Recent research on “psychotherapy” in Greek philosophy has not been fully integrated into thinking about philosophy as a way of life molded by personal relationships. This article focuses on how the enigma of Socratic eros sustains a network of thought experiments in the fourth century BCE about interpersonal dynamics and psychical transformation. It supplements existing work on Plato's Symposium and Phaedrus with comparative material from Aeschines of Sphettus, Xenophon, and the dubiously Platonic Alcibiades I and Theages. In order to select and illuminate commonalities among all of these, it also draws critically upon Jacques Lacan's psychoanalytic technique and his numerous comparisons between Socrates and psychoanalysts. What emerges is a more complex and qualified but no less sincere appreciation for the ideal of reflective, cooperative aspiration toward Beauty portrayed in Plato's dialogues.
“Socratic Therapy” from Aeschines of Sphettus to Lacan
I would like to thank my colleagues in both classics and philosophy at the University of Bristol for their constructive criticism of the talk out of which this paper arose, as well as the anonymous referees and editor at Classical Antiquity, whose feedback has been instrumental in (re-)formulating my conclusions.
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Kurt Lampe; “Socratic Therapy” from Aeschines of Sphettus to Lacan. Classical Antiquity 1 October 2010; 29 (2): 181–221. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/CA.2010.29.2.181
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