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The Argument of the Action: Essays on Greek Poetry and Philosophy
by Seth Benardete
University of Chicago Press, 2000
Cloth: 978-0-226-04251-0
Library of Congress Classification PA3061.B46 2000
Dewey Decimal Classification 880.9001

This volume brings together Seth Benardete's studies of Hesiod's Theogony, Homer's Iliad, and Greek tragedy, of eleven Platonic dialogues, and Aristotle's Metaphysics. These essays, some never before published, others difficult to find, span four decades of his work and document its impressive range. Benardete's philosophic reading of the poets and his poetic reading of the philosophers share a common ground that makes this collection a whole. The key, suggested by his reflections on Leo Strauss in the last piece, lies in the question of how to read Plato. Benardete's way is characterized not just by careful attention to the literary form that separates doctrine from dialogue, and speeches from deed; rather, by following the dynamic of these differences, he uncovers the argument that belongs to the dialogue as a whole. The "turnaround" such an argument undergoes bears consequences for understanding the dialogue as radical as the conversion of the philosopher in Plato's image of the cave.

Benardete's original interpretations are the fruits of this discovery of the "argument of the action."

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