Self-knowledge in Xenophon's memorabilia 4.2

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Whereas Plato's Socrates discusses the Delphic maxim "Know Yourself" frequently, Xenophon's Socrates does so only once (Mem. 4.2.24), in his conversation with Euthydemus, a confident young man zealous about leading the city. Previous scholars have read Socrates as equating "knowing yourself" with "knowing your powers." But knowing your powers is only one condition of self-knowledge, as a closer reading of Mem. 4.2 shows, in particular Socrates' analogy about judging a horse for purchase. Knowing yourself means coming to act on the basis of your knowledge of justice and goodness, and acting on this basis frees you from a self-imposed enslavement. Xenophon's understanding is thus richer and more philosophically sophisticated than is usually assumed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-417
Number of pages21
JournalClassical Journal
Volume110
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

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Socrates
Memorabilia
Xenophon
Self-knowledge
Enslavement
Goodness
Horse
Justice
Plato
Close Reading

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Classics

Cite this

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title = "Self-knowledge in Xenophon's memorabilia 4.2",
abstract = "Whereas Plato's Socrates discusses the Delphic maxim {"}Know Yourself{"} frequently, Xenophon's Socrates does so only once (Mem. 4.2.24), in his conversation with Euthydemus, a confident young man zealous about leading the city. Previous scholars have read Socrates as equating {"}knowing yourself{"} with {"}knowing your powers.{"} But knowing your powers is only one condition of self-knowledge, as a closer reading of Mem. 4.2 shows, in particular Socrates' analogy about judging a horse for purchase. Knowing yourself means coming to act on the basis of your knowledge of justice and goodness, and acting on this basis frees you from a self-imposed enslavement. Xenophon's understanding is thus richer and more philosophically sophisticated than is usually assumed.",
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Self-knowledge in Xenophon's memorabilia 4.2. / Moore, Christopher Robert.

In: Classical Journal, Vol. 110, No. 4, 01.04.2015, p. 397-417.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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