Socrates’ First Voyage in the Phaedo

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Author: Naoya Iwata1
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  • 1 Department of Culture, Faculty of Humanities, Fukuoka UniversityFukuokaJapan
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Scholars have assumed what I call the synthetic interpretation, according to which the aim of Socrates’ first voyage (Phaedo 97b8–99d3) is to determine features of each object in the world by considering what features are good for it. Against this I argue for what I call the analytic interpretation, according to which it is to determine what the good is by considering why each object has its features as it does. I shall then show that my analytic interpretation sheds new light on the objective and method of his second voyage (99d4–100a3). It has been discussed in the literature whether the theory of Forms is intended to explain things teleologically. But I argue that its point is rather for indirectly discovering the teleological cause, which Socrates attempted, but failed, to discover because of his reliance on empirical observation through the senses.

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