1. How I read this dialogue

The reader must take the dialogue as inspiration for a more thorough consideration of the issues raised by Socrates, not as a final statement upon them.  It’s only the engagement with the text that brings it to life and allows it to disgorge its truth.

Plato’s own distrust of language registered in the Seventh Letter and in the Parmenides provides us with an idea of how to begin.  Parmenides’ disciplining of Socrates’ questioning and his subsequent elaboration of a mode of ‘idle talk’ suggest that dialogue can only be moments in a more thorough discussion.

Plato’s distrust of ‘hard to accept’ stories needs to be qualified by the frequent use Plato himself makes of fabulous stories.  Even a cursory reading of the Platonic corpus will reveal a Socrates who tells the most hard to accept stories about things like legions of horse-drawn chariots led by the gods (cf. Phaedrus).  We have reason to believe that Socrates is not critical of fantastic stories generally, but of their use specifically.  Just as Plato’s dialogues are a sort of theater, his images remain a sort of religion.

This makes it sound like I just mean to read the dialogue in its ‘properly’ Platonic light and unearth its true meaning as Plato intended it.  I don’t mean that at all.  The defense I rally for Euthyphro relies on ideas found within the Platonic corpus, but has as its primary aim the overturning of some basic Platonic ideals.

To do that, I need to bring as much life as I can to the dialogue, giving it a deeper context, one in which I can then insert my voice as my own.  That requires placing Plato’s own voice inside the text, so that it does not remain outside it, determining the text without contest.


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