Why Plato’s Euthydemus is relevant to Stoics

How to Be a Stoic

EuthydemusIn preparation for Stoic Camp New York 2015 I have been reading one of Plato’s dialogues, the Euthydemus. My co-organizer, Greg Lopez, and I picked it because it is crucial to understand the Stoic concept of wisdom.

The version I have is published by Focus, with an introduction by Denise Schaeffer, translation by Gregory McBrayer and Mary Nichols, and a nice and very informative accompanying essay by Nichols and Schaeffer.

It’s a bit of a weird dialogue, and it was neglected by scholars until recently. It features Socrates (of course), engaging two Sophists — Euthydemus, and his brother Dionysodorus — who sound for all the world like the caricatures of a pair of modern academic postmodernists. The strange thing, though, is that it isn’t clear the extent to which Socrates himself takes these two characters seriously, even at some point professing admiration for them and their ways, as opposed to displaying his sarcasm at…

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