Plato Among and Against the Post-Modernists


Plato, Post-Modernists, Philosophers


“One day I heard someone reading, as he said, from a book of Anaxagoras, and saying that it is Mind that directs and is the cause of everything.”[1] With moments to expire before Athens would execute him, Plato’s Socrates was exploring the meaning of a few lines by another philosopher. To the last minute of Socrates’ dramatic life, Plato has him making important criticism on vital literary texts. Textual criticism is found throughout Plato’s works, making it his main philosophical methodology. His literary approach destroys the image of Plato as a logician working systematically from proven axioms or definitions toward a conclusion. In fact, Plato never makes a systematic exposition of just one philosophical issue, nor moves from a stated central topic or thesis to work out the numerous details, as Aristotle would do shortly thereafter. Plato’s selective, spontaneous, and unsystematic approach links him with a much later tradition: post-modernism. The purposes of this paper are two: to establish that Plato’s productive methodology was literary criticism; and to explore the implications of the postmodern revival of Plato’s approach.

Original Publication Citation

“Plato Among and Against the Post-Modernists.” Aporia 13 (Fall 2003): 1–7.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

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Religious Education


Ancient Scripture

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor