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Georgia Sermamoglou-Soulmaidi
Playful Philosophy and Serious Sophistry. A Reading of Plato’s "Euthydemus"
 
Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter 2014, 242 S. (= Untersuchungen zur antiken Literatur und Geschichte Bd. 115), EUR 79.95

This book provides an interpretation of Plato’s Euthydemus as a unified piece of literature, taking into account both its dramatic and its philosophical aspects. It aims to do justice to a major Platonic work which has so far received comparatively little treatment. Except for the sections of the dialogue in which Socrates presents an argument on the pursuit of eudaimonia, the Euthydemus seems to have been largely ignored.The reason for this is that much of the work’s philosophical import lies hidden underneath a veil of riotous comedy. This book shows how a reading of the dialogue as a whole, rather than a limited focus on the Socratic scenes, sheds light on the work’s central philosophical questions. It argues the Euthydemus points
not only to the differences between Socrates and the sophists, but also to actual and alleged similarities between them. The framing scenes comment precisely on this aspect of the internal dialogue, with Crito still lumping together philosophy and eristic shortly before his discussion with Socrates comes to an end. Hence the question that permeates the Euthydemus is raised afresh at the end of the dialogue: what is properly to be termed philosophy?

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