s views as one questions the views o f others. he can also be sure that from then on he will act righdy in all circumstances. given Socrates5 view that virtue is knowledge. which in turn guarantees that one actually is good. FOUCAULT ON THE CARE OF THE SELF 181 as if they formed a single unit. it is the “preparation for death” and all it implies. we may wonder whether a life devoted to the elenchus is at all compati­ ble with life in a political community. Plato makes Socrates speak of the proper objects (the Forms) to which philosophy is directed and supplies him with an episte- mological theory (Recollection) that accounts for our knowledge of them. as we have seen.

But.182 THE ART OF LIVING Socrates disregards others. In method. where it found improvement. especially if. He needed courage because he asked his interlocutors to offer him their most valuable possessions — their views and their values. But Michel Foucault made it his own life-work to reveal just that dark. through Socrates’ questioning. as a mode o f life he could follow. his project was essentially social: the elenchus cannot exist with­ out those on whom it is practiced. He admits that young men follow him around Athens. it was an essen­ tially individual undertaking. shameful underside as refuse to accept their surface as his own. shameful underside of the individuals and especially o f the institutions that surrounded him. Where official ideology saw directed progress. It is true that other people became what we may call Socrates’ disciples — but the elenctic dialogues contain no such evidence. Socrates only managed to demonstrate to his interlocutors that they were ignorant o f their igno­ rance. The elenchus required courage not so much because of the unpleasant truths Socrates revealed to his contemporaries. that he does not care for them. Most of the time he re­ vealed nothing to them—not even their own ignorance— as he has revealed nothing to the generations that followed him. He did not so much reveal to them their dark. 33ai-b8). however. It was naturally in Socrates’ interest to find a person who possessed an under­ standing o f arete and to convince others to join him in his search. What is cer­ tainly true is that in a sense Socrates used his contemporaries for his own purpose —to understand the nature of arete and to live the good life. Socrates strongly denies that he has any disciples like those that surround him in xhcPhaedo. But his enterprise was in the most literal terms a care o f the self— his own. he discerned the ex­ . not being convinced. they did not follow his example and did not live in order to acquire that knowledge. He needed courage not only because he made his contemporaries face some difficult truths but mosdy because he displayed his own disdain toward them. In the Apology. The elenctic dialogues attribute to Socrates a negligible effect on his interlocutors. But to care for others is not the same as to devote oneself to them. he saw mindless change. their own selves—and then consistently re­ jected them. but he insists that all they learn from him seems to be how to use the elenchus to annoy their parents (23C2-7. He asked them to open their souls to him and let them know he did not like what he saw. We must not assume that “using” can have only negative connotations. But in no case does anyone come to such knowledge. In purpose. Others might benefit from it. they came to realize they actually knew what arete was and started living as that knowledge dictated.

neither hid himself or his criticisms of his times with anything like Socrates5single-mindedness. He felt he had to dislodge what was in place as the good and the true in order to find a place for himself. one has to do something that is both significant and very differ­ ent from whatever has been done before. for his own truth and goodness. accepting another’s views. And though both were great ironists. Foucault emphasized the courage of Socraticparrhesia because he was looking in Socrates for a model o f his own manner o f caring for himself. he detected the invention of new and unnoticed forms o f cruelty. and they can be formulated and ap­ . other people: he often discarded them once they were no longer useful to him. Like Nietzsche. and finally taking another’s self as one’s own. to become an indi­ vidual. Foucault became what he was by openly and explicidy denouncing the greatest accomplishments of his age. he was far more reticent about what he re­ jected in his world. Though Socrates was also clearly a critic o f his times. that one must be “at home on this earth” in order to fashion oneself. But that need not be accom­ plished only by objecting to the tenor o f one’s time. This emerges through the content and style o f the lectures. To fashion a self. of course. And though Montaigne certainly did not approve of everything in his world. one o f the most attractive features of Foucault’s late lectures is his accommodation with Socrates. That path led through. Montaigne fashioned himself by writing a new sort o f book. Niet­ zsche and Foucault were both essentially adversarial thinkers. which celebrate him with affection and kindness. But Montaigne’s example shows that the project o f fashioning the self does not necessarily require the opposition that Nietzsche and Foucault may have considered essential to it. His main concern was to chart a path he could follow. where it proclaimed humanitarian reform. Becoming who one is has only one essential element: the rules for accomplishing it can be formulated only after each singular project has been completed. Unlike Nietzsche he did not feel he had to denounce him as the wrong kind of adversarial thinker. His irony covered him like the mande he never wore. FOUCAULT ON TH E CARE OF TH E SELF 183 change of one evil for another. putting words in another’s mouth. he was very much at home in it— which does not imply. The courage the self he fashioned for himself required was different from the courage of Socrates. literally through. he read Socrates as an adversarial thinker o f his own sort. Like Nietzsche. but also through a feature to which I cannot stop returning: Foucault’s speaking in Socrates’ place. breaking old conventions and es­ tablishing new ones: henceforth how one wrote and what one could write about would never be the same. In fact. obliterating the lines that separate quotation. paraphrase.

the cheerfulness of Plato’s early works prompted Foucault to find the same joy in the Phaedo and to refuse to believe that in that work Plato makes Socrates turn his back to life. Socrates. Nietzsche. and Foucault. 184 THE ART OF LIVING plied only once. and experts on it will always be among us. Which is to say that the art of living has no rules. By contrast. and he concluded that Socrates had always been a “pes­ simist”: “He had merely kept a cheerful mien while concealing all his life long his ultimate judgment. the Skeptics. The other­ worldliness of the latter made him think that Plato’s early works were also otherworldly. The first derives from those works of Plato that reflect Socrates but do not reflect on him. gave rise to the theoretical conception o f philosophy that dominates our own thought. 3 :5 6 9 -70 ).66 But it is even more remarkable that he . among others. in turn. They suggest that Socrates’ indistinct rec­ ollection o f the eternal Forms allowed him to lead a good life. to see it as the first. the Crito. read Plato’s early works along with the Phaedo. But one might also think that Plato’s goal was to es­ tablish philosophy as a purely theoretical investigation o f independently I given problems. Socrates suffered lifer (GS 3 4 0 . and ethical. by the Cynics. the Neoplatonists. including the problem o f knowledge. epistemology. Foucault gave a fascinating twist to Nietzsche’s interpretation of Socrates. By reading the Apology. with knowledge and not mere belief regarding the Forms. the Stoics. perhaps more prosaic is my preference to separate the Phaedo from Plato’s early works. The second originates in those dialogues that not only reflect Socrates but also reflect on him. Socrates gave rise to all these traditions. and they contain a set of guidelines for making sure that versions o f Socrates. aesthetic. and political theory—to articulate a single mode o f life that is I best for everyone. too. metaphysics. as well as the problem o f the good life. Kierkegaard. to understand Socrates i and to explain what made him what he was. That is the j goal o f most o f the philosophy we recognize as such today. Montaigne. recognizable only after they have already been practiced and after their products have been brought into being. his inmost a series o f efforts. Niet­ zsche. And that second tra­ dition. continued. It is remarkable enough that Socrates stands at the head o f almost every ancient philosophical school. Among the philosophers o f the art o f living we have discussed. paradigms o f the good life. Plato is the only one who is explicidy universalist: he uses various means already at his disposal and many he invents for the purpose—logic. that pres­ ent his mode o f life as Plato saw it without an effort to interpret or sys­ tematize it. of the nature of things and persons. that there is no such thing as the art of livings There are only arts of living— many arts. and the Phaedo together.

not identical with its model— has in turn given rise to many different reflections that keep returning to it as if it somehow captured the real historical figure who. The philosophers who have produced their own reflections of Socrates have made selective and eclectic use o f various sources. These traditions. in the nature o f the case. life with discourse. so to speak. do­ ing with writing. But they have al­ ways come back to Plato’s early works. for one. be many sorts. To these belongs the Apol­ ogy. his legacy— to his interlocutors. an art o f living. cannot ever follow examples straight­ forwardly. an art of which there can only. vivid and alive. in its various versions. begin to di­ verge from one another. o f self-fashioning. To follow such examples we must focus not on their particular char­ acteristics but on their more abstract. Nietzsche. to his own author. of caring for the self. in the end. to his author’s readers—was a pro­ found silence. higher-level features. Plato cre­ ated the most lasting conceptions of philosophy available to us: philos­ ophy as a purely intellectual discipline and philosophy as a way of life. Though he spent much o f his life obsessively engaged in conversation. these different fates of Socrates’ reason. however. is by now lost forever. To choose a model and try to replicate its features results in the many imitations and caricatures to which Nietzsche. Plato’s early Socrates is not a concrete figure but a half-empty page that later philoso­ phers have tried to complete with their own words. of becom­ ing what one is. be read. a face from which his soul could not.69 Plato’s early Socrates is the first and strangest example o f the art of liv­ ing. as a way o f life. in particular. went so far as to write that “some ancient writings' one reads in order to'understand antiquity. That image did not satisfy Plato for very long. the solid object of which he felt his early works offered a two-dimensional projection. Though he seems to spring off the page. others.67 I have tried to isolate a certain image o f Socrates in Plato’s early works. in my opinion. Philosophy as such an art. Through Socrates. especially to theApology. and he made a vast effort to reveal its underpinnings. are such that one stud­ ies antiquity in order to be able to read them. has given rise. FOUCAULT ON TH E CARE OF THE SELF 185 marks the point where these most different traditions within Western phi­ losophy are created and. to construct. have their common origin in the writings o f a single author and o f his two different reflections o f his master. his face ultimately proved to be blank.”68 I have tried to explain that preoccupation by arguing that the Socrates of Plato’s early works is a fundamentally empty figure. combining. ever since their very first moment. And though his facial features were pronounced enough to provoke so many different interpretations. We need to turn . That original image — original only as an image.

whatever those are (and they are always different). The other [Socrates] walks close to the ground. Socrates never allows us to see either exactly who he was or how he came to be that way. in all its varieties and with all its different products. We know less about him. setbacks. Partly in the world and partly outside it. in the ordinary way of human life. the little hero with whom we began. be­ cause he let us see so little about how he accomplished his own task. And who—to ask the question in Socrates’ own terms— would not want to know how to be as perfect as possible? Montaigne was right: “[B]In Cato we see very clearly that his is a pace strained far above the ordinary. it is not even possible to follow the higher-level fea­ tures of a model if these include. failed to find them. better. the best and most abstract model of all. the opposition to their world that enabled Nietzsche and Foucault to become what they were or Montaigne’s magnificent equanimity. For even such aspects. however. does not obey rules that are both general and informative. It was part o f the fate o f Socrates’ emphasis on reason that he inau­ gurated that art.” “Organize your features in an artistic manner. For the “ordinariness” of Socrates. And since those are different in each case. Socrates is such an abstract model. and at a gentle and ordinary pace treats the most useful subjects and behaves.186 THE ART OF LIVING to their successful integration of their various particular characteristics.”70 Or. and still was as good and perfect a character as any in world history. . the manner in which specific features like character traits. the manner of organizing them will also itself be different. his motives and needs. Montaigne was almost right. not unlike the ordinariness of Hans Castorp. We are then left with some very abstract principles. accidents of life and birth. like any art. is one o f his most extraordinary features. in the brave exploits o f his life and in his death we feel he is always mounted on his high horse.” “Accept everything about yourself. searched for an­ swers to questions he considered necessary for the good and happy life. and strokes o f good luck are put together may well depend on £he nature o f the features they are intended to harmonize. Perhaps. What we do know is that he cared for himself.” which are as empty as they are banal and useless. the art of living. like ccBe relevantly different. into coherent wholes: that integration gives them a self And we must note that the wholes they construct are different from the wholes to which we have become accus­ tomed: that difference makes them individuals. The manner of organization often depends on the features to be organized. Once again. both in the face of death and in the thorniest trials that can confront us. for example. than about most of his fol­ lowers.

I thought they would belong to the history of ideas: on the one hand. he decided to abandon his public career. the reasons for his suc­ cess. since there is no book to be found. that one can begin to try to put them together and to become not just someone or other but one­ self. Foucault did not j turn to the care of the self until the last ten years o f his life. FOUCAULT ON THE CARE OF THE SELF 187 Here then is another reason Socrates is crucial for those who want to 1 practice the art of living. standing slightiy to the side of its subject. on the other. We have a number of ancient reports: perhaps he studied with Archelaus. It makes his role as the prototypical artist o f life less de­ terminate and therefore more broadly applicable. var­ ious treatments o f Socrates. j ard.71 perhaps he helped Euripides write his plays. When I started to think about the lectures that have resulted in this book. who. when he had j already established himself as the leading thinker of his generation in \ France. “charmed by the beauty of his soul. Montaigne did not begin his project until. of reaching some lasting conclusions. perhaps capable. as well as the reasons for which he undertook to care for himself in the first place. Self-fashioning always begins in the middle. Nietzsche did not resign his po. I We know what all these authors had been doing until they turned to the project of self-fashioning. and insignificant. But about Socrates’ early life we know nothing. I did not then realize that Socrates himself would turn out to be like the books Mon­ taigne had in mind when he asked. at the age o f thirty-eight. cc[B]Who would not say that glosses increase doubts and ignorance.72 But what was it that won for him the reputation that prompted Chaerephon to ask Delphi whether anyone else was wiser? We have no idea. whose . with which the world busies itself. perhaps he was also a stu­ dent o f Anaxagoras and Damon. whether human or divine. my account of their features— a work of clarification. We can write more o f ourselves onto him. re­ moved from that life by Crito. in the ideal case. disconnected. It { is only after one has become someone or other. Socrates’ mystery includes the manner in which he cared for himself. imitative. We don’t even know if the oracle (assuming the story is true in the first place) preceded or followed Aristophanes’ Clouds (423 b c ). and we can use our knowledge in telling their philosophical tales. He may have been a stonemason. j sition at the University of Basel until he was thirty-five.” educated him and enabled him to turn to the study of ethics. in which Socrates appears as a character with whom the audience is quite familiar. once one realizes that one f has already had a life consisting o f all sorts of events that appear haphaz.

and Foucault. Nietzsche. however imperfectly. ‘There has been enough about this book. relatively more ccat home on this earth” than Nietzsche’s. The pursuit o f Socrates’ reflections is one of its variations. full o f quotations acknowledged and deformed. at myself. and on every­ thing I know how to do. When do we agree and say. however defectively. Like them. and at my own construct of Socrates through their eyes. I would leave my Socrates thornier and rougher than I had found him. Gradu­ ally. if not actually manipula­ tive. While I have been trying to extract from Plato’s texts a figure o f utter simplicity and to show how that figure has been treated by others. My hope is that my own reflection on Socrates. I have even used the voice o f that Socrates. in presenting these treatments I often criti­ cized or modified them. i88 THE ART OF LIVING difficulties are cleared up by interpretation? The hundredth commenta­ tor hands it on to his successor thornier and rougher than the first one had found it. apart from presenting this book to its readers. in my mind at least. depending as it does on everything I understand. The art o f living comes in many guises. I too have written from their points of view and looked at the world. Socrates has steadily become more complex. partly of literary criticism. partly of philosophy. . And in producing that Socrates. henceforth there is nothing more to say about it’ >”731 did not realize that. less ab­ solutist than the hero o f the Republic. I too have used the voices of most of the authors I address. I. I have composed a tragelaphic sort of work. I have been looking at various ways in which Socrates has been treated. it has become apparent to me that I too have been following in part Montaigne. My own choice o f sources for un­ derstanding Socrates has been at least eclectic. These are all combined here in a manner I cannot justify explicitly. in antiquity and modernity. too. partly a work of classics. more individualist than Foucault’s. indebted to various and perhaps not always compatible approaches. may have resulted in a slightly different manner o f doing things. have tried to construct a particular character —more ironical than Vlastos’s or Montaigne’s.

quoted by Paul Friedlander. and section (6. and by a reference to page. 4. Hans Meyerhoff..2. as also with Xenophon’s Memorabilia and with Plutarch. xxix-liv of Simon Hornblower andAntony Spawford. Diogenes is reputed to have writ­ ten a number of dialogues. trans.” in Werke (Stuttgart and Tubingen. and line num­ ber. With Diogenes Laertius. Notes Introduction 1. see n. I aim not unaware of the scholarly debate surrounding the issue whether Aristotle does ultimately prefer the theoretical over the “mixed” life that combines “theory” with participation in public affairs. For most of those authors. Cicero. 2d ed. The Oxford ClassicalDictionary [Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2. and Quintilian. Another figure who played a role not unlike that of Socrates is Diogenes of Sinope. though there seems to have been some disagreement about the authenticity of those works (see Diogenes Laertius. The controversy does not affect my claim. column. 137. 1827-34). chapter.2. 33 in chapter 1 below.80 in the pres­ ent citation). But Diogenes’ importance was mostly due to the stories circulating about his life and activities. “Plato als Mitgenosse einer christlichen Offenbarung. their works are generally cited by book. since Aristotle is in either case envisaging philosophy as a particular mode of life. which are common to all editions. eds. including aRepublic^as well as seven tragedies. 189 . 3. Lives ofthe Philosophers. Plato. 6. the main representative of Cynicism.80). Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Let me say a few words about my method of citing ancient authors. 1 (Princeton: Princeton University Press. On the thematic and chronological order of Plato’s dialogues. 1996]). Plato’s and Aristotle’s works are cited by an abbreviation of each work’s title (many of the abbreviations can be found on pp. there is a standard system of citation.. 1969). vol.

1988]. in my opinion. reprint. . . and 219/302-3 (Hans is now looking at the x-ray of his own hand and thus feels that he is looking “at his own grave . 6. so the woman’s second son comes to visit his sick brother and. 1995). 3. when I cite an English version of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain I will mosdy use the older translation by H. At the thought there came over his face the expression it usually wore when he listened to music: a little dull. the woman’s story has a strong connection with Hans and Joachim. Just as Castorp is diagnosed with tuberculosis during his visit to his cousin. As I mentioned in n. 1927) instead of the newer version by John E. Chapter 1 1.” in Brian McLaughlin and Amélie Oksenberg Rorty. the first page number is that of the English translation. 178/246 (where Hans watches his cousin’s physical examination and pon­ ders over the fact that Joachim’s disease is eating up the inside of his healthy-look- ing body). Self-deception. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Knopf. .. eds. 5. note the occurrence of the wordfrischJ which recurs throughout this section and will occupy us again. But his universalist intent and his inspiration by Socrates remain the same. becomes ill and eventually dies. 389/533. and for the first time he un­ derstood that he was going to die. Still. 2 above. 2. his mouth half open. Perspectives on Self-Deception [Berkeley: University of California Press. and pious. compare. In fact. T. NOTES TO CHAPTER 1 5. Woods (New York: Alfred A. the last sentence above with /Woods’s “He did not feel all that well rested. . 63. . Lowe-Porter conveys more of the atmosphere of Mann’s Ger­ man and in particular the ambiguity of the narrator’s view of the events related. Lowe-Porter tends to take greater liberties with the texture of Mann’s prose. Plato offers a different conception of philos­ ophy and of the philosophical life. see further n. 622/853. than a plant’s turning toward the sun” (“Self-Deception and the Nature of Mind. involves purposive but not thereby intentional action. it is thus mental but not conscious. In his later works.” keeps closer to the German syntax. like so many other visitors to the magic mountain. as Mark Johnston has argued. Knopf. given what it does for us.557/761. 9 below and 292/401.” which. Weigand. 4. beginning with the Parmenides and the Phaedrus. Lowe-Porter (New York: AlfredA. In this context. “The M agic Mountain”: A Study o f Thomas Mann’s Novel (1933. In what follows. Hermann J. his head inclined toward his shoulder”). 86). The whole passage is setting up in subtle terms a contrast be­ tween the freshness of the mountain landscape where the Berghof is located and the dissolution within the sanatorium. less a deliberate activity than a sort of “mental tropism.476/649. and a sense of decay and death are all present). In all citations to Mann’s text. music. though not perfect as a rendering of “Sehr ausgeruht fiihlte er sich eben nicht. sleepy. the word frisch and its derivatives pick up the earlier reference to the “fresh” morning and appear again a number of times within this section. for example. aber frisch mit dem jungen Tage. the second that of the German original. but fresh enough to meet the morn­ ing.. a characteristic pattern whose existence within the mind is no more surprising. which I do not discuss at all in this book. 1965). See 112/154-55 (where beer.

NOTES TO CHAPTER 1 191 7. while he is looking at his own hand through the x-ray screen. and suffers both a physical and a spiritual crisis. his head shakes “in precisely the same way now. The expression Lowe-Porter translates as “obscurantism. 12. 9. her interior portrait. he reproduced her outward form with oil and colours upon the can­ vas. she has poor posture. this lean memento mori. From that point on. 10. 8. “A seemly obscurantism” is Lowe-Porter’s translation of “eine ehrbare Verfinsterung” (literally. One of these features. now seriously in love with Clawdia Chauchat and exhibiting clear symptoms of tuberculosis. in fact. she bites her fingernails. And now. becomes progressively more important as the novel unfolds. though she prefers “Drawing the Veil. which is also the title of this whole section. he sees there his cousin5s “graveyard shape and bony tenement. will also be having her x-ray. and what we do know we are told as if the narrator is observing his hero from the outside. as it were” is.” Woods translates the phrase as “a shadow of respectability” and also maintains the parallel with the title. at his age. “The Magic Mountain ” Modem Fiction Studies 32 (1986): esp. Hans sees “precisely what he must have expected. but what is hardly permitted man to see: he looked at his own grave” (218/302). A similar episode occurs a little later in the novel.55which cements the connection between the two passages and between the attitudes of Fiete and Hans. That Castorp connects x-rays with death and that this connection therefore explains his “prim detach­ ment” become obvious a few pages later. in the twilighted room. In the very next paragraph. 493 with n. we know much less about what Hans is thinking. Castorp knows that the chief physician. is waiting to have his x-ray taken by the sanatorium5s physicians. he turned away his head and took on a primly detached air. 8. he would direct upon her the rays which would reveal to him the inside of her body. which he renders in the same manner. “a respectable obscuring55). At the present time. who happens to be waiting in the doctors5anteroom along with him. Hans is absorbed in the fact that Claw­ dia. and that. a trembling of the chin associated both with phys­ ical disease and with mental anguish. in which the head of old Hans Lorenz Castorp once had shaken” . this scaffolding for mortal flesh to hang on” (218/301). has been painting Clawdia5s portrait— that is a source of great jealousy on the engineer’s part and the occasion of a hi­ larious later episode during which he manipulates Behrens into showing him his mediocre painting. once again “eine ehrbare Verfinsterung. Clawdia is in no way a model of propriety. with the section entitled “The Great God Dumps” (624/856). See also Irving Stock. Allowed to look at Joachim’s trans­ parency. is a large part of what attracts Hans—despite or because of his own fastidiousness—to her. The separation of these points of view begins in earnest only after the sui­ cide of Pieter Peeperkorn. Hans is acutely aware of the shortcomings of Clawdia: she always lets the door slam behind her when she enters the dining room (where she is consis- tendy late). When this idea occurred to Hans Cas­ torp. a sort of seemly obscurantism [eine ehrbare Verfinsterung] presented itself to him as the only cor­ rect attitude in the presence of such a thought” (213/295). for example. Hofrat Behrens. when only about a seventh of the novel is left for us to read. Castorp. which he praises extravagantly so that he can keep it by his side for a little while. taken by the physician: “The Hofrat painted her. When Hans goes for a walk by himself. she never keeps her hair as neat as Hans would like. 11.

the physical symptoms are clear. It does so even less today than at the time of the novel’s composition (1913-24). The Hofrat had seen the old as well as the new spots” (219/302). another character is subject to the same symp­ toms. Behrens’s auscultation re­ veals “a dullness. he fell in love with his schoolmate. not without reason. The tremor persists (134-35/185-86). to follow the daily pro­ gram of the tubercular patients of the sanatorium and has bought the proper blan­ kets so that he can take his rest cure on his balcony. the “fact” that she is ill again casts Hans’s tremor in an equivocal light—physical no less than psycho­ logical. And although Fraulein Engelhart’s shaking provokes Hans’s “profound disgust” (139/191-92). But dy­ ing of lung trouble. which he had otherwise continued to find diverting and full of interesting episodes. the table companion with whom Hans engages in a sordid little game concerning the charms of Frau Chauchat: he pretends. “the test of the eye confirmed that of the ear. by supporting his chin against his collar during meals. We will have more to say about the etiology of Hans’s disease as we proceed. Castorp” (181/249). This is not to mention the irony involved in Joachim’s promise that Hans will “get right after a bit. though Castorp is aware of his feeling for Clawdia. and the narrative suggests that he is resistant to discovering an answer to that ques­ tion.” Hans is aware that the shaking was due not simply to physical origins but also “to his in­ ner stimulation. For just after vaguely mentioning those “episodes and diversions. . and eventually Hans controls it just as his grandfather did. he still insists on attributing . was itself a very common phenome­ non. 13. however. 14. “His cheeks. is a symptom of his “sym­ pathy with death. This is in fact the second such episode in Hans’s life. that she has a crush on Clawdia so that he can tease her about it and be able to talk openly about Clawdia without admitting his own feelings. and when x-rays are finally taken.” Mann describes the entrance of Frau Chauchat in the dining room in a new paragraph. you know. . Psychological cau­ sation aside. Behrens’s flush is in fact one of the leitmotivs that accompany him throughout the novel.” which intimates that. he refuses to admit that his attraction to her. and th'e’sad lonely creature goes along with him because she loves him.. and bore directly upon those very episodes and diversions” (135/186). and the Boat-Ride in the Twilight” (141-60/195-221). NOTES TO CHAPTER 1 (118/163). Even after Hans has decided. . Scars. were really purple” (46/66). organic no less than spiritual. That is Fraulein Engelhart. 17. much to his annoyance since it “went far to spoil the meal hours for him. like the shaking itself. The symptoms of the illness’s new eruption. associated with Hans’s love for Clawdia. 16. What are those episodes.” “Getting right” in this context is realizing that one is diseased and getting used to the symptoms of tuberculosis. as a boy. when euphemisms for tuberculosis were far more common. of all sorts of varieties. are also audible to Behrens on the same occasion. 15. see the section “Mounting Misgivings: Of the Two Grandfathers..” Interestingly. and such dullnesses are caused by the old place. whose physical resemblance to Clawdia is central to the novel. Pribislav Hippe. and why do they cause this disturbing tremor despite their being so diverting and interesting? Hans does not spell that out. On further similarities between Hans and his grandfather. where fibrosis has supervened. You are an old patient. not governed by the expression “Hans Castorp wusste das auch genau. The first occurred at the same time when.

NOTES TO CHAPTER 1 193 his weakness to anemia (103/142). We are told that during the meal James’s temples were swollen. on leaving the restaurant. first when he heard about the bodies being moved by bobsled and then throughout supper: “Hans being taken by another fit of laughing. the cousins met the same Dr. of course. out of pure self-respect. was after all ill? Or do the extensive parallels with Hans’s case and behavior suggest that the young engineer was not? Is their illness. . The effect of this incident is quite complex. James bursts out in surprising and uncharacteristic laughter: “He fairly snorted. who regularly “ate heartily . even when he was not hungry” (13/23). his cousin laughed too” (14/25). What are we to make of this? Are we to say that James. especially since we are told he worries about him­ self a lot. which we shall discuss. he “had not enough energy to think about the fact. too. coughed. though he was rather given to worrying over himself and by nature inclined to hypochondria” (78/109). James’s “tongue was a little thick” and “his weariness became at length so over­ powering that the meeting broke up at about half past ten. the head nurse tells both Hans (167/230) and James (436/594-95) that they are ill. 19. po­ etic tones Hans had earlier used for his own questions on the same subject (265/365). when on his very first day he dis­ covered that he had coughed up some blood into his handkerchief.’ said the Con­ sul. James becomes almost immediately attracted to a Frau Redisch (437-38/597). if illness it is. materialist mode (265/365. Krokowski. and he was scarcely capable of attending when he was introduced to . Krokowski” (432-33/590). as was his custom” (431/588). horrified. had laughed a lot his first evening at the Berghof. . just as Hans began to fall in love with Clawdia Chauchat long before he realized it. however. The parallels can be multiplied. revealing his incipient preoccupation both with disease and with Claw­ dia.. During their dinner together. The event “was a scandal. but recovered himself imme­ diately. in what follows. “‘Certainly. And when. “James ate and drank heartily. too. 18. 438-39/598-99). It is also relevant to mention here the episode of the woman who was re­ ported to have been seen leaving the room of a male patient—the lawyer Einhuf— at a very late hour. “The next morning he had vanished” (439/599). Similarly. “it was touching to see Hans Castorp labour to master his drowsi­ ness and be polite” (16/27). So it was with Hans. By the same token. the reference to Hans’s hypochondria pre­ disposes us not to take his symptoms and complaints as seriously as we might otherwise have. that in fact he was actually nodding” (15/26). and tried his best to disguise the senseless outbreak” (432/589). he always ate a good deal. . but not before having already had a physical examination under the pretext of discussing Hans’s case with the chief of staff (437/596). but even . Hans. just as Hans had eaten with Joachim when he first arrived. Hans and James have a late supper at the sanatorium’s restaurant upon the latter’s arrival. like Hans. Castorp’s not thinking about the blood makes it ap­ pear less important than it is. Dr. and Behrens answers them both in exactly the same reductive. James asks Behrens about the human body (438/598) in the same exalted. On first meeting them. reminding us of the fact that Hans’s “face was like fire” in the restaurant on his own first night at the sanatorium (14/24).” to the Hofrat’s bizarre physiological disquisition. though only briefly. not only to the general. deflationary. Joachim suddenly realized that “his cousin was overcome with sleep. physiological or psychological in origin? These are vexed questions.

During the episode where this scene occurs. . tells him that he is “cured. . 21.. however. by his erotic fixations but then. E. he is terminating his cure and returning to his reg­ iment. . He lashes out at Castorp. just like that. suggests that the illness is solidly grounded in physiological factors as well. is not serious: “He . C. J. The present incident is explicitly connected to Hans’s original experience not only through the allusion to music but also because Mann accentuates the Russians’ activities and Hans’s indifference to them: “Man horte das Ehepaar vom schlechten Russentisch. ed. At that point. But what is even more im­ plausible is that Mann was taking any sort of unambiguous attitude toward the origins and nature of Hans’s illness. 1974). decided to attribute it instead to the “hollowness” of the age in which Hans lived. Behrens is shown to be already furious when the cousins go to visit him. is another question. for example. Why Hans chooses to stay. . Weigand. out of jealousy. Similarly. 63. Thomas M ann: The Uses o f Tradition (Oxford: Clarendon Press.” and he is seething about an affair between two of his patients. and derogatory to his spiritual endeavours” (297/408). as we have seen. Thomas M ann’s “The Magic Mountain”: M odem Critical Interpreta­ . and I would like to qualify my view in what follows. Reed considers “the expectation of Clawdia’s return [as] the true reason why Hans Castorp declines to leave the sanatorium when Behrens pro­ nounces him cured” (248-49). as we said. 24. Williams. he conducts the most cursory examination and. in Er- wartung des Schlafes” (279). began to tap and listen. . In that article.” Philosophy and Literature 5 (1981): 73-89. had revealed their relationship (416/568). “M agic M ountain” 501. Reed. which always makes him “melancholy. To say that Behrens “pronounces” Hans “cured” is to simplify matters beyond justification.” It is. but a Hospital” (in Harold Bloom. This view runs contrary to that of C. it does not go far enough. I drew too sharp a distinction between Hans’s case and those of the rest of the characters. Behrens is driven to distraction. and he thus commits himself to a psychosomatic account of Hans’s illness. 20. Und Hans Castorp nahm Seitenlage ein. in “ Not an Inn. instead. he returns without explanation or apology (474/646). Joachim walks into his examining room and announces that. Eventually Hans becomes incapable o f reactions o f this sort. He has been smoking. and it does not result in any straightforward pronouncement that Hans is cured. The medical history of Hans’s family. Reed finds both views present in the novel and explains their presence developmentally. however.194 NOTES TO CHAPTER 1 more to Hans Castorp’s private sense. the result of an acute fit of pique. “M agic Mountain”. 22. I have tried to show how deeply equivocal the etiology of the disease of all the main characters in the novel is in “Getting Used to Not Getting Used to It: Nietzsche in The M agic Mountain. whatever Behrens thinks. despite this for­ mal pronouncement. he contradicts his own earlier diagnosis of the source of Hans’s fever (419/572) to which. 25. which had caused him to dismiss them along with the third patient who. It went rather fast. as a result of working on the novel for more than a decade.” In the process. in a Freudian manner. Stock. and when the latter says that he will not leave without the doctor’s permission. who argues that Mann originally con- ^oeived of Hans’s illness as caused. 23. His examination. He did not dictate [as he always does]. But though such an account is doubdess true so far as it goes. He considers the later conception quite implausible (235). once he relents.

and Theodore Ziolkowski. “‘Experiment. 1969). Hans returns to the facile humanism of Settembrini once his vision in the snow is over. Castorp leaves the magic mountain with his own sense of resentment more solidly in place than when he arrived . despite his ordinariness. His matter is not “base” in the sense Williams has in mind—that is precisely part of Mann’s point: Hans saw “no positive reason for exertion. On the episode as a whole. himself stricken by the disease. see Ludwig Volker. .’ £Abenteuer. “The Za­ uberberg” she writes. In addition. does not allow the judgment that he is therefore only un­ usual.40). Kowalik offers a purely nega­ tive reading of Castorp. ed.” which Hans utters during his dream while lost in the snowstorm (496-97/677).” in Heinz Saueressig. “Der Z au berbergE in e geistige Autobiographic Thomas Manns (Stuttgart: Heinz.” Settembrini no less than Naptha.” he had been in love with Pribislav Hippe and on that account (or as a result of it) developed his first “moist spot” which is a sign of not belonging to the flat- land. . . which we shall dis­ cuss in what follows. .’ ‘Traum’ in Thomas Manns Roman Der Zauberberg: Struktur-Idee-Tradition. I42ff. rather. 1977). Hefte zur Zeitschrift Wirk- endes Wort 13 (Diisseldorf: Schwann. as the Ergebnissatz of the novel (Thomas Mann. In short. Jill Anne Kowalik.). See Jurgen Scharfschwerdt. Given my view that the novel resists all unequivocal approaches of this sort. but he does not go forth as a man who has undergone spiritual or emotional growth” (28. strikes me as both too unequivocal a reading of the progress of Castorp on the mountain and too simple an account of the young man’s nature. He is. an unusual person. A classic presentation of the view that Hans does accomplish a transcen­ dence of opposites that none of the other patients is able to do can be found in Jens Rieckman. among others. writes that “under the influence of exter­ nal forces an originally base matter is purged and transformed into something of a higher order. 423f. Thomas M ann. “does not relate how a representative young man comes to synthesize two opposing forces. as a man who cannot overcome resentment. Besiehtigung des Zauberbergs (Biberach: Wege und Gestal- ten. vol. 1974). 1986]. agrees with Mann’s description of the italicized sentence “For the sake of goodness and love. 1964). he was exposed to death early on in his life. man shall let death have no sovereignty over his thoughts. Thomas Manns Kunst der sprachlichen und thematischen Integration .” This. n [Frankfurt: Fischer. “Sympathy with Death: Hans Castorp’s Nietzschean Resentment. 39). 26. See also. ultimately unsatisfactory. and so on.” German Quarterly 58 (1985): 27-48. Walther Weiss. it documents the consequences for those who cannot or will not recognize their points of identity. the hedonistic Jesuit who battles Settembrini for the possession of Hans’s intellec­ tual soul and who also is. 1967). . 157-82. however. the already extralinguistic thing that the reader takes away with him from his reading” (254). 28. but Mann’s irony. noth­ ing much happens to him on the mountain. Reed. though quite en­ gaging. ThomasM ann und der deutsche Bildungsroman (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer. . in other words. naturally. 27.. NOTES TO CH APTER 1 19s tions [New Haven: Chelsea. despite his statement that he has been liberated from both his “pedagogues. I find Kowalik’s article. i960]. in Gesammelte Werke. Dimen­ sions o f the M odem Novel (Princeton: Princeton University Press. Reed believes that Mann “himself was quite clear that Hans Castorp un­ dergoes a positive development whose essence is in the chapter ‘Schnee’ and that the meaning of that chapter is the novel’s message. Fragment itber dm Religiose.

who counts the Gorgias as a central early dialogue. in probable chronological sequence: Symposium. Critias. Studies in Pla­ tonic Chronology. Timaeus. again in probable chronological sequence. 1 (Princeton: Princeton University Press. HippiasMinor. A little later than these dialogues. Parmenides. Laches. Politicus.” Phronesis 34 (1989): 1-26. Hip- pias Major. 1982). Meno. 137. vol. among the dialogues of the second (sometimes called “transitional”) group. Crito. It is important for Vlastos to count the Gorgias as an early dialogue so that he can interpret the work’s doctrines as expressing the views of the “historical” Socrates. Charmides. On narratorial ambivalence. That is not true. 1969). 1996).. Rutherford. is used centrally in the Meno as well as in the first book of the Republic (on the strength of which Vlastos. 77 n. Danto. Paul Friedlânder. Tmnspersonalismus und Synchronizitât: Wiederholung cds Strukturelenient in Thomas Manns “Zauberberg” (Groningen: Drukkerij van Denderen. I place the Gorgias. but Friedlânder does not pursue the connections he alludes to systematically enough and finally satisfies himseJf with a few generalities. See also HolgerThesleff. : Harvard University Press. see Francis Bulhof. That is doubtless what has led R. “Philosophy as/and/of Literature. 1976). Menexenus. Phaedo. S. Socrates: Ironist and M oral Philosopher (Cam­ bridge: Cambridge University Press. are thé following: Gorgias. My list follows pretty closely that of Leonard Brandwood. A Word Index to Plato (Leeds: W. Theaetetus. in The A rt o f Plato: Ten Essays in Platonic Interpretation (Cambridge. listed in alphabetical order: Apology. The main outlines of his view are contained in a series of articles dating from 1981. But his main argument for this classification is that the Gorgias deploys Socrates’ elenctic method “with great panache. believes that it was composed separately from the rest of the work and along with the other early dialogues). B. Euthyphro. Mass. 1972-1980 (Minneapolis: Uni­ versity of Minnesota Press. 20. The elenchus. 1966).” in Consequences ofPragmatism: Essays. 1986). Plato and the Socratic Dialogue: The Philosophical Use o f a Liter­ ary Form (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sophist. See particularly “Plato’s Charmides and the Proleptic Reading of Socratic Dialogues. It also is not so different from the list offered by Gregory Vlastos. now supplemented by his “Platonic Chronology. Commentationes humanarum litterarum 70 (Helsinki: Societas Scientiarium Fennica.” in The Philosophical t"Disenfranchisement o f A rt (New York: Columbia University Press. Maney and Son. 2d ed. Arthur C. Plato’s late works include.But in contrast to Vlastos. The expression comes from Richard Rorty’s essay. Philebus. A radically different chronology of Plato’s “Socratic” dialogues is offered by Charles H. Euthyde- mus.” 31. 1991). Laws. Lysis. Phaedrus.” Journal o f the History o f Philosophy 85 (1988): 541-49. xvii. Republic. has observed that Mann’s irony bears a strong resemblance to the irony of Plato. 46-47. implausibly. 30. Socrates’ traditional question-and-answer method. Kahn. Plato.” unlike any other work in the second group (47 n. Friedlànder’s whole chapter on Platonic irony is very sugges­ tive. Ion. Protagoras. Among Plato’s midcile works I count the fol­ lowing. . 1995). “Philosophy as a Kind of Writing. with Brand- wood. I count as Plato’s early dialogues the following works. Cratylus. connected with them. 33. whose reconstruction is part of the aim of his book. 32. 154. working with problems raised within them but offering first stabs at newsolutions. 8). i 96 NOTES TO CHAPTER 1 29. to describe Friedlân­ der’s writing on Plato’s irony as “helpful if a little mystical. 1982).

Dialogue and Discovery: A Study in SocraticMethod (Albany: State University of New York Press. can be found in Carlo Giannantoni. the Charmides. though the book ultimately fails to engage its authors into a dialogue with each other. meticulously reviewed by Stephen G.. Inter­ preting Plato. Klonoski. Though Arieti is right in empha­ sizing the importance of Euthyphro’s “self-delusion” to the dialogue as a whole. 37.” in Tullio Maranhao. James C. Kenneth Seeskin.. NOTES TO CHAPTER 1 197 34. vol. The extant fragments of the early Socratics. “The Portico of the Archon Basileus: On the Significance of the Set­ ting of Plato’s Euthyphro” ClassicalJournal 81 (1986): 130-37. Platonic Writings/Platonic Readings (New York: Routledge. Md. Jarfres A. and C. David Roochnik. The “introductions” to dialogues like the Laches. Salkever in BrynMawr Classical Review (elec­ tronic edition. ed. Plato’s Dialogues: New Studies and In ­ terpretations (Lanham. So too was Euthyphro’s suit. a balanced discussion of a number of issues of method and substance. he vastly underestimates the intrinsic importance of the dialectical discussion. 35. 24b8-ci and Xenophon. Since the accusation against Socrates involved his not believing in the gods of the city and his introducing new deities (Cf. Griswold Jr. The Interpretation o f Dialogue (Chicago: Uni­ versity of Chicago Press. For Aeschines. Even to call them “introductions” is to make a controversial choice as to the main purpose of each dialogue (cf.. Allen. see Heinrich Dittmar. .. Interpreting Plato: The Dialogues as Drama (Savage. 1865). 143. Klagge and Nicholas D. The King Archon (jSacuAeru's') was in charge of religious functions for the Athenian state and thus also for religious prosecutions (cf. 1990). Ap. Plato. The Tragedy ofReason: Toward a Platonic Conception o f the Logos (New York: Routledge. Arieti. which mostly takes issue with exclusive attention to Plato’s arguments. it was a writ of impiety (axjefieia) and thus subject to the King Archon’s jurisdiction. “Dialogue and Dialectic: The Logic of Conversation and the Interpretation of Logic. 290e6). since murder was believed to bring on a religious pol­ lution (juiaojia) that affected whole families and communities.: Rowman and Littlefield. 21. 5. ed. 1990). Smith. Socratis et Socraticorum reliquiae (Rome: Bibliopolis. 148. Plato’s “Eutbyphro/’ “Apology o f Socrates/ 3 and “Crito” (Oxford: Clarendon Press. See John Burnet. which is not primarily devoted to the dialogue form but occasionally makes some extravagant claims on its behalf. 1 (London: Russell.: Rowman and Littlefield. George Grote’s description of “the Platonic purpose” of the Eutbyphro: “the enquiry into the general idea of holiness” [Plato and the Other Companions o f Sokrates. with the exception of those o f Aeschines. Aischines von Sphettos: Studien zur Litemturgeschichte der Sokratiker (Berlin: Weidmann. 1992). 144. Arieti. and the Hippias M ajor occupy between one fifth and fully one half of these works. 1988).yip. Press. Methods o f Interpreting Plato and H is Dialogues (Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 10 [1992]: Supplement). 36. ed. 1990). 1993). Soc. 1970). 317]) and thus to adopt a disputable approach to the interpretation of the works even before one has begun reading them. Pol. Jan Swearin­ gen. 10). Eu.. 1987). 1924). an interesting volume that confronts those who consider the dialogue form paramount with those who prefer to disregard it. eds. 1912). Gerald A. 4a-b. the Pro­ tagoras. A short listing of such works would include the following. 40. Md. Plato’s “Eutbyphro” and the Earlier Theory o f Forms (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.. 1991). 39. Charles L. the Lysis. 38. See also Richard J. ed. R. E.

14. Frederick Rosen. See also Allan Bloom’s “Interpretive Essay” in his translation of the Republic (New York: Basic Books. Strauss’s approach to Plato depends on another principle: since Plato wrote dialogues in which he did not appear as a character. combines serious and playful elements. Burger’sPlato’s *Phae- drus”: A Defense o f a Philosophic A rt o f Writing (Birmingham: University of Al­ abama Press. takes Platonic irony as a kind “that in fact serves to deflate the pretensions of the author himself” (89) —a kind of irony reminis­ cent of the description of Mann’s irony given by Hermann Weigand (see p. 1968). namely. as well as the funny poem about Eros (252b8-9) and the praise of poets (245ai-8) in Socrates’ Great Speech. 59). which makes a number of good points. both as an account of irony and as a principle for the interpretation of Plato. partly for reasons given by Christo­ pher Rowe. he takes it that the reference to Socrates’ daimonion (242b8-d2) and to his bare feet (229a3~4). “ Piety and Justice: Plato’s Euthyphro. “Aeschines of Sphettos. mosdy confines his attention to those passages in the Phae­ drus in which Plato.” Philosophy 43 (1968): 109. Similarly. 12). Among the many books that follow such an approach one could men­ tion Jacob Klein’s Plato’s Trilogy: “Theaetetus.” the “Sophist” and the “Statesman” (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. among others. 1964). I find that position too extreme. But Rowe. “ is said to be the first to compose Socratic dialogues.” Nova Tellus 5 (1987): 83-101. Rowe’s article. however. The difficulty here. Leo Strauss. as he interprets him. 1986]. So. t 41.198 NOTES TO CHAPTER 1 See also A. writes that Simon.” 42. 20 above). a shoe­ maker whose shop Socrates used to frequent. is that such a combination of seriousness and play in no way helps Plato accomplish what he apparently wants to do in the Phaedrus. to distinguish written from spoken discourse: such combinations occur perfecdy naturally in both media. Taylor. Plato cuts himself down to size: despite appearances.3. Griswold Jr. E. “Platonic Irony. 1934). Charles C. he “concealed his opinions” (City and M an. in view of the apparent Platonic attack on writing in the Phaedrus. 1977) and RonnaL. This approach has recendy been defended. despite his view that such irony applies to the Platonic dia­ logues as wholes (95). The City and M an (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. chap. 1980): Burger’s very title. 43. is indicative of the approach in question here.” in Philosophical Studies (London: Macmillan. 1968) for a fuller exposition of Strauss’s reading of the work. of course. . for example. 44. it must be objected that the question when the con­ text is not itself the product of an ironical author is not any easier to answer than that of the meaning of the statement in question. and therefore the distance he creates between himself and the views expressed in his works produces an irony that is absolutely all-pervasive.” To this. xxv: “Platonic irony means that every statement in a dialogue must be understood in terms of its dramatic context. 2. Lives of the Philosophers. Diogenes Laertius. by Stanley Rosen. 2. are all such combi­ nations: “By the introduction of actual elements ofpaidia. Plato’s aSymposium” (New Haven: Yale University Press. believes that “Plato’s distance from his characters supplies the basis for Pla­ tonic irony” (Self-Knowledge in Plato’s aPhaedrusx [New Haven: Yale University Press. we are not meant to follow him all the way in his flights of imagination as he later makes Socrates tell us directly” (98).

on whatever subject. vol.. 3ic7-d6. asserts confidendy that “the Euthyphro ends in failure: no definition of holiness is stated. 242b9-c3. Phdr. Ap.” Apology ofSocrates. it bears its mean­ ing on its face” (Plato’s “Euthyphro” and the Earlier Theory ofForms. Plato usually supplies him with a very good reason for doing so: the Gorgias begins with Callicles telling Socrates that. Socrates can have the opportu­ nity of meeting with Gorgias and asking him whatever he likes. as well as Ale. “ The Figure of Euthyphro in Plato’s Dialogue. 2211-2.13. Socrates actuallyseems to have spent more time in the Lyceum than in the Agora. and none is implied. fol­ lowed by Kionoski. though it has some (debatable) basis in the Apology (29d-3oc.1. J. Memorabilia 1.4. 46. and other references to his passion for etymology can be found at 4ooai. despite the testimony of Ap. . 2: iKadrjfjLeO a fxev i n i tco v daK cov ev A v k € lc o .. that was put to him. cf. see my “What Did Socrates Teach and to Whom Did He Teach It?” Review ofMetaphysics 46 (1992): 279-306. Platon: Oeuvres completes. in private. 4oyd6-8. Eud. Lys. Furley.” Phrone- sis 3 [1958]: 108-20). argued by contrast that the dialogue does succeed in defining piety as the proper service of the gods. This is the procedure followed. ed. is much less prevalent in the Platonic dialogues than we commonly believe. xii. ed. 1920). 47. for example. 1 (Paris: Les Belles Lettres.2. Platonis ccEuthyphro” (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 396d4-8.” 5. Degenio Socratis. see Ap. 4. the Laches. 27m. though. andAesch. 203ai. 31b). 49. 129CI-9. in which Socrates seems to take the lead. 496C3-5. Rabinowitz has given a complex esoteric reading of the dialogue. See Crat. 1:322). See also Xenophon. fr. Commentators on the dialogue don’t even agree on whether a definition of piety is or is not reached during its course. 4oa2-b6. Adam. Soc. For some of the debate. 48.409di-2 and 428C7. So Maurice Croiset. the Protagoras. There is no ‘mask’ which can be stripped off the dialogue to reveal its true meaning. 223d8. though he missed a public session during which Gorgias answered every ques­ tion.. thcMeno. 17C8. De deo Socratis. 6). 50.v rco AvKeito SiarpifiaS'. I io3a4-bi and Theag. Even in dialogues like the Gorgias.5. I5ia2~5.” and “Crito. aiming to show that piety is finally defined as assisting the gods in contemplating the Platonic Forms (“Platonic Piety: An Essay towards the Solution of an Enigma. in the Crito. and Apuleius. 179. At 399*1. Allen.” 133-34- 51. On Socrates’ dat/toViov. ed. So Burnet. G. where Socrates claims that Euthyphro’s enthusiastic disquisition on etymology has inspired him in his own efforts. Phdr. The image of Socrates wandering through the Agora and addressing people almost at random.. where the Saifioviov is occasionally given a positive as well as a negative voice. the same effect is attributed to him. More recently. 7a<r €. Later dis­ cussions of the SaifiovLOv. NOTES TO CHAPTER 1 199 45. which go much further than the sparse evidence sup­ plied by Plato and Xenophon. Syrup. “ The Portico o f the Archon Basileus.1. and the HippiasMinor. Grote explicitly denied that piety is defined either in the Euthyphro or in any other Platonic text (Plato and the Other Companions of Sokrates. W. include Plutarch. 272^-4. unconnected as it is with Euthy­ phro’s concerns in that dialogue. Eud. however. it vaguely suggests that Euthyphro may in fact have been a genuine historical character. 1890). Tht. This information is of little use for the interpretation of the Euthyphro. o v oi adXodirai rov aycova SiandmoLv. 4*8. followed by William D.” Phronesis 30 (1985): 201-8. Plato’s “Euthyphro..

i6ai. close to the end of the dialogue. 66. Versenyi. 14CI4. in view of his position that no unjust person can harm a just one. 2Jo(f)ta. I2e4. fxadcov: ise6. 9a2. Needless to say.55From Euthyphro’s point of view. 64 n. The original definition is at 6eio-7ai. This view is dramatically untenable: it fits with nothing we are told about the character of Euthyphro in the dialogue. e3. Socratic Humanism. 58. 59. 1346. Socratic Humanism (New Haven: Yale University Press. writes that Euthyphro “presents himself as a man infinitely confident of his abilities. it is clear that the di­ alogue simply does not give us enough information to decide the issue of Eu- . MaOrjrfjS': 5a4. he emerges from his trial convicted but unscathed. 5t§acr/caAoS': 5b2.5. b5. Seeskin. It is only at I4e8. 38. 65. 5bi. 143. “The Paradox of Socrates. dio. from Socrates’ own point of view. and. In actual fact. 60. 1971). then. Cf. oo<f)djT€poS". in a tour de force of literalism. 64. ixdOco: 15C12. Friedlander. What of Euthyphro’s prediction that Socrates will win his case? Arieti.”Journal o f the History o f Philosophy 24 (1986): 437- 61. P/flrfo. 62.Y.12ei. Plato’s “Euthyphro” and the Earlier Theory o f Forms. that Euthyphro shows his first signs of impatience. where success means acquittal. and it does not” [Allen. 38. 200 NOTES TO CHAPTER 1 52. Socrates refuses to engage in any unjust action.” in The Philosophy o f Socrates: A Collection o f Critical Essays (Garden City. b3. does not turn out well? During his trial. 64).29) claims that Euthyphro actually dropped his suit against his father as a result of his conversation with Socrates! He has found a modem follower in R. Eu­ ripides. see Isocrates. 38. A moment later Euthyphro predicts that Socrates5case will come out well (3e) —and we realize from the dramatic irony how good a prophet he is. On common attitudes toward Hesiod. claims that Euthyphro (despite Burnet’s claim to the contrary [Plato’s *Euthyphro” “Apology o f Socrates. Arieti. a8. Allen. d8. he will not now wait to see the King. N. C3. dodos'. indicates that he has be­ gun to learn the lesson which Socrates5questioning was designed to teach: that he is ignorant of the thing in which he thought himself wise” (Plato’s “Euthyphro” and the Earlier Theory o f Forms. 38. .: Doubleday. This is the view of Versenyi. Roslyn Weiss. 14C1. though not his words. Dialogue and Discovery. 1:142. Diogenes Laertius (2. Bousiris. 144. Allen: “If Euthyphro persisted in his suit.57.” and “C rito” 2]) cannot have seen the Archon Basileus before his conversation with Socrates began (<cif that were true. Laszlo Versenyi. Hercules Furens. Gregory Vlastos. Interpreting Plato. In ­ terpreting Plato. eiSevai: 15CI4. 1]) and that therefore his sudden departure from the scene shows that he has begun to have second thoughts about his action. His action. the introduction to the dialogue would surely have suggested it. he did so on another day.40. 63. 6. / 5 5 . But is it so clear that Socrates’ case.. fiefjLadrjKOTaS". In a fur­ ther irony.9ai. 1963). Euthyphro may have been right in his prediction after all! 53.7a4. ei. E. 78. Socratic Humanism. Euthyphro’s statement. there are dissenters from this view. “iavTrep olkovojol y i fiov Xeyovros” suggests that he is accustomed to not being taken very seriously. Arieti’s point is well taken. improved slightly at 9ei-3. AihaxjK€iv: 6d2.12a5 (twice). ne3. 54. “Euthyphro’s Failure. 56.

Pr. Nietzsche’s Ge­ nealogy: Nihilism and the Will toKnowledge (Ithaca: Cornell University Press. if I understand him right. Sincerity and Authenticity (Cambridge. 16. Methods of Interpreting Plato and His Dia­ logues. consists generally in the fact that Plato does not himself appear within his works—not. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Viking Press. Platonic irony. that is. for Griswold. 71. 1971). ssib~^s9^M. Whether it is or not depends on whether it can be interpreted as relevant to the work. even the exact translation. eds. 1. as I have argued. part of the dialogue’s concerns. The Cambridge Companion to Plato (New York: Cambridge Univer­ sity Press. Chapter 2 1. ed. and trans. of the Greek term is in question. NOTES TO CHAPTERS 1 . along with other literary and dramatic devices. 4. “Plato’s Arguments and the Dialogue Form.. 68. See. I will not use “irony” and its cognates in discussing Greek . in fact. 31. 69. The issue is not. 215. 77b-78b. Michael Frede. 709. Smith. Since the proper understanding. I954)> 4 7 5 -7 6 . Frame (Stanford: Stanford University Press.” in Twilight of the Idols. Klagge and Nicholas D. 1942). A good selective bibliography can be found in Richard Kraut. C. trans. 1995). 216.2 201 thyphro’s interview with the King Archon one way or the other. 1992). 2. Mass.” in The Complete Works of Montaigne. Donald M. in his putting his audience in the same position he puts the characters he incites them to disdain. Michel de Montaigne. 67. Such a view is attributed to Nietzsche by Randall Havas. The “dialogical” approach Griswold advocates “insist[s] that the various levels of words and deeds be integrated into the interpretation” (13-14). “Of the art of discussion. A huge literature has devel­ oped around this theme. ” Griswold presents a sophisticated version of the Straussian ap­ proach to the reading of the dialogues. “The Problem of Socrates. Muecke. “depends on the differ­ ence between the fact that the dialogue is written and the fact that what is writ­ ten is supposed to be a nonwritten spoken dialogue” and requires a distinction “between the apparent significance of a particular passage and the significance it possesses as part of a larger whole” (13).’ ” But his notion of Platonic irony is much broader than mine. there is no a priori reason to assume that every action is essen­ tial to the interpretation of the dialogue (just as there is no reason to believe that absolutely everything everyone says in a dialogue is essential to its understand­ ing). and he explicidy denies that irony.: Harvard University Press. Platonic irony. The Compass ofIrony (London: Methuen). Ibid. Friedrich Nietzsche. is “a stratagem for creating an inacces­ sible ‘esoteric doctrine’ or ‘secret teaching. My own view is that even though the dialogues depend on action as well as on argument. That is. chap. D. 70.. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy ro (1992): Supplement. for example..” in James C. ed. 72. and that can only be decided on a case-by-case basis. in The Viking PortableNietzsche. Griswold’s view in Self-Knowledge in Plato’s “Phaedrus. Lionel Trilling. 3.

.-1920). who translates the Greek as “feinte naiveté” and who in his n. 1984). See also W. . Burnet is followed by R. than he was. Pour Texts on Socrates (Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Plato’s “Euthyphro” “Apology ofSocrates”and “Onto” (Oxford: Clarendon Press. to say less than one thinks.” Hermes 76 (1941) : 339-58. Thomas G. 1941). “Über den Begriff des E ironR heinisches Museum 31 (1876) : 381-400. Despite a number o f attempts to refute and refine it. to present oneself as less than one is. 1968). 41. the traditional un­ derstanding of irony as pretending to be less than one is or as saying the oppo­ site of what one means. elpcoveia. The fact is that though the translation “irony” is perfectly adequate for Socrates’ words. JohnBumet. 30). s. vol. 167. which we shall examine below. further references to this work will be given parenthetically in the main text. Instead. G.^4 Greek-English Lexicon. Socrates: Ironist and Moral Philosopher (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. trans. 1 (Paris: Les Belles Lettres. 1 claims that the passage presents a case strictly parallel to those in which Socrates feigns ig­ norance in order to seduce others into conversation. Trony5was regarded as a defect of character.g. though. 73•There is a similar translation in Maurice Croiset. Grube. unfortunately. The opposite of irony is boastfulness. Die­ trich Roloff. E. See also Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott. Fred­ eric Amory. vol.2. 58 (“You will think that I am sly and dishonest”). see Vlastos. Winter. 6. he would appear to be boasting if he claimed he had orders from God to engage in philosophy. A. 71). can apply to the Socratic professions of ignorance. (This work by Liddell. Lane Cooper. he does not offer his own explicit interpretation of the passage. It is not my purpose here to go over the ground originally covered in Otto Ribbeck’s classic article on the concept o f the etpcov in classical Greek thought and literature. not a virtue. Exactly the same point must be made in con­ nection with Léon Robin. an elpcov. Socrates and Legal Obligation (Min­ neapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Büchner. Allen. We shall discuss Theophrastus below. 1950). 1981). But what Socrates says here is that. Scott. Plato on the Trial and Death o f Socrates (Ithaca: Cornell University Press.. 1924). but what Socrates says here is that his judges would consider that his irony would consist in claiming to be more. “Eiron and Eironeia” Classica et mediaevalia 33 (1981-82) : 49-80... Ribbeck’s study still defines the general outlines o f our understanding of ancient elpajveia. 177.) Others prefer to translate more straight­ forwardly. rev. 159-1 leave aside the question whether d pœ veia in its orig­ inal sense. Gregory Vlas- tos also disagrees with Burnet’s approach.” That is in general true. Platon: Oeuvres completes. 1991). t 5. 25 with n. I will simply transliterate the Greek word elpajveia. “Über den Begriff der Eironeia. and Jones is the standard Greek dictionary and is usuallyreferred to by the abbreviation LSJ. Platon: Oeuvres completes. ed. eds. West and Grace Starry * West. NOTES TO CHAPTER 2 texts until we have settled on their proper construal. 1 (Paris: Gallimard. not less. claiming to be more than one is. That is why the Wests’ comment on the text cannot be right: “ ‘To be ironic’ (elpojveveodai)” they write (Four Texts on Socrates.” e. Allen comments: “That is. 92 (but see n. Sir Henry Stuart Jones (Oxford: Oxford University Press. 15.from the point o f view o f his judges. does not apply at all well to the present case. 6. 7. on their interpretation). 92 n. which we shall discuss in detail as we proceed. with different forms of “irony. 1975).v. as Theophrastus5portrait in the Characters of the ironical man makes clear” (135 n.Pto: Five Dialogues (Indiana­ polis: Hackett. “is to dissemble. Platonische Ironie (Heidelberg: C. M. 1980). iii.

.” while Hilaire van Daele. chap. 9o8e2. with an English Commentary. applied to hypocritical religious offenders.” Phoenix 41 (1987): 95-104. the boastful person. 268a7. 1984). comments. 3.” At Peace 623. Lg. the Aristophanic coinage hieipcovo^evoS' describes the Spartans’ lack of hospitality despite their superficial friendliness: Maurice Platnauer. 122 n. 5vols. Dover. see K. Doug­ las M. Aristophanes: “Wasps” (Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1971). b3. Socrates: Ironist and M oral Philosopher.1382bi8-2i. Demosthenes. ed. ‘pleading inability’. See also section 37: “01 Sc tow TTpayfidrœv ov fiivovot Kaipol rr/v rj^erépav fipahvTTjra /cat ecpa>^etav”(which Whiston translates as “Our delays and eva­ sions” [97 n. see P. . NOTES TO CH APTER 2 203 8. The specific passage. the discharge of it” (Whiston’s division of the speech includes the relevant passage in section 9).” In Aristophanes’ Wasps (174-75). 11. cited here in the translation of Jonathan Barnes. ed. clear already in Ribbeck and recendy defended by Vlastos. “Socratic Irony and Aristotle’s Eirôn: Some Puzzles. that elpcoveia generally signified ‘to say one thing and mean another’. 1968): “ ‘Deceitful’ in pretending to be in­ nocent when one is up to mischief. . as we shall see. 155 n. 3:82. i3i9b34-i32oa2. 1Philippic 7. . 1959).. the term is ap­ plied to Iris simply on the grounds that she has lied so that she can enter the new city of the birds.. ap­ plied to Philokleon’s lying about his intention to sell his donkey so'that he can get out of the house and participate in the law courts as a judge. 2.7. 1 (London: Whittaker. 82 n. ‘“Very (81a) tricky (eipcoveç) with’ or ‘thoroughly unreliable about strangers’. and “mockingly” in LSJ. is translated “in­ sinuatingly” by Amory. SccRh.]). 1964). the adjective. suggests “‘disingenuously’. . 13.5. even though. . Victor Coulon (Paris: Les Belles Lettres.. J. The Revised Oxford Translation o f the Complete Works o f Aristotle (Princeton: Princeton University Press. from whom Aris­ totle. . deception seems to be the term’s primary sense.. Aristophanes: “Clouds” (Oxford: Clarendon Press. i4i9b8-io.. no clear distinction is drawn between the etpcov and the dAa£a>v.Aristophane.: “It appears . “Eirôn and Eirôneia” 51. See NE 4. ed.” At Birds 1210-1211. that he meant to rebuke them for making loud professions and ready acknowledgments of their duty. 10. Aristophanes. 9.. distinguishes the former). the decep­ tion has failed to be at least fully successful. ed. and the Athenians would at once un­ derstand by its marked contrast with TTpdrretv. ‘hypocritically’. W. H27ai3-b32. occurs at ii27b23-25. MacDowell. which nevertheless were nothing but substitutes for. in fact. See the commentary of Robert Whiston. This is the traditional view. slightly more neutral descriptions can be found at 3. Elpcoveia approximates to ‘making ex­ cuses’. trans. to ‘confess and avoid’ with dissimulation and evasion.18. interestingly. vol. in the case where it is applied to some character.1379b30~35. and evasions of. 1. For the view that the positive understanding of elpcoveia does not emerge until Aristotle’s discussion in the Nicomachean Ethics. ed.yAristo­ phanes: iCPeace” (Oxford: Clarendon Press. Soph.19. . Aristophane. translates this as “Tu entends comme elle fait l’ignorante?” In all these cases. Clouds 448-50 (where. 2:24. The use of the word then in Demosthenes is peculiarly appropriate. possibly a ref­ erence to the Spartan practice of £evr}\aoia=‘expulsion of foreigners’ ”. van Daele. Gooch. .2. 12. translates as “Quel pretexte il met en avant avec quelle dissimulation. 1928-40). ap­ plied to the sophist as the dialogue finally succeeds in defining the species..2. van Daele translates as “faux frères envers les étrangers.

” Though I agree with Irwin that Socrates’ dis­ avowals of knowledge were in fact sincere. Dane. Corbett. The CriticalMythology ofIrony (Athens: University of Georgia Press. 9-10: “The raw material which was shaped in this no­ tion [Socratic irony] is of course found in Plato. Critical Mythology o f Irony. quoted from Barnes. But the first shaping was done by the .15.123421-4. G. trans. aXrjdyjs\ See the comments of T. . as we shall see later.7. 38J. for example. K al yap rj v7Tep^oXrj Kal 17 Xiav eXXeiifttS' dXatpviKOv. De oratore 2. in a very different way.. but its persistence is largely a product of the rhetorical tradition”. 17.2. Socrates: Ironist and M oral Philosopher. Dane.3. . . (New York: Oxford University Press. Vlastos.” in Complete Works o f Montaigne. It is worth noting that paralipsis. . Aristotle: “Nicomachean Ethics’3 (Indianapolis: Hackett. Cited from Barnes. if Socrates’ disavowals of knowledge were sincere and truthful. This famous formulation forms the point of beginning for many con­ temporary discussions o f irony. n. 23. J. Theophrastus5actual views in his discussion of the e'ipojv in chapter 1 of the Characters may in fact be difficult to determine. The text is uncertain. See. 20. which was often regarded as self-deprecation [Ir­ win’s translation of elptovzia]. 329-30. 1990). As Irwin correctly notes. 21: “The association of irony with Socrates may originate with Plato. jRevised Oxford Translation). 22.269-70. or ’'else to call things by the names of their contraries. G. See.” not “contrarium’’) and “what is said” (“quod dicit”).7. “O f experience. i960].. 21. The connection between irony and paralipsis remained alive through­ out classical rhetoric: see P. 1991).2. m d M agna moralia 32.67. 5.” See also 6. 1948). Classical Rhetoric fo r the M odem Student. Irwin. Especially in Drama (Toronto: University of Toronto Press. . O f Irony. 15.. ed. 3.44: “Contrarium ei quod dicitur intelli- gendum est. no self-deprecation was expressed. Frame. J oseph A. Michel de Montaigne. H27b28-29. Elpajveia “is to say something and pretend that you are not saying it. . ii27a2o-24. . while we worthless mortals have obviously been the cause of many benefits to them’ ” (1433^8-30. 1. however. col. where the relevant contrast. ed. i22ia24-26. Cicero. 818. and R. Nicomachean Ethics 16.119302. Revised Oxford Translation. : ‘These noble citizens have clearly done great harm to their allies. for example. 21. He does not say that Socrates had the vice of self-deprecation. Quintilian. H. ad loc. 204 NOTES TO CH APTER 2 Other references to elpcavela in Aristotle include Eudemian Ethics 2..) suggests that what we have in our hands today is the result of considerable interpolation. Sedgewick. p. EN 4. trans. 21. Glenn Ussher (The Characters o f Theophrastus [London: Macmillan. . 19. Compass o f Irony. I understand the sense of those dis­ avowals.8-35. De vitiis 10. is between “something different” (“diversum. 455. 3d ed. 18. Muecke. 14. is also classified as irony here (it is the first of the two cases mentioned in the quoted passage). Institutio oratoria 9.37 (included in Ussher’s edition of Theophrastus). the trope through which one proposes not to discuss a matter but proceeds to present it anyway. A full edition o f the work is that by Christian Jensen. 1985). “Aristotle refers to Socrates’ frequent disavowals of knowledge about the virtues. 31-31: dXrjdevriKoS'.

correctly in my mind. Irony (London: Allen and Unwin. Wayne Booth. In fact. The Point o f Viewfo r My Work as an Author. He is particularly interest­ ing on the connection between irony and the expression of feeling. Irwin. The- orie der Ironie (Frankfurt: Klostermann. 26. See Muecke. Plato’s Ethics (NewYork: Oxford University Press. “The art of irony is the art of saying something without really saying it” (5). insofar as lying and trying to deceive others are often connected with the sense that. 29. 1995). 1989). A Rhetoric o f Irony (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 59. Sedgewick. 1962). since something is put over on them. Kierkegaard also claimed that “the ironic consists in this. This must be some obviously related propo­ sition. and the extensive taxonomy of Uwe Japp. Hong (Princeton: Princeton University Press. .” in Doing W hat Comes Naturally (Durham. J. the sense becomes identical with the phenomenon” (Concept o f Irony. Fish criticizes. see Paul Grice.. 1992). The literature that surrounds Vlastos’s Socrates and the essays that preceded the publication of the book (now collected in Socratic Studies. less compre­ hensible) irony on the grounds that interpretation of the ironist’s words is equally necessary in both cases. 248). 1974). ed. The sophistical is that by which he is able to do this. Smith. Studies in the Way o f Words (Cambridge. 34: an ironic speaker “must be trying to get across some other proposition than the one he purports to put forward. 1989). inasmuch as the one who is speak­ ing assumes that his hearers understand him. See also Dane. Par­ tial bibliographies can be found in Hugh H.. Brickhouse and Nicholas D.C. Booth’s distinction between “stable” and “unstable” (more radical. . 39-40. trans. H. ed. through a negation of the immediate phenomenon. ed. 28. 1989). K. Mass. Wal­ ter Lowrie (New York: Harper and Row. that Socrates tricks Protagoras out of every concrete virtue. The Cambridge Companion to Plato (New York: Cambridge Univer­ sity Press. whose complex and erudite discussion of the many kinds of irony belies his opening statement. Howard V Hong and Edna H.” 27. “Short People Got No Reason to Live: Reading Irony. 12-13.: Duke University Press. 1994). but those don’t concern the point above. 180-96. In particular. ed. from a logical point of view. they are inferior to the de­ ceiver. 1992). Myles Burnyeat [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Even that statement. Thomson. . T. in The Concept o f Irony with Continual R eferent to Socrates. Thomas C. O f Irony. this connection is not absent even from the Aristophanic uses of the term. 1983). This is what Kierkegaard has in mind when he speaks of “simple irony”: “The ironic figure of speech cancels itself. A. however. It is be­ yond the scope of my study to give an account of the relevant bibliography. NOTES TO CHAPTER 2 205 24. A criticism of Booth’s views has been offered by Stanley Fish.: Harvard University Press. and when he is to lead it back to unity he completely volatilizes it. N. In a similar vein. and Richard Kraut. Critical Mythology o f Irony. Compass o f Irony. For a similar position. S0ren Kierkegaard. 1926). Benson. Essays on the Philosophy o f Socrates (New York: Oxford University Press. 1994]) is already enormous. the most obviously related proposition is the contradictory of the one he purports to be putting forward”. whose victims they are intended to be. Grice points out some difficulties with his account. on 53-5 4 . and thus. and trans. addresses a phenomenon more complex than Vlastos’s “primary” case. Plato’s Socrates (New York: Oxford University Press. 25.

Socrates: Ironist and M oral Philosopher.” But that cannot be right. See also Cicero.108: “De Graecis autem dulcem et facetum festivisque sermonis. sed cum toto genere orationis severe ludas.30. 206 NOTES TO CHAPTER 2 30. Solon did. Atkins. 28 n.” (“But Socrates. the case he actually dis­ cusses leaves the issue whether the ironist’s mind is open for the audience’s in­ spection quite undecided. . The case he has in mind is Crassus’s reference to the deformed Lucius Aelius Lamia first as “a beautiful youth” (“pulchellus puer”) and then. quem dpwva Graeci nominarunt. irony represented a phenomenon more complex than its current common understanding supposes it does. and his pre­ tense was an outright lie. as “an able orator” (“disertus”). Cicero. “Non illo genere de quo ante dixi. which is to show that the “differences in men’s spirits” are even greater than the differences in their bodies (in animis ex- sistunt maiores etiam varietates. since he would say something different from what he thought. ex nostris ducibus Q. after Lamia replied that he was not re­ sponsible for his looks but only for his talents. 31. praeripere hostium consilia. cum alia dicuntur ac sentias. by means of a case of paralipsis. Cicero: “On Duties” (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. where he is discussing the ironic use of individual words. that is. which Vlastos eliminates from his citation.. tacere. 24. ita cum aliud diceret atque sen- tiret. pretend that he was mad (“furere se simulavit”) in order to save his life and his city.15: “Socrates autem de se ipse detrahens in dis- putatione plus tribuebat is quos volebat refellere. 2. insidiari.107 ad fin ). attributed greater knowledge to those whom he wanted to refute. 1.” 33. he enjoyed using that kind of dissimulation which the Greeks call eipojveia”) Here too we see that the genus to which irony belongs . Maximum accepimus. The contrast that is relevant to Socrates is with Pythago­ ras and Pericles.”The translation is from M. From its very beginnings in the rhetorical tradition. who disparaged himself in his arguments.” Cicero then introduces Hannibal and Quintus Maximus as deceptive characters— representing a new trait—and goes on to compare them to Themistocles. Cicero. ed. of course. which (in view of Lamia’s rhetorical shortcomings) caused even greater laughter among his audience. . This case.67. M. in line with this chapter’s overall aim. De oficiis 1. 2.269-271: “Urbana etiam dissimulatio est. In his dis­ cussion of that passage. cum contraria dicas. Dane claims that Cicero goes on to liken Socrates to Han­ nibal and Quintus Maximus. Jason of Pherae. who acquired great authority without any levity: “Contra ^Pythagoram et Periclem summam auctoritatem consecutos sine ulla hilaritate. The earlier passage to which Cicero refers here is 2. 1991). 32.269). We have seen that even in the Rhetoric to Alexander.65. dissimulare. irony is introduced as a means of saying something while pretending not to say it. The translation of the last sentence is from Vlastos.. 34.67. Genus est perelegans et cum gravitate salsum. who were notorious for being crafty and dissem­ bling: C£Callidum Hannibalem ex Poenorum. atque in omne oratione simulátorem. Socratem opinor in hac ironia dissimulantiaque longe lepore et humanitate omnibus praestitisse. T. cum aliter sentias ac loquare” (ibid. facile celare. . there­ fore. ut Lamiae Cras- sus. Griffin and E. But Solon is used to illustrated different character trait. De or. rep­ resents what he has called “the primary use of irony”. Socratem accepimus. libenter uti solitus est ea dissimulatione quam Graeci eipojveiav vocant. Lucullus 5.30. so. and Solon among the Greeks.

ap- parens magis quam confessa. ed. In Catilinam 1. 9. “eip- <jdv€v6{jl€voS‘ $ £ «a! uaCCpiv rravra t o v jStov 7rpo<r t o avdpumovS SiareXei” which I shall discuss below. even by opponents like Plato. Quintilian. and with his approach to Socratic irony. O. despite Gorgias’ commitment to rhetoric.. Hippias. which offers some considerations link­ ing Socrates to those whom Plato portrays as his great opponents. 1995). can only guess. There is no function that takes us from what West said to its contrary: all we know is that she is not going to dinner—not on account of the distance but for reasons that we. and only believe. 1924). 1981). Froma Zeitlin characterizes as “dis­ crepant awareness”: “Playing the Other: Theater. Ibid. Saying the exact contrary of what one has in mind is only a simple variation on the trope. in a different context. Vlastos’s example (Socrates: Ironist and M oral Philoso­ pher. For a similar view of Socratic irony as the refusal to answer ques- . 39. The fullest discussion of the various forms of irony in Quintilian can be found in M. Characteres de Theophraste (Paris: Les Belles Lettres. Antilogic. NOTES TO CHAPTER 2 207 involves saying something other than (not contrary to) what one thinks. Dialectic. quae diversum ei quo dicit intel- lectum petit.46: “At in figura totius voluntatis fictio est. 70-71.. 6. Navarre. I will use his translations of the Greek texts unless I note otherwise. 1936). Such deceptiveness was not always attributed to the sophists themselves. Mass. Symp.” 40.44'. See Kierkegaard. 21) of Mae West’s refusal of an invitation to dinner at Gerald Ford’s White House: “It’s an awful long way to go for just one meal. qualis est visa Socratis. Cf. but that is not the whole point made by her quip. Consider. 41: “In a formal sense I can very well call Socrates my teacher—whereas I have only believed. omt.2.” 38.” We do know that the distance from New York to Washington is not that great. 35. He depicts Pro­ tagoras. 9. 46.” The passage clearly harks back to Plato.45.46: “Cum etiam vita universa ironiam habere videatur. 42. 120.8. and perhaps she herself as well.“inutroque enim contrarium ei quod dicitur intelligendum est. Ibid..” History o f Philosophy Quarterly 5 (1990): 3-16. 9-2. Sincerity and Authenticity (Cambridge.2. Lionel Trilling. Sophistic..” 37.15: “ eironeia. 41. See also my “ Eristic. the Lord Jesus Christ. 45. Inst. Quintilian. Bxp. 2 (Paris: Boivin.” in Playing the Other: Gender and Society in Classical Greek Lit­ erature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 5-14.2. Inst. This is what. Ibid.fitudes surQuintilien.Since much of the discussion that follows expresses dis­ agreements with Vlastos’s interpretation of this and other passages. 44. Point o f Viewfor My Work as an Author. 36. Euthydemus and Dionysiodorus are the only two characters whom Plato portrays as having no concern for truth.” 43. and the Feminine in Greek Drama.19. 47. vol. The term comes from George Kerferd’s The Sophistic Movement (Cam­ bridge: Cambridge University Press.2. Cicero.See also Jean Cousin. 2i6e4~5. 9. omt.: Harvard University Press. 337a4~7. for instance. which aims at persuasion rather than truth. and Gorgias in much more respectful terms. 1971). in One. Such an explanation does not apply even to some of the simplest cases of irony. Theatricality.

168 n. 1969]. Dover. Xenophon. 250-51). which we have already discussed. Cf. 48^4-5. and William Hamilton. This audience may or may not be actual. 3 [Cam­ bridge: Cambridge University Press. see. cf. ed. which might be better rendered as “toying. 51. 1951). 54. though in fact he does not. J. A.” That is a term often associated with Socrates. with the excep­ tion of 3. Guthrie is the only author among the four Vlastos mentions here who writes that Socrates “deceives” people as to his real character. the idea that someone can in principle share the joke with the speaker is always present: a notional audience is always involved. 336b9~337a2. where the “ironic” sophist is portrayed as someone who claims to know all sorts of things that only the philosopher can. is present in both cases. D. and according to which there can be a pretense that is totally innocent of deceit. 55.. vol. C. And Socrates may well have appeared to know more than he said to his contem­ poraries.36. History o f Greek Philosophy. Guthrie. according to Xenophon. meaning quite clearly the young men to whose education in virtue he is. saw this point: “It can be just as ironic to pretend to know when one knows that one does not know as to pretend not to know when one knows that one knows” (Concept o f Irony. where Hermogenes accuses Cratylus of elpwvev- todai.3-5 and 4. Vlastos finds no instances of genuine Socratic irony. Symp. 306. present us with similar cases. 268ai-b5. as he understands it. 52. Translation from G. Vlastos. 1980). trans. 49. C. 446). not less.13.. The others refer to his “pre­ tended ignorance” or to his pretending tout court. But even when irony involves only a single speaker and a single victim. Kierkegaard. for example. 336(12-4 G. A History o f Greek Philosophy.4. for some discussion. 383b8-384a4. This is in contrast to his earlier view.Mem. whose translation I use again not to beg any questions. K. Still. 3:446. sometimes as a description of what he does.9. 1965). 2od4~5. A Dictionary o f M odem English Usage. than he says. They are both rather artless.2. 1970). Fowler. That is why Vlastos claims they all assume Socrates is a deceiver. 53. C. too. W. 1992). Rep. Brentlinger (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.. Plato: “Symposium” (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. M. 50. sometimes in order to deny precisely that description. The word Vlastos translates as “jesting” is Traitpjv. 2d ed. The “Symposium” o f Plato. also Soph. and ed. Vlastos refers to Guthrie. in the M emorabilia. 2i6e4. Suzy Q Groden. trans.11. 1. K. where Socrates interacts with Euthydemus.4.9-10 (and. H.. although the explicit charge Thrasymachus makes against him differs from Hermogenes5charge against Cratylus. trans. 48. on the ground that he is pretending (rrpooTTOLOVfievoS) that he holds cer­ tain views that he could make clear if only he wanted to. A. Cr. ed. Cf. J. separates . But I think that 4-2. Plato: “Symposium” (Baltimore: W. it is clear that Thrasymachus be- lidvts that Socrates thinks he knows more than he says about justice. devoted. Pr. rev. Thus the boast­ ful implication of irony. even if the former is used to make a serious point about the wrong manner in which Euthydemus is preparing himself for a public career. Plato: “R e­ pu blic” rev. 208 NOTES TO CHAPTER 2 tions to which one knows the answers.2.. Grube. Sir Ernest Gowers (New York: Oxford University Press. The elpcov here seems to be pretending to know more. where Socrates tells Theodote that he has “his own girlfriends (c/nAai)” to attend to.. which I have been trying to bring into the foreground. Reeve (Indianapolis: Hackett.

where Socrates’ politics. 66. See Donald Morrison. 1969). which form a continuous passage in the Greek.2. which are well documented. into one. 60. 1986). translated by John E. 10. radically idiosyncratic views of teaching or knowledge? 62. Socrates: Ironist and M oral Philosopher. That is Vlastos’s interpretation. 31-32. Knopf. and not his teaching. E. who. 57. n. 1995). ibid. The notion of complex irony can actually be found in the discussion of Paul Friedlânder. 217. Thomas Mann. “On Professor Vlastos’ Xenophon. in Kritische Schriften (Mu­ nich: Carl Hanser. Despite the claims of Diogenes Laertius and R. The only evidence he offers for such a conflict in his discussion of teaching from which I quoted above comes from the Gorgias (52id6-8). “Socrates’ Disavowal of Knowledge. Quoted from Alexander Nehamas and Paul Woodruff. 1952). Socrates: Ironist and M oral Philosopher. 1. Lyceum Fragments. 237-38. trans. 1938). as Vlastos believes.” in Socratic Studies. D. 9. Woods (New York: Alfred A. We can infer that from Xenophon’s long and explicit defense of Socrates against those charges (Mem. 139-40. 36). Though I suspect that this charge is a little too extreme. This tradition ultimately goes back to Thrasymachus’ reaction to Socrates in Rep. I. 61. The M agic M ountain. I believe Morrison raises an important question: why should Socrates pursue such a roundabout strategy if his goal were. 42. Allen.305. Friedrich Schlegel. Symp.218. I have joined his two citations.” Other statements Vlastos interprets as complex ironies are Socrates’ disavowals of knowledge and his disavowal of political engagement. in the course of an argument to the effect that Xenophon’s Socrates is more ironic than Vlastos believes. 1989).. 36-37. vol. Socrates seems to have been actually accused of being responsible for the brutality of Critias when he joined the Thirty Tyrants who briefly ruled Athens after the end of the Peloponnesian War. For full references. in contrast to the cases of knowledge and politics. 237. 304. 39-66. DerZauberberg (Frankfurt: Fischer Verlag. J.i. no. 59. See Socrates: Ironist and M oral Philosopher. to make his interlocutors better people? Why should he expect them to understand on their own his personal. 41-43. 64. 1 (Princeton: Princeton University Press. 69. The Alluring Problem: An Essay on Irony (New York: Ox­ ford University Press. . Plato: &Symposium” (Indianapolis: Hackett. claims that Vlastos’s understanding of complex irony implies that “Socrates would be guilty of trad­ ing on an ambiguity: of creating the appearance of paradox and of philosophical depth through failing to distinguish two senses of a word and to state his posi­ tion clearly in terms of each” (12). though Friedlânder did not draw the far-reaching conclusions Vlastos does from the application of that idea. 68. 2i6b3~5. Vlastos. I have italicized the phrase beginning with “the truth. 36-37. is the subject. NOTES TO CHAPTER 2 209 this text into two for his own purposes (Socrates: Ironist and M oral Philosopher. as well as for the shameful career of Al- cibiades. 66. 65. see Vlastos. and idem.” Ancient Phi­ losophy 7 (1987): 9-22. See chap.. Plato. 58. 67. Plato. 63. 56.12-39). Enright. Vlastos cites no text where Socrates avows being a teacher in Socrates: Iro­ nist and M oral Philosopher. 236-42. 2d ed..

. 1. 494di. Tht. undermine accepted values. Alluring Problem. 2. 78. Mem. who connects Socrates’ “being out of place” with the philosopher’s inability to belong fully either to the sensible or to the intelligible world. On my chronology of the dialogues. 74. For a different. Kierkegaard.8. 1. in Kritische Schriften. also identifies Socrates’ aroma with his unique individuality. and that who does have such beliefs and who does not is a matter of chance or “divine dispensation” (99e6) seem designed to explain how Socrates.60 (on Aeschines). which is acknowledged as part of Plato’s middle period.” in Philosophy as a Way o f Life (Ox­ ford: Blackwell. 1995). This contrast may. that would explain why no general account of what Socrates “really” was like ever was. and put nothing in their place. 23. 93b7-94ei. we shall discuss that translation and the proper way of understanding the Greek term. If Hadot is right in this latter claim. An analysis of this complex passage is given by Donald Morrison. more complex account of what constitutes Socrates’ arom a. see chap. The ideas that the soul may recall views that constitute true beliefs from the time when it was not incarnate. 79. Enright. 1995). 22id2.7. Schlegel. 81. no. 33. 96e7-iooc2). incidentally.4 (on Antisthenes). 6. 76.1.Hadot. 56-57.24 (on Plato). used the formal methods it taught them in order to disagree with their elders. 73. provide an additional interpretative reason to think of the Gorgias as a later work. Lyceum Fragments.65 (on Aristippus). cf. See. 80. or will be. Symp. G.” In the next chapter. 77. 8ia5~86c3. 75. This seems to me a much better account even of Socratic irony than the passage quoted above (63).2. n. 14939. 3.M . instead. 19. 27. For the criticism that Socrates makes of Gor- gias here is not unrelatedto the criticismof Socratic dialectic Plato puts into Socrates’ own mouth in the Republic (539bi-d7). “A rom a / 3 literally. “being out of place. 2i5a2. We should also note that there is no rea­ son to believe that Socrates’ own children exhibited the virtue he accused Peri­ cles of not being able to transmit to his own sons. 72. possible.” See Vlastos. Xenophon. Socrates: Ironist and M oral Philosopher. A central instance is provided by the theory of recollection and the dis­ tinction between true belief and knowledge associated with it (M. 2io NOTES TO CHAPTER 2 70. Phdr. succeeded in acting rightiy in a consistent manner despite the fact that he lacked the knowledge that he him­ self may have considered necessary for such an accomplishment. for example. “Spiritual Exercises. 1. The common translation of arete is <cvirtue. and 6. That the various Socratics disliked one another on personal as well as on philosophical grounds is stated in a number of places by Diogenes Laertius. “Xenophon’s Socrates on the Just and the Lawful. 71. and also Plato.1. See. Concept o f Irony ^i%. For a contrasting view of the teacher’s responsibility. for example. see Pierre Hadot. The argument here is that Socratic dialectic was practiced with men who were too young to profit from it and who.” Ancient Philosophy 15 (1995): 329-48. So Plato claims that Socrates did implicitly bear some /responsibility for his companions’ behavior (even though he was not their teacher in any strict sense) because he exposed them to a method of argument for which they were not ready: the responsibility was therefore not only theirs.19. 108. 57. in Plato’s eyes. 2. that true beliefs can be as good guides to action as knowledge as long as they remain in the soul. andQu^est-ceque laphilosophie antique? (Paris: Gallimard. 230C6.

5 below. 19:640-41. P. idem. and to that extent his ignorance was ironic. 4. Gemaston. In general. F. 7. as we shall see in chap. “When Socrates declared that he was ignorant. Adriani. in line with the argument of the concluding pages of the previous chapter. 8. that is. Hegel. 5.. Philosophy o f Fine A rt. Vorlesun­ gen uber die Geschichte der Philosophies 1:293. 269). 221. Haldane. parts 1 and 2. a second or second-best or alternative sailing. 1:400-402. 1927-40). See Joseph A. for Plato as well as for Socrates (who uses that expression about his own philosophical journey). did not have any positive content. W. Her­ mann Glockner. 293-95. and since Hegel has tried in vain. 2. trans. however. Concept o f Irony. it is not really irony at all. 1975). among many other places. 217. Sdmtliche Werke: Jubildumausgabe. he nevertheless did know something. F. Haldane. vol. ed. Glockner. Haldane. The Critical Mythology o f Irony (Athens: University of Georgia Press. 11-12. E. 12:105-6. ed. Ibid. 1 (1892. 1:386. trans. 26 vols. 261. New York: Hacker Art Books. for he knew about his ignorance. Nor do I want at this point to take issue with Kierkegaard5s inclusion of the Phaedo among the Platonic texts from which he derives his totally ironic im­ age of Socrates (Concept o f Irony. . 388. regards what he considers as Socrates5destruction of archaic or “tragic55Greek culture as his gravest fault. S0ren Kierkegaard. trans. Nietzsche. Hegel. in the Euthyphro or the Protagoras. 6. B. 254. in Lectures on the History o f Philosophy. 1 (1920. S. a Sevrepos' rrXovg. Ibid.. H. Vorlesungen uber die Geschichte der Philosophic. Dane. But. 3. (Leiden: A. trans. 1908). Hegel's criticisms of Schlegel and romantic irony can be found. London: Roudedge and Kegan Paul. 3 vols. F. 1991). this knowledge was not a knowledge of something. 10. Hong and Edna H. Sdmtliche Werke: Jubildumausgabe. G. and in G. 9. Hegel. for me. to ex­ plain what allowed him to live as he did despite the fact that he lacked the knowl­ edge he considered necessary for the good life. Howard V. The Concept o f Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates. which Hegel identified with irony itself. W. Kierkegaard believes that both Socrates5and SchlegePs versions are genuine species of irony. NOTES TO CHAPTER 3 211 Chapter 3 1. reprint. the Phaedo represents a very different Socrates and is part of a very different stage in Plato’s philosophical development. vol. The Phaedo. It constitutes. repr. While Hegel considers this Socrates5greatest achievement. 1962). Lectures on the History o f Philosophy. Hong (Princeton: Princeton Uni­ versity Press. Hegel. on the other hand. 1:295. a new attempt to accomplish something that Plato’s earlier dialogues had not succeeded in ac­ complishing (and perhaps never intended to accomplish in the first place). 1989). The orig­ inal is from Hegel. in my opinion. and trans. 93-94. (Stuttgart: Fromann. ed. say. is an element in Plato's conscious effort to understand Socrates. Lectures on the History o f Philosophy. I believe that the reader must agree with me55(Kierkegaard. 62-79). Kierkegaard criticizes Hegel for thinking that because Socratic irony differs from Schlegel’s conception. to reclaim a positive content for him. Kierkegaard’s broad conception of irony allows him to find in the Phaedo the same sort of character as we find.

perhaps against hope. 42-48. 472c6-di. Socrates presents the view as deeply controversial and announces his willingness to discuss it anew (49b3-e2). I want to draw attention to how differently the thesis that suffer­ ing injustice is worse than committing it is treated in the Crito (which is ac­ knowledged to be an early work of Plato) and in the Gorgias. 29b6~7.505e4~5). who tries to resolve this conflict by distinguishing. 1977). whether they know it or not.. 2i2 NOTES TO CH APTER 3 11. 49d3). Klagge and Nicholas D. 14. Plato’s Ethics (New York: Oxford University Press. “Plato’s Arguments and the Dialogue Form. This translation. 13. ed.” in Socratic Stud­ ies.” which we discussed in the preceding chapter. H. that Socrates5point is not just to say that Thrasymachus is stupid (see chap. ed. chap. eds. The Phibsophy o f Socrates (London: Macmillan. the Gorgias starts as a dialogue of definition (its subject is rhetoric. 39. Norman Gulley. for a new variant of that view.. Aristotle. p.However. that someone may know the answer to one of his ques­ tions. be­ tween two different types of knowledge to which Socrates lays claim (43-44). 16. 62). The two goals are not incompatible. Translation from Jonathan Barnes. I also be­ lieve that when he asks about the nature of the virtues Socrates sometimes hopes. carries no suggestion that Socrates dissimulated in his disavowals of knowledge. 27-29. De Sophisticis Elenchis 34. 2. 39. Vlastos. The Revised Oxford Translation o f the Complete Works o f Aristotle (Princeton: Princeton University Press. since I consider it a later work. pp..g. to make him think that he is joining with Socrates in a voyage of discovery. In the former dia­ logue. “Socrates’ Disavowal of Knowledge. See also idem. 15. ac­ . Ap. 1994). translated as “used to confess” here. We saw. T.209. Plato’s M oral Theory (New York: Oxford University Press. Michael Frede. 1984). I also believe that the issues of ethics. Socrates insists much more dogmatically that everyone. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 10 (1992): Supplement. like all others for which I give no ex­ plicit acknowledgment. See Gregory Vlastos. esp. which is acknowledged to belong among the latest of the early dialogues or even among the works of Plato’s middle period.” This is not dissimilar to the view that underlies Vlastos’s conception of “complex irony. Methods o f Interpreting Plato and His D ia­ logues. 1968). 18. and epis- temology presented in those works are new and receive explicit treatment only in the Phaedo and the Republic. metaphysics. Irwin. In the latter work. is mine. however. 1995). Myles Bumyeat (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. as we shall see.” in James C. 12. i83b6-8. Smith. Though I agree with Frede’s description of Socrates’ practice. In addition. I am unwilling to use the Gorgias as evidence for Plato’s early view of Socrates. 2. I have accepted a later date for the Gorgias pardy because of stylistic consid­ erations: like thtM eno. Plato. he admits that people who disagree about it can hold no “common counsel” (Koivrj fiovXrj. 17. depends crucially on a number of statements Socrates makes in the Gorgias con­ cerning his knowledge of moral matters and the truth of his elenctic conclusions (e. that of thcM eno is virtue) but soon leaves definition aside and faces Callicles’ challenge to Socratic ethics— a challenge as radical as that which Meno’s paradox (M. with full references. Aristotle’s co/xoAo'yet. 486e5~6. 8od5-e5) presents to So­ cratic methodology. 208. writes that Socrates claims to be ignorant “as gn expedient to encourage his inter­ locutor to seek out the truth.

This last thesis is the epistemologi- cal heart of the positive moral interpretation of the elenchus that Vlastos pro­ posed in “The Socratic Elenchus.. But the Gorgias1position in Plato’s development. Parmenides.” 55. that we are able to identify our true beliefs in the first place). andVlastos’s reply in the same issue. 2.” 55. “Socrates’ Disavowal of Knowledge. Xenophanes. Burnyeat. “Socrates’ Disavowal of Knowledge. DK Bi. M. quoted from Barnes. EN 6. ed. Democritus DK B117 and B9. “Comments on Gregory Vlas­ tos.” 62-63. Tht. if my argument above is correct. in my opinion.” 5 2 -5 4 . 113-15). 63-67. B38.2. See chap. as Vlastos himself believes. APo. 4 7 6 e 4 -4 7 8 d 4 . esp. Socrates: Ironist andMoral Philosopher [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. to the beginnings of Plato’s middle period (Socrates: Ironist and Moral Philosopher. 5ie4. forbids us to project views derived from it onto all the dialogues that precede it. makes a significant diiference to Vlastos’s view that the Socrates of Plato’s early dialogues—of all the early dialogues—believes that every­ one possesses a stock of true beliefs “within” them that entail the negation of any other false ethical views they may also hold. 22. ‘The Socratic Elenchus. B24. 1-28 (see also idem. “Socrates’ Disavowal of Knowledge. And that. reveals. pp. see. Grube in Plato: Five Dialogues (Indi- . also discussed in Vlastos. perhaps. H39bi9-2o. Revised Oxford Translation. 26. 22c8-d4. ed. I have offered a more detailed argument for that conclusion. B35. that Plato came (if he did) to the view that all of us possess “within” us the true views that the elenchus. “Socrates’ Disavowal of Knowledge. and pp. allows us eventually to eliminate the false ones and to keep only those that are true (assuming. 2 passim. reprinted with minor changes in Socratic Stud­ ies. 20. For Aristode. Vlastos’s evidence for his interpretation comes over­ whelmingly from the Gorgias (see Richard Kraut. I9a8-23ci. 117-26). B7. In particular. 19. then the elenchus. A. 25. For Plato. 47 with n. If we all have such views within us. See also idem. among others. cited in Vlastos. Rep. and not through­ out his early period. in “What Did Socrates Teach and to Whom Did He Teach It?” 27. de­ spite the fact that it seems capable only of showing that various beliefs a person holds are inconsistent. 33-37). 1991]. DKB18. This view is. It is expressed for the first time in the Gorgias and it receives its first explanation through the theory of recollection in thcMeno.7 2 b 3 ~ 4 . Ti. These texts (with the exception of the pas­ sage from the Theaetetus) are cited and discussed by Vlastos. of course. 24. Socrates: Ironist and Moral Philosopher.’ ” Oxford Studies in AncientPhilosophy 1 [1983]: 59-70. which is in my view the Gorgias’ companion piece and belongs. NOTES TO CHAPTER 3 213 cepts the view that being treated unjusriy is not as bad as being unjust oneself. 23. translated by G. based partly on the interpretation ofAp. in turn.” in Socmtic Studies. Ap. the specific diiference between the Crito and the Gorgias on the “retaliation thesis” suggests that it was only between the time when he wrote the Crito and the date when he composed the Gorgias. chap. 7 ib i5 -i6 . 47-48 (Theses LAand IB). 152C5-6. 8. Vlastos. The diiference is significant. 21. a later Platonic innovation and not a Socratic thesis—at least not a the­ sis Plato had ever thought of attributing to the Socrates of his early dialogues.

trans. neither the politicians (2ic3-e2) nor the po­ ets (22a8-c8) can even understand the principles of their own activities. 1976). If we can believe Diogenes Laertius. had to undergo long and thor­ ough training. She also writes that “craftsmen . [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 79-112. Reeve. Lives of the Philosophers. 34. Protagoras. 84) reports that Apelles used to draw every day in order to maintain his talent in top form. 29.5. Once he had learnt it. D. 73. Socrates in the Apology. By contrast. Epistemology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. see Reeve. to remain) good once one has become good—the really hard thing— in the first place. 6 vols. 1981).. Pliny (Natural History. however. Craftsmen in Greek and Roman Society (Ithaca: Cornell Uni­ versity Press. according to M . 37-53.” in Stephen Everson. For the argument that Socrates is contrasting himself to the sophists and not to the natural philosophers. 73. Gorgias. he must continue to exercise his skill. See also Maurice Pope. otherwise it would decay and die on him” (p. 1990). 89.. It is possible. and in a number of other places. 53). Socrates also attributes knowledge to physicians and sculptors (toward whom his attitude is much more generous than toward poets— one more indication that Plato was not an enemy of “the arts” as we understand them) at Pr. As suggested by Irwin. Ibid. Constant application was required of a man if he was to become fully acquainted with his craft. 34. ed. NOTES TO CHAPTER 3 anapolis: Hackett. 3. 1972). Guthrie. is aware of the disanalogies between the “craft” of teaching arete and the other crafts. Alison Burford. 2.. 13-19. 30. ed. 1. “Plato’s Early Theory of Knowledge. 35. 24. 1989). See also Paul Woodruff. On Ancient Medicine 1. Plato’s M oral Theory. 82. by implying that they can teach their craft to others. Festugiere (1948. 33. Iii4b30-ni5a4. according to Paul Woodruff (“Plato’s Debt to Protagoras. C. Plato: “Hippias M ajor* (Indianapolis: Hackett.-J. Such statements invite both contrast and comparison with Aristotle’s view that arete is almost impossible to lose once acquired since it is by nature such as to be constantly manifested in action (EN. that not all sophists made such a strong claim. see “What Did Socrates Teach and to Whom Did HeTeachlt?” 291-93. K. 23. not believable). but they be­ lieve that that qualifies them to speak knowledgeably about the virtues and yet prove incapable of doing so. perhaps. as Vlastos has argued (“Socrates5Disavowal of Knowledge. 28. C.18. Festugiere in Hippocrate: L ’A ncienne medecine. University of Texas. denied that he was a teacher o f arete and claimed only to make people better speakers (though see W.” 61-62 with n.10. for evidence that what Gorgias claimed was not always be­ lieved and might have been.5. 69).” typescript [Department of Philos­ ophy. . A History o f Greek Philosophy. On such “expert” knowledge. Hippocrates. and ^aul Woodruff. A. . 4. The prob­ lem with the artisans is not that they have no knowledge: they do. while Socrates pushes the analogy more forcefully than it deserves in order to discredit the sophist’s claim to be teaching arete in any way. . in which he refuses to attribute to Simonides the view that it is hard to be (that is.-J. 31. 1962-81]. and see the commentary of A. 3iib5-c8. See also C. 10-11. H52a28-33) and perhaps also with Socrates’ interpretation of Simonides’ poem in thc Protagoras (34id6-347as). The Ancient Greeks: How They Lived and Worked (London: David and Charles. 95c. 3:271-72 with n. 32. 1982). Socrates in the Apology (Indianapolis: Hackett. 1993]). 60-84.

Plato. 1(Berlin: Akademie. Irwin’s recent discussion in Plato’s Ethics. 1979).2. Benjamin Jowett (Oxford: OxfordUni- versity Press. 3115-C8 with the cases cited in n.” and 374-75. 252. and Irwin. “Techne and Moral Expertise. 79. 71-86. vol. trans.198. Robinson. History of the Peloponnesian War. Herodotus. contains a good discussion of alternative approaches and an extensive bibliography.” 37. Isocrates was to ar­ gue that aperrj (arete) and SiKaioovvr) (justice) are not purely teachable—not.. Griechische Versinschriften. Plato’sMoral Theory. 1990]) renders as “You know how my team outstrips all others’ speed. and immensely complex. 41. zná Plato’s Ethics. M. 35. 34-41). “t ore St) áperrj knaurov [tmrov] ýaívero” though Fagles attri­ butes the dperrj in question not to the horses but to the charioteers.” 43 with n.That position. though it advances his own idiosyncratic view. “Plato’s Use of the Techne-Analogy. “Socrates’ Disavowal of Knowledge. “ovveiSCoS' ifJLavrqj dfiapriav. NOTES TO CH APTER 3 215 repr. 38. 235C6-7. TheDialogues ofPlato.” in Essays on Ancient Philosophy (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. More information on the notion of technical knowledge can be found in Reeve. 20.4. in fact.106.” which Robert Fagles (in Homer.Iliads 23. 42. Homer. 35.276: “tare yap oooov (jlol ap€Tfj rrept/3aAAerov lttttol. . “Philosophy and Medicine in Antiquity. trans. while the others.41). see T. 1953). 3.9- 43.88. is seriously sim­ ilar to Plato’s overall approach in the Republic. E. 47-48. 61. are in com­ parison to him like squawking crows (and cf. I don’t want to take a position on the many issues it involves here. Socrates in the Apology. 35. that is. 1955). Even Xenophon attributes a sim­ ilar thesis to Socrates in Memorabilia 3. Contrast Vlastos. 4. Werner Peek. Contrasting Arguments: An Edition of the “Dissoi logoi” [New York: Arno Press. 1987). Histories. The literature on the precise connection Plato’s Socrates envisaged to hold between virtue and happiness is immense. and on the competition between Apelles and Protogenes. a common­ place of dialectical practice as well as a real issue. Nemean 3. those who have to learn their craft. ”Journal oftheHistory ofPhilosophy 24 (1986): 295-310. 1979]. Michael Frede. 12. Pindar famously had claimed that the wise (who in this case refers to the poet) is so by nature.274-75). passim.2.79. Natural History. New York: Arno Press. 27 above. Thucydides. 36. trans. ď.” Plato has Socrates use the same verb in connection with self-knowledge at Phdr. the rather idealized version of the agreement Socrates envisages among sculptors and doctors atPr. for example. 39. Robert Fagles [New York: Viking Penguin. Contrast. 40. 1. TheIliad.86-88.. a related story occurs at 36. The author of the Dissoi logoi (composed probably around 403-395 b c ) refers to the “neither true nor new ar­ gument that oo(f)ia [wisdom] and aperd [arete] can neither be taught nor learned” (on the date of this text.” Philosophy 59 (1984): 49-66. In Olympian 2. On the dispute between Zeuxis and Parrha- sius see Pliny. 45. “ 'Eydj yap 8rj ovre fidya ovre o^tKpov ovvotSa ifxavrw ooýós? a>v.11. He also speaks of the dperij of horses. David Roochnik.Antidosis 186-92. without a proper nature that is disposed to receive them (Contra Sophis- tas 14-18.21. Woodruff. Plato: “Hippias Major”. Tiles. 225-42. 3.7. 44. The manner in which Meno introduces that question in the dialogue named after him suggests very strongly that the question was a topos. J.

” in Benjamin Jowett. cf. John Stuart Mill wrote that Plato un­ derstood dialectic to consist of two parts: “One is. 155).6. I discussed that view briefly. Ly. 54. “when all he has established is its inconsistency with premises whose truth he has not tried to establish in that argument: they have entered the argument ^simply as propositions on which he and the interlocutor have agreed”? “This. An exception to this statement is provided by Vlastos. Gregory Vlastos. 244. 53. “Introduction. show which view has to be rejected in order to make the set consistent. George Grote. The elenchus proceeds roughly as follows. for none of which he argues: the in­ terlocutor just accepts them. 1865). (Oxford: Clarendon Press. Plato and the Other Companions o f Sokrates. Socrates usually elicits a pro­ posal for defining a virtue from his interlocutor. before it was adopted. I am afraid. to which he could reply either by contradicting views ad­ mitted generally or his own original hypothesis. 4:69: “The method of procedure. 51. This cross-examination is the Sokratic Elenchus” (“Grote’s Plato. and demanding. See Irwin. 223ai-b3. 50. He then shows that the set that consists of the original proposal along with the other views the interlocutor accepts is inconsistent: the interlocutor cannot hold all those views together.” 225. 7. Socrates often claims to have shown that the inter­ locutor’s proposed definition is false. 18 above. vol. See also Guthrie. 79^5. M . 1956). Ch. A series of definitions is elicited from . 49. I am grateful to Christopher Bobonich for discussing (not. Still. to discard the definition and not any of his interlocutors’ subsidiary views. 231-34. 8oe3. in n. governing the structure of the [early] dialogues.In his review of Grote. He occasionally gets in trouble when his interlocutor is willing to abandon one of these views. History o f Greek Philosophy. 47. ed. 1953). trans. in Barry Gross. I5cu-e2. from a purely logical point of view. 2iob6-c5. I76a6-ds. Martin Ostwald (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill. Plato’s Earlier Dialectic. 1 (London: Russell. This could only be done effectively through oral discussion. That al­ lows him. that they should be successfully met.. eliciting every objection or difficulty that could be raised against it. to his satisfaction) this issue with me. for discussion. 1969]. He then obtains the interlocu­ tor’s agreement with certain other views. xxxi. 36135-6.4 . But the elenchus does not. who changed his mind and came to believe that the elenchus could reach positive results because our store of true beliefs within was sufficient to ensure that our false beliefs would be expunged.” Vlastos concludes. My own position is that Socrates is in general very careful to get his interlocutors to agree to additional views each one of which is more plausible than the proposed definition. Plato’s M oral Theory. See Eu. 2d ed. 77-86. Richard Robinson.. “ Philosophy and Medicine in Antiquity. Frede. La. and gave some reasons for not accepting it. is this. 216 NOTES TO CHAPTER 3 46. Pr. 4-5). as Thrasymachus prefers to argue that justice is not a virtue than to concede that his definition of justice as the interest of the stronger should be abandoned at Rep. pressing the re­ spondent by questions.”Edinburgh Review.” in Socratic Studies. “is the problem of the Socratic elenchus” (“The Socratic Elenchus: Method Is All. Great Thinkers on Plato [New York: Capricorn Books. the testing of every opinion by a negative scrutiny. 338a8ff. Plato: “Pro­ tagoras” rev. 48. Gregory Vlas- tos asks. though not in strictly logical terms. 52. How can Socrates do that.

ed. though the thesis that it is wrong to consider death worse than disgrace. can be debated at length. Md.. deductive knowledge for which Socrates had been searching in vain. Thomas C. 1994). Essays on the Philosophy o f Socrates (New York: Oxford University Press. 1989). Moreover. Stokes. ed. In general. 1994). they agree.. They are right that I had overstated my case. 1987]. Rabinowitz’s “Platonic Piety: An Essay to­ wards the Solution of an Enigma. This is not to say that Plato’s readers have not found positive messages hid­ den within the dialogues themselves.” 55. These issues have been discussed at great length in the extensive secondary literature that has grown around Socrates since the 1970s. 90-92. Cleary. NOTES TO CHAPTER 3 217 the respondents.: University Press of Amer­ ica. and the apparent end is deadlock and bafflement. But they shy away from the implications of Socrates’ use of the verb iXcyx^iv and from his state­ ment that. 2 [Lanham. “Knowledgec” is Vlastos’s term for the certain. This is then criticized in turn and finally rejected. for exam­ ple. 61. Plato’s Socrates (New York: Oxford University Press. 57. until they arrive at a clear formula. W.. Most of them spring from the work of Gregory Vlastos. It takes a character of such extreme views as Callicles to deny it (482d7-8).”Phronesis 3 (1958): 108-20. for example. Benson. from a different point of view. But none of these is implied by the logical structure of the elenchus itself. Socratic Questions: The Philosophy o f Socrates and Its Significance (London. Vlastos.. 59. Ibid. 223b4-8. The Socratic Movement (Ithaca: Cornell University Press. A good discussion is in Irwin. 13 . relies on substantive though not particularly controversial ideas in making his claim to . 305-6). “Socrates’ Disavowal of Knowledge. 29cb~3oa2. Socrates on Trial (Prince­ ton: Princeton University Press. which is part of Socrates’ view in the Apology. ed. On the necessity of the knowledge of aperrj for acting with aperrj. provides an instance of how the search for such positive views can proceed. Plato’s M oral Theory. Barry S. then. object to an earlier interpretation of mine according to which Socrates examines the oracle to see whether it is true (“Socratic Intellectualism. readily admits it in the Gorgias (474b7-c3). Smith. 58. 1992). it is still not an idea that is easily to be rejected. No definition is finally adopted. 1992). The italics are mine. Smith. though not trivial. Gower and Michael C. if he were to find a wiser man. can only lead to negative results) with the dramatic features of the works. Plato’s Dialogue on Friendship: An Interpretation of the “Lysis33 with a New Translation (Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 96-97. Roudedge. See. see Ap. G.” in John J. 29d6-io).” 43 with n. vol. Polus. each a modification of the last necessitated by Socrates’ objec­ tions. 12. David Bolotin. Brickhouse and Nicholas D. 2i2ai~7. L a. and. I93dn-e6. andLy. Thomas C. The italics are again mine. Proceedings o f the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy. the oracle would be refuted. Paul Vander Waerdt. It is important to note that the claim to know that it is bad and shameful to disobey one’s superior and refuse to perform one’s appointed task whether out of fear of death or anything else (Ap. Socrates. 56. is not in fact terribly controversial. 60. Brickhouse and Nicholas D. Good places to begin looking at that literature are Hugh H. 1979). the proponents of the Straussian approach to the dialogues try to discern positive conclusions by combining the logical structure of Socrates’ method (which. 64.

But apart from the fact that the dating of this text is a matter of great controversy. Such an implicit admission. 62. know that wrong action done without knowl­ edge is done because of ignorance” (my italics). Another claim is made at Rep. actually manipulates the data about Leverkiihn that he presents with such apparent objectivity. His morally robust attitude is counterbalanced by his dialectical tentativeness. with re­ gard to this invalid actuality he let the established order o f things appear to re­ main established and thereby brought about its downfall. the same does not hold either for Mann or for his readers.” We do not need to accept all the elements o f Kierkegaard’s picture to see that the notion of negative freedom implies a distance from what one denies and an unwillingness to attack it directly. he repeats his willingness to examine it again for as long as necessary. I believe that Socrates’ verb a yvoeiv (“to be ignorant of”) need not be taken too strictly here. Note. 63. but divine grace always provides an (unenlightening) explanation. Gilbert Sorrentino’sImag­ inary Qualities ofActual Things. the triviality of Pr. to whom Zeitblom. 35ia5-6: “For injustice is ignorance—no one could still not know this” (referred to by Vlastos. A clear instance of the latter occurs in Thomas Mann’sDoctorFaustus. Religious figures. . Kierkegaard. 1. Concept ofIrony. per­ haps unwittingly. The “rejection of retaliation” thesis in the Crito is not presented as a thesis about which Socrates claims certainty: on the contrary. however. surely. However. now. not epistemological. What is re­ markable and disturbing about Plato’s case is that it involves no assertion. cited as a case of a Socratic claim to knowledge by Vlastos (“Socrates Disavowal of Knowledge. Nabokov’s The Real Life of SebastianKnight is a similar case. gives all the necessary information. in the process Socrates became lighter and lighter. even if Zeitblom fails to understand Leverkiihn. and his Transparent Things depends on an author/ narrator who does not. The same goes for Robert Musil’s Arnheim in TheMan withoutQualities. insists repeatedly that the composer Adrian Leverkiihn. not in this or that particular aspect but in its totality as such. I believe that subtle hints in the novel point to a much deeper cunning on Zeitblom’s part than the narrator admits. 271-72. . . is a matter for an­ other occasion. also. . His use of the term is dialectical. That. Zeitblom. Plato just presents Socrates as a mystery. in his translation): “You yourselves. surpasses his own limited understanding. Here he describes the elements of ^Socrates’ position as he sees it: “The whole substantial life of Greek culture had lost its validity for him. Much more common is the explicit admission of a narrator that a character is beyond comprehension.” 46. 47. which means that to him the established actuality was un­ actual. Serenus Zeitblom.218 NOTES TO CHAPTER 3 knowledge. without the literary self-consciousness that deprives the modernist and postmodernist authors I mention here of the (per­ . made by an author who does not appear even as a narrator in his own work. no acknowledgment that an author is creating a character he does not understand. are often incomprehensible to those who write about them. In any case. like Zeitblom. more and more negatively free. and Clarence Major’s Reflex and Bone Structure. is a very rare phenomenon. cited here in his translation). 357d7~ei. He has already driven Thrasymachus into a dialectical corner (350C10-11) and is issuing a further challenge to him here. fully belong to the novel’s world and who possesses only “limited” knowledge of his central character. whose friend he has been since childhood and whom he considers a true genius. I am convinced. . . whose nar­ rator.

“resting as they do on an attempt to interpret the progress of Plato’s work. Young. and to concentrate on the literary and philosophical content of the works. For.” Cooper writes. I am grateful to Thomas Pavel and Brian McHale. . I have tried to offer my own view.” Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 12 [1994]: 227-50). working out the implications of his simile with Daedalus’ statues. 64. Cooper. And the persuasiveness of such a hypothesis will depend on the readings of particular passages along with the attractiveness of the overall narrative of Plato’s development it allows us to construct. 65. and have discussed some alternatives.” Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 6 (1988): 69-102. A serious case for not making chronological assumptions in reading the Platonic dialogues has recently been made by John M. in “Meno’s Paradox and Socrates as a Teacher. both of whom discussed the issue with me. True beliefs. it is impossible to separate the reading of the dialogues from at least a tentative hy­ pothesis regarding their order. . To use them that way is to put the cart before the horse. This is reasonable as a caution to those who are about to read Plato for the first time (and to those who will teach Plato to such students). and “On the Relative Date of the Gorgias and the Protagoras. In the end. Since the only reliable stylometric evidence we have concerns the very last six works Plato composed (see the recent survey of that ev­ idence by Charles M. “Such classifications. But. The discussion of these issues is complex. Though Plato. 1997)- Cooper argues correctly that the classification of Plato’s works into different periods—such as the classification I have been working with in this book. It is better to relegate thoughts about chronology to the secondary po­ sition they deserve. it is often impossible to decide what a particular passage means without knowing whether it is a response to a previous position Plato has already expressed or an anticipation of a thesis he has not yet formulated or stated ex- plicitly. taken on their own and in relation to one another” (xiv). are already within the soul. 1996) —rests on interpretative assumptions. until they become knowledge. Cooper in his introduc­ tion to John M. for example. any hypothesis concerning the chronology of the rest of his writings will have to be interpretative. 66. ed. see his “The Methodology of Plato in the Laches. rests precisely on reversing such relationships: where others see echoes. are an unsuitable basis for bringing anyone to the reading of these works. But in fact it is impossible to read the dialogues “on their own and in relation to one another” without at the same time making serious assumptions about their chronological sequence. he sees antic­ ipations. philosophically and literarily. Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett. Kahn’s chronological rearrangement of the dialogues.” Revue international'e de philosophie 40 (1986): 7-21.. Spane- reveiv). they can still come to be forgotten even after questioning elicits them from a respondent.” Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 3 (1985): 1-30. “Plato and Computer Dating. or the different chronology offered by Charles H. Kahn in Plato and the Socratic D i­ alogue: The Philosophical Use o f a Literary Form (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni­ versity Press. the literal content of his view must be that such beliefs are forgotten un­ til they are recalled through the questioning he has already described in his dis­ cussion of the theory of recollection. to take an obvious case. . . according to the theory. NOTES TO CH APTER 3 219 haps unwanted by them) claim to verisimilitude the dialogues so forcefully make and to which I shall soon turn. writes that true beliefs may “escape” the soul (cwToSiSpdcr/ceiv.

that e7ri^€i/)€tv need not be translated as “trying”). Vlastos (Socrates: Ironist and.Moral Philosopher. In his effort to locate complex ironies. which denies the omnipotence authors had traditionally been accorded over their material. 54d4-8). The people in the city are taught to believe that the philosophers are the best people among them even though they themselves fall far below them in respect of apery (arete). i87e6-i88c3). Plato had also developed a number of reservations about Socrates’ methods. But apart from the fact that at $2id Socrates says that he is trying to practice politics (Vlas­ tos. And his claim that Socrates turns all conversations into discussions of one’s life seems like an expression of appreciation of what he thinks of as a characteristic (ovk cvqdrjS) and not unpleasant (ovk dr}87]<?) game of Socrates. of course. who seems convinced by Socrates’ argument /that he should not escape from prison. cf. 72. 69. 4. he criticizes allowing young people—people o f the age Socrates surrounded himself with—to practice the . he clearly trusts Socrates to find good teachers for children: he has already found a music teacher for his own son (i8oc9-di). As to Nicias.1. But Crito’s response. For example.-Mm. That is a point of connection between Platonic and romantic irony. There is no complex irony here.” to Socrates’s claim that whatever Crito adds to his argument will be in vain (fidrr^v) but that he should try nonetheless. i8ob7-d3. who appeals to Socrates for help in deciding whether training in armor is or is not good for boys and who knows that a conversation with Socrates always turns into a defense of one’s mode of life (La. 73. is a grudging concession. Nicias does not resent that game: he even likes it. But there is no evidence that he takes it seriously or that it has had any long-term beneficial effect on him. 240 n. “Socrates. argues. At least. recognizing the good and being good are clearly distinguished. he also says that he is trying “to engage in the true political art” (rj cos' a X fjO w S ' t t o A i t i k t j T € )(v r j) . What would that irony be? I don’t think that Plato is making the implicit claim that he did after all know how Socrates did what he did. 190C6. One might argue that Crito. 71. 240) finds a contradiction between this statement and Socrates’ ear­ lier claim (473e6. I have nothing [more] to say. the irony he exhibits toward Plato and therefore toward Plato’s readers is ultimately Plato’s own irony as well. 70. in his translation: “Polus. But that has litde to do with Socrates being a good man. La. that since Socrates is Plato’s literary cre­ ation. not a whole-hearted endorsement of Socrates’ argument (Cr. He contrasts the latter with the politics that he does not practice and that he identifies with holding public office. Rather. It should be noted that once the educational and political scheme of the Republic is in place. I am not a political man”). they recognized him as a good man. or Nicias. 220 NOTES TO CHAPTER 3 67. Socrates denies explicitly that what counts as politics in Athens is what he would consider real politics to consist in. We could also argue. 68. Xenophon. It simply means that he does not try to account for the features of the character he presents. not convincingly. By the time he wrote the Republic.6. are people who have been made better by Socrates. To say that in his early dialogues Plato tried to present Socrates as he saw him does not imply that his representation o f Socrates in those works is an ac­ curate reflection of their original. 21. he presents himself as an author who implicitiy denies that he has full control of his material and creates a character who is “stronger” than he is. it could be claimed.

accepts the same kind of translation and tries to justify it by claiming that it is intended to remind us that “sophistry” did not originally have a negative sense. Why should Socrates5method of dialectic be of noble ancestry. A.” in Jyl Gentzler. Plato. E. he seems to have made a new start to revise those aspects of his middle views that presented difficulties. 1970). thinks the text here is corrupt. 35). M. some of which he set out in the Parmenides.55in The Identities o f Persons (Berkeley: University of Califor­ nia Press. NOTES TO CHAPTER 3 221 elenchus and dialectic in general. yévoç. Bluck.. who. repr. Selves. Persons. II) to mean not ancestry but progeny. But that too is not persuasive. ed. came to see that the metaphysics and epistemology that support the political structure of the Republic presented seri­ ous problems. Hicken. Duke. prefers “our no­ ble sophistry” (though neither Burnet. Plato’s aSophist33: A Commentary (Man­ chester: Manchester University Press. Francke. 181). in his Platonis opera [Oxford: Clarendon Press.: Rowman and Littlefield. nor Lewis Campbell. I find this sug­ gestion unconvincing. 75.. Nicoll. Bluck prefers his own “sophistry of noble family” to Cornford’s “noble lineage” on the ground that it indicates “that this procedure. is given by Olof Gigon. In parallel with that change.. repr. Plato’s Sophist33 (Savage. 1990). S. Md. A. ed. 1900]. nor the new version of the Oxford Platonis opera. 306. 1973]. constitutes a new apology for Socrates and for his way of doing philosophy. a sophistry “of noble lineage” as Corn- ford renders the expression 17 yévct yevvaia uo(f)LOTiKrj (Plato’s Theory o f Knowl­ edge [Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill. he describes the elenchus as a kind of sophistry—though a good kind. F. White. Sokrates: Sein Bild in Dichtung und Geschichte. I think. Plato: “Sophist” (Indianapolis: Hackett. Amélie Oksenberg Rorty. 1995]. lies in taking yevoç (see LSJ. The so­ lution. 76. He prefers to wait until they get older and can deal more constructively with the undermining of existing values at which the elenchus excels (539bi-54oc4). 1997). is re­ lated (as an imitation) to the noble art of true philosophy” (46). (Bern: A. Long has argued that the Theaetetus. 1957]. A masterful discussion of the various ancient representations to which Socrates gave rise. in the sense that by clearing the student 5s mind of preconceived notions as well as from the igno­ rance of one’s ignorance it prepares the ground for dialectic as Plato now con­ ceives it: it produces good results. A. in his translation and com­ mentary on the dialogue (Platona Sophistis. [Oxford: Clarendon Press. 74. Greek-European Youth Movement. which is what all these versions imply? Demetres Glenos. Some discussion of the topic can be found in Richard S. Gigon5s study is indispensable for a complete study of the Socratic prob- . William Cobb. s. ed. 2d ed. and I have my doubts about all the translations of the phrase given above. scholars are generally agreed. “A Literary Postscript: Characters. 1975). 224 n. inexplicably. and that Plato is trying to re­ claim that original sense for Socrates here. That is* the elenchus is a sophistry o f noble offspring.53while Nicholas P. see his ccPlato5s Apologies and Socrates. New York: Arno Press. et al. Method in Ancient Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press.v.. indicate that there is any textual problem here). Individuals. In his later dialogues. W.. In the Sophist (23^3-8). 1976). ed. unlike other aspects or kinds of sophistry. 40-52. translates this as “the nobly born art of sophistry. The aSophistes33 and “Potiticus” o f Plato [1867. 1993). 1971]. trans. W. in various philosophical and literary authors. one of Plato5s later works. Giannes Kordatos [1940.

Xenophon. who in his Historia critica philosophiae (Leipzig. 84. that Socrates was tried and put to death on purely political reasons. not unconvincingly. 153-208..” A good discussion is in V de Magalhaes-Vilhena. F. Connor’s evidence that Socrates’ attitude toward sacrifice was at least unusual is strong and adds a new dimension to this very vexed subject. Friedrich Schlegel. See Alexan­ der Nehamas. see the discussion by W. Kritische Schriften. Of course. FitzPatrick. A very interesting selection of such writings. 3d ser. in Friedrich SchlegeVs <cLu- cinde” and the Fragments.” in Kritische Schriften (Munich: Carl Hanser. Gieben.. along with a surprisingly ex­ tensive bibliography. Friedrich Schlegel. as an enemy of democracy. “Uber dieUnverstandlichkeit. can be found in Mario Montuori. ed. trans. Peter Firchow (Minneapolis: University o f Min­ nesota Press. The original is in Schlegel. 82. and Aristotle agree (Vlastos disregards Aristophanes’ Clouds) is nicely anticipated by J. 1952). C. “Legacy of Socrates. E. His conclusion is that the historical Socrates has been irretrievably lost. An annotated bibliography has been compiled by Luis E. 83. 1838). R. 78. vol. 85. 297. Navia and Ellen L. His view that the historical Socrates can be reconstructed through the various points on which Plato.Meditations on a Hobby-Horse (London: Phaidon.” 175-76. 1988).” in Kritische Schriften. Socrates: A Source Book (London: Macmillan. Connor.See Friedrich Schleiermacher. Katz. 1988). Friedrich Schlegel. 1971). 1981). i 77. 108. 262-82. I do not mean to deny that a historical Socrates existed. “On Incomprehensibility. trans. and it is one more issue I will not attempt to deal with here. 1767) had already argued that only the issues on which Plato and Xenophon agree with one another constitute good evidence for the views of the historical Socrates. 1938). Ernst Behler et al. 156. “The Other 399: Religion and the Trial of Socrates. “The Legacy of Socrates.” in Friedrich SchlegeVs ccLu- cinde” and the Fragments. See FitzPatrick. 1970). The latest contri­ bution to the debate is Vlastos. Firchow. and a short overview has been made by P. esp. J. 80.. 340-52. 49-56. vol. needs to be complicated by the importance of religious reasons in a number of trials of the very same period. Gombrich. I have expressed some of my own views about it in “Voices of Silence. The original essay was published in 1818. “Uber Wilhelm Meister.” Bulletin o f the Institute o f Classical Studies 58 (1991): Supplement.” in Sdmtliche Werke. Stone in The Trial o f Socrates (Boston: Beacon Press. most recently expressed by I. Friedrich Schlegel. 222 NOTES TO CHAPTER 3 lem as it has traditionally been conceived. De Socrate iuste damnato: The Rise o f the Socratic Problem in the Eighteenth Century (Amsterdam: J. 2 (Berlin. But I do believe that we know much less about him than we often believe. 19. 1987). 287-300. On Socrates’ trial. 79. Socratic Questions. 81. Connor argues. no. . “Voices of Silence: On Gregory Vlastos’s Socrates ^Arion. Brucker. The Socratic problem has an immensely long and complex history. Socrates: Ironist and M oral Philosopher. 18 (Munich and Padenborn: Schoningh. “Uber den Werth des Sokrates als Philosophen.” in Gower and Stokes. in Kritische Friedrich-Schlegel-Ausgabe. Lyceum Fragments. 1963). Le Probleme de Socrate: Le Socrate historique et le Socrate de Platon (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. Socrates: An Annotated Bibliography (New York: Gar­ land Publishing. 259. An excellent compilation of sources has been made by John Ferguson. that the view. H (1992): 156-86. 10. H.

particularly after its transla­ tion into German by Christian Thomasius as Das ebenbild eines wahren und ohnpedantischenphilosophi. 32. NOTES TO CH APTER 3 223 85. Seneca. Gieben. 4. and his view. his reliance on Xenophon is much more extensive. 1:400-402. trans. London Studies of Clas­ sical Philology 6 (Amsterdam: J.1669) and eventually appended to Char­ pentier’s translation of the Memorabilia : Les Choses mémorables deXenophon (Am­ sterdam. See also Donald Morrison. 1 (Leipzig: Fues. and Apuleius. we are in fact faced with a rather ironic reversal. Soc. 6. became. somewhat paradoxically. p. 1699). In this context. pt. which was aimed at separating the facts surrounding the historical Jesus from his disciples5versions of his life. Gaentner. trans. Plutarch. Vor- lesungen über die Geschichte (ter Philosophie. 1910). . 91. See Eduard Zeller. ausdemfrantzdsishendes des herm Charpentier ins teutsche übersetzt von Christian Thomas (Halle. (Berlin: R. Needless to say. and for a correc­ tion of many of thc'simplifications offered here. Reichel (New York: Russell and Russell. Die Philosophie der Griechen. English translation of the relevant part can be found in Eduard Zeller. The original is in his Vorlesungen über die Geschichte der Philosophie.” On his more positive view of Solger’s version of irony. This negative assessment of Xenophon's Socrates has been recendy chal­ lenged by a number of the essays in Vander Waerdt.Ap. 92. 87. See HegePs criticism of Schlegel in the Lectures on the History of Philoso­ phy. Today. Xenophon. however.8. Oswald J. Socrates.Mem. Mario Montuori. 1889). Critical Mythology ofIrony. has carried the day (though see the ref­ erences in n. 1:414.1. see Benno Bohm. see Dane. 89. Karl Joël. 1693). Lectures on the History of Philosophy. but it had a very long life. ed. La Vie de Socmte. chap. 2 vols. See chap. 1893-1901). Though adhering to Schleiermacher’s canon. 83: ccHegel. Socrates and the Socratic Schools. 1. though attacked by H. 1:312 (see also 3:1049-54). C. that the most influential biography of Socrates in the eighteenth cen­ tury was that by François Charpentier. Physiology of a Myth. 4. A number of recent authors who want to articulate a version of Socrates influ­ enced by Xenophon’s treatment. 90 above). one of the most influential figures in the development of various theories of romantic irony.. Weissenborn in his 1910 Jena dissertation. Haldane. 13. DeXenophontis in commentariisscribendis fide historica (Jena: G. “Xenophon’s Socrates on the Just and the Lawful. could discount all of Xenophon’s testimony. oder3Das leben Socratis. 109 below. one of the most vehement critics of Friedrich Schlegers notions of irony. Hegel. 1962). however. For an ovemew of Socrates in the eighteenth century. 88. we must also not underestimate the increasing significance of the higher criticism of the New Testament. 2. trans. 86.” An­ cient Philosophy 15 (1993): 329-48. 1981). 93. 91-100. It does remain a fact. in his Der echte und der xenophontische Sokrates. Charpentiers biography was written in the seventeenth century. Haldane. originally published in Paris in 1650 (reprinted in 1657. his picture of Socrates still strikes me as considerably less engaging than Plato’s. particularly on the function of the daimonion. vol. Nevenhahni. 82-86. 1:302-4.1666. 90.1668.4. 4th ed. Though Charpentier makes use of Plato and Diogenes Laertius as well as of Cicero. SocraticMovement. Despite the interest that Xenophon’s various writings hold. By 1901..1 -. Sokrates im achtzehntenJahrhundert (Leipzig: Quelle und Meyer. But see also Dane. 1929). Zeller minimized Xenophon’s importance.

Athenaeus. sccMem. 1. 1393 (but see also Brickhouse and Smith’s response. Xenophon’s Socrates is not only a good man but also a harmless one. 5. that they achieved contact with a higher reality than their forbears. 16-17). Joel.2i6d).3. As Kierkegaard writes. and many of their modern followers would agree. and is so fervently well-intentioned toward the whole world if only it will listen to his slipshod nonsense” (Concept ofIrony.” 98. Paul Vander Waerdt has shown how deeply indebted Xenophon’s Apology of Socrates is to Plato’s own Apology (and how Xenophon manipulates his Platonic material for his own purposes) in “Socratic Justice and Self-Sufficiency: The Story of the Delphic Oracle in Xenophon’s Apology of Socrates” paper presented at the Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy. since the event must have occurred around 422 or 421 b c (cf. For if.3. “it was Xenophon’s objec­ tive to prove that it was foolishness or an error on the part of the Athenians to condemn Socrates. 97. 73 above. J. 5-11 January 1990. Brickhouse and Nicholas D.2. but it was not reality in this world that was their chief concern.14. and a number of further exchanges on the issue). 138-141. 95. The same. pp. On some important differences between Homeric and ar­ chaic conceptions of justice on the one hand and Platonic ones on the other.1. Most of these claims are in fact deeply implausible. Gregory Vlastos’s criticism of Thomas C. 1971). Times Literary Supplement. 96. I believe. That is. See chap.1. as is Xenophon’s statement that he was present at the party he describes in his Symposium (1. Such anachronisms abound ^throughout Xenophon’s writings about Socrates. 224 NOTES TO CH APTER 3 are using Plato’s texts as the standard against which their interpretation is to be judged: such has been the success of the Platqjnic Socrates as a reflection that sub­ stitutes for its original. droll character who does neither good nor evil. That shows how ad­ mirably Xenophon succeeded in his goal.1. 4 (p. October 1990. 1974). Der echteund derxenophontische Sokrates.2. is true of Mark McPherran. Dover. see Hugh Lloyd-Jones. 15-21 December 1989.2. for Xenophon defends Socrates in such a way that he ren­ ders him not only innocent but also altogether innocuous —so much so that we wonder greatly about what kind of daimon must have bewitched the Athenians to such a degree that they were able to see more in him than in any other good- natured. all we possessed today were Xenophon’s So­ cratic writings.3. Times Literary Supplement. see. An interesting discussion of the general ethical background against which the classical Greek philosophers produced their views can be found in K. New York City.4.1. which was precisely to make Socrates’ execution incomprehensible.5. garrulous. The mathematical and metaphysical education that Plato .6. Smith. for example. On Xenophon’s insistence that he was present for Socrates’ conversations.4.57. 94. and they have been well docu­ mented.1. 2:1080-91. as I will claim in chap. below. and Xenophon was at most a young child (if he had been bom at all) at the time.1). for example. 112. Greek PopularMorality in the Time ofPlato and Aristotle (Berkeley: University of California Press.2. Socrates on Trials in his review of that book. 107). does not stand in anyone’s way. See n. “Socrates and the Duty to Philosophize.7. 164: “Plato and the other destroyers of the earlier culture would claim. TheJustice of Zeus (Berkeley: University of California Press. we would indeed find it difficult if not impossible to understand why the Athenians put Socrates to death in the first place.1.8.” SouthernJournal ofPhilosophy 24 (1986): 541-60. Deipnosophistai 5.

6. 1893-1901). I believe the distinction he draws between Plato’s and Xenophon’s literary purposes is important and needs to be kept in mind. On the virtues and significance of Xenophon as a biographer. to say the least. he says he will relate what he heard Socrates himself say to Aristodemus about his daimonion. : Harvard University Press. close to his own heart. Though I am not sure I accept Cooper’s qualified conclusion that Xenophon may thus be shown to have considerable his­ torical value concerning Socrates’ actual views. “Euphrates of Tyrus. 2. he is not offering to give an account of Socrates as aphilosopher—of his way of treating philosophical questions as such. Mass. and the methods appropriate to its task. Oxford University. though it is clear that the subject of estate management. It is with Socrates as an educator in the broadest sense that he is con­ cerned” (“Notes on Xenophon’s Socrates. . 1971). Some of the occasions on which Xenophon claims to have witnessed So- cratic conversations are the following: At Mem. The Development of Greek Biography (Cambridge. and Heinrich Maier’s Sokmtes (Tübingen: J. 3.8ff. 1850). 1913).2. (Berlin: R. ^ Chapter 4 1. C. Xenophon begins his Symposium with the claim that he was himself part of the company. they pale): “Whatever one may ultimately make of Xenophon’s claims to historical accuracy.4 225 considers necessarv for the philosophic life in the Republic is also foreign to Socrates’ attitude. see Arnaldo Momigliano. 40. John Cooper has argued that our century’s complete dismissal of Xenophon as a source for the historical Socrates is due to the idea that his goal is primarily philosophical and that the views Xenophon attributes to Socrates must therefore be directly compared to those of Plato (in relation to which. Ibid. NOTES TO CHAPTERS 3 . It is worth noting. InNietzsche: Life asLiterature (Cambridge. B. 7 (Paris: J.4. the Oeconomicus opens with his state­ ment that' he was present at the discussion that follows. François Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon. of his conception of what philosophy was and could (or could not) hope to accomplish. was nowhere near Socrates’ range of interests. Michael Frede. at 1. i. 39-42. he is himself a character in a conversation. of his philosophical theories or opinions. The anti-Xenophontic movement reached its culmination with Karl Joel’s Der echte undderxenophontische Sokrates.: Harvard University Press. however.” typescript (Keble College. and on his influence on the form biography has generally taken. Leroux et Jouby. 18. Mohr. 2 vols. finally. 7. Once we realize the great difference in purpose between Xenophon and Plato. Abrégé desvies desanciensphilosophes^ in Oeuvres complètes de Fénelon. Cooper argues. 1995).. that Xenophon’s interests cannot be correctly described as philosophical.. 45-56. Gaentner.3. even though he includes many details that show that the event occurred around 421 b c . vol. 4. we may well find that Xenophon is reporting on a side of Socrates in which Plato had not been interested but in which Xenophon found his most important and beneficial aspect. 1998]). 5. Mass. when he was not yet ten years old.” in Reason and Emotion: Essays on An­ cientMoral Psychology and Ethical Theory [Princeton: Princeton University Press.

followed by “F. 53). respectively. that Foucault’s own individualist project caused him to underempha- size the Stoics’ desire to live according to the dictates of universal reason. Conn. 3 vols. “To the reader. It applies to everyone without exception in Kant. Armstrong. Friedrich. 14. . See also Philip P. in The Complete Works ofMontaigne (Stanfôrd: Stanford University Press. $ of The History ofSexuality. but for preserving a given person’s own health and life. Montaigne. and the various layers of his additions sometimes need to be noted. Montaigne added considerable material to the essays during his life­ time. and perhaps in Sto­ icism. “Of the art of discussion. Robert Hurley [New York: Random House. I will follow common practice and use the letters “A.” Inter­ national Studies in Philosophy 21 [1989]: 56). and the additions made after 1588.” “B. 6. and it talks to individual persons who may wish to know this particular man. on the grounds of our common nature as rational beings.. 8. 11. See Pierre Villey’s great work Les Sources et dévolution des Essais de Mon- . I refer to Montaigne’s essays in the following manner. Robert Solomon asked this ques­ tion of my interpretation: “Was [Nietzsche] trying to tell us how to live. 225-32). Philippe Desan. 2. Each of the three volumes of Vil- ley’s edidon contains one of the original three books of the essays. ed. Philosopher [New York: Routledge.’” in Timothy J. Dawn Eng [Berkeley: Univer­ sity of California Press. 2F. why did he not follow them him­ self? And if he did not intend to give us prescriptions and recommendations . trans.” 13. 1992]. 42-46). Montaigne. 504F. Michel Foucault. 10. 226 NOTES TO CHAPTER 4 1985). whose views we shall examine in detail in chap. then what is all the fuss about?” (“Nietzsche and Nehamas’s Nietzsche. for example. 1942).” and “C” to indicate. it talks about the human mind as an instrument. When that is the case. 1991]. however. Michel Foucault. Michel de Montaigne. 720F. though in different de­ grees depending on each one’s abilities.” 942.. give us prescriptions and recommendations. Tellingly. I put forward the view that Nietzsche is not interested in such prescriptions but in making something unusual out of himself in a way that others could not imitate (see further chap. 1986].” 3. 1965). not for finding objective impersonal Truth. 68: “His is a personal philosophy in three respects: it is frankly the portrait of a particular person named Michel de Montaigne.: Wesleyan University Press. which connects their approach more with those of Plato andAristode than with the So- cratic attitude I am examining in this book (“Reflections of the Notion of ‘The Cultivation of the Self. Pierre Hadot has objected. trans. It applies to everyone. . 9. “Of giving the lie. 5 below). at­ tributed to the Stoics an individualist “aesthetics of existence” (see. Frame’s English translation of the Essays. Montaigne. the text published before 1588. and if so. the text of 1588. (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. in Plato.” 665. Montaigne's lifelong involvement with Socrates prompted Hugo Friedrich to write that “nothing can be found in European writing of the sixteenth century and before which compares with the rebirth of Socrates in the Essais” (Hugo Friedrich. 1966). new éd.” is to Donald M. Les Essais deMichel deMontaigne. 12. Montaigne. Aristotle. trans. I first give the tide of the essay and then the page num- ' ber from Pierre Villey’s edition. The second page reference. Hallie. his discussion in The Care ofthe Self vol. The Scar ofMontaigne (Middletown.

165F). Essaying Montaigne: A Study of the Renaissance Insti­ tution ofReading and Writing (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Montaigne. John O’Neill. published by A.” 173. 1974). such as Lesplus illustres etplus notablessentences.” Re­ naissance and Reformation 9 (1973): 46. Montaigne was also very familiar with Cicero and Seneca. Reader of Plato. “Montaigne and Socrates. understanding of Socrates. 2 (Paris: Hachette. not directiy. Montaigne. This Socrates is primarily the Socrates of Xenophon” (130). That Montaigne thought of this as a feature of Plato’s Socrates becomes apparent from the passage from the “Apology for Raymond Sebond” quoted in n. Floyd Gray. receuillies de Platon. who gave him a German tutor unable to speak French “and very well versed in Latin. Briere after a French translation of the Symposium in Paris in 1556. Montaigne read theMemorabilia in Castaillon’s 1551 Latin translation. . But “ironic ignorance” and “continual search for self-knowl­ edge” are (especially the former) crucial features of the Platonic.” Montaigne was also well acquainted with Ficino’s great Latin Plato and with Amyot’s French rendering of Plutarch’s Moralia. A good discussion of Montaigne’s attitude toward. Kellerman shows that Montaigne. See. A very good example of Montaigne’s reading of Plato can be found in the “Apology for Raymond Sebond” (509. 2. “Of practice. 17. Of Greek. “Montaigne. Montaigne writes in the same essay (174. Socrates left us no teaching. in certain things the one. McGowan. Some authors tend to underemphasize Montaigne’s reliance on Plato.” 804. 1982). 423. others. 189 n. 18. though. 377F): “Some have considered Plato a dog­ matist. He refers to Castaillon’s death and regrets that such an “[A]outstanding personage” died because he was too poor to find food (“Of a lack in our administration.” See Montaigne. Montaigne’s Deceits: The Art of Per­ suasion in the “Essais” (London: University of London Press. “Of the education of children. The Socrates of Montaigne is the highest example he knows of natural simplicity. His great friend Etienne de la Boetie had himself translated the Oeco- nomicus in 1562. 53 below. also emphasizes Montaigne’s reliance on Xenophon: Montaigne’s portrait of Socrates. not the Xenophontic. in certain things the . “Montaigne and the Memorabilia” Studies in Philology 58 (1961): 130-39. others a doubter. for example. and use of. vol. “above all. 15. is not based on Plato. 16. NOTES TO CH APTER 4 227 taigne^. “O f repentance. The nature of his education was de­ cided on by his father. Having been brought up speaking only Latin. See Margaret M. at least. 273F.” O’Neill. “in the main. 128F. Plato can be found in Frederick Kellerman.” 378. 1908). 610F. he had “practi­ cally no knowledge at all. . himself attributes to Montaigne a Platonic reading of Socrates when he writes that Montaigne was attracted to Socrates because. 109: “Montaigne’s view of Socrates owes very little to Plato. whose influence he largely avoided.” Comparative Literature 8 (1956): 307-22.” 223. Montaigne must also have been familiar with the numer­ ous anthologies of Plato. of ironic ignorance. A slightly different (and as far as I can tell inaccurate) count is given by Elaine Limbrick. or an attitude characterized by a con­ tinual search for self-knowledge. Gray writes. 129F). . Socrates conducted his inquiries by means of a conversational art which depended upon the dialog- ical presence of others” (132). quotes Plato extensively and con- standy emphasizes what he took to be the skeptical side of the Greek philoso­ pher. despite the many differences between his approach to philosophy and Plato’s. In addi­ tion to Ficino’s Plato.

2oe-23c. cf. Ap. The classic statement of Montaigne’s skepticism is to be found in the “Apology for Raymond Sebond. is always asking questions and stirring up discussion. And indeed.15 20. “Montaigne and the Body of Socrates: Narra­ tive and Exemplarity in the Essais33M LN 104 (1989): 890 with n. Instead. 24. Homer. “Pierre Villey (1879-1933): An As­ sessment.. 5. In the Phaedrus (229e-23oa). Montaigne.” 1001. 1984). B. they say. J. F. [C]The leader of his dialogues.” “Skeptical. never concluding.” For Mon­ taigne’s sources.” and “Epi­ curean. and the debate between M. 2. See A. 23. “Montaigne and . A central thesis of Villey’s Les Sources et dévo­ lution des “Essais39de Montaigne is that Montaigne went through three distinct developmental phases.33As I argued in n. their author. “Socrates in Hellenistic Philosophy. however. and Quentin Skinner. Cicero.” 820. which he characterized as “Stoical. I am not sure I can agree with Gray in consid­ ering “ironic ignorance” and “a continual search for self-knowledge” (130) as pri­ marily features of the Xenophontic Socrates.4. Doubt and Dogmatism: Studies in Hellenistic Epistemology (Oxford: Clarendon Press.” On Montaigne and Xenophon more generally. See also Donald M. in my opinion. 12. 766F. 25. See Timothy Hampton. the fundamental work still remains Pierre Villey’s Les Sources et dévolution des “Es­ sais” deMontaigne. Schneewind. eds. Socrates. 26. “Montaigne and the Memorabilia. never was teaching wavering and noncommittal if his is not. 19. See Hallie. 1980). See also Limbrick. 17 above. he devotes himself to a self-examination in order to determine “whether he may not himself be a beast worse than the myth­ ical Typhon”—that is. From Plato arose ten different sects. 622F. and Michael Frede. is not the main speaker of the Timaeus. Burnyeat.” Oeuvres et critiques 8 (1983): 29-43..” in Richard Rorty. laid the foundations equally for all schools of philosophy. Acad. of course. Socrates. Myles Burnyeat. 228 NOTES TO CH APTER 4 other.” Influential as this view has been. “Of vanity.” but the view permeates the whole of the Es­ says. “Can the Skeptic Live His Skep­ ticism?” in Malcolm Schofield. Philosophy in History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. though not necessarily on the exact course of his development.4-10. eds. It is an interesting point that Plato makes Socrates use a further mythological image while he is having him describe his reasons for neglecting mythology. 1. 21. to show how indifferent he was about which way we went. Socrates claims that the injunction to know oneself has turned him away from activities like the inter­ pretation of traditional myths. But that view of skepticism is no longer uncontroversial. and says he has no other knowledge than that of opposing. “Of three kinds of association. see Gray. A. Tusc. Scar ofMontaigne^ chap. 27. from the earliest to the latest. especially since Villey’s understanding of skepticism implies that it is impossible to follow it and live a human life and that Montaigne was therefore obliged to give it up. neyer satisfying. it needs to be qualified. But he ex­ presses a keen interest in the cosmology that the character after whom the dia­ logue is named expounds in its course. and lonathan Barnes. The expression Montaigne inscribed is “Mentre si puo. “The Sceptic’s Two Kinds of Assent and the Question of the Possibility of Knowledge.” Classical Quarterly * '38 (1988): 153- 22. Long. Frame. in order to understand the nature of his own soul. Montaigne. disp. Plato.

3. 1.” 118. Xenophon.2. 368F. 3o. however. we should also note 4. Montaigne. which.” Ancient Philosophy 7 (1987): 19.” It does imply that. an attitude that. and the controversial aspects correspondingly deemphasized. he made those who spent time with him hope that by acting like him they too would become virtuous.2. Hugh Tredennick and Robin Waterfield (London: Penguin. 1971). 14-18. The Memorabilia is a defense speech. “Apology for Raymond Sebond. Socrates’ pervasive emphasis on the im­ portance of taking care of oneself is a central feature of Plato’s early works.2. Montaigne. Soren Kierkegaard.” But. N.3 and 4.2. as Morrison infers. still.1.Y. “Of custom.” 46 (cf. 34a2~3i) and Xenophon (Mem. more important.” in The Philosophy of Socrates: A Collection of Critical Essays (Gar­ den City. Both Plato (Ap. is not consistent with many other statements in the rest of the work: “And yet not once did he [Socrates] profess to be a teacher of arete. 47): “Montaigne inclines more towards Xenophon’s assessment o f Socrates since he stressed the practical morality that Socrates taught. Socrates: Ironist andMoral Philosopher (Cam­ bridge: Cambridge University Press. That is all. 34. See. Donald Morrison. where he is being ironical toward Euthydemus. results in his de­ termination to obey the dictates of the court. The ConceptofIrony with ContinualReference toSocrates. Montaigne. “Guesswork or Facts: Connections between Montaigne’s Last Three Chapters (III:ii. 52-55. 16. that Xenophon’s Socrates “rings true.16). ConversationsofSocrates^ trans. being himself so obviously virtu­ ous. Apart from the ex­ ample discussed in Gregory Vlastos. 1. 1991). . it must be admitted.3. the Socrates o f Plato’s early works satisfies that description as well. it is not a weapon in his ethical interaction with others. 31. ed. The same point is made by Gregory Vlastos.1.9. though it is based on the radical new principle that injustice should never be repaid. 3. Meijer. the Memorabilia is a success. But his irony is not as pointed as that of his Platonic counterpart.11.” 498. given Xenophon’s purpose. “The Para­ dox of Socrates. 30 (Mem. The aspects of Socrates which will appeal to conventional Athenian attitudes are skillfully stressed. 1.31-35) discuss Socrates’ disobedience of the Thirty Tyrants. 35. 1989). The opening chapters of the first book of the Memorabilia are full of claims concerning the conventional aspects of Socrates’ behavior.” Morrison is right. In ad­ dition. in “On Professor Vlastos’ Xenophon. and trans. to repeat. Still. Hong (Princeton: Princeton Uni­ versity Press. 29. 86F. and Xenophon knows his audience. Xenophon’s Socrates is not totally without irony. 33. he has less to say to others than Xenophon’s version.: Doubleday. in Xenophon. The discussion in Friedrich. 12 and 13) ” Yale French Studies 64 (1983): 16 7 -79 . Mem. and that feature is surely crucial for Montaigne’s individualist project.” This is the one occasion when Xenophon seems to agree with Plato’s portrait of a reserved character who made no claims for his abil­ ity to improve others.Mem. has replied that “it is a tribute to Xenophon’s greatness as a writer that he fooled Professor Vlastos into thinking that his Socrates was too conventionally pious to have been indicted. Howard V Hong and Edna H. In most other cases. Xenophon’s Socrates shows no hesi­ tation to advise others and thus to present himself as their teacher. is worth consulting. NOTES TO CH APTER 4 229 Socrates. 28. Plato’s Crito is Montaigne’s source for Socrates’ attitude toward the laws of the city. But that does not imply. 1990). But see Marianne S. 32. See Xenophon’s Apology of Socrates.

2. 1989). John the Baptist. is also referred by Erasmus to Xenophon f (. and Xenophon. . “Of repentance. 1. Michael Baraz. and the Aposdes as Silenuslike. Raymond B. 2i5a-b.’ ” Le Parcours des “Essais”: Montaigne i s 8 8 . Paul. 4. of the collected works cited here. Montaigne. 46. On the notion of “face” or “ appearance” in Montaigne. 41. We should also note that though Xenophon himself used the Silenus motif. The quotation is from Alexander Nehamas and Paul Woodruff. L. Montaigne.14-15.2. “Les ‘Vis­ ages’ de Montaigne. just like Socrates himself in Montaigne’s view. ed. 45. he did not develop it in Plato’s manner: See Symp. 185. 1990). Halkin.The parallels Erasmus finds between Socrates and St. 39. La Littérature de la Renaissance: Mélanges offerts à Henri Weber (Geneva: Slatkine. 159-61 of volume 2. 159-90. See. among others.7. More infor­ mation is in R.i ç 88 (Paris: Aux Amateurs de livres. in Desiderii Erasmi Roterodami opera omnia. 63. in Desiderii Erasmi Roterodami operaomnia.An English versionof adage 2201 is given by Margaret Mann Phillips. “Of physiognomy. see François Rigolot. trans. expresses a similar view. pt. Bierlaire. 1972). “The Affirmation of Paradox: A Read­ ing of Montaigne’s EssaysTale French Studies 64 (1983): 211. See also Steven Rendall. “Montaigne’s Silenic Text: cDe la phi­ sionomie. Xenophon. éd. The image. 77-97. 3. G. pt. 1. L’Etre et la connaissance selonMontaigne. vol. Epictetus. 49ia-b. 1984). 357-70. it carries the implica­ tion of being “found in great quantities. Symp. 7. Plato.” 80..” 37. 40. 44. 1989).” in Marguerite Soulie.. F. 254. François Rabelais.19. M m . Convivium religiosum. vol. and R. 7. Burton RafFel (New York: Norton. La Charité. 1968).” 1037. Marcel.Symposium. Symp. 1992). 5. 6. 2. In what follows. which ul­ timately goes back to Plato. trans.i88d). A brief discus­ sion of the history of the image can be found in the editorial note to the adage on*pp.7) and to Athenaeus (. with a discussion o f the essay on physiognomy.” 43. Plato: aSymposium” (Indianapolis: Hackett. Mem. particularly regarding the idea that the body is the soul’s tomb. are drawn from Plato’s Phaedo. La Charité connects the term with its Latin etymology and ar­ gues that. common. Waddington. 42.Deipnosophistai.37. Erasmus also describes the Cynic Diogenes.” Revue interna­ tionale dephilosophie 5 (1951): 135-43. See the excellent discussion of the function of the adjective “vyle” in this context in Raymond C. “Saint Socrate. The idea that Socrates always used commonplace examples can also be found in Plato. part 5. 1981). 230 NOTES TO CHAPTER 4 36. chap. abundant. Joshua Scodel. I will give references to this essay parenthetically in the main text. for example. L’Etre etla connaissanceselonMontaigne (Paris: Corti. Desiderius Erasmus. 4 . 44. ed. 198 n. Gargantua and Pantagruel. 614F.19. 8. “Socrates in Montaigne’s ‘Traicté de la phisionomie. 22id-222e. 792F. See Desiderius Erasmus. 5. 4. patron de l’humanisme.-E. Distinguo: Reading Montaigne Differently (Oxford: Clarendon Press. 7. Hoven (Amster­ dam: North Holland. Erasmus onHis Times: A Shortened Versionofthe “Adages’* ofErasmus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Felix Heinimann and Emanuel Kienzle (Amsterdam: North Holland. Sileni Alcibiadis. See. 1967). “Faces. 38.’ ”Modem Lan­ guageQuarterly 41 (1980): 328-45. citing the page numbers both in the Villey and in the Frame edition. following Baraz.

The situation. Rendall. Xenophon. suggests that this passage. that knowledge is the mother of all virtue.” according to which inside and outside correspond to one another. 24-25. He concludes that in this essay Socrates really is Montaigne’s op­ ponent. 793F) with a quotation from Lucan’s Pharsalia (2. in his deportment. answered that he knew this much. 49. In my discussion. 359F). 50. as Rendall ad­ mits.Mem. 79-81. 488. 1038 (793F). n. 1049 (803F). see chap. 1043 (797F).381). which suggests that Socrates is a character we know well. . for example. his aim was to furnish us with things and precepts that see life really and more closely” and who was not. 3. in particular. and “treat[s] Socrates as an exception to the general rule” (103). / Naturamque sequi” (“To keep the mean. NOTES TO CHAPTER 4 231 47. in fact. 52. when they asked him what he knew. like Cato. 498. CC[B]always mounted on his high horse” (1037. The contrast between health and disease is as important to this essay as it is to Montaigne’s work in general. it is subject to a long interpretation” (438. which implies that his inner aspects are radically different from his outer ones. 4 is. 62. Rendall goes on to claim that Montaigne ultimately affirms “the physiognomic principle. blithe in his look. see. 809F). The reference to “a gende and ordinary pace” may be a reference to Xenophon’sApology of Socrates.” On “blithe” (^atSpoS'). See Scodel. and he applies it both to learning and to the civil war. Montaigne’s question. in his pace. “ Servare modum. conflicts with the image of Socrates as Silenus. 370F: “ [A]The wisest man who ever was. “ [A] What good can we suppose it did Varro and Aristotle to know so many things? Did it exempt them from hu­ man discomforts?” (487. and 501. 319F. leaving Montaigne himself as the only person who follows nature correcdy. which Lucan had used to describe none other than Cato himself! This is a case of Montaigne’s practice of “hiding” his borrowings. Montaigne insists on the idea that what we take to be a beneficial medicine turns out to be poison in­ stead. . It is worth remarking that Montaigne. 51. is complex. actually illustrates his descrip­ tion of Socrates as a cc[B]man who did not propose to himself any idle fancies. suggests that by “knowledge” here he means school learning and not the self-knowledge for which he praises Socrates consistendy throughout this work (cf. 1041 (796F). pp. “ [C]disguising and altering [them] for a new service” (1056. And though some o f the skepticism of the “Apol­ ogy for Raymond Sebond” may be directed against the Socratic view that knowl­ edge is virtue (“ [A]I do not believe . for example.1. to hold our aim in view. 4. finemque tenere. 48. an effort to demonstrate how co^eXifjboS' (“useful”) Socrates was to his friends. / And follow nature” ). and that all vice is produced by ignorance”). to which we shall return below. “Affirmation of Paradox. 53. Scodel believes that Mon­ taigne’s criticism of the Tusculan Disputations implies a criticism o f Socrates’ way of following nature. 1039 (794F).” 230. 358F). I will try to show that Montaigne’s attitude toward Socrates is considerably more positive. For an extended dis­ cussion of this passage of Plato’s Protagoras. References to co</>eAtfxoS' and its cognates as well as to t o ovfufxEpov (“the useful. The greatest part of Mem. and we shall examine it in detail as we proceed. who is at this point interested in distin­ guishing Socrates’ simplicity from Cato’s grandeur. Montaigne’s comment regarding this thesis. 368F. that he knew nothing”).1. 27: “He left. the expe­ dient” ) are ubiquitous. cf.Distinguo. “ [A]if that is true. see below. Here. . Kierkegaard. Concept ofIrony. See.

274-75. 4. on the contrary. 713F). is given by A. an unpleasant grimace. not unlike the es­ says themselves in all their colorful variety. Montaigne often refers to the many sides o f his personality. .” 875. on the right and the left.—I f we are bound to have weaknesses and are also bound in the end to recognize them as a law set over us. Also: “ [C]I present myself stand­ ing and lying down. R. J.8. however. See also the good discussion by Françoise Joukovsky. obstinate. “this will prove . now in another. What I consider. How frequently there is in Beethoven’s music a coarse. But it does show that all the essay’s disparate parts. . Tournon. “Qui parle dans le livre III des Es­ sais?” Revue d’histoire littéraire de la Prance 88 (1988): 813-27. in Richard Wagner’s a con­ vulsive and importunate recklessness at which even the most patient listener be­ gins to lose his composure: at that point. See Montaigne. musical beauty. . and so with the others.” 55. front and rear. £<O f the art o f discussion” : cc[B]Even our wisdom and deliberation for the most part follow the lead o f chance. My reason has accidental impul­ sions that change from day to day” (934. together. In what follows. and my acquaintance with men in my neighborhood. 218. 56. they stick to me and will not go away without shaking. I usurp: a foolish countenance. Geor- gio Colli and Mazzino Montinari [Berlin: De Gruyter. they give them greater value. 57. and to his intention o f showing himself in all his complexity. and there are many of these movements that are directed without me. NOTES TO CH APTER 4 54. An interesting account of the gradual genesis of the text. Sdmtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausjpfabe. which sometimes come close to inconsistency. Anyone I regard with attention easily imprints on me something of himself. His “vices” do not obscure his “Virtues” .” Socrates says. 1983). and in all my nat­ ural postures” (943. are woven together into a common pattern. the fact that Montaigne describes himself as multifaceted and sometimes even inconsistent does not prevent his por­ trait from being itself consistent and coherent. impatient tone. then I would wish that everyone had at any rate sufficient artistic power to set off his weaknesses against his virtues and through his weaknesses make us desire his virtues: the power possessed in so exceptional a degree by the great composers. suggesting that the material on the civil war was interpolated about a year after the essay’s initial composition in 1586. My will and my reasoning are moved now in one way. he reasserts his power. in the way Nietzsche was to envisage in regard to the great composers: “To deploy one’s weak­ ness as an artist. 1980]. 15vols. Vices even more: once they prick me. a ridiculous way of speaking. Xenophon. in Mozart’s a joviality of humble fellows who have to be content with litde. presented me in one aspect. Mem. musical goodness” (Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices ofMorality. for example. Hollingdale [Cambridge: Cambridge Univer­ sity Press. by means o f their weaknesses they have all produced in us a rav­ enous hunger for their virtues and a ten times more sensitive palate for every drop o f musical spirit.. That does not show that Montaigne composed the essay at one time. ed. 667F: “ [B]Now I have an aping and imitative nature. more vivacity. “ [B]The situation o f my house. “On some verses o f Virgil. 721F). See. / . 798F). 3:193-94).9: “I f I die unjusdy. Tournon is driven to his view be­ cause he is unable to connect the different parts of the essay. particularly the dis­ cussion o f the civil war. Needless to say. my life and my actions in another” (1044. Montaigne: La Glose et Fessai (Lyon: Presses Universitaires de Lyon. I offer a hypothesis that does in fact connect them. trans. 1982].

Grube. 62.40. A [C] addition here reads as fol­ lows: “But in saying this I hold that he was jesting according to his wont. he “clearly means art in the sense he has defined through the essay. 63. 27: “After this speech he was led away. 61. 1981]). Similarly. 47-48. “Socrates in Mon­ taigne’s ‘Traicté de phisionomie. Tredennick and Waterfield. 65.” This version is from Xenophon. his features. the way he held himself and the way he walked were all cheerful. For if being unjust is shameful. that Montaigne is alluding to Euthyphro’s statement: “If [any­ one] should try to indict me. art as artifice.” In his very interesting discussion of the essay on physiognomy and the essay “Of cruelty. Voltaire wrote. citer. and with himself. truthfulness.” Cahiers de l’Association In­ ternationale des Études Françaises 33 (1981): 35-51. Ibid. Xenophon. where Montaigne does not indicate clearly that he is paraphrasing extensively from Cicero. 808F. NOTES TO CHAPTER 4 233 shameful to those who put me to death without justice. 67. Montaigne. M. “J’ayme une sagesse gaye et civile” (844.. Life of Socrates. translation from G.” I believe that Waddington. how could doing anything unjustly not be itself shameful!1” It is more likely.2. though I suspect that Montaigne finally develops . who have caused us to confuse nature’s “ [B]footprints” with “ [B]artificial tracks” (1113-14.10. Defato 5. he is describing the great exemplar of naturalness as having perfected the supreme and most exacting art of self-creation. cf. however. So ex­ cellent a soul was never self-made. with his readers. to fight and engage with them.37. Plato: Five Dialogues [Indianapolis: Hackett. alleguer. A. undertook to defend Montaigne against this common charge. 4.17. 369F). Conversations of Socrates. 855F). 2. 59. Tusc. did not simply quote and comment on the ancients. in a letter dated 21August 1746. trans. 66. Apology of Socrates 1.” Montaigne contrasts Socrates’ understanding of na­ ture with that of the Academics. 5-9.’” 338.80. and quotations in the Essays to undermine the authority of the past and not to perpetuate it. Villey. 68. in more conventional usage. 60. and the Stoics. One such quotation may be found in a passage from the “Apology for Raymond Sebond” (499-500. The final additions Montaigne made to that passage mostly concern frankness. and naturalness.” M LN 104 [1989]: 880-98) argues that Montaigne’s different treatments of the relationship between Socrates’ soul and body “lead to paradoxical formulations” (892) and that “Montaigne refuses to resolve the issue. Claude Blum argues that Mon­ taigne consistently uses his borrowings. It is in fact impossible to decide which version of Socrates’ life holds authority” (894)-1 am greatly in­ debted to Hampton’s essay. is right when he claims that when Montaigne writes that art cannot teach Socrates’ perfection. Montaigne refers to his essay as the “ [B]treatise on physiognomy” (“le traicté de la phisionomie”) on 1056. disp. which was in keeping.. Voltaire. In “O f experience. o f course. I think I would find his weak spots and the talk in court would be about him rather than about me” (sb7-c3.” Timothy Hampton (“Montaigne and the Body of Socrates: Nature and Exemplarity in the Essais. 58. the Peripatetics. De natura deorum 1. with what he’d said. ed. 641F). 64. See Essais de Michel de Montaigne. allusions. Cicero. 1197. see “La Fonction du ‘déjà dit’ dans les Essais: Emprunter. Diogenes Laertius. trans. 641F). “La vertue est qualité plaisante et gaye” (845. He cited them to use them for his own purposes.

“This last is the story of the horrible end of the accusers of Socrates” (1054. 35. Montaigne conceived the idea of portraying himself. 1991). So excellent a soul was never self-made” (1058. 811F). he cites with approval the view of “[Bjthe sage Dardamys. [who] hearing tell of the lives of Socrates. See n. peculiarly dangerous to a man newly plunged into a life of retirement. that Montaigne’s statement that cc[C]In saying [that he had corrected his nature by training] I hold that [Socrates] was jesting according to his wont. Under the influence of melancholy adust. Distinguo. /Pythagoras.. 102-10. We should note. 604F).” he claims. . added after 1588. On Montaigne’s metaphor of drawing his portrait in writing. Screech renders “resverie” as “raving concern”: see Michel deMontaigne: The Complete Essays. 86F) he writes that “[A]the great and good Socrates refused to save his life by disobedience to the magistrate. 75.. Jean Starobinski. “Of the affection of fathers for their children” (385. Montaigne’s attitude toward Socrates’ decision not to escape from jail while he still had the opportunity to do so is rather equivocal. “The only chance of rewriting Socrates. A. 810F). and his dis­ cussion is well worth consulting. 31. I take it that this is another way of putting the point that the . Screech argues that Frame’s translation of “resverie” as “daydream” is too weak. 1991). Ap. c’est vivre”. 807F). See also Rendall. 1979). also added at that time (and quoted more fully in the main text below) : “[C]This reason. Montaigne. While in “Of cus­ tom” (118. 65. 306.” In his own translation of the Essays. Montaigne in Motion. proceeds to discuss this issue himself. is counterbalanced by another statement. 77. 307). in remem­ brance of René. see M. It was the kind of notion that might have occurred to a lunatic. In particular. see the discussion of this passage on p.” in “Of the useful and the honorable” (796. by the way. Arthur Goldhammer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. “Mon mestier et mon art. 104 above. or— better still—of rewriting nature. NOTES TO CHAPTER 4 a unified account of Socrates and of his own relationship to him. Screech (London: Pen­ guin. 333. “ (1059. with a portrait that this king had made of himself. 496F). 69. which straightens Socrates from his inclination to vice. 278F). king of Sicily. . See Plutarch. The word. Montaigne andMelancholy: The Wisdom ofthe “Essays” (London: Penguin. but too enslaved to reverence for the laws. 74. italics in the original. see “Of pre­ sumption”: “One day at Bar-le-Duc I saw King Francis II presented. Why is it not permissible in the same way for each man to portray himself with the pen. . On the importance of melancholy to Montaigne in general. Cave. Screech. Montaigne. here “means not vague dreaming but mad frenzy. as he portrayed himself with a pencil?” (653. De invidia etodio 3. 76. he ar­ gues. trans. judged them to be great men in every other respect. Terence Cave. perhaps an exaggeration of Xenophon. . 274F. and Diogenes. Soc. 73. 68 above. 1985). where he draws a contrast between universal and national justice. I should note. The Comucopian Text: Problems of Writing in the French Re­ naissance (Oxford: Clarendon Press. even to a very unjust and very iniqui­ tous magistrate. .” 70. of assay­ ing himself. trans. “is to accept deviation as a second nature” (ibid. A. See also the passages I quoted on p. “Of practice” 379. M. 71. to authorize and support which true virtue has to give up much of its original vigor. 72.

14. 79.” 823. 496F). Montaigne. “Why is it not permissible . Let us begin. . Italics in the original. 85. since there is no single tradition that establishes his real nature. one might reply. je raconte” (Montaigne. Starobinski. The addition of “naturally” after 1588 shows that Montaigne is clearly thinking of nature as the product of “play” and “acquisition”—ideas that he may not have seen so clearly in his first version of the essay. “Of three kinds of association. Montaigne is not preaching a silly return to nature. 58). not only is it lawful [permissible]. 834F. “Of vanity.” 653. 625F. mysterious. “Of repentance. which he too saw as the art of living (artifex vitae. 171. .” 665. “Of giving the lie.” 952. “Je n’enseigne poinct. ny science si ardue que de bien et naturellement s^avoir vivre cette vie” (“Of ex­ perience. each day’s journey forms an end. education. 78. 90. 81. p. “Of repentance. 852F. “Of the art of discussion. “Of experience. but our own features are almost too familiar. ed. “II n’est rien si beau et legitime que de faire bien l’homme et deuement. Chapter 5 1. 88. 1990). and overwhelming difficulty” (“Montaigne. 84.” 805. 703F. 82.” 922. an answer that connects Montaigne’s self-portraiture with its private purpose and exhibits its difficulty: “Off-hand. To Montaigne’s question. 87.” 978. Montaigne. Tony Long has pointed out to me that Montaigne may well be referring here to Seneca’s view that time runs in concentric circles (Epistulae morales 12. 610-11F. William Arrowsmith (New Haven: Yale University Press. 80.” in The Common Reader: First Series [New York: Harcourt Brace. 3. Montaigne. 89. 504F.” mo. 4. 726F. Montaigne. the pen falls from our fingers.2). Even the characterization of Socrates as “a creature of tradition” is prob­ lematic.32. Montaigne. Seneca had a profound influence on Montaigne. In general. Scodel. 83. “Affirmation of Paradox/’ 217-18. 1984].5 235 only way to be like Socrates is to be unlike him. Schopenhauer as Educator. and trans. for each man to portray himself with the pen?” (“Of pre­ sumption. but noth­ ing could be easier.” 1088.” 806. it is not based on great hopes. 612F). but their example is not one the educated can any longer follow.6). Montaigne. it is a matter of profound. The peasants Montaigne discusses may be an exception to this rule. Montaigne in Motion. sec. In general. the italics are mine). though I am not sure Cave would accept my interpretation. 18. when we attempt the task. Virginia Woolf’s answer is worth recalling. NOTES TO CHAPTERS 4 . and social self to recapture an innocence that has been lost forever. 86. I will refer to passages in Nietzsche first by the initials of . 747F). in Unmodem Observations. and the journey of my life is conducted in the same way” (“Of vanity. not least through his conception of philosophy. Other people may evade us. Starobmski^Montaigne inMotion. Friedrich Nietzsche. And then. a project of shedding one’s learning. Montaigne also applies a sim­ ilar description of his mode of traveling to his life as a whole: “[B]My plan is everywhere divisible.

EcceHomo (hereafter EH). See also ibid. 3. In this particular case..’ ‘culture.” 875. 1980). Friedrich writes that Nietzsche “drastically /softened” the statement. to restore the concept of culture—untimely types par excel­ lence. the refer­ ence is 1:348. I could en­ dure to make myself at home in the world with him” (Friedrich Nietzsche. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Random House. Unmodem Observations. Arrowsmith. Unmod­ em Observations. 2. trans. Pyth. Arrowsmith.’ ‘Christianity. 1985). “[C] Je ne le puis si peu racointer que je n’en tire cuisse ou aile” (“On some verses of Vir­ gil. ed. ed. Friedrich Nietzsche. wenn die Aufgabe gestellt ware. and then by the volume and page number in Friedrich Ni­ etzsche. R. trans. self-discipline are put up against all this. followed by the number of the essay and of the section to which specific reference is being made.” and writes “ckaum habe ich einen Blick auf ihn geworfen. 229-30) and Ronald Hayman’s Nietzsche: A Critical Life (New York: Oxford University Press. es sich auf der Erde heimisch zu machen. Hollingdale.’ ‘success’—Schopenhauer and Wagner or. KHtische Studienausgabe.” I have italicized the last four words. Friedrich Nietzsche. ed. See Gary Brown’s introduction to Arrowsmith’s translation of the essay (Nietzsche. 236 NOTES TO CH APTER 5 the English title of the work. 666F). Hollingdale [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Montaigne. 6:316-17: “In the third dnáfourth Untimely Ones. 6:320. 377 n. The present passage continues: “Schopenhauer shares with Montaigne another quality besides honesty: genuinely cheering cheerfulness. full of sovereign contempt for everything around them that was called ‘Em­ pire. two images of the hardest self-love. Nietzsche. ren­ ders the last sentence in Nietzsche’s passage as “If I were set the task. 15 vols. chap. idem. Un­ timely Meditations. 1968). Philippe Desan.’ ‘Bismarck. in Basic Writings ofNietzsche. in one word. J. 1980). Arrowsmith (in Nietzsche. but I suspect that he just did not see its point.: Harvard University Press. whose translation of this work I will use from now on. different misinterpretation.’ ” That would constitute a sec­ ond. . 250 n.19. 184-86. ed.” Subsequent references to the essays in Hollingdale’s trans­ lation will be made by the initials UM.186. “ F evolo olo£ eaoL fiadoov”: Pindar. 16. J. secs. See Alexander Nehamas. For Schopenhauer. 5. 6) claims that Montaigne’s French “has been wrongly rendered . 1991). This seems to me wrong as a translation of Nietzsche’s “Mit ihm wiirde ich es halten. Sdmtliche Werke. 1983]. 6 and p. 3. Mass. . in The Basic Writings ofNie­ tzsche. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari (Berlin: De Gruyter. so ist mir ein Bein oder ein Flugel gewachsen. 135). Dawn Eng (Berkeley: Univer­ sity of California Press. since to “sprout a leg” seems a rather inept metaphor for the “borrowing” of inspiration to which Montaigne is referring in his text. 1. as pointers to a higher concept of culture. ([as] a marginal note in the manuscript indicates) by Nietzsche as T spread a leg or a wing. . see among many others.73. and trans. Beyond Goodand Evil (hereafter BGE). R. sibi sapiens Nietzsche actually misunderstands Montaigne’s reference to Plutarch.. and trans. Nietzsche: Life as Literature (Cambridge. 171 n. 4. followed by the number of the main division (in roman numerals. which Donald Frame translates as “I cannot be with him even a little without taking out a drumstick or a wing. 2.’ ” See Hugo Friedrich. where necessary) and the section number (in arabic numerals) in which they appear. trans. Aliis laetus.

” 1115. 2:542-43. The fifth book o f The Gay Science. though Newman naturally tends to tell the story from Wagner’s point of view and to consider that Nietzsche’s experi­ ence in Bayreuth in 1876 was the decisive factor in the break between them.” 9. Diogenes reports that Demetrius of Byzantium was the person who told that story about Socrates. 15. The Will to Power (hereafter WP). which also belongs to Nietzsche’s middle period.” Nietzsche does not mean that what one does with oneself may not have the most far-reaching consequences for the world at large: Socrates himself is a perfect example of that. esp. All-Too-Human appeared between 1878 and 1880. What he does mean is that the greatest human be­ ings were not those who were direcdy useful to the state or to society as a whole. see also UM 11:6 . But cf. Hollingdale (Cam­ bridge: Cambridge University Press.21). Friedrich Nietzsche. 4 vols. J. 8.. 1967).392) is found in Diogenes’ life o f Socrates (2. to what extent one can endure to live in a meaningless world because one organizes a small portion of it oneself. The four com­ pleted UntimelyMeditations were published between 1873 and 1876. Hollingdale (New York: Random House. repr. and trans. 6. Human. sec. The Birth of Tragedy (hereafter BT) was published in 1872. Walter Kauf- mann and R. 2. IX:5o. 14. Cam­ bridge: Cambridge University Press. and “Ein Volks- Vorurtheil. Twilight of the Idols (hereafter 77). also in Basic Writings cfNietzsche. ed. See also WP 585. 1986). 4:525. All-Too-Human (hereafter HH). Daybreak. in Basic Writings ofNietzsche. 7. That is doubtless an exaggeration and strictly speaking false. was published in 1881. vol. Ernest Newman’s The Life of Richard Wagner. The quotation (<Odyssey. 1954). 12. and I have nothing to add to the extensive literature on the topic. 11. see idem. 6. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Viking Press. The Wanderer and His Shadow (hereafter WS). aiid ideological incongruities between Wagner and the once- adoring disciple who decided to make his own mark on the world. 13. III:5-io (where he is often associated with Wagner). but his break with Wagner was a much more complex affair. WS 6. 6:152. trans. and involved a long series o f in­ tellectual. Friedrich Nietzsche. 2. It was followed by the first four books o f The Gay Science (hereafter GS) in 1882. NOTES TO CHAPTER 5 237 On the Genealogy ofMorals (hereafter GM). with longer roots.” 5 GE 16 (5:29). “Aberglaube. which did not appear until 1887. trans. But his point that we are too ready to associate greatness with public use is true and well taken. contains invaluable material on the relationship between the two men. ” GM III:5 (5:345). 1:401. belongs among Nietzsche’s late works. 2:542-43. The story of Nietzsche’s relationship to Wagner is especially complex. Friedrich Nietzsche. in The Viking PortableNietzsche. That Nietzsche detested Bayreuth is beyond doubt. UM 111:6 . 4. 10. “O f experience. 857F. pt. 366. The Case of Wagner (hereafter CW) and Nietzsche Contra Wagner (hereafter NCW). 12:160. 1980).” BGE 19 (5:32). 1:285-86: “ Socrates considered that to . and the three parts o f Human. The original German for the three quoted phrases are “ein wirchlicher P h i l o so ph. but manifests a new animosity toward Socrates. 12:366: “It is a measure of the degree of strength of will to what extent one can do without meaning in things. personal. 6:285: “I have in my spirit—who knows? perhaps also in my body—something o f Montaigne’s sportiveness. EH 11:3. J. For Wagner. (1937. Montaigne. R.

such a disciple I wish my enemy. . GS 32. he ceased believing that philosophy could have such a direct influence on culture in general. and only when you have all denied me will I return to you. Havas’s view is engaging and important. the fashioning of a radically new personality and mode of life. trans. I counsel you: go away from me and resist Zarathustra! And even better: be ashamed of him! Perhaps he deceived you. He turned. in The Viking Portable Nietzsche. For in the latter case it is at any rate possible one will become better. . I f that hypothesis is correct. ed. 8:95. Friedrich Nietzsche. 127-46. and trans. Kaufmann. ed.: Humanities Press.” 8. Both passages use the single word Pobel and not two different terms as the English rabble zxi&plebs suggest. You too go now. sec. Nie­ tzsche’s Genealogy: Nihilism and the Will to Knowledge (Ithaca: Cornell University Press. archaic Greece once possessed. to a vastiy more individualist project of self-creation. “The Problem of Socrates” is the second part of Twilight oftheIdols. N. is that Nietzsche may have had the goal of establishing such a culture in his early years but that in his later works. William Arrow- smith in Unmodem Observations. 193. where people acted as they did simply because to act that way was sanctioned by tradition. establishing himself as an individual who fash­ . according to him. 22. The passage appears in Nietzsche’s notes for an unfinished essay.” 21. 2:584-85. 23. Daniel Brazeale (Adantic Highlands. 18. 20.” Other positive references to Socrates during this pe­ riod can be found in HH 361. 7 7 IL3. 1995). / 16. Thus Spoke Zarathustra (hereafter Z). 2:265. 238 NOTES TO CH APTER 5 delude oneself that one possesses a virtue one does not possess is an illness bor­ dering on madness: and such a delusion is certainly more dangerous than the op­ posite illusion of being the victim of a fault or vice.” 3. alone. and Socrates’ radical requirement that those who followed that tradition also offer reasons for doing so can be found in Randall Havas. which appeared in 1888. A very interesting discussion of Nietzsche’s view of the contrast between archaic Greece. the connection between the “disgruntled” philosopher and Socrates becomes quite important. my disciples. Friedrich Nietzsche. The linguistic connection between this passage and the pas­ sage from Beyond Good and Evil just quoted above is more direct in German than in English. My own position.97. 6:68. An English translation of the notes ap­ pears in Friedrich Nietzsche. 1. WS 72. “Wis- i senschaft und Weisheit im Kampfe. Zarathustra also says in this section: “Now I go alone. 4:101. I: “On the Gift-Giving Virtue. instead. chap. We will examine that issue as we proceed. 17. . and trans. Now I bid you lose me and find yourselves.” The idea that only by denying one’s model is one likely to establish something that is truly one’s own is central to Nietzsche’s view of philosophy as the art of living.J. however. Verily. though I am not convinced by his general conclusion that Nietzsche wants to reestablish a culture with the authority that. 1979). 19. Philosophy and Truth: Selectionsfrom Nietzsche’sNote­ books of the Early 1870s. “ We Classicists” (“ WC” ). 3:403* The passage continues: “And the other one would make some personal compromise with every cause he represents and thus compromise it. for which I cannot argue here. Thus I want it. makes a man or an age daily worse. partic­ ularly the great works of the 1880s. the former delusion.

On a historical level. 24. man sins only from ignorance. By this Nietzsche means the nature o f the world itself. 1988). 1987).’ In these three basic forms o f optimism lies the death of tragedy. O’Flaherty. Friedrich Nietzscheand thePolitics ofthe Soul (Princeton: Princeton University Press. Mark War­ ren. Bruce Detweiler. Montaigne here distinguishes between Socrates’ rational decisions and . 29-30F). although instinctive and undi­ gested. Studies in Nietzsche and the Classical Tradition (Chapel Hill: Uni­ versity of North Carolina Press. sometimes embarrassingly anthropomorphic terms throughout this book. Nietzsche: “The Last Antipolitical Germanv (Bloomington: Indiana University Press. now there must be a necessary. he claims. Peter Bergmann. 30. 1:75-102. particularly in regard to the connections between Nietzsche and dem­ ocratic thought. see Hugh Lloyd-Jones. For a concise. It is interesting to compare Nietzsche’s evaluation of Socrates’ daimonion with Montaigne’s: “ [B]The daemon of Socrates was perhaps a certain impulse o f the will that came to him without awaiting the advice of his reason. prepared by a continual exercise o f wis­ dom and virtue. For now the virtuous hero must be a dialectician. “Nietzsche and the Study of the Ancient World. 1975). chaps. has shown that the discontinuity between Homeric and ar­ chaic Greek ethical thought on the one hand and later Greek and contemporary views on similar issues on the other is by no means as great as has often been sup­ posed. (Berkeley: University of California Press. Lawrence J. 1988). esp. “Consider the consequences of the Socratic maxims: ‘Virtue is knowledge. and Robert M. 1995). eds. 28. 1993). (Cambridge. Hatab. ed. “Ni­ etzsche’s Attack on Morality” (University of Wisconsin. Friedrich Nietzsche and thePolitics ofTrans­ figuration.” 44. which he describes in explicitly dog­ matist terms and the “heir’ of which. is “the democratic movement. or “herd animal” morality. 1-15. 1990). were always important and worth following” (“O f prognostications. NOTES TO CH APTER 5 239 ioned a distinctive. See BGE 202. Christian. 25. B T 11-15. 2 and 3. dissertation. faith and morality. 1990). Timothy F. balanced. and on the whole positive assessment of Nie­ tzsche’s treatment of the Greeks. visible connection between virtue and knowledge. Helm. we should note that Bernard Williams. Mass.: M IT Press. Sellner. 1:94-95).D. See his Shame andNecessity (Berkeley: University of California Press. 27. and. Leslie Paul Thiele. Nietzsche and the Politics ofAristocratic Radicalism (Chicago: Univer­ sity o f Chicago Press.” in James C. That Nietzsche often (though not always) understood morality in such a Kantian manner is well argued in Maudemarie Clark’s Ph. he who is virtuous is happy. exp. 2:122. of which he thinks in strikingly. 1979). perhaps even inimitable mode o f life. 26.. In a well-purified soul such as his. 29. Nietzsche and Political Thought. where Nietzsche explicitly connects Socrates with modern. 5:124-26.” Nietzsche’s political views have come under intense scrutiny recendy. despite his deep debt to Nietzsche. Books worth consulting on the issue are Tracy Strong. now the transcendental justice o f Aeschylus is degraded to the superficial and insolent principle o f ‘poetic justice’ with its cus­ tomary deus ex machina” (BT 14. A NietzscheanDefense ofDemocracy (Chicago: Open Court. HFI 126. it is likely that these inclinations. We shall have more to say about this last issue as we proceed.

Plato. for their own purposes. chap. 5^1-51706). “the symp­ toms of decadence Nietzsche identified with Socrates [include] Socrates’ ratio­ nality (77 3:io). 1994-). Nietzsche’s views on the importance of the ayow to Greek culture in gen­ eral are expressed in an early unpublished essay. he is almost certainly alluding to Plato’s most famous metaphor: the metaphor of everyday. 5:145-47. NOTES TO CH APTER 5 his more instinctive impulses. 36. It seems to me that Nietzsche chooses his words here very carefully in­ deed. which we shall discuss in more detail below. . On the Genealogy ofMorality. despite his emphasis on creation and on leaving the past behind. forms that already existed before them.” “select it. which is not unrelated to the view of Havas in Nietzsche’s Genealogy. he claims. See. BGE 212. Ahern’s examination of the issue is valuable.” is included in the Kritische Studienausgabe.” This will become a central issue in the next chap- 33. for exam­ ple. Modernity. though I have serious reservations about his view. as “Homer on Competition. In what follows. can ever escape. 187-94. 32. where Nietzsche argues that the most important part of the founding of a new religion is to locate a way of life that was already there. In gen­ eral. Nietzsche often suggests that Socrates did not simply “destroy” the tragic culture of the Greeks: the culture itself. According to Ahern.. If that is so. was already falling apart. 71-77. Socrates says not that “2” but that “w owe a rooster to Asclepius. 3:589-90. We shall see that Socrates’ rationality is itself not as unequivocal as Nietzsche generally make^ it appear. 1:783-92. how it can be interpreted. and his failure as a physician of culture (77 3:11) “ (58). Nietzsche as Cultural Physician. Actually. Higgins. Carol Diethe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. and Socrates hastened its end. 31. 1995). eds. 1996). to “see it. Nietzsche as Cultural Physician (University Park: Penn­ sylvania State University Press. his moralizing (WP 433).and illusion-ridden human life as an unknowing imprisonment in a cave from which only the philosopher. 37. they only bring to the fore and rein­ terpret. Ahern.” in Bernd Magnus and Kathleen M. GM II:i2. The original text. 35.” in Friedrich Nietzsche. GS 353. 5:313-15. passion. Phd. Aestheticism. When he describes Socrates as “a cave of bad appetites” (“eine Hohle aller schlimmen Begierden”).” and “guess” for the first time “to what use it can be put. By means of his description. I discuss this issue in some detail in “Nietzsche. recently included. founders of religions do not generally invent new modes of life. Cf. The Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. his role in destroying tragic art (BT 12). entitled “Homers Wettkampf. that Nietzsche con­ sidered the role of philosophy to be the construction and articulation of a “healthy” general alternative to contemporary culture. 34. 3. A detailed discussion of “decadence” in connection with Socrates can found in Daniel R. who is of course modeled on Socrates. n8a7-8. he never quite explains why Greek culture began to fall into the decadence he finds personified in Socrates. trans. Nietzsche is acutely aware of the necessity of depending on material that is always already there. and Ahern. I will refer to “The Problem of Socrates” only by means o f its section numbers and by the page number in volume 6 of the Kritische Stu- dienausgabe. Ni­ etzsche is implying that Socrates is even more a prisoner in Plato’s cave than the common people whose life Plato thought he was describing (Rep.” That is.

32-36. Aestheticism. Frederick Lawrence (Cambridge. WP 430. 41.” 43. “ Nietzsche. ambition. . The claims that follow form the central idea of. Plato indicates very strongly that what is most characteristically human is reason. chap. 3:516. helped me realize how important it is. 2. . cruelty. 30 May 1988. 1989). [M]oral judgments are torn from their conditionality. 13-15 (5:278-85). 324F). Nietzsche: Life as Literature. It has at all times laid the stress of discipline on extirpation (of sensu­ ality. 13:288. 40. . 38.3 is cas- tratism. . 1 have given some reasons for reject­ ing Rorty’s view in “Nietzsche. The note continues: “ What. 184-99. NOTES TO CHAPTER 5 241 I am grateful to Duncan Large. who recommended dialectics as the road to virtue and made mock when morality did not know how to justify itself logically? . Montaigne. Mass. he convincingly argues.. Modernity. of avarice. fos­ ters them. its ‘cure. of vengefulness). Our religion is made to extirpate vices. Nietzsche had already written in the previous section that “the church fights passion with excision in every sense: its practice. chap.” New Republic. in which they have grown and alone possess any meaning.: MIT Press. 211-12). “The Ends o f Philosophy. esp. . . detraction. Nietzsche: Life asLiterature.3’ Raritan Quarterly 10 (1990): 101-25. from their Greek and Greek-political ground and soil. it covers them. Though it is true that in the Phaedo Plato attributes every lower impulse to the body and identifies the soul with rea­ son. 39. the “ruling element” o f the soul.” 228-30 as well as idem. in The Philo­ sophicalDiscourse cfModernity. where they originate. secs. Habermas attributes those views to Nietzsche as a whole on the basis o f what I consider a flawed reading o f The Birth of Tragedy. to be denaturalized under the pretense o f sublimation . 3:530-31. such a practice preserves what it wants to eliminate because it needs to use the very impulses it disavows in order to destroy them (see also Nehamas. Our zeal does wonders when it is seconding our leaning toward hatred. See Walter Kaufmann’s note to this passage in his transla­ tion (217) for a possible alternative reading. 44. one invents a world where they are at home. who.” But. Nietzsche famously refers to Chris­ tianity as “Platonism ‘for the people. He has been accused of being both by Jurgen Habermas. esp. GS 255. as he had already argued in GM I. 5. incites them” (“Apology for Raymond Sebond. Modernity.’ ” Needless to say. 42. avarice. GS 290. by questioning the accuracy of the English translation o f this passage. his view of Socrates3and Plato3s view o f the soul is much too simple. Nehamas. 1987). which. rebellion. Nietzsche: Life as Literature. trans.” 11:444 .33236-38. . 45.Republic considers not only reason but also emo­ tion and even the lower passions as parts of the human soul. and are argued for in de­ tail in. 1 7 V:2. 5. is the significance o f the reaction of Socrates. had a similar thought: “There is no hostility that excels Christian hostility. the tripartite division o f thc. 1 have discussed this passage and the whole issue ad­ dressed here in more detail in Nietzsche: Life asLiterature. 6:83. a distinction that Richard Rorty draws in Contingency\ Irony\ and Solidarity (Cambridge: Cam­ bridge University Press. and in “ATouch of the Poet. In the preface to Beyond GoodandEvil. Here I disagree with the radical distinction between the “private” project of self-creation and the “public” task of affecting society in general. 46. Aestheticism. then. See Nehamas. . o f pride. Nevertheless. too. chap. of the lust to rule. See Ne­ hamas. can­ not be right.

Second. That is the issue to which I shall turn next. 242 NOTES TO CHAPTER 5 47. 367-72. Nietzsche on Truth and Philosophy. GS 344. 5:18: “The falseness of a judgment is not for us necessarily an objection to a judgment. Arthur C. 33. species-preserving. In general. a little too strongly. see especially sections 29. 3:477-478. 2:323: “Fundamentalinsight. 99. de­ pending on the kinds of claims that are being evaluated. 5:395-411. 5:285-88. GS121. Nietzsche’s pragmatism is therefore itself qualified. including mine.” we must always be ready to ask for whom those values are intended. while Maudemarie Clark. as we shall see in detail a litde further on. The assumption that they must be intended for everyone is unjustified. .rd animals is rich and textured.” We can make two comments on this. Nietzsche as Philosopher (New York: Macmillan.” 53. because they paid almost exclusive attention to the epistemological issues raised by the view without taking into account the fact that the divergence between truth and value seems to be more important to Nietzsche. 49 • I have discussed some of the issues surrounding perspectivism inNietzsche: Life as Literature. first. 72.—There is no pre-established harmony between the pursuit of truth and the welfare of mankind. 2. The most famous among them comes from BGE 4. But. 51. it de­ serves more attention than it has been given so far. as “necessarily”) suggests that he is not saying that falsehood is never a reason for refusing to ac­ cept a judgment. 2. Danto. 1990). even when Nietzsche speaks of “writing new values on new tablets. Richard Schacht. 2. life-preserving. claims that Nietzsche accepts a “mini­ mal” version of the correspondence theory that makes no serious metaphysical commitments either in regard to the nature of the world or in regard to our abil­ ity to know it. cf. Nietzsche (London: Routledge and ICegan Paul. 35. 1965). since to be false is to be of no use and to be life-preserving is to be true. chap.Nietzsche makes similar claims in BGE 1. 3:575. 5:15 and GM 111:23-27. See alsoH H 517. 79. perhaps even species-cultivating. Nietzsche’s metaphor of human beings as he. a strict pragmatist identifies truth with utility and falsehood with uselessness. chap. 1983). 71. and much more than I can give it now. particularly as someone who articulates a universal mode of life. Danto’s pragmatist interpretation is not accepted by everyone writing on Nietzsche. as The Antichrist shows. chap. 48. The question is to what extent it is life- promoting. His qualifi­ cation “noch” (which Kaufmann translates. in this respect our new language may sound strangest. 52. Maudemarie Clark has presented an alternative inter­ pretation in Nietzsche on Truth and Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge Univer­ sity Press. Second. Nietzsche’s imagery here suggests that he is thinking of “the creator” as a religious figure.This is part of the argument of GM I:i6 and III: 13. I am dissatisfied with earlier treatments of perspec- ^tivism. First. attributes to Nietzsche a number of different theories of truth. but no other view has won more adherents over the last thirty years. 50. There can be no question of a judgment that is both false and “life-preserving” at the same time. even here Nietzsche need not be re­ jecting falsehood altogether as a reason for objecting to a judgment. Nietzsche did not think that lesus articulated such a mode of life. The passage cannot therefore support a strict pragmatist interpretation of Nietzsche.

“Does Socrates Commit the Socratic Fallacy I” American PhilosophicalQuarterly 24 (1987): 211-23. Nietzsche’s views on this set o f issues are complex. 3:593: “ We ‘know3(or believe or imagine) just as much as may be useful in the interests of the human herd. 60.” Monist 50 (1966): 369-82. 59. I can also hold a particular view even though I know it is not in my inter­ est to do so. or untrustworthy” (265). who believes that Socrates did commit that fallacy. 58. 55. Danto. NOTES TO CHAPTER 5 243 54. the species. The term was first used by Peter Geach. see John Beversluis. Donald Davidson argues. That is roughly the position I am here at­ tributing to Nietzsche. in the Theaetetus. For discussion. because it is not in my interest. 61.” This passage makes clear that if Nietzsche is offering a theory of anything here. One can think that the opportunity is now open for the creation of new values or that (if one still needs values that are given independently of one­ self) there are no values at all. by relating it to other concepts like belief. WP 455. that view is false. 57.” Re­ view ofMetaphysics 29 (1975): 287-306. not having the faculty o f judg­ ing things in themselves. desire. in his “Plato’s Euthyphro: An Analysis and Commentary. and even what is here called ‘utility5is ultimately also a mere belief. like relativism. But the fact that our hypothesis (that they are useful) can be so wrong shows that the theory cannot explain why any belief that happens to be true is in fact so. But I cannot decide that. cause. let themselves be carried away by chance and appear­ . “that we can say nothing revealing about it: we can. and it is not possible to examine them here. am­ biguous. But this does not mean. 80. of knowledge). beginning with a parallel between contem­ porary efforts to define truth and Plato’s attempt to offer definitions of the virtues (and. . GS 354. What I cannot do is actually believe something in the knowledge that it is false. In “The Folly of Trying to Define Truth” (Journal ofPhilosophy 93 [1996]: 263-87). I have tried to address it in Nietzsche: Life as Literature. Nor does the indefinability of truth imply that the concept is mysterious. “ The death of God” leaves an empty space where secure values were previously thought to exist. by advantages (namely. and my “Confusing Universals and Particulars in Plato’s Early Dialogues. or act as if I do. What Nietzsche calls “nihilism. it is a theory about why we tend to accept certain beliefs as true. comes from the realization that the objective values posited by Christianity and guaranteed by God do not exist. . The objection is very common.” Davidson continues.” the conviction that there are no values at all and that all courses o f action are either arbitrary or not worth taking at all. Nietzsche as Philosopher. for particular pur­ poses. The persistence o f the confusion between perspectivism and relativism is what accounts for the conviction that perspectivism. undermines its own truth.” 56. pretend to believe it. something imaginary. 65-67. that truth is “an indefinable concept. 13:446-47: “How is truth proved? By the feeling of enhanced power . But it is worth noting that Mon­ taigne had had a similar idea: “ The common herd. I can. There can be two reactions to that realization. But that is a prejudice: a sign that truth is not involved at all. of course. pre­ suppositions concerning what truth ought to be like for us to recognize it). by utility—by indispensability—in short. and action. and perhaps pre­ cisely that most calamitous stupidity of which we shall perish some day.

from the moral commitment “I wili not de­ ceive. eds. Nietzsche claims. eds. morality is for Nietzsche “hostile to life. not out of pru­ dential considerations to the effect that it is always bad to be deceived.” 439. In BGE 211. 13-28. charitably interpreted. “in a healthy organism the combined power of its drives is harnessed toward growth.” Our efforts to differentiate ourselves from the rest of nature. 3. such a re­ solve might perhaps be a quixotism. This is in a variety of ways an attractive . 5:144-45. a principle that is hostile to life and de­ structive. a minor slightly mad enthusiasm. For a fuller discussion of this passage and the many issues it raises. 150. are doomed to fail.” Given that life aims “at semblance. the situation is reversed: the instinct of preservation becomes dom­ inant [and everything functions] for the sake of stability” (63). 64.” 63. 202. Clark. when once they have been given the temerity to despise and judge the opin­ ions they had held in extreme reverence. quoted on p. not even myself. 244 NOTES TO CH APTER 5 ance. 62. But this great model of the philosopher for the succeeding millennia necessarily promoted the illness he understood himself to be fighting” (76). de­ ception. Reading Nietzsche. “demonstrates that there are times when. makes an interesting ar­ gument to the effect that Nietzsche can recognize Socrates as a great philosopher but still reject him on account of his “decadence. Ahern concludes. 68. See WP 441. Nietzsche on Truth and Philosophy. confronted with illness.. namely. 320F). the physician’s only ‘cure’ is a lethal injection” (77-78). as those in which their salvation is concerned. 67. delusion. “Some Remarks on The Genealogy o f M orals” in Robert C. accord­ ing to Nietzsche. they will soon after cast easily into like uncertainty all the other parts of the belief.” But the phenomenon he describes is precisely what Nietzsche meant by “the death of God. simulation.162. That is the view of Clark. meaning error. 1988). Truth derives its unconditional value. And when some articles of their religion have been set in doubt and upon the balance. Ibid. Nietzsche on Truth and Philosophy. Socrates. . according to GS 344. see my “Who Are‘the Philosophers of the Future5?: A Reading of Beyond Good and E vil” in Solomon and Higgins.” According to Ahern. but it might' also be something more serious. Nietzsche characteristically finds weakness. Ahern defines ul­ timate stability as death itself and thus accuses Socrates of leading Greek culture to “embrace death” (61). Reading Nietzsche (New York: Oxford University Press. Nietzsche as Cultural Physician. In decadence. 69. sudj.. which had no more authority or foundation in them than those that have been shaken” (“Apology for Raymond Sebond. and Arthur Danto. 66.. self-delusion . but. Nietzsche has already rejected Kant and Hegel. 65. 46-67. But in engendering the notion that we are radically different beings from everything else. But Socrates was still a great figure because he “revealed the genuine task of the philosopher to be that of a cultural physician. chap.” unable to create new val­ ues and content with codifying the values that already existed in their world. . Solomon and Kathleen M. Montaigne officially disapproves of the “execrable atheism” the temptation to which this pas­ sage analyzes and attributes it to the stupidity of “the common herd. which is clearly false. Ahern. Higgins. 160. 163. whom he disparages as mere “philosophical laborers.”And where Montaigne discerns stupidity.

Most. See Glenn W. 71. But I still have serious doubts about whether Nietzsche continued to believe that the philosophers’ task is to be “cultural physicians” in the sense of offering a set of views and values— a “cure”—for their culture as a whole. which I discuss in detail below. He claims that Socrates’ magic consisted in having “ one soul. Foucault died on 21 June 1984. The first term is Walter Kaufmann’s.6 245 interpretation. The passage continues: “Socrates excels the founder of Christianity in being able to be serious cheerfully and in possessing that wisdom full of roguishness that constitutes the finest state of the human soul. 64F). I found his book very helpful in pointing out and discussing the “truce” between Niet­ zsche and Socrates during the works of Nietzsche’s middle period. see Nehamas. he says. For more information. My treatment of Socrates and Nietzsche has been o f course far from com­ plete. 75. is the main text I will be discussing in this chapter.” Xenophon.5. and in the third it was Plato again. and an extensive bibliography. My own position is that Nietzsche retreated to a much more individualist position in his later works and took his task to be the articulation of his own mode of life—a mode that may or (probably) may not be appropriate for the rest of his world. Nietzsche: Life as Literature. 1974). 1969). The most exhaustive. WS 86. Lecture at the Collège de France. “lay to sleep” in Socrates’ first soul. Symp. Psychologist. Nietzsche writes this in an unpublished note (11:440). chapter 1. 272. to which I will refer hereafter sim­ ply by page number. “A Cock for Asclepius. can be found in Hermann-Josef Schmidt. NOTES TO CHAPTERS 5 . and I agree with many of Ahern’s ideas. On 22 February 1984. 70. Foucault lectured on the Laches. 2:591-92. Those were the last lectures he gave. Xenophon. and another one behind that. 3. and another one behind that. And he also possessed the finer intellect. but with his own second soul. 74. Despite my disagreement with Dannhauser’s final view. in Nietzsche: Philosopher. Nietzsche und Sokrates: Philosophische Untersuchungen zu Nietzsches Sokratesbild (Meisenheim: Hain. The lecture concerns theApology. 4th ed. see the following note.” ClassicalQuarterly 43 (1993): 96-111. Chapter 6 1. who writes here that Socrates possesses “die froliche Art des Ernstes. 15 February 1984. 72. The former. and xhePhaedo. Michel Foucault. 5. Refer­ ences to the second lecture will be given by the page number preceded by the Latin numeral II.The second is Werner Dannhauser’s. The lectures have not been published yet. Antichrist. 73. 2. For a detailed presentation of the means Nietzsche employed for that pur­ pose. the Crito. He lectured on Socrates and on the Cyn­ ics at the Collège de France between 29 February and 28 March 1984. in Nietzsche’s View ofSocrates (Ithaca: Cornell University Press. (Princeton: Princeton University Press. almost encyclopaedic investigation o f the topic. and I am grateful to James Miller for making the typescripts made from the original tapes available to . 1974).” may have remembered that Montaigne had once attributed to Socrates “a gay and sociable wisdom” (844.” Nietzsche. 40. 39i. Plato in the second.

soul) is not used in this passage. 7. “ . 59bio). 1) that Socrates is referring to a disease perhaps of Xanthippe. 9.” typescript (Department of Philosophy. The Final Foucault (Cambridge. where the term refers explicitly to taking care of the sick (01 K&iivovTes) and Sextus Empiricus. Fou- t cault actually takes Wilamowitz to think that S ocrates is referring to an earlier dis­ ease of his own. as we have seen.3. A general account of the lectures is givenkby Thomas Flynn.” Most provides an ex­ haustive overview of the secondary literature on this issue. realizes that Plato. and that the aperif of “the lovers of the body” has nothing “ healthy” about it. ed.” in James Bernauer and David Rasmussen. 11. 15 vols. in a moment of clairvoyance just before his death. 6:67). perhaps of one of his own children. See also Gary Alan Scott. The translations from these two lectures. where people with certain symptoms are said to need to take care of themselves. 5. 72od. De articulis. 2ded. “A Cock for Asclepius. 1:178 n. who has made a point of writing that he could not attend Socrates’ last day because he was sick (Phd. which he had forgotten to mention while his family was still there. The first group consists of four points (pp.. writes that patients get bet­ ter if they are taken care of (em^e'Aeia). eds. Hyp. . Other medical uses of the term can be found. Sdmtliche Werke: Kritische Stu- dienausgabe. Most asserts that nowhere in the Phaedo does Plato claim that life is a disease or that death is its cure. 140. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari [Berlin: De Gruyter. 8. Pyr.: MIT Press. Plato’s idea (67a2-6. 6. 4. First. though the word fa x 7] (psyche.. 2. Cr.” The version in “ The Problem of Socrates” is similar: “Ich bin dem Heilande Askle- pios einen Hahn schuldig” (Friedrich Nietzsche. that philosophy is a preparation for death. 102- 18.. 61. 47a6~48ai. 21. 1984). 83d7-io) that we should not “remain full” (dva 7rtfX7rXaoBai) o f the body but should remain “pure” (KaOapoi) . Mass.240. 9. “Games of Truth: Foucault’s Analysis of the Trans­ formation of Political to Ethical Parrhesia and the Disagreement between Socrates and Alcibiades over Truth-telling. Laws. See Georges Dumezil. Foucault correctly rejects (54-55) Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff’s conjecture (in hisPlaton. Socrates then asks for the sacrifice on Plato’s behalf! Most’s arguments against the traditional view are divided into three groups. twice. Second. has been cured of the disease that had kept him at home. according to Most. [Berlin: Weidmann. ich bindemAsklepios einenHahn schuldig. “Foucault as Par- rhesiast: His Last Course at the College de France. Most disagrees with all previous interpretations of Socrates’ final words. are all my own. 101-2). 246 NOTES TO CHAPTER 6 me. See GS 340: 3:569: “O Kriton. but Wilamowitz’s case is weak in any case: the dramatic im- plausibility of having Socrates forget what becomes his last concern before his death provides an insuperable difficulty to that interpretation. . Whit­ tier College. including the Nietzschean approach I am adopting here. in De arte. But Plato. The point is clear. An extended effort to offer a radically new interpretation of Socrates’ last words was recently made by Most. Plato. See Plato. Dumezil discusses Plato’s line on p. does write. 1994). 1980]. for example. Le Moyne noir etgris dedans Varennes33: Sotie nostradamiquesuivie d3un divertissementsur lesdemiemparoles de Socrate (Paris: Gal- limard. 2 vols. 1996). Vectiarius. His own positive pro­ posal is that Socrates.72. and his article is very valuable. rough as they are. 1920]. refers to the care (em/neAcia) of wounds.

especially in con­ nection with the notion of Kadapoi<T(catharsis). In addition. that the “we owe” and the other two verbs of Socrates’ final sentence show that we must take his words to be genuine plurals and thus to refer not to a personal debt but to a debt incurred by the group gathered round him as a whole. as disease is the beginning of the destruction of the body. which is completed at death. cannot constitute a debt that has been already incurred. once he has taken the poison. But the acDjua/o^jaa metaphor. But this just testifies to the radical nature of Plato’s metaphor and to how difficult it is to accept such a disturbingly otherworldly view. 279C6-7). who denies that the soul is immortal. thinks of life as a disease with a cure. For Socrates says that Cebes. who believes in the immortality of the soul. Plato never uses a medical metaphor for the relation of soul and body. a transition to a better place for which Socrates can be. which we discuss in the text above. In addition. Most claims (103-4) that the verb o^etAetv (“to owe”) generally de­ notes previous and not impending obligations. Third. But Socrates himself. if not impious” (104). But apart from the arguments I have appealed to in the main text. and even if the sense of ofieiXeiv were as clear as Most claims it is it does not follow that Socrates’ impending death. What he rejects is not Cebes’ view that life is a disease but that it cannot be cured and that the soul perishes at death. and not to his own alleged liberation from the body. But though part of the view that Socrates attributes to Cebes here is in fact the idea that life is a disease. Third. shows that this is not true. Fourth.” must be referring to a disease already cured. In any case. NOTES TO CH APTER 6 247 from it shows that the connection between soul and body is not medical but re­ ligious.” Phdr. amply show. Socrates can certainly ask all his friends together to sacrifice on his behalf. if his proofs are right. believes that life is the beginning of the soul’s destruction. 32 between dvaTr<ETr\r)fjL€vo$. “whether the god had aided Socrates at the moment of his death or not could only be known after Socrates had already died—to utter thanks beforehand would be impertinent. even to suppose that the debt to Asclepius is collective: for. Socrates then. which is certain. Most argues. it seems to me.(“full”) and jjLzixoXvofizvoS (“contaminated”) preserves exactly the same ambiguity. as the debates surrounding the interpretation of that term in Aristotle’s Poetics. Most also argues (105-6). On the positive side. Most argues that the Greeks often believed that those . like Plato’s. absolutely grateful at this point. But the whole philo­ sophical point of the dialogue has been to prove that death is a benefit. But it is well known that medical and religious vocabulary often merge together. the difference is still immense. the contrast Most invokes in n. the metaphor is not that of infection but of pollution. is afait accompli.” 257a3) to refer to himself in contrast to Phaedrus—and that shows that the incidence of the plural is not by itself sufficient to show that two or more people must be referred to by its means. as Plato was fond of say­ ing. a libera­ tion. Most points out. in saying that “we owe Asclepius a rooster. k o l v a r a rcov (f)i\w v (“Friends have everything in common. like Dumezil (though independendy o f him). it is important to note that in the Phaedrus Socrates uses the plural els’ rj/jberdpav Svvafiiv (“to the ex­ tent of our power. Most’s second argument (103) is that at 95C9-d4 Socrates attributes the view that life is a disease to Cebes and rejects it himself. which are too well known to re­ hearse here. no other parallels for the idea that life is a disease exist in classical Greek literature. But Socrates’ death. according to Most.

See Plato. But his article is well worth consulting. he claims that he can prophesy (XprjufjicoSeiv) that the Athenians will be attacked viciously for their decision. the traditional view can account for this passage without any trouble: Socrates’ whole last discourse. Nietzsche. that is too early for Socrates to have acquired clairvoy­ ant powers: Most’s argument depends seriously on the idea that Socrates can have become aware of Plato’s cure only after he has already drunk the poison and is <cat the very threshold of death” (108). an extreme expression of joy. But on Most’s own grounds. Socrates is made to say “I would have been destroyed a long time ago and would not have been of any use either to you or to myself” (rrdXai av dnoXcoXr] kcu our* av voids' (x><f>e\rjKT) ovSev out’ av ifxaurov.10-11. Apart from his lectures on Socrates and on the Cynics at the College de France. 59. 16. But the Platonic parallels he cites in connection with Socrates are no^ convincing (108-9). I cannot in the end accept Most’s interpretation. and Foucault. was tempted to see Socrates as a “divine missionary” {Sdmtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe. The inclusion of “myself” is important for me. not regarding the health or illness of others. especially during the beginnings o f philoso­ phy in the late fifth century b c . I78a5. AtAp. 1995). 10. * For all these reasons. 14. See the essays of Pierre Hadot published as Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercisesfrom Socrates to Foucault. 1995). to whom I am very grateful for making them available to me. who sing in joy when they have a premonition of their own death (Phd. 11. See Hadot. as well as his recent Qu’est-ce que laphilosophie antique? (Paris: Galli- mard. trans. Discourse and Truth. But the swan acquires mantic powers only re­ garding its own death. 13. Plato’s view that the good life involves an ascetic separation from the body and that such a separation is an early form o f death is in the background o f much o f what we saw Nietzsche write about the connection between Socrates. since it supports the individualist reading of Socrates I have been trying to give here. that is just what the otherworldly interpretation of his final words implies. 39ci-d8. The other parallel concerns Socrates’ liken­ ing himself to Apollo’s swans. 15. is itself. His lec­ tures were taped and transcribed by Joseph Pearson. Discourse and Truth. 57. and “the will to death” in the previous chapter.28-29. Further. which seems to me to overstate the prevalence o f schools. 248 NOTES TO CH APTER 6 who were near death were granted clairvoyant powers. see Foucault. and that . 18-34. Though I agree with Foucault that Socrates opposes the oracle. 17. tends to underplay such references. whose reading of Socrates is more other-directed than my own. La. moral­ ity. Foucault gave a course at the University o f California at Berkeley in the fall of 1983 entitled Discourse and Truth: TheProblematimtion ofParrhesia. too. See also Foucault. 8sd4~7). Foucault. after Socrates has been sentenced to death. Michael Chase (Oxford: Black- well. i89ai. II. 3id8~9). Qu}est-ce que la philosophie antique? 18. like the swan’s song. throughout the dialogue. 18. 12.179a. and “Forms o f Life and Forms o f Discourse” in Philosophy as a Way ofLife. 2:584-85) but was much less sure than Foucault about how seriously we should take Socrates’ self-description. On the Ion. especially for its exhaustive survey of the bibli­ ography on this topic.

22. NOTES TO CHAPTER 6 249 he even suggests that he is aiming to refute it (see 2101-2: “Here. that ofputting thegod to the test in a hundred ways to see whether he has told the truth. R. . a notion of which Foucault was suspicious throughout his life. for his own pur­ poses. Burnyeat. He speaks of it without unction: his images. For example. since Foucault. 21. a passage from Nietzsche.”Ancient Philosophy 27 (1997): 1-12. Foucault. Plato. “The Other 399: Religion and the Trial of Socrates. at least. See also M. though Nicias. 19. 49-56. in Nicias’ and Laches’ willingness to submit to Socrates’ questioning. 62-63. could have used Socrates’ trial. according to which Solon. —Nowadays we no longer have need even of this compromise” (WS 72. —Socrates too feels himself to be a divine missionary: but even here there is perceptible I know not what touch of Attic irony and sense of humour through which that unfortunate and presumptuous concept is ameliorated. F. on the basis of a story. officially. if anywhere. 2:584-85). In this connection. This putting of the god to the test is one of the subdest compromises between piety and freedom of spirit that has ever been devised. Connor argues that there is some evidence to suggest that religious trials (which. is particularly intriguing: “Divine Missionaries. of the brake and the horse. Connor.3 (whom he does not cite). 1. are simple and unpriestly. Foucault (7-8. for that would not be proper to him” (2^3-7). in the decision of Lysimachus and Melesias to address Nicias and Laches in the first place (La. 23-24. appeared in public fully armed in order to suggest that if the tyrant thought of the Athe­ nians as his enemies it was only fair for the Athenians to be ready to fight back. The effect of this identification must have been must stronger during the lectures themselves.” Bulletin oftheInstitute of Classical Studies 58 (1991): Supplement. 27) contrasts Socrates and Solon. would shift from quo­ tation to paraphrase presumably without indicating that he was doing so. For. Fou­ cault also discusses the Laches in Discourse and Truth. But see W. ‘This man here is wiser than I.15-19. his first reaction to the oracle is to ask. .51-52 and Discourse and Truth. of course. reported by Diogenes Laertius. within that oral context. 23. He certainly can’t be lying. I am not sure that Socrates’ reaction is to­ tally unrelated to interpretation. whatever the reasons for which it was originally instituted. and in the decision of the company to continue their own education since they have realized that they are ignorant of the nature of courage and dperij (arete) in general (200e-20ic). permits us to imag­ ine that here the missionary steps to his god with a bold and candid deportment. These questions suggest that Socrates is actually trying to under­ stand what the oracle means. in a manner not entirely consistent with the passage I just quoted. . See Foucault.2. “What is the god saying? What is he hinting at? . is what Socrates’ own trial was) were rather common in that period and that Socrates’ religious practices (without reference to the elenchus) might have been unusual enough to bring him to court. 57-69. knows how serious an enterprise that is (i87e-i88c). when Pisistratus established a personal military guard for himself. with which Foucault may or may not have been familiar. 20. See also II. and the actual religious task to which he feels himself called. His own reaction is uncharacteristic of traditional reactions to oracles because he seems to envisage at least the possibility that the god may actually be wrong. i78a-i8oa5). I would refute [iXey^cov] the oracle and reply to it. II. “The Impiety of Socrates. though you said I was the one5”).

: Harvard University Press. 36. and the Politics of Identity. Foucault. 30. Stephen Heath (New York: Hill and Wang. My claim is that Foucault’s demonstration that the idea that texts have authors. though ill tempered and partisan. 267-91. Nietzsche. 1979). Richard Howard (New York: Random House.” 295. 225-31 (also reprinted in Hadot’s Philosophy as a Way ofLife. trans. Discipline and Punish. GM. A similar view. 27. Michel Foucault. ed.” in Power/Knowledge. Michel Foucault. That one cannot put them to any use. Work. vol. 25. 1992). 38. Textual Strategies: Perspectives in Post-Structuralist Principles (Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Arm­ strong. trans. 1961-1984. A starting point for the criticism of Foucault. 52.50. Literature and theQuestion ofPhilosophy (Bal­ timore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 250 NOTES TO CHAPTER 6 24. Sylvere Lotringer (New York: Semiotext(e). 1972-1977.” in Power/Knowledge: SelectedIn­ terviews and Other Writings. 280. ^1985). 1985). trans. 1956). 142-48. 40. 1991). Michel Foucault. I have discussed Foucault’s view in detail in “Writer. Power. “Reflections on the Notion of ‘The Cultivation of the Self. was presented by Roland Barthes. and also of the continuities among them. 241. Madness and Civilization: A History ofInsanity in theAge ofReason.. ed. Michel Foucault. trans. Cascardi. that in itself may belong to greatness” (77 9. Sartre’s best-known statement of his position is his lecture “Existentialism Is a Humanism. 34. ed. An exemplary critical discussion. 6:152). 31. with all its implications. is given in Arnold I. 159. quoted by Didier Eribon. 39. Foucault. ed.’ ” in Timothy J. is J. Sartre. ed..3. “Prison Talk. esp.. Colin Gordon (New York: Random House. though without Foucault’s theoretical and his­ torical documentation.” in Walter Kaufmann. Text.” in Foucault Live: Collected Interviews. 2 of History of Sexuality. 37. 387. Alan Sheridan (New York: Random House. Betsy Wing (Cambridge. 1997). Mass. Michel Foucault. Michel Foucault. chap. 123. Davidson’s “Archae­ . 26. Philosopher (New York: Routledge. 28. Michel Foucault. “What Is an Author?” in Josue V Harari. “Interview: Sex. 1977). “One misunderstands great human beings if one views them from the mis­ erable perspective of some public use.. “ What Is an Author?’ 159. 1989).” in Anthony J. 33. 1980). “Existentialism Is a Humanism. Discipline and Punish: The Birth ofthe Prison. Author. 1973). 29. 5:297. G. Robert Hurley (New York: Random House. Foucault’s reliance on Xenophon for a number of Socratic views is evi­ dent in The Use of Pleasure. Merquior’s Foucault (Berkeley: University of California Press. 27. 32. trans. 1987). on a very specific issue (Foucault’s inter­ pretation of the Stoics’ notion of the art of living) is provided by Pierre Hadot. A good account of the different stages of Foucault’s development. is a historical fact and not a natural given does not imply that authorship can be used only in the oppressive manner he outlines in his essay. “Truth and Power. 206-13). Michel Foucault. II.” in his Image-Music-Text.Existentialismfrom Dostoevsky to Sartre (New York: World. ' 35. 30. 27. Michel Foucault. 1965). 1 and part 5. “The Death of the Au­ thor. The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sci­ ences (New York: Random House.. trans. See Michel Foucault.

there is one thing. at least. in Foucault/Blanchot. avoid­ ing all suggestion of alternatives. 117. in all cases. This. for whom to work in the midst of uncertainty and apprehension is tantamount to failure. Foucault’s method in those earlyworks was exhaustively descriptive. 74: the “need for pun­ ishment without torture was first formulated as a cry from the heart or from an outraged nature. but whether a particular theory or interpretation is or is not better than its alternatives. may seem to beg the question.” in Hermès ou la communication.’ The day was to come. Genealogy. 74. in the manifesto Foucault composed for the Group on Prison Information (French. commonly seen as a symptom of Foucault’s “nihilism. Foucault asI Imagine Him. His style. and few authors have been as willing to discuss their views and rethink their positions as he was: “As to those for whom to work hard. 1986). for example.” is ex­ actly parallel to the difficulties we discussed in connection with Nietzsche’s per­ spectivism in the previous chapter. for example. 45. one may ask. all I can say is that clearly we are from another planet” (The Use ofPleas­ ure. “Géométrie de la folie. This is obvious. ed. 1961) is the original o f which the radically abridged Madness and Civilization is the English version. Maurice Blanchot. when this ‘man. Foucault: A Critical Reader (Oxford: Blackwell. Jeffrey Mehlman and Brian Massumi (New York: Zone Books. Foucault. GIP). Criteria of evaluation are not immune to dispute. of course. Since history is itself a human science. is that there are no such general criteria. in the nine­ teenth century. For.” 43. to at­ tempt and be mistaken. why should we bother to believe what he wrote? This problem. Michel Foucault. and still find reason to hesitate from one step to the next—as to those. and if it was false. to begin and begin again. even though it is less likely that people will disagree about general principles than about particular claims of truth or falsehood. would become the target of penal intervention. Fou­ cault offered his views for evaluation and criticism. how could he claim that his own position regarding the human sciences was correct? If his own analysis was true. quoted by Eribon. 221-34. 7). It can be solved by seeing that Foucault placed himself within the domain he was investigating. to go back and rework everything from top to bottom. 1987).” in David Couzens Hoy. sometimes assumed such magisterial heights that it was difficult to believe that he would wel­ come discussion. See. in short. again. the true from the false.’ discovered in the criminal. The issue is not whether there is a general criterion for separating. the object that it claimed to correct and transform. Folie et déraison: Histoire de lafolie a l’âge classique (Paris: Pion. then the human sciences might be able to reach the truth after all. which aimed to expose the condi­ tions under which the inmates of the French penal system were forced to live: . 42. But his point of view created a serious problem for itself. what are the criteria by which we can determine whether one interpretation is better than another? The answer. NOTES TO CHAPTER 6 251 ology. it is true. trans. 44. Discipline and Punish.. Fou­ cault’s Archaeology of Knowledge is an extended effort to articulate the method­ ological principles that underlie his work up to and including The OrderofThings. In the worst of murderers. 176. Ethics. 41. the domain of a whole series of ‘criminological’ sciences and strange ‘peniten­ tiary’ practices. to be re­ spected when one punishes: his ‘humanity. But nothing in the substance of his writing precluded it. Michel Serres.

and to Miller himself. “it never took the form of a decipherment of the self by the self. Foucault addresses these issues in The Use of Pleasure and in The Care of the Self. The Passion ofMichel Foucault (New York: Simon and Schuster. Michel Foucault. Foucault’s readings of his ancient sources were not always definitive. in the hierarchy one respected” (89).” in Foucault Reader. Paid Rabinow (New York: Random House.27-36.” in Foucault Live. Foucault as I Imagine Him. 1978).” New Republic. part of the material of that essay is reproduced here. 227). [I]t was never an epistemological condition enabling the individual to recognize himself in his singularity as a desiring subject and to purify himself of the desire that was thus brought to light. or make an oppressive system more bear­ able. A model of how interpre­ . They are intended to attack it in places where it is called something else— justice. coming to terms with one’s plea­ sures and becoming able to moderate them was not a process of discovery. this effort “did on the other hand open onto an aesthetics of existence. in “Subject and Abject: The Examined Life of Michel Foucault. Michel Foucault. 3 of The History of Sexuality. I discuss his book. NOTES TO CH APTER 6 “The GIP does not propose to speak in the name of the prisoners in various pris­ ons. to provide them with the possibility of speak­ ing themselves and telling what goes on in prisons. I am deeply indebted to Miller’s book. trans. . technique. 48. See also idem. trans. it may have been designated as the evil to be eliminated. Blanchot. in the way one distributed them. 46. ed. 46.. 45. especially in Plato. 432-49. but on certain formal principles in the use of pleasures. Ibid. 47. Michel Foucault. Robert Hurley (New York: Ran­ dom House. Foucault’s evolving attitudes toward that issue are well documented in James Miller’s biography. 8-9. . never that of a hermeneutics of desire. 1986).. and his views have of­ ten been dismissed on purely interpretative grounds. “On the Genealogy of Ethics: An Overview of Work in Progress. This is obvious in a discussion in The Use of Pleasure. Robert Hurley (New York: Random House. knowledge. 42). And what I mean by this is a way of life whose moral value did not depend either on one’s being in conformity with a code of behavior. for many of my own views of Foucault. 1984). [Our] investigations are not intended to ameliorate. vol.. ed. or on an effort of purification. 53. 52.. alleviate. i. rather *than to disappear for good” (ibid. The GIP does not have re­ formist goals. Michel Foucault. but the extraordinary effort that went into \ the task that was bound to fail leads one to suspect that what was demanded of it was to persevere. “The Ethics of the Concern for Self as a Practice of Freedom” and “An Aesthetics of Existence. . 350. 76. vol.” On the contrary.A n Introduction. on the contrary. which met with a gener­ ally uncomprehending reception.. In classical Greek practice. to proliferate to the limits of the visible and the invisible. objectivity” (quoted by Eribon. we do not dream of an ideal prison. . “ What Is Enlightenment?” in The Foucault Reader. 15 February 1993. Rabinow. in the limits one observed. 49. Foucault once again proved himself a master of reversing received pic­ tures : “The child’s Vice’ was not so much an enemy as a support. ' 51. Foucault argued. 54. The History of Sexuality. 450-54. 1993). it proposes. ' ^ 50.

and Ancient Thought. I am grateful to P. of vengefulness). or perfection” (27). one’s sexuality may be part o f one’s ethical substance while one’s athletic ability may not (though such catego­ rizations often change with time: engaging in athletic exercise. both in Philosophy as a Way ofLife and in Qu’est-que laphiloso­ phie antique? Foucault frequently expressed his debt to Hadoťs work. “the elaboration of ethical work.” has almost become an ethical category today). Many such exercises —especially those he calls “spiritual33—have been stud­ ied by Pierre Hadot. like St. both Nietzsche’s claim and mine are much too stark and simple. Second. or because they consider such practices as manifesting “brilliance. It never asks: ‘How can one spir­ itualize. “the teloŕ of the ethical subject. ed. People can accept moral obligations because they believe they are sanctioned by divine law. a mode o f being characteristic o f the ethical subject” (28). Vi. Fourth. 58. 26) and to others: Foucault does not draw a hard and fast distinction between the two (28). p. Nietzsche’s contrast between philosophical and priestly asceticism in the Third Essay of On the Genealogy ofMorals comes immediately to mind here. like Milton. those aspects of the self. and Christians who are poets. encompassing both poets who are Christians. 6:83) that “the church fights passion with excision in every sense: its practice.” Needless to say. of avarice. its ‘cure.” the various ways one employs in order to bring one’s conduct into compliance with a rule and to transform oneself into the right sort of ethical agent (“ethical substance” ). 55. and final. 1994).” 341. The Cambridge Companion to Foucault (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. to the es­ tablishing o f a moral conduct that commits an individual not only to other ac­ tions always in conformity with values and rules. Adams Sitney for suggesting I make this qualification. Third. of the lust to rule. of pride.3” See also Arnold I. “Ethics as Ascetics: Foucault. the is­ sue of “the ethical substance. John of the Cross.33in Gary Gutting.” Foucault writes. NOTES TO CHAPTER 6 253 tative disagreement can be combined with philosophical understanding is pro­ vided. by Pierre Hadoťs “Reflections on the Notion o f‘The Cultivation of the Self. both the telos of the ethical subject and the ways in which moral actions contribute to it are themselves historically variable. in the Symposium as well as in the Phaedrus. “for your health. 56. the sort o f person one wants to become through ethical behavior: “A moral action. the ways in which people come to recognize their moral obligations to themselves (The Use of Pleasure. Needless to say. esp. beauty. that are relevant to ethical reflection—the aspects of the individual that consti­ tute it as a moral or ethical entity. This is where the various spir­ itual exercises we have already mentioned play their most important role (27). The purpose o f The History ofSexuality was to document a number of these different conceptions o f and methods for con- . or the individual.. A deeply erotic streak runs at least through one tradition of Chris­ tian art. First. Davidson. 116. nobility. but it also aims beyond the latter. So does his writing (IT. 57. For example. Foucault. Foucault investigated four aspects of “ethics” so conceived.” that is. deify a craving?’ [That may well have been Plato’s question.” which is to say. as I have already remarked. but to a certain mode o f being. “On the Genealogy of Ethics. “the mode o f subjection.] It has at all times laid the stress of dis­ cipline on extirpation (of sensuality. 115-40. beautify.5is castratism. or because o f their alle­ giance to a specific group that accepts such obligations. “tends towards its own accomplishment. the History o f Ethics.

62. See Foucault. 36ci-d2.” 384-88. One of the reasons for which. in the Laches is precisely the fact that his views about courage harmonize with his courageous acts. not what our moral or sexual attitudes move us to classify as what must not to be discussed in polite society. his attraction to boys—are all those private events in his life or part and parcel of the philosophical figure with which we now contend? The answer is that this depends on whether we can give an interpretation of Socrates that takes such elements into account. on which Fou­ . Alcibiades says that Socrates made the same point to him at Symp.58). The private is that which cannot be integrated into such an interpretation. is always relative to an interpretation of their thought. In general. 62 below) and insisting that Miller makes numerous factual mistakes. 61. Eribon’s book. and both can be exploited.” Are Socrates’ poverty. that those “facts” are what the ideas are about. like his earlier biography. I have defended Miller against those charges in “Subject and Abject. This would lead us to think that the facts of our lives are independently given to us and that the only way of coming to terms with them is by producing ideas that justify them in our own eyes and per­ haps in the eyes of our audience. Ethics. at least in the case of the philosophers we are discussing. I would call into question the very distinction between “private events” and “public ideas. his unwillingness to leave the city for the country. Plato. in war as in peace (II. and the Politics of Identity. his prodigious ability to drink without getting drunk. An excellent observer.” 227-30. Davidson has discussed them well in “Archaeology. is not true to Foucault’s own view that authors are not the objects of criticism and because he mixes the public and the private in an unjustified man­ ner. But his examples of such mistakes (for exam­ ple. Foucault gives a shorter presentation of these ideas in “On the Genealogy of Ethics. provides a large number of facts without integrating them into a reasonable interpretation. who are his social superiors. Neither sort of fact is prior to the other. as every­ thing else. for example. Ap. “Interview: Sex. Eribon is not precisely a philosopher. changed. launched a major attack against Miller’s book (and a minor one against my review). To defuse the accusation that such an approach confuses the public and the private. and has offered a more general reading of Foucault’s ethical project in “Ethics as Ascetics. 2i6a4~6. The distinction between the pri­ vate and the public. We must not be seduced into thinking that biographical events are subject to causal laws and therefore independent of choice while ideas are products of choice and therefore independent of causation.”Arnold I.” 59. Miller’s Passion of Michel Foucault has been broadly attacked on the grounds that its approach. 63. 60. Genealogy. Power. according to Foucault. Socrates is given the authority to examine Nicias and Laches. his walking about barefoot. that Dumezil was elected to the College de France in 1949 and not in 1968 [37]) are most often irrelevant to the issue of interpreting Foucault’s thought. in Michel Foucault et ses contemporains. and taken in charge of so as to become elements of a coherent whole.” Didier Eribon. concentrating as it does on the personal aspects of Fou­ cault’s life. That is also the central idea ofAlcibiades 7.254 NOTES TO CHAPTER 6 strutting moral agents over the centuries. arguing again (as he had done *first during a conference at Berkeley in May 1993) that Miller reduces Foucault’s ideas to the events of his life (on which see n. But ideas are as much part of life and among the “facts” that constitute it.

Hadot:. is offered by Hannah Arendt in “Philosophy and Politics. as presented both by Alcibiades in the Symposium and by Xenophon. however. and idem. Phdr. But. . 468-69. 157-62). arguing that there are ways in which the former is compatible with the latter. more broadly. 23od2-5). in the streets. esp. with concern for the soul. But the Platonic Socrates participates in the life of the city to the extent that he is “an almost ordinary. ed. participates fully in the affairs of the city. 65. while the latter identifies it. Aristode.. which generally. We are inter­ ested in its position within a general philosophical tradition. in the gymnasium. both of which she describes as a “dialogue be­ tween friends” and to which. cf. 141-51 (but also the comments of Paul Woodruff in the same vol­ ume. ed. so understood. to include the practical ac­ tivities involved in making sure that the life of the city is operating smoothly and fairly. with pol­ itics (which Socrates himself says in the. Politics. NOTES TO CH APTER 6 255 cault lectured at the University of California at Berkeley in the spring of 1983. after all. 64. Qu’est-que laphilosophie antique? 66-69. “Hellenistic Ethics and Philosophical Power. See. To conclude from this. Socratic dialectic may indeed be very important (82). A. 5oc4~54di. as it should be. Foucault makes an interesting distinction between the Alcibiades and the Laches (IX. but it is clear that the con­ cerns of thtAlcibiades are considerably more otherworldly than those of thc Laches. identifies philos­ ophy.” in Peter Green. argues that the care of the self is not opposed to the care of the city. Though scholars are not generally agreed whether Alcibiades I is or is not a gen­ uine work of Plato’s.13. 66. Lawrence Becker (New York: Garland. with concern with life as a whole (/3toS') and is thus the founding text of the conception of philosophy as the art of living. with a wife and children. Long. a bon vivant who can drink more than everyone else without getting drunk. Hellenistic Culture and Society (Berkeley: University o f California Press. in partic­ ular. as a matter of fact. A. that Socrates participated in political life is to equivocate. everyday man. conceived as the care of the self. a soldier of courage and endurance” (67). Cf. did consider it Plato’s own work.1132a. He bases his conclusion on the fact that Socrates. “History o f Western Ethics. in shops. The only school that refused to see Socrates as its originator was the school o f Epicurus. An interesting account of the relationship between Socratic philosophy and the life of the city. one of the main points die personified Laws make in their argument with Socrates at Cr.” in Encyclopaedia of Ethics. That may be true in regard to Xenophon. But I still doubt that a general devotion to dialectic is compati­ ble with political life if that is taken. For though it is true that the care of the self is not opposed to living within the city (that is. 1992). even so. the issue is not directly relevant to our topic. 138-56. I am not quite sure about the textual basis of Foucault’s view. 1993). My general reaction to Arendt’s view is that she reaches her conclusion by relying on a rather broad interpretation of what constitutes po­ litical discourse and political life. who engages in discussion with everyone.” Social Research 57 (1990): 73-103.19-24). The former. 7. In his second lecture on Socrates. the Epicurean ideal o f an “untroubled life” and its em­ phasis on self-sufficiency is influenced by the example o f Socrates. it is opposed to occupying oneself with the affairs of the city. he argues.Apology we should address only after we have tended to ourselves).

A similar reading of the Antichrist. vols. 793F.” 2. “Life of Socrates.” 1037-38. 77-81. 73.109-22.16. 69. a wall on which Christians were enabled to scribble their own views. 68. 817F. Diogenes Laertius. as it were. 20-21. Montaigne. 9 and 10 (1981): 119-40. Gesammelte Werke. 16 (Munich: Musarion. “Nietzsche’s Graffito: A Read­ ing of thc Antichrist. 6. 72. 21.” boundary 2. Diogenes Laertius. Montaigne. Friedrich Nietzsche. 48.” 2. On the idea that philosophy as a way of life combines living with discourse and is not therefore a purely “practical” enterprise. 70. 71. Qu’est-que laphiloso­ phic antique? 19.” 1067.256 NOTES TO CH APTER 6 67. ( .4. 1926). vol. has been offered by Gary Shapiro. “O f physiognomy.5. “O f experience.18-19. attributing to Nietzsche the view that Jesus provided. “Life of Archelaus. see Hadot.

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50 artifice. 102-3. originated by last words. 96. Foucault. 10 -11. also art on irony as lying. 209n68. Plato 20. 72. 86. 14. 3.185-87. Daniel R.10 2 . 59-63. Fou­ day.78 .i i .180. 2 0 5 n2 4 Ahem. Seneca.19 . 3.161. models. Socratic. 2. 163. 187.127..127. 255065 vidualism. on fear of death. 96-97. self-creation arete.184. William. Frogs. i o . 120. knowledge of.7 4 . 2551163 Arrowsmith. Ethics. J. See also aestheticism. and belief consistency. 97-98. 9-10. art of living. 57 . 173 .168.2 0 . 75-76. Socrates’ irony tzsche. 19904-5 Arieti.255^5. in Nietzsche. 2351187. Foucault and. 2. 245^9.20o-2om66. 9 . 43.164.134. 6-15. 121-22. 77-78.181. 73.185. 204ms.183-88. to­ “archaeology” of human sciences. 74. 49. 96-98. 164-65. i o . 50. 212ms Alcibiades (Plato). See also boastfulness/ and knowledge theory. universalist.157 o f living Anaximenes of Lampsacus. See also virtue (arete) asceticism. 174 3-4. 2. 157. IS5. 10 3. Montaigne and. and Rhetoric. Socrates’ igno­ taigne. 158-60. Nietzsche on. 224n94 97. 56. Nico- superiority machean Ethics.109-10 o f knowledge.163.179 . 2isn42 and care o f the self. art 12 9 -31. 158-60. 224n94 46. 236m Allen.51. 204020. in writing. 1 4 1 .168.. cault’s.164. and Socrates’ 238-39nn22. 244-451169 Aristode: on arete. Socrates’ effect on.i i .1941123. James A. See also care o f the self.167. Nie­ rance professed.. ture.51. and na­ ambivalence: in Magic Mountain. 9 7 .189m. 65. See Aristophanes: Clouds. 94. Xenophon and. vs. 11.1991147. Mon­ parrhesia in. 106-25. 2 -15 . in Republic.163-66.214^ 7. 92-93. 2oon52 aestheticism . 9 -10 . 94. 53 .50. indi­ Arendt. 103 artisans. 106-7. 233-34^8 Apollonius o f Tyana... 50. 2 14^ 3. on Socrates’ disavowal Socrates as Silenus. 30 -31. 240033. 45- Apology of Socrates (Xenophon). Archaeology of Knowledge (Foucault). 51. 134. 253*157 271 . 181-82. 39.65. E. vs.23. and Alcibiades. 96- teacher. and boastfulness. 96-98. and Socrates as Socrates. genres. 5. 2141127. 96.197^6.58. 68.135. 74. 25 in4 i 184. 97-98. 180-81. nature. 8. philosophical life. Apology (Plato).123.105. 66. views and actions. 202n5 art: Foucault on life as. I99n45. philosophical.9 8 . 72-78. 177-80. Index Adam.161-64. alazoneia. 50. 75.186. 10—11. 255n63. R. 154 . 254-55111163. n6. i9on2. Hannah. 51-52.10 2 - elenchus in.4 3 . 68. 168-80.

taigne on.6 9 208054. 131. 2i3ni8. 146-47. 206—7nn3i. 57. 1971134-. Danto. 2ion79.146-48. 243054. 126 character and. 24in38. 3-4.161. creation. defi­ tzsche on. 2411140 Clark. 223^ 0 strategies. 2o6n3i. 22on7i. 74. 253n57 on. Fou­ cault and.69. andparrhêsia. 166. Foucault Charmides (Plato). self­ death: fear of. 2i9n65. 38-39.188. and politics. Montaigne on. 2 39 -4 0^ 0 . Georges.18 1. 93 “ certain”/ “philosophical” knowledge.113 -14 .159. 47. 243^7 also art of living. vs. perspectivism 245n75. Kierkegaard and. Foucault and. Cicero: De oratore. 255n65. 106. Maudemarie. 187 Birth of Tragedy (Nietzsche). W. and Booth.30. irony and. 149.73.118-20. Phaedo and. 24204-8. 120.181-83.162. 47. 36 prison of.159-63. 161-62.12 4 . 95. 223-24 ^ 3 82. 158-60. See also uncertainty o f self and. .145.181. 229^2. J. 171 Clouds (Aristophanes). 8. 253057. 53.158-87. Nie­ care o f the self. 169-76. 4 2 .168.168. 254^9. 136. and interlocu­ and character.10 3-4. tors. 172 223085.165.166. in Mann. 69. 102. 8.31-32. 62-63.115. 2i3ni8. 169. 57. and virtue. 205n28 Socrates’ end. 112..120.119 -2 0 . 2 4 6 -4 7^ . soul trapped Crito. 23on39. John. 202116. 70-98. and author. Foucault and. courage: Laches and. Montaigne and.190-201. 81. 112. individualism. 137. 4 6 . recollection and. spiritual/physical Crito (Plato). Plato. 167. Xenophon on. 222n83 Cynicism. 246-4709. 22in73 boastfulness/superiority.176-77 Convivium religiosum (Erasmus). 4 7. 246n9. 171-72-. 77. 153. change. 2i3ni8. experts in. 47. 70-98. audience: author and. Claude. Maurice.. 24inn38. 222n83. 19-45. Richard S. Foucault Dane. Athens: religion. 82-83.191-94. Arthur C. devoting one­ tonic irony and. physiognomy ation” thesis. 233^5 Coroford. Mon­ beliefs: false/uncertified. 249020 Blanchot. 54-56. irony in. Nietzsche and. 243n59. 179.242^ 0 10 1-5 . Donald. 151-52.149. 36-37. 200n66 daimonion (divine voice): Euthyphro and. 239n25. I98n44 Burnet. 65. 2i9n65. 33.187. See also religion 118 -2 0 . François. writing Christianity: erotic streak.43 and. and irony. 25on35. Socrates of. 223089 and. Foucault and. 2 o 6 . Concept o f Irony (Kierkegaard).16 8 -6 9 . Disputations. Pla­ nition (Foucault). 115-17.. Cave. 148-50.3 4 . 225m Blum. John M. IN D EX Athenaeum. 106. “retali­ See also disease. 14 -15. body: healthy. See Davidson.180-81. Joseph A. Bataille. 42. 19-45. Socrates’ care 73-76. 209n68 nected with. 80-81. 54. 78-79.168. 22in73 Cooper.. Charmides. in . 158-60.7 nn33 . 42. self to others. 166. 60. 87-88. 8^-90. 50-51. 2i9n64. 70 141 Connor. 87-89. 2o8n48 Socrates and. 157-87. soul religiously con­ Critias.. 226ni2. tzsche and. I98n44.163. Montaigne and. 109 Bluck.229032. 102. 2i8n6i.190-201. Tusculan Beyond Good and E vil (Nietzsche).4 3 ..24in4o.146.148. 60. 137. See also readers Characters (Theophrastus).184. 12 . 49-50. 2301139.166-68. Socrates’ care of the self 159-67. and historical Jesus. 73. 174. 180- disease. 255063. 49-52. Terence. R . 39. Charilaos o f Sparta. 165. 21-22.166-67 Brucker. 121-22. 140. 50 author: and audience. Wayne. Montaigne’s. i89n2 Burger. 41-42. 2i2-i3ni8. 249n23. soul as Cmtylus (Plato).133-36.. Ronna L.156. Nie­ .184.188. 29-30.40. 1 4 6 . 163. 35-36. logical consistency of. 4 1-42. 88-90.34. 179. 65 control over material.4 7 . 14 -15 .See also literary Charpentier.182-83 255n65 character: audience and. 41-42. 2ion79. 239 ^ 4 . true. Francis M. in. 3-4.22on69 in.103. 234-35077 192012. 227ni8. 112 176. 71. 254n59 161.130 -3 1. Montaigne on.2 4 2 ^ 0 Birth of the Clinic (Foucault). 47.

47. .145. number of Socrates men­ tzsche and. 14. 11.” 101. J. 17 1 -7 2 . Georges. Dumézil.. teaching Foucault.133. 2. and Euthyphro. 102-3 2om7o. 227-28nni7. 124. deca­ also Euthyphro .155-56. 8 1. 181. 35-36 I99n46. 69. 137.19 1. young people and. Nietzsche and.120. 83-84. 152 208052. IN DEX 273 121-22. 145.152. Socrates’ 101-27. Socrates5 effect on.23 in53. 69.9. Ethics (Aristotle).10 5. principle of. io -n .159-67. 38-41. positive.174.1971134. 232^5. Erasmus. and politics.172. of readers. 105. 24in42. See disease: anarchy of instinct. on asceticism.137.57-59. life as.14 0 . logical fea­ 179.135. 50 .155 Folie et déraison (Foucault). Socrates and. 65. 152. nificance.” Nietzsche and. “ O f physiognomy. 200-20in66 25in42 Euthyphro (Plato).175. 149. in virtue (arete). 50-63. 40 deception: irony and. Socrates5 Enlightenment. Existentialism. 34-39. Democritus. 13 7 . 146.140.Set also dialectic See also trial and execution. Enright. 113. 2in73. 2i7n5s.155. of Socratic family: Athens as. 34-41. . . 116 -17. 246-47119 also teaching dogmatism: Nietzsche and.161.181-82. Didier. 62. 116. Nicias and. 25sn63. Michel. Euthyphro and. 152 53 157 240nn33. Archaeology ofKnowledge. 114. 2ion73.141. 4 3 . 84.” 72. truth Eribon. 6 4 . 43.26. 158.189m. 255^5. 9 4 .184. 2i 6 . vs. 83-88.182.151. sophists and.. 35-39.55. 167.161.50 I98n44. 75-76. 171. in Montaigne. sig­ Euthyphro. and piety. 220- 151.9 . 174-75. 173- cradc irony 74. 82-88. 1971138. Nietzsche on.4 4 . 93. tions in. teacher. 254n6o deduction. tures.10 9 . elenchus.4 7 nn5. Socratic fallacy. “ archaeology” o f human sciences.181-82.191-94. 2311151. 83-85.i8.116-18.136.152-53. 13. truth established Verses o f Virgil.203m o bond. 154 universalist. 138-40. Eleatic school. 179.” 113.121-22. truth in. 2i3ni8. So. 7 . Desiderius. “ O f practice. 42. 236m.58. Nietzsche and. 205024. See also self-deception.165.157— also models 63. 2i0n70. 63. 197 n3 4 > Diogenes Laertius. tzsche’s physical. 115. Nietzsche and. 170-71 94. in Mann. issn66 157. 250^5. 84-85.157 Fénelon. 153 54 spiritual/ 78-82. 14.133. 3 9 ~4 i. 166-67. Nie­ 130 . equality. 2oon66 I9 9 n4 5 .154.185-86. 171. 245-56.129..157-87. 67 243-441161 Epictetus. dence.159. . 76. 14-15. 112.164.151. 128.135.155. philosophy as preparation for. 133. and care of the 82-85. 74 -75 226nn8.” 116-17.1 0 . 142 dialogue form (Platonic).19 6 ^ 3.’ 158-59. 205n28 Ecce Homo (Nietzsche). 29-30. 200n52. 160-61. 78-79 Essays (Montaigne). examples. 14. and oracle. 38 -39. Epicureans.147-57. young people and. suicide. Discipline and Punish (Foucault).” 13. 247119. 113. 189112 I97n36. 75 174. Euphrates of Tyrus. 166. Socrates.2 30 ^ 9 207n44.152. interpretation and.127. See 244-451169. 244Ü70. 246ns 150. 233^5.7 2-79 .36. skepticism. 34-39. self-delusion. 75. Birth of the Clinic. ethical implications. Nie­ experts: in truth. self. 87.236m.150. 54 borrowings. 154. 3 4 ~4 i. 2i7n55. negadve. 154. 246119. 2 2 onó9 . 255n63. 23in53 2in73.254n6o 102 Fish. and author.25in 4 4 education.8 . 49-54. 2281126.2oin7o. 2 4 6 . 8 2-8 8. See learning. 2 4 4 ~ 45 nó9 epideixis. See also irony. 175-76 “ death of God. “On Some criticism of. connections in. eirôneia. “Apology for Raymond Se- Demosthenes. 13 0 . 157-87. “didactic. François Salignac de la Mothe. 2 1-3 0 . ironic use. Stanley. D. 2141129. 25in4i. 220 . dialectic.i 7nn54. 7*. 97-98.120. and etymology.36. 96. 240^133. See also elenchus eternal recurrence. De orátore (Cicero). and change.136. art of living. 89. 47-48. Diogenes of Sinope. 168-80. 103 decadence. by.177-80. 146. See physical.150 -51. 57.

177. a tomb. 25in42. individualism.181-83. 86.178-79. 228-29n27. Discipline and Punish. on philosophy. Norman. Timothy. historical Socrates. I96n33.168. 77 of the self. 172. Friedlander.168- Guthrie.. 226n8. also disease 170. Sigmund. 254*159. 180. 255n65 5^n4j.182. 541158. 72. 14-15. 2i2-i3ni8. 254nn6o. 68 courage.” 174. 91-92 169-76. “genealogy. 22i-22n76 120 -21. Nietzsche on.72. health. 236m combination of sources. Paul.199n45 177-80. 2ion73 171. 173 175. 20in70 opment. K. Folie et deraison. History of and truth.209n64 12-13. 22in73 phon’s claim to be present with. Fowler.223n9o. Martin. lost. 170. 2291128. creation (self-fashioning). 52 Sexuality. 225m. Charles C.185. 10 1.178-79. 22i-22nn76. and ethics.175-76.177. in. 94-95. 170. 246n9. 14-15. Jurgen. 2511141.130 . Gigon.. 153-54. 93-96. 104. Havas.151. 2i7-i8n6i.253.. on Socrates’ care Herodotus.101-21. Hampton. agreements among Xenophon/ 186. Xenophon’s conven- . 94-95.i8. 2i2-i3ni8.” Foucault’s. See "power/knowledge. 10 1-2 . Gorgias (Plato). 129. in. 2 2 3 ^ 0 . 120-21. 226ni3.182-83. 251044. onparrhesia. Grote. Goethe. and Socrates’ knowl­ freedom. 25in44. 2ion73. Peter. 226ni3. G. 227-290117.168. Funeral Oration (Hyperides). Cicero as ject. 164-68. Plato taigne on.180-81. W. Xenophon as Mon­ “genealogy. Olof. 243^6 lon’s source. Donald.196n30. 20. 222n83.187. C. W. Hadot. 244n67. “What Is Enlightenment?. 175 taigne’s source. 22i-22n76. 8. 2i8n62.179. 67-68. 102.199n47. 170-74. 83. 227m8.. 89. and Habermas. 178. and Nietzsche. 10-11. 141 as Nietzsche’s source. 33. Nietzsche and. 236m taigne’s source.19 9 ^ 7 . 176. Pierre. 131. 42. “Socratic Frogs (Aristophanes). 175. 101.102.172-74. on self­ 223n89. 130-31. 6 -10 .164. Hugo.180.158-63. 10 2.194n23 56. Paul.168. 6 6 .168. 212ml 170-71. 88. on life as art. 87. 222n82.18. 185. 102.32. 71.116. Gorges.6 69. intellectual devel­ Griswold. on Stoics.252-53^4.S.153. 25on25 combination of sources. 170. Montaigne’s source. 2iinn3. on pleasure.177. 78 6-8. H. 14. Xeno­ Glenos. 174-75. Vlastos’ sources. 79-80 Socrates on life as disease.10 5-8 .” 175-76. on history. Frede. 168. 246ns. Socrates model. 38. Michael. W.179. Gay Science (Nietzsche).180..188. 98. 24in4i penal reform. Michel (continued) Gombrich.169-80. on progress. kegaard on negative. 245n74.118 - 178. 229n3o. 132-33.161. 169. 169. 60 130. on Enlightenment. 92 224n94. 66. 179. 161. 158.180.10 1-21. 94. H.” 172. and insan­ Grice. Heidegger. “body is 174 . Plato as Romanticist source. 2 4 5 ^ 4 . 168-69. 222n83.227-28nni7.176. 82. E.10 5-21.174-75. 2 4 0 ^ 3 on power. Charp- 69. Gray. 165. I98n44. 251.173.2281127 97-98.2 2 9 ^ 2 . 176-77. 2511142. literary Socrates). in.179. Kier­ Montaigne’s source. E: and irony. Floyd.170. George. 226ni3. Nietzsche’s Frame.155— Freud. 173. and Hippocrates. on Socrates. 22707. 92. Plato/Aristotle. 4 3 . 114. 164. 92-93 problem” (real vs. Plutarch as Mon­ Friedrich.180. 2i2ni3 Plato and art of living. Madness and Civilization. chronology of.27. and Socrates5usefulness.176. 205n28 ity. Gulley. 2iin6.” 161-62. and sub­ entier’s sources. 45.105-n . 14. Demetres. 238-391123. and sexuality.175.148-49. 70.164. 114. Xenophon as Fene- Geach.169-80. Jr. 2o8n52 84.102. 106. Mon­ 12 0 -2 1.140. 2ion76. 14-15.10 1-2 . Order of Things. Johann Wolfgang von. and Socrates’ Hippias. 225m. Randall. 139. Hegel.176-77. 233n68 69. public and private. 14-15. on self.274 INDEX Foucault. Xenophon as Charpentier’s 158 source. 235^1. 62. “nihilism. Montaigne’s Xenophon readings by. 112 .160-68. 169-72. 177-79. 10-n.” edge. Plato as freedom: Foucault. and U.. 170. 76. 7.

2ion73.170 -71 35-39.53. of oneself. philosophical ideas and. 78 lute. 2o8n48.164. 215042 interlocutors. 11. 92-93. 254059.96. 206- 106-22. Homer. history: Foucault on. 226ni3.141-4 3. Jowett. 2iin6. in Aristotle. 20in70. Foucault and. 22on7i. ignorance: of death. 77. 254nn6o. 92. insanity.14. 97. 233. Platonic. ignorant. See also reflections. 82. 50.51-63. 78 . 57-58. irony. 65-66. Johnston. 134-35. 205111126. 89.198n44. 223n89. 113. learning vs.9.6. and lying. Crito.127. trial and execution 2051126. See also Socratic irony instinct. 65. 58. 244n62. 52-53. 68. Plato’s. 5 3-6 7. 22on69. 37 .127.174-75 68-69.133. 58.57. 50-51.38 -39 . 67. 7 2 . 49-52. -6 9 . J. and morality (Nietzsche). humanism. in Cicero. 204m6. 179 ward. 53. 67-69. 229111128.60 . 158-60. standards of eval­ 115-16. 202nn5. 44. rhetorical. 65. See also 38-42.130. 254ns9. 87. See also 23H152.140 -41. 65.19 -4 5 . in Schlegel. per- human nature: artifice vs.20sn27. Vlastos and. Socrates’ naturalness.2281118 62. 50. 39111122. 169-72. 62-63. 97. 12-13.. Nietzsche. 79-81. 93-94. Thrasymachus. facts. 239. 41-42. 86. 51- threats to. 86. 34-48. 12. 2 0 5 -9 . 71. 2iin6. negative. Romantic. 10 9.170.72. 73. as natural state. elenchus and. i9on4 22on69.192ni6. 4 4 . 72-78. 10-11.57. than what is said. 9 i. 51.154 . in Quintilian. 49. Ï27. 12. Euthyphro. 1991147.51. Montaigne and. 63. Socrates’ irony to­ History of Sexuality (Foucault).94. Benjamin. 1 0 . 54-56.55-56. 20sn28. 93-95.182.45. IN D EX 275 tional Socrates. Johnson. 50 .1 1 . and boastfulness/ and rationality. 233n68 7nn33.154 . 2o8n48. Montaigne and. 69. Hippias. 13 4 .14 1. Kierkegaard and. 35-36 . Mark. 53. 12. All-Too-Human (Nietzsche). uation. ing. infinite.. . Nicias. 232n54. Foucault. 50. ades.19 -2 0 . 97-98.5i.” Nietzsche’s. 112-13. 6 4 .55-57.59-63. Irwin.3 9 . 43. 205n24. 22on68.22on69. and paralipsis. 200052. Hollingdale. 2iinn6. 223-24n93.57. 2om7o. 2ion76. Montaigne and. means the contrary of what 143. 2041120. “stable.29.32.59. See and. See also individualism 65. T. Nietzsche and. 238. 4 1-4 2 . "immoralism. Karl. 97 -9 8 . Montaigne.114. 30.55 209n68. and un­ 34. 42. mockery Socrates. end. of is said. 92. 206-7034. 12 1-2 4 . R.6 . 236m 2o9n6i. 89. 45. 131. 10—11. 212ml. 5. 75. Socrates’ unique. 2o8n52. 71. 10 . 12. 142-45. 86. 134 141-4 3. 4 8 -4 9 . Nietzsche on. 2241195. Joel.185.126. 10 -11.138-4 1. 101-2. 63. 235nn8i.127. 2o8n48. simple/ creation complex. 212ml. 50. I9 8 n4 4 . as reflections mutual accommodation of impulses.. 6 9 - 72.2051128. 13.138 -4 1. 200-20in66. 86.124. 223093 mides.6 9 .. individuality. 143. and abso­ Hyperides. 96. 97. in Theophrastus. 68. 2 2 3 -2 4 ^ 3 . in Plato. 127.” 53. 2i5n35 4on30 Isocrates. 143. 245n69. 78. 249n23. 5 . i69-r8o.157. 92. 120. 202n6. i96n30.177. 86.10 4 -5.154-55. as also models parabasis. Protagoras. means something other imitation.22on68. i96n3o.32. 2491123. 2411140. H.68. Aristophanes. 205 n2 4 . 225m. 97. 64-65.154 .164-65. 83. 12. charac­ ter and. certainty. sophists 157 interpretation: “ dialogical” approach and. historical Socrates 209n68.34. 1 2 3 -2 4 .135.12 3. 64. Socrates.209nn60. 64-65. 22on7i. 50-63. 23H153. 106-25.13-15.143. 106-26. See also individuality. I95n25. See also knowledge by. Char. 114.51. Critias. superiority.155. in 123-24. 83. 37—38. spectivism and. 72. Gorgias. 6 6 .185. Socrates profess­ in Mann. self­ 69. as way of life. 78.61.74 . 206n30. 2i4n29. 10. individualism. 69. 11-12 . Socrates’ effects on. of oracle.i6. Xenophon’s vs. 84. 147-48.202n5. 97-98 . 4 2 . with “private” 34n68.187. 71. Samuel. 205029. 25in4i. See also Alcibi- Human.10 -11.27. origin vs.23. 2i8n6i.233-341^58.152 2o6n3o. 72. 204nnis. 2261113. 57. 82.229111130. 53. 95. 202n6. 16 9. Laches.105. mask created 212mi.

See deception 2241195 Lysis (Plato). 89. 42. dence on. 2Q9n6o. 2i8n6i. See also trial and exe­ Letter to Alexander (Anaximenes of cution.19 1-9 4 .107. i 9 8 n4 4 .57. Lowe-Porter. as mathematics.146. 198n44. Miller. 2i8n62. 46. deception.10 -15 . Madness and Civilization (Foucault). “retaliation thesis. 69-72. tency o f belief. 68. See also irony 86. 238n22. nature.185-86. lying.168. Magic 27. 2i2-i3ni8. expert or techni­ 170-71. 87-89. 2 i2 ni3 98. 76. 2iinn6.’ 75-76. 12.2541159 Socrates as. and Alcibi­ 27. 9. 66. 78-82.154. 2121U5 (see also knowledge Mann. 2i2-i3n i8. 87-88.185-86.196 n3 0 . 86. 64-68.9. Socrates pursuing. 7-8. 91 . 87-89.124. m . 190112. knowledge and. 112-13. Memorabilia (Xenophon).154. and Socrates’ beneficial effects. 19 -34 .2i8n6i.’ 2o8n48. 2i8n6i.19 -2 0 .181-82. 107. See also literary strategies. justice. 89. See also imitation ades^255n63. on understanding Socrates. disease. 90. 44 166. 43. 56. James.’ 2 2 4 -2 5 ^ 8 . Thomas: DoctorFaustus.154-56. and logical consis­ 2 1-30 . hypothetical and prudential value lem” (real vs. and true See also Magic Mountain belief. Kant.179. “certain”/ “philosophical” vs. discussion.95 . dialogue form. mockery. 135. 72-90 . 43. 42. Foucault and. 33-36. Kowalik. 68. self- bility of. 2 2 4 -2 5 ^ 8 virtue (moral Socratism).2i8n62. 2341169. Republic 2i2-i3ni8.168 229n32. 52-53. ception.10 1-21. H. See also ignorance. 98. and Socrates’ trial and exe­ pert.163. 44. Nietzsche and.115-16. 200ns2..154. 95. 23ins3.” 4 225mu. justice.” philosophers.139 . 112. Socrates dis­ models. parrhésia in. 229n32. 231^3. 83.10 1. literature: and philosophy. 95.192ni2.9 8 .126 -27. 2ion79. 254n6o 2191165. 107. examples.10 7 . 153-54. 1 0 . knowledge of virtue (arete). 22-32. See also author.114. and death.22i-22nn76. 112-13. depen­ avowing.19inn7. Thrasymachus-Socrates of. 229n30 2i4n?9.155— 95-96.127. Montaigne and. Jill Anne. 93-96. 87. 1951128 112. Nietzsche and. 2i5n42. 226m 3. uselessness 2i3m8. 23in53. 169.8 66. 12-13. 87-90. 25in44 cal. 30.195n25. 204n20. universal/ knowledge national. 4 5 . 2o8n47. 11.181. Socrates claiming. 97.185-86. self-knowledge 227m 8.2. 2i2-i3m8. 12. 2i4n27. 14 0 -4 1.. 86. 65. 2i4n29.119 - Laches (Plato). See also discussion. Laches. cault’s “power/knowledge. 165. 3 1-3 2 . 10-15.186. 10 -11.112 . instinct.2i7-i8n 6i. 9 1- and irony. 192 ni6 . 30. 78. and Xenophon’s Socrates. Frederick. 68. 229n30. 35. 7 -8 . 102 70 -71.114. Foucault and. 2 2 3 ^ 0 Kahn. 65. 132-33. 58. and nega­ Mountain (Mann). 2271118 ter. 2 2 4 n9 4 . literary Socrates). theory of. 21-22. 4 5. 76. 244n67. 73. 2i9n6s. 57-58 . 225m. 7 2 . Lives o f the Philosophers (Fénelon). “Socratic prob­ 175.225m. 97.115-16 . 10 -11.9 8 . Immanuel. 86.181-82. 79. 6-8. Socrates disavowing.78-82.” 172. 2i8n63- of virtue).120 . and silence. 70. 90. cution. Soren: Concept of Irony. 254n59. 2i2-i3ni8 2i8n6i. 106.19 -20 . 42 . Charles H.185-86. 234n69. 144.56. 276 IN D EX justice: better to suffer than commit in­ 80-81.184. 73-75.10 5.45. relia­ 6 4 . Socrates’ Lampsacus). 14-15. Nietzsche and. moderation. “transcendental unity of apper­ Xenophon’s. Montaigne and.13. 102. 106.1 1 . 2i3ni8. 2i9n64 literary strategies: Plato’s. Fou­ Magic Mountain (Mann). 78. 124. “ elenctic. and recollection. irony. 168. and courage. 88. 33—39. 72-79.154-56. judgments. Meno (Plato).154 . 66.23in47. 50 Life of Socrates (Charpentier). charac­ Kellerman. 45.185. irony. learning. 11. 63. 205nn26. 73. 178. 65 knowledge: artisans.184. 76. 75. writing tive freedom. 85-90. 73-76 . 83. 98. and care of the soul/self. 2391124.” 73-79. readers kierkegaard. 249^3.114.186 . T.19 0 -9 6 .14 6 . Euthyphro-Socrates learning: vs. ex­ 8 9. 67.

123-25.155.156.” 243-44061. C. 157. 14. 97 -9 8 . 231050. 239-40030.227m8. Human.227018. 98.147-57.157-58.186. Dooald. Gleno W. 242049. 150. 244-45069. and dialectic. and Cicero.114 .184. 144. 233n68 words. aod Mootaigoe.151. individualist art of authoritariaoism.127.18. aod Christi­ 126-27. 134.130.40. 125-26.154-55.” 142-45. 2411140.127.239-40030. 246-4809 13 -14 .120.. Michel de. 101-5. 95-96. 138-41. aod models. on asceticism. 106-26. Mootuori. 231051. aod Socrates as Sileous.127. 139.122.136. 105.10 3-5.152. 2310049. philosophical terms edge as virtue (moral Socratism). sources for historical 154. and imitation.187. 233-34068.152. 245075 (see also his­ 45. 2390024.156. 150-52.23.101-27.68. Nietzsche on. 134. aod self.83. 4 7 * 4 8 . 131.52. 22on69.168-84. 128. Muecke. uocooditiooal priociples. 129-31. 235-45.136. Socrates neglecting. 129-54. 244-4511069.10 .130 . 00 decadeoce.148. 226n7.75.135.115 .187-88.124. 111. perspectivism.154. 130-31. 154. 236m.141. and Plutarch. 4 5 . 245075.27.185. 113 -14 . h i . 233. aod Schopenhauer. 10 1.121. 131. 120-21. physiognomy). 56.112. 4 7 ~ 4 8 . 143. 239-40030. 245075.12 4 .” 14 2 - 34068. EcceHomo. 94 244062. 10 1-2.32. philosophical devel­ 243-44061.123.50. 129-54. 18. 239-40030. used io a nonphilosophical sense.120 . Bichard Wag­ 144. tion and self-depreciation. 133~ 4 i.36. 4 2 . 253057.” 149. 128. aod dogmadsm. 9 7 -9 8 .128 -56 .117 . Tragedy. 00 Socrates.185-86.152.120 -2 1. 13-14 . 1 3 3 .138-41. aod individuality. 129.150. 120.10 4-5. 47.18.148-50.186. Socra­ mythology. 10 1. 155-56. 113-15. 52. 134. 25.136 - “immoralism. 2490x3.5 106-22. 244n62.125.143.131. 10 1-2 . 14.145. on reasoo. 10 6. 151-52. “immoralism.231053. 229030 as Educator. 149.231053. aod death.132. Gay Sci- creatioo. 131.131.143. ner in Bayreuth. models. 236m.151. 14. 132-33. 236111. 46 238-39023. 146. needs. aod writiog. 149-50. 10-11.157. 10 9 -11. 236m. 7-8 .128-29.25.130-31.141. 280017. 253057. 10-11. 5. 2911017. anity.183. Mario. 231050.118 -19 . ence.130 .4 3 . Most. aod “death of God.124.119 -2 0 .” 131-33.130. 120 -21. and 204ni5 civil war. 7-8 . 238022. 141. AJl-Too- 7. 00 self-mastery. Friedrich. 142. 177-79.10 5-11. 135. 244062. Nicomacbean Ethics (Aristode). 229n32. 112 .158. D. 2400033. 209061. 128. 134. on ob­ morality: Foucault aod. Beyond Good and living.143. and Socrates’ last naturalness. aodXeoophon. 141-43. vs. hi. 241038. Nietzsche 242048. 141 . aod Platonism. concerned with himself. opment. 233-34068. on death. 10 -11. 13. 27. ambivalence of. 233-340058. See also Essays 00 morality. 133. 152-53. 95 . 241042.128. 13 . Nicias. 235087. 106-25. philosophers.150. 228n22 tes credited by. 239025. 2410038. 151-52.126.132. aod music. 253-54058.12 8 -2 9 . 227ni8. on self-apprecia­ eternal recurreoce.10 5-21.133-36 . 238-390022.125-26 . Nietzsche.2350081. 137.120 . 239-40030. 245075. 230152. 227.154.10 . 158. Plato. and nature.126. 00 moderadoo. 00 self-koowledge.121-22. 129-30 Socrates’ care of the self.129. 2390024. . 10. aod. as Sileous. 241042. 00 physiognomy.139.176. 131.10 5-8 . So­ nature: arete of. Foucault and. IN D EX 277 Montaigne.244062. 227017. 128-29.51. Wagner and.74.148-49. 157. 228-29027. 243-44061. 154. 14. 145.137. 243-44061. 254059 on Christianity. 77. on “genuine” 187. 13. prudence. Socrates.141-43. “nihilism. 232n55.155. 245069. individualist art of living. 2. See also human nature 226-35. torical Socrates. Evil.112. 138-41.157. Birth of and models. Socrates. 98. 00 individuality. koowl 145-50.118 -2 0 . on freedom. and artifice. and 115-17. indifferent to human crates opposed by. self-creatioo.162.157. 116. 140. on human nature.152. Schopenhauer Morrisoo. jectivity. universal oature of. 00 10 8 . aod Seoeca.155.157. 228026.127. 181-82. 106.133. Human. on instinct.143.115. See also virtue 13. 241042.135. 2 2 7.. 226ni2. Nietzsche’s “The Problem of Socrates. 154-56.12 4 . 10 -11.116 . 152.150 -51.14 1-4 3 .

24on32.2i5n42 Order of Things (Foucault).185. 87. 173 Plato: Academy. Republic philoso­ will to power. Kierkegaard and. 166. and tragedy.153. 120-21. philosophers without philosophical 242-44 . 98. 25. I98n44 90. 178. Foucault and. 139. 98. 22in74. 246-48n9 95. I3ni8.184.13. on Socrates’ physiognomy. tive views. 64-69. 2 2 4 -2 5 ^ 8 . See on. 106. 130-31.13 1. 90. 243n6o. 87-89. 242n49.142. 72. development. 230150.152-56.151. and fam­ 162-63.172. 103. 45.151. cave metaphor. 101-2.14. 164-68 8 9 . 164-68. 28.168 O’Neill. 85-87. Mann and. 245n69. 12.102-3. 134-35. 76-77. 115.162.164. ples.155-56.118 -19 .139. piety. 7-8.200n52.12 9 -30 . 12-13.158. 36. 47-48. Socrates parallels with. Socrates’ irony toward. 2391125. reflections of otherworldliness.” 1. 240111133. 248-49ni8 Pindar. 156.102. 141.164. Socrates’ disci­ Socrates.155. Phaedrus (Plato). i9on2. 9-10. liness. and philosophical life. 92 168-69. 16 2- Untimely Meditations.237ni3.198n44. Socrates’ last words. Montaigne and.145-50.137. also silence Nietzsche and.10 2 -4 .163. 24sn74. as truth- objectivity. Nie. Wagner. Foucault’s 37.14 5 .150.196n30. 8. truth and value in. nonphilosophical senses of 39n23. 9 1- 131-32. 87. 2ion73. 158-61. Montaigne’s torical Socrates. 20.14 4 -4 9 . usefulness to the public. 20in70. life of (see art of 157. 9 6 - tzschfe’s. 23on39. 52 98. Meno. 2 4 0 ^ 7 . 2iin9. 1-4 .187. 27-28. parrhésia. as Montaigne’s source. m . 95. 13. Foucault and.237ns.153. 145-49. “nihilism” : Foucault’s. See religion 108.56 . 12-13.18 4 -8 5 . 4 6 . 174. loss of authority of. Old Attic Comedy. posi­ 157. and relativism.16 8 . as theoretical discipline.165. 97. 130 -31. 242-43. 2i7n5Ó. 170. 3.i8.168-69. philosophical development. 3-4 . 72.138. 161. and 246n9. Plato’s development. 98.162. 135. 182. on “ style to one’s character. 229n32. Socrates’ goodness recognized by. 75. 5 . “perennial” problems of. 24on33.180-81. 4 1-4 8 . and belief consis­ tency.166. 2i3m8. 147-48.167. 148. as writing.225m. irony. Passion ofMichel Foucault (Miller). 220-2in73.161.155 oracle. 9 1- penal reform. 75.198n44. 2i7ns5.136-37. Foucault’s 10—11. 2281126.184. and literature.19 -20 . philosophers. 128 -29. 106 not understood by. 91-92.181. 133-35.213ms. liter­ 254n6o ary strategies.” Nietzsche on role of. 243-44n6i 98. 227ni7 physical state. 35-36.2iin3. 250024. 2 5 in 4 2 . as Nietzsche’s source. 42-43. 69. 9. Socrates understood/ Philebus (Plato). “ applied. on Socrates’ pessimism.136.131-41.181.14. 68. Nietzsche on.45. Socrates’ originations in. 2iin9. 33. 75 eirdneia in. 157. 102-3. 68. 227-28nni7. natural. 151. Twilight of the Idols. 45 .184. 13 . 63.121. 143. 22on7i. 103.148-49 . 167. 90 -9 1. 2iin9. and knowledge theory. and truth.155-56. 2ion73.185. 67. sources for his­ 95. views.1 2 . 32. 147. parahasis. 92 physiognomy: blank. 9. living).151. 19-45.136. 89.125-26 . 70. 161.278 INDEX Nietzsche. and usefulness/utility. 244-451169. 1 0 . Montaigne opacity: of Socrates. otherworld­ Phaedo (Plato). on tradition. 105-8.245n74. 243n6o. 14.24on3ó. 92-93 criticisms of Socrates. irony as. 83-86. 137-38 phers. 151-52. 131.184-85.184. 5. 33~39. 184. 97.158-62.186.2 5 i—52n45 i96n3o. 24in4o. 33-36. Friedrich (continued) Philodemus. 238. development. and preparation for death. 128. 239n29. 152. 12-13. self-undermining?. purpose of. 25in4i. 220174. Parmenides.10 2. 11.107. 149-50 telling. 131-32.139. 131. 78.141.10 8 . 212- perspecdvism: Nietzsche’s.138. and body. philosophy. view of. 95. 91. . 97. Nietzsche and Platonism.151-52.190ns.181. ily. on Socrates’ wisdom. “genuine” 185-86. 2i2ni8.169 -80. 14. and readers. 83-84. 2 2 4 ^ 3 . 49-50. 184.132 . John. 242n49 131.137.115. See body “ On Incomprehensibility” (Schlegel).131. terms in. 1 1 . 22on7i.

2411140. Euthyphro. G. “ retaliation thesis. 134 . universal.. 2i2ni8.150 -52 .25. Charmides. on soul. 221074.79-81. Christianity. Euthyphro taigne and. 131-33. 209n60. 27-28.See also politics phon’s. Mon­ Protagoras. 10. io r -2 1. 9-10. 108. Plato’s realism. 3 4 . Phaedo. 255065 reductio ad absurdum.126. 136-56 243060 progress: Foucault on. 14. 22in74.16 1. 72.154. 231050 Pyrrho. 87.’ 12.152. 236m 4on3o. 170 . 145-46.122-23. 212-13018. 57-58. Thrasymachus- Rationalism: Pragmatism vs. 91. Pragmatism. 12 3 -2 4 . 206030. Nietzsche’s. Socratic dialectic. 94 . 13.185. “ Socratic prob­ Plato’s works : Alcibiades. 65.185.133. See also Plato and. 14.22on7i. of Xenophon’s narrative. 3 Republic (Plato).197034.4 3 . rhetoric: and irooy. 217055 Reed.See also historical Socrates. See Socrates discussion.173-74 . Parmenides.181. 72 Socrates. and recognizing Rabelais. 157-88. 45.4 1 . Foucault and. n.14 0 -4 1. Socrates and. parrhêsia in.119 . See also his­ 19005.4 7 -4 8 . François.179. 33-34. Foucault on.123-25. works. 90 -9 1. 2 2 4 n9 4 .122. tes’ pursuit of. 98 . Lysis. 91-96. Crito. 163. 96-97. 184.14 0 . Protagoras (Plato). conservative. soul in. 1961133. 25. 32. chronology of. literary Socrates).134-35.. Nietzsche on. Plato’s. arete. n. 22i-22nn76. 9. power: Foucault on. IN D EX 279 90-92. Renaissance humanism.13. 4 1-4 4 . 8 1. 36. 19-20. 91-95.2i4n33.102-3. 225n2. Laches. 39.148 -49 . and Socra­ 140 . 41.188. and. 217055 2ion73. Philebus. I99n45. 144. 128-56. and soul. Socratic. 27-28. 90-91. 224093. 120 -21. Cratylus. Nietzsche on. irony in. Socrates’ irony to. hi.” 213018.121. 65. 164. philosophers of.185. 145-46. 37-38. 113-15.165. Plato’s radical/ recollection. 48 -49 . 83-84.112.151. 147. Gor. Socrates’ trial. 77. Timaeus. Montaigne and 154. versalisai. Republic Montaigne on. . 218061.121. 249020. also Apology.172-74.. Plato’s torical Socrates. justice 48. 241040. “power/knowledge. 44.228n20. Symposium. 83. 90-91. C. 106. 106.32. 22in73. 89. 37-38. face for 79-81.10 9-10 . aod justice. 4 6 . 9. 255063. 87-89.184. i89n2. 79-81. 144.18 0 . 2411140. 109 morality vs. 45.133-4 1. relativism. fate for Socrates1. vs. reason: and care of self. uoiver- also reason salism.83. civil war. 68.198n44. 218-191163.16 2 .177.179 . Xeoo- 137-38. 10 8 . 41-4 2 . 75 positive views. will to. 194023. 35-36.51 interpretation “ Problem of Socrates” (Nietzsche). 69. limitations of. 229030. 37-38.” 172. Pliny.197n34. 96-97. 50. 2i4n33 4 7 . 59-63.55-56. 37. 93 . 2i4n29 240035.’ 10 1-27. 241040. 92.112. 6-8.51. 101. 197 n 3 4 .4 8 . 220070. 35-36. 244n6i. Sophist. Socrates 7-8.173. soul prudence: conditional principles of. 24211050. J.15 4 . 225m. lem” (real vs.186. See also be­ 214113 3 liefs. 33-34 . 33. 205n26. 166. Steven.12 2 -2 3 . 66. 33. literary strategies 184. 242n48. 50. 83. and perspectivism. 36. 63. ironical. 1 9 9 n4 5 .14 6 . 33-34. Foucault on. 68. verisimilitude absence from.128.57.. Rabinowitz. literature/philosophy.195026 Potidaea inscription. 154. 78 reflections.53.139. Pkaedrus. 239- Plutarch. 38-39. 2i9n65 163-65. Vlastos. 93 -96. 222n83. 95.16. 174. Protagoras. 104 readers: dogmatic. and Cicero’s Quintilian. 123 and.59. 19-20. 2301139. human nature Theaetetus. 95. 106. Mann’s.177. 34. 239-4on3o. self-deception by. 89. Mon­ religion: Athens.See also audience. 98. 64-65. Socra­ politics: death risk. 96. 226ni3. uni­ tes’ verisimilitude. 2040015. 224-25n98. 244n62 Rendali. 180. 105. ward. theory of.10 2. 170 . 4 1 .16 2.12 1. 2261113 2391125.35. 170. 98.101.181. 252-53054 232056. 45. 178. 210073. 22in74. for Socrates’ face. See also historical Socrates. 68. 2101179. 222n83. W. pleasure. 109 virtue. Socrates.104. 2i9n64. taigne and.182.

art of living.151.18 3. 34n68. lack of depth. models. 207044 and limitations. See also Lampsacus). 10 3 -5 . Foucault and. See tes. of Socrates. 69. 20207 Seneca. 2 2 3 ^ 3 ficial effects (see Socrates5usefulness). 44 . tes. purely ethical. 187. 157. 92. in Nietzsche.111. 86. 125-26. 227ni7. 135. 254059. 13.157-6 2.180. Rhetoric (Aristotle). 7 2 -7 7 . in Montaigne.123.175. and Epicure­ 179.10 9-n .180 Robinson.12. 132. as model. in readers. See also art of 15.24on32. fessed by.127. 49 -54. 11. Schopenhauer. 155. 174-75 129 sexuality. and instinct (Nietzsche).131 17. 176-77.9. io fate for reason. Léon. as divine accident. 50. 14 1-4 3.166-67. 152. 40n30. 3 4 . and life as disease. 2 -6 . 280 IN D EX rhetoric (coontinued) self-knowledge: Euthyphro lackiog. and useless­ 51.165.53. Mon­ cal views accepted by. self-control (self-mastery): Foucault and. ignorance pro­ erary.16 8 -6 9 . 163-66. 84. 2iin6. no 136 . Joshua. 2 3 1^ 2 also trial and execution). Schopenhauer as Educator (Nietzsche). nonphilosophical senses. 174. Rosen. 233. 12-13. face for reason. Montaigne on. 23sn53 (see also knowledge of virtue). 14-15. 183-84. 106-7. 2i0n70. 83 silence: Foucault’s.112.2281126. 2 2 on6 9 . 116 - 128 -29 .113.182. 13 .13 8 -4 1 nomy). Friedrich: on irony. Jean-Paul.12 4 . Michel. 49.10 4 .19 -20 . 82. divine voice (see daimonion). in philosophy. 98. 239- 41. health. 9 8 . ognizing virtue. models. self-creation (self-fashioning). 22on7i. 10 1-27.137.139. last words. 14. 'mMagic Moun­ Romanticism: irony. 2 46 - rules for. 2 4 6 -4 7 ^ 5 . self: Foucault on.130 -31. 112. 133. so 10 6 -7 . 10 6 . in Euthyphro.181-82. in Xenophon.105. 94-95. Foucault and (see Foucault. and disciples. 45. 64-65. in Plato. 6-15. 89. 227ni8.231053 71. comprehensibility. tain's Castorp.9 . 27-28. adage 2201 (Erasmus). 2iin6. and death. 2ssn66.177.5110 .112. 135. 113-14 . Friedrich. 89 morality invented by (Nietzsche). divine mission.127. Cicero5s. 248012. 157. 4 5 . So­ crates as. 124-2S.127. Richard. “On In­ Socrates.2441170 (see Scodel. 39. 238-39023. 2 3 3 -3 4 ^ 8 . true. 20 6- 236m 7 nn3i.128 -2 9 . 127. self-deception Ribbeck. 4 -6 .181. 3. 10 6-7. 138— ans. family. Christopher.10 5. 14 1-4 2 . 198044 109 Rowe. 69.23ins3.150 -51. Socrates on. on knowledge as virtue.115. 177. 5. 94.155. dependence on chance events. 10.57—sp.115.185.187. 1 3 1 . Stanley. 231053. ethi­ 41.1971136. Otto. and Plato as source for historical Socra­ 20. 101-27. 74-75. Rhetoric to Alexander (Anaximenes of 2281122.112 .121-22. 246ns. also care o f the self 249m 8. 107-8. individualism 86. 168-69. 32.124 . self-deception. Socrates.168. lit­ Foucault). 11. Arthur. 67-69. 181-83. 20206. Sartre. Montaigoe on. 4 1-4 4 . 14 . 157-88. io middle of life. 153. courage. 02^ 93-94.150 - Socrates. 3 -4 . 202n6 178-79. and moderation. 106-7.18 7.156. io-is. 2 45^ 5 (see also historical Socra­ 22-32. 158-59. 9 4 . 32.18 5- living. 249n23. 25. 91 Sileni Alcibiadis. 93.127. 68. 90.157-63.136 . 198044 Silenus: Montaigne as. in Mann.18 7.186 .52. philosophical/ 132-33. Serres. i9on4.159-67. 70-71. iss.” 92 45 ^ 4 6 . 23inso Schlegel. 13-14 .150 . 43-44. skepticism. 72-78. 44 . 23inn49. 122.118 -20 . and truth. 223n89.178 -79 . 112. in 48nns. and rec­ aesthetic) Socratism. See 91. 105. 2 35^ 7 Richard Wagner in Bayreuth (Nietzsche).181- 10 3-5.10 2 also opacity Rorty. 170 -71 23on45. 10 - ness of learning. 154 .16 7.2i2-i3m 8. face (see physiog­ 11. moral (and 11.12 8 -2 9 . 40. and eirôneia.19 -2 0 . . i8s~86. 187-88. 9 6 -9 8 . care of the self.185-87 Schleiermacher. bene­ Schleiermacher’s Canon.119 -27.185.12 3 . 2 0 6 ^ 0 care o f the self. Amélie Oksenberg. 212mi. 114.55. 93-9 4 (see also Socrates5 čare o f the self). taigne and. physiognomy).16 1-6 4. 12-13. Robin. 146-47. equality principle.

68. tion. Tbeaetetus (Plato). body religiously 25. 91. 62.168. 221- Plutarch’s. toward Plato.37-39.122. 57. on self-knowl­ 40. 57. I. 112.119.2i8n62.152.62. 9. reason and. 2o8n48. Timams. 62-63. shoemaker.130 -31. opacity 2iin6. 85-96. 110 -11. in 246-47n9.108.105. 93-96. and life as disease. body as poem. Socrates. 229n29 105. 57-58. 228n2o. 23on39. 169. 57-58. 168-69. of truth.10. 225m. 225m. subject. 71. 248-49m 8. soul: appetitive and rational. kegaard and.75.185. 33-34. his only concern (Nietzsche). 33— 34.15.. 70-71. 225m. 50. and universalism. 98.181.179 20. 80-81. 225m.184. 23 on45 . and politics. 229n32. Plato’s 85-86. to interlocutors (not evident). body 156. 2 4 0 ^ 6 .9. 159-62. 2291128. Foucault and. 98. Symposium (Plato). 85-87. 75-81. 202n5. 87.10 9 -11. in Xenophon’s vs. Leo. 145-49. 222n83 186.176 -77. 22 in 74 38-42.” 2ion76. See also Starobinski. 2i9n65. 209n66. Thrasymachus. 14-15. 2ion79. and decep­ 83. 98. 89. 97.45. Hegel and. 160-61. 83-86. crates 254n62. 78-79.166. 90. and city life.10 1-21. 22i-22nn76. 128-56. 87-89. 10 1.” 146-47. 2i4n29 silence. and soul. 12. Plato.10 1-21. 246-47119. to contem­ teaching: Socrates and.165.185. of virtue. 209n6i. 69. 68. 23in5o. 111. 130. 45. 2. 10 -11. Montaigne on. 71. 233n68. and truth.164. 209n68. 9. “out of place. 220-2in73. 22H173 6-8. 133-35. Kier­ of.182. tual. reason for face. “Socratic fallacy. 76-77.226ni3 Socrates’ care of the self. 1-4 . 2281122. 2 4 2 -4 4 and boastfulness/superiority. 69. 170 -74 .83. 67-68. 70. 44-98. 14 . Jean.181-83. 52-53. 24in42 31.5155.186. 229n28. 98. and usefulness.130 -31. sensual and intellec­ of learning. 3. 2o8n48. 59-63. of recollection. 207n44. 20. 90. and uselessness 181. recollection dieory and.180 -82. 79 -80 . 58.181.112 46. Plato’s criticisms of. 6-8. 2171155 160-68.162. edge of virtue. 97. on philosophic life. F. 161-62. and decep­ 2i8n6i . and Simonides’ connected widi.127. Stone.127 interlocutors. 35-36 . Foucault on. literary Socra­ living). of. originations in philosophy. 87. Nie­ Theophrastus. 224-25n98 (see also art of “ Socratic problem” (real vs. 239n29. 222n83. 72. Foucault and. 2iin6.168. toward readers. 94. 52-53. 93-94. epideixis. 181-82 109-10 Socrates’ usefulness: and care of the self.126. 60.18 1-8 2. 205n26.14. 33. 105. 167. 10. 120. Sophist (Plato). as paradox to posterity. 208052. 78-79. 106-22.115 . no—11. 73-76. 2I7U56.184-85. 12-13.181. 2o8n48. 152. Nietzsche on.112. 231047.10. 24in4o. 2iinn6. 87. 63-67.16 8 -6 9 . private.185.12.120 -21. 91-92. 10 2 -3 . 9 3-9 6 . imprisoned by. 90-92. 255^5. sophists. 12. See also historical So­ 163-65. 2i9n65. Schlegel and. 201-25.187. 23on39. Robert. concerned with.180-81.91. 68. 33-34. 225m (see also historical Socrates). philosophy in Xenophon.2 0 4 ni4 tzsche deriding. 209n66. sublimation. Nietzsche on Socrates. 25on24.187.16 8 -69 .154. 162. as paradox to 22on7i. 66. toward interlocutors.57. 9. elenchus). 20in70. 64-69. 130-31. 49-52. Nietzsche and (see Nietzsche). 140.18 4 -8 5 . 92. and teacher role. 63-67. naturalness. 65. poraries. 22in73. 202n6. IN D EX 281 144. 2i2nn. and tragedy. 2i4n33. tes).10 2 -4 . 87. 69. 161. oracle on wisdom 44-69 . 255n65. 22nn76. Socratic irony. 2291128 180-81. 2i8-i9n63. question-and-answer method Solomon. 50-63. 245^74. 48. I98n4i. Phaedo on.119 . of. 2 4 3^ 6 2ion79.154.183.140 . knowl­ edge. experts in care suicide. 2i8n6i. Socratic irony Stoicism. as Silenus.161-64. 231047 pure.12. 139. 198 n4 4 . 106-7.15.57. 24in4o. 72. 69. 65-66.164-68. 45. 64-65. Strauss.184. 12. 89. 14 . 71. 69.168-69. 209n60. 2iin3. virtue (arete). 12-13. 22on69. 87. on tomb of. 22on7i. 37-38. literary. 96-98. reflections. 69-72. 226n7 (see dialectic.12 1. and justice. 89. 7. 41. 77-81. 9 4 . 91.186. 14.18 5. sophists and.154. 14-15.10 3 -4 . real vs.168. 12. dieory: of knowledge.12 4 . tion.

Socrates.122. 229n30 184.57 215035. Paul. 69. as theory’s concern. 228026 60. 00 Socra­ 159-63. 82-85. 130 -31.157. 88-90.15 2 . 76. dogmatism.197034.. 200n52. West.157 Weissenborn. 112-13. 89. 2281120 verisimilitude: in Plato. and chronology Tuke. 42. 243n54. modes of estab­ knowledge of virtue).182. 145. 38-39. 34. 194-95025 242-44. 14 .198n44 131. Thomas G.164-68. 169 of Plato’s works.170. justice.181. true self. 168-69.181 113-15. lit­ tradition: Athenian religious. 222n83.213018. and historical Socrates.14 6-4 8 . 220068. 214029.133. on Euthyphro’s Twilight of the Idols (Nietzsche). 231051. 9 6 .150. and recollection. Nietzsche and. 73. Socrates and. 38 trial and execution.146.See also examples. Williams.115— West. 9-10. 36. 233068 philosophy. 9 3-9 6 . I96n33.83. sophists liefs. Tournon. 233065 97. politics and. 46. 2i3ni8. 133— 45. Socrates. public. 33. 2i3m8. knowledge of (see definability of. 8 7-90 . 242-43. aod happioess. 67. of learning. 90.12.141 . political. Weigaod. vulgar. 86.146. and. 38. 92 Williams.181. 14 4 . 238-39023 185. Republic eleochus aod. Voltaire.'89. 9. 2iin3. Montaigne’s Socrates and.14 5 . 14-15. 2ion79. teaching. true be­ 67-68.121. 239023 values: Nietzsche aod. 89. Gregory. in Xenophon. perts io. 71. 6-8. H. 243n59.184.. Richard. 154 . C. necessary for lishing. 77-91. 205-9. 83.119. people to Socrates. 24605 Socrates’ usefulness Wilhelm Meister (Goethe). 145. 164-68.181-82. 67.97 . Bernard. 13. 229n28. 2i9n65. Trilling. 2321155 9 1 . 2 4 2 -4 4 . 244n62. 23in53. 221-22^76. 2i3m8. 214029. Nie­ erary Socrates). 107. religious. 72-76.164. 37. and irooy. ity.18 4. 242-43. Wilamowitz-MoellendorfF. 89. 212-13018. good life. 222n83. See also deception Vlastos. 223093 usefulness/utility: Foucault and. 78-82. 220070.184.154. 1 4 5 . Frao9ois-Marie Arouet. 76. 232055 Untimely Meditations (Nietzsche). 12-13.13 3 . of philoso­ 17 5 -7 6 phers to the public. as success. and. 12. truth aod. 45. 209066 universalism: in art of living. 166.10 1-2 1. 181-83. virtue (arete). 65. 87-89. 85-96. West. experts io. 222n83. 128-29. Samuel. 82. 3 0 .’ 7. 75-81 \ 2i4n29. knowledge as (moral Socratism). 112 elenchus.180-81. 78-82. 63-64.150. 76.158. 51-65. 82-83. 202n6 46. elemeots required by. Laszlo.132. See also realism 35.15 1. 74.^77-81. 151. 145. morality. 240036 Versenyi.131. Nietzsche and Socrates and.136-37 knowledge of piety. and value. 90-91. 69.. Xenophon’s Socrates and. 137-38 .152. 237013. recogniziog ex­ 2 4 2 -4 4 .10 5 . and. Raymood B.10 . 51-65. Pierre. A. 68.139. 177. 5 .10 4 . 131. 116. Socrates war: Foucault 00. “ Socratic problem” (real vs. 134-35. 77 Vaoder Waerdt. Mae.168. See also “certain”/ “philosophical” 85-86. 52. 234n69. E. 145-49.224095. 41. 9 6 -9 7 .. 231053. 243n57. philosophy as telling. 239n29.’ 34. Plato’s. 242-43. 250024.146. and util­ 77-78. Villey. 86. 9 . Hermann. tragedy.14 5-4 9 .129 -30 .186. Wagoer. tes’ disavowal o f knowledge. 73. 77. aod Socrates’ teacher knowledge role. 90. 73-75. 68. Grace Starry. Mootaigoe aod. 229030. in Re­ 53. of “ What Is Enlightenment?” (Foucault). on Tusculan Disputations (Cicero). in­ 135. 9-10 . 224n94 Timaeus (Plato). 225m. uncertainty: false/uncertified beliefs. 209060.184. 116-17. Ulrich voo. tzsche on. 249n2o. 39. 2. 65. 133.154. 154 . 23705 14. 93. aod beliefs. truth: in elenchus. 161 242n49. 83-88. 20206 168-69. 91. Lionel.9 4 .181-82.123-25.14 4 -4 9 . See also morality will to power. literature/ Waddiogtoo.282 INDEX Thucydides. 226ni3. irony and.4 9 . reason. 96 .. 106. 66. Nietzsche aod.14 . 207041 16. theories of.

13. Montaigne and. 168. See also au­ n o . knowledge of virtue. 45. tes and Athens. IN D EX 283 Woodruff.187-88. writing: art of living in. 179. 25on25. 3-4 . 209n68. 8.125. literary strategies.107. 223 n93 .168. 2 2 4 ^ 4 . 6 8 .1 1 . 2241194. Memorabilia Xenophanes.122. 225m. on Socrates as 117-18. 235n8o tegies. vs. Paul.120. Virginia. 2141129 Xenophon: Apology of Socrates. 23on4s. Nietzsche’s. literature also historical Socrates. 153.168. 25sn6s. Woods. 95. 23in47. 33. i9on2. John E. 101. 120.19in7 Foucault and. and fear of death. 168. 74 Zeller. on Socrates’ usefulness.2.. 8. Silenus. Eduard. neoclassical style. 229n3o. philosophy as. on Socra­ authorship. 225nni. literary stra­ Woolf. and Socrates’ Foucault and.168. 95 . See thor.