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The Philosopher in Plato's 'Statesman'

by Mitchell Miller


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In the Statesman, Plato brings together-only to challenge and displace-his own crowning contributions to philosophical method, political theory, and drama. In his 1980 study, reissued here, Mitchell Miller employs literary theory and conceptual analysis to expose the philosophical, political, and pedagogical conflict that is the underlying context of the dialogue, revealing that its chaotic variety of movements is actually a carefully harmonized act of realizing the mean.

The original study left one question outstanding: what specifically, in the metaphysical order of things, motivated the nameless Visitor from Elea to abandon bifurcation for his consummating non-bifurcatory division of fifteen kinds at the end of the dialogue? Miller addressed that question in a separate essay, first published in 1999 and reprinted here. In it, he opens the horizon of interpretation to include the new metaphysics of the Parmenides, the Philebus, and the "unwritten teachings."

This study demonstrates how the Statesman is the culminating expression of Plato's lifelong effort, both in Athens and in the Academy, to bring metaphysical insight to the unending political crisis of his times.

Publication Details

Parmenides Publishing
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