This volume approaches the ‘Socratic question’ from a viewpoint that departs radically from mainstream lines of interpretation. The focus is not on the ‘formal order’ of the Socratics, that is on their subdivision in ‘schools’ and the ‘doctrines’ peculiar to each, but on the theoretical issues that these thinkers were able to develop in the fierce struggle among themselves. The papers dwell on the dynamic context in which these issues were posed, discussed, and eventually fixed in dogmatic theories within the philosophical and non-philosophical Greek literature of the V and IV centuries B.C.
Following topics are examined: 1. the ‘intellectual movement’ around Socrates, i.e. Aristophanes and Comedy, Isocrates, Antisthenes, Chaerephon, Aeschines, Plato, and Xenophon; 2. the literary context in which the texts of the Socratics are framed; 3. major topics discussed within this movement, and their development within and outside the Socratic circle (apologetics, dialectics, politics, misology, eudaimonia, eusebeia, Eros, enthousiasmos, parrhesia, protreptics, spoudaiogeloion, epistemology and teleology); the reception of these issues in Late Antiquity, from Aristotle up to the Stoic, Neoplatonic and Arab traditions; 4. the state of the art of the ‘Socratic question’, and reviews of the major publications that appeared on Socrates and the Socratics (D. Morrison’s Companion, L.-A. Dorion’s and F. Bevilacqua’s editions of the Memorabilia, and V. Gray’s works on Xenophon and G. Danzig’s book on the apologetic side of the earlier Socratic literature).