Socrates-Plato & Intellectual/Manual Labor, was Re: Appro...

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Fri May 18 05:36:44 PDT 2001

Carrol writes:

>There is no basis for separating Socrates & Plato, since the "Socrates"
>everyone refers to has no existence outside the Platonic dialogues.
>(Russell observes that Xenophon's "Socrates" is so dully banal that it
>is impossible to imagine him affronting anyone enough to get in
>trouble.) We do know that the historical Socrates was a pet lapdog of a
>number of the Thirty Tyrants who imposed a brief and bloody reign of
>terror in an attempt to stamp out Athenian democracy. And if Socrates
>did ever have an original idea of his own not invented for him by Plato
>it was probably the idea which Joanna properly
>condemns, the moral superiority of intellectual to manual labor.

Speaking of the Thirty Tyrants & their lapdogs, M. I. Finley writes in _The Ancient Greeks_ (NY: Penguin Books, 1963):

***** Not a few of the supporters of the 404 [oligarchic] coup -- known thereafter by the deservedly malodorous name of the Thirty Tyrants -- had been active in the oligarchy of 411. That they lived to play their seditious role twice in a decade is not unworthy of note. Indeed, even so staunch a libertarian as John Stuart Mill thought this was perhaps too much.

"The Athenian Many, of whose democratic irritability and suspicion we hear so much, are rather to be accused of too easy and good-natured a confidence, when we reflect that they had living in the midst of them the very men who, on the first show of an opportunity, were ready to compass the subversion of the democracy."

(81) *****


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