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Socrates Founding Political Philosophy in Xenophon's "Economist", "Symposium", and "Apology"$
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Thomas L. Pangle

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226642475

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226642505.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Socrates Founding Political Philosophy in Xenophon's "Economist", "Symposium", and "Apology"

Thomas L. Pangle

University of Chicago Press

The most obvious limitation of, or constraint upon, the Memorabilia is that the work is overwhelmingly defensive—in purpose, message, and tone. To demonstrate that Socrates lived in accordance with unwritten as well as written lawful custom (nomos), Xenophon highlights throughout the Memorabilia all the ways in which Socrates through his virtues—not only of justice, but of piety and self-control and moderation and prudence—resembled conventionally respectable “gentlemen”. In contrast, the three shorter Socratic writings of Xenophon, led by The Economist, make more vivid how Socrates, in his virtues, or in his peculiar version of “gentlemanliness,” and in his conception of scientific household management or “economics,” diverges from normal gentlemen: from their virtues, from their “nobility-and-goodness,” and from their ideas of sound household management and governmental rule over fellow human beings. In the shorter Socratic writings, both Xenophon and his Socrates are somewhat less guarded, less reticent, more forthcoming than in the Memorabilia.

Keywords:   Xenophon, Memorabilia, Socrates, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy

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