Socrates and Self-Knowledge.
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (....), 2017. 1st paperback ed. XVII,275p. Paperback. ‘Where does the ’gnôthi sauton’ come from, and what exactly doet it mean? How does one respond to this command, and what differences does it make? In ‘Socrates and Self-Knowledge, Christopher Moore takes up these weighty questions, arguing that ‘gnôthi sauton’ touches the heart of the Socratic project. Many scholars have resisted this claim, which is a challenge Moore surmounts in his Introduction (Chapter I). In terms of scope, Moore limits himself to Socratic literature that explores self-knowledge explicitly in connection with the Delphic precept (xiv). Naturally, this delimitation excludes several key Platonic texts (‘Republic’, ‘Theaetetus’) and includes some of Xenophon’s corpus. Although prepared from the Preface, this shift from Platonic to Xenophontic sources may feel lopsided. The penultimate chapter on ‘Memorabilia 4.2, for example, seems scanty (19 pages, 16 footnotes) when compared to Moore’s robust reading of the ‘Phaedrus’ (48 pages, 93 footnotes). Far from flagging a limping finish, however, this distribution actually reflects the extent of Moore’s interpretive success. By laying solid foundations and tackling the toughest questions early, his argument comes to a smooth, easy landing. Moore’s unique contribution is to privilege the importance of self-constitution in Socratic self-knowledge. The self that we must know cannot simply be discovered; it must be actively constructed through serious reflection and continuous examination with conversation partners. The dialogue form aptly serves this Socratic pedagogy. Instead of doling out easy answers, Socrates cultivates in his interlocutors an awareness of and responsibility for their deepest convictions and commitments. In terms of analysis, Moore reads the relevant socratic texts as consistently working though the challenges posed by the Delphic precept.’ (BRYAN Y. NORTON in The Classical Journal, 2018, p.506).