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Counter-Currents Radio  
What Socrates Knew:
Socratic Ignorance, Eros, & the Daimonion, Part 2 of 2

socratesdrawing39:56 / 378 words

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In August of 1999, I started an eight-week lecture course called “What Socrates Knew: Plato on Art, Wisdom, and Happiness.”

The main texts were Plato’s Gorgias and Alcibiades I, but I also used excerpts from the Euthydemus, Apology, Theages, and Symposium. I have recordings of all eight lectures, with excellent sound quality so far. I will serialize this course at Counter-Currents in 16 parts.

In this particular segment, there was extensive discussion of Plato’s critique of the poets and modern popular music, but the voices of the questioners are mostly inaudible, thus they were removed, giving the presentation a somewhat choppy quality. The questions can be inferred from my answers.

The lectures were as follows:

  1. August 24: Introduction: Thirty Socratic Theses (Euthydemus, excerpt)
  2. August 31 : Socratic Ignorance, Eros, and the Daimonion (Apology, Theages, and Symposium, excerpts)
  3. September 7: Alcibiades I
  4. September 14: Gorgias, Introduction and Conversation with Gorgias (beginning-461b, pages 25-43)
  5. September 21: Gorgias, Conversation with Polus (461 b-481 b, pages 43-70)
  6. September 28: Gorgias, Callicles, I (481b-494b, pages 70-87)
  7. October 5: Gorgias, Callicles, II (494b-510a, pages 87-108)
  8. October 12: Gorgias, Callicles, III (510a-end, pages 108-129)

The readings for the class are:

If anyone is interested in producing a transcript of this lecture, we will gladly publish it. Ideally, we would like one person to do a draft transcription and then place it online to allow other listeners to offer corrections. Please contact Greg Johnson at mailto:// before starting work, so we can prevent wasteful duplication of efforts.

Greg Johnson



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  1. rhondda
    Posted June 8, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    You said that Nietzsche failed to be a philosopher. I am assuming you mean that he was not edifying in a Socratic sense. ( I missed the other failed philosopher’s name, thinking really Nietzsche is not a philosopher? I will listen again). This puzzles me, but then I am wondering if Nietzsche is more of a deconstructionist, deconstructing Christianity? I have sort of considered him a precursor to Kierkegaard who railed against the church for its lack of spirituality. Being a preacher’s kid, I am fascinated by the children of preachers whose agony is so obvious in their works. ( Jung, Nietzsche, Emily Bronte, Kierkegaard, Chris Hedges, probably more that I can’t think of right now). Perhaps it is that fine line between theology and philosophy. Perhaps it is protestantism that brings on the agony. That nebulous idea of having to live up to something because of your position.
    I consider your site a Hedge School now. I believe they used to have them in Ireland to keep the old ways alive. Sort of like home schooling except the teachers knew what they were doing. ( most parents nowadays don’t) I hesitated to comment, thinking that these ponderous questions will be answered eventually, but maybe not. So there. Heathenism is so much more concrete.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted June 9, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      The fellow in the class said that Nietzsche and Heidegger were bad philosophers because the Nazis used them. My reply is that for Plato, if a philosopher is bad, he is not really a philosopher.

      I like the Hedge school analogy. That is very good. We are building new institutions to pass on our tradition and build our community now that Jews have captured and hollowed out the old ones and are using them as vessels to transmit poison and lies.

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