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Friends Hold All Things in CommonTradition, Intellectual Property, and the Adages of Erasmus$
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Kathy Eden

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300087574

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300087574.001.0001

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Plato on Proverbial Wisdom and the Philosophical Life

Plato on Proverbial Wisdom and the Philosophical Life

(p.56) 3 Plato on Proverbial Wisdom and the Philosophical Life
Friends Hold All Things in Common

Kathy Eden

Yale University Press

This chapter shows how Plato, through the Symposium, gives philosophical attention to the question of traditionality and makes his case for the philosophical tradition as the best means of education. Grounded in friendship or philia, this tradition owes its genesis to its adversarial relation with poetry and sophistry. Prevailing over poet and sophist, Plato's philosopher, as characterized in this dialogue, passes on to his students not just an education but an educated way of life. The value of this way of life, the philosopher's role in passing it on and its compatibility with philosophia Christi echo throughout the Adages. In the 1508 Prolegomena to the Adages, Erasmus argues for the closest possible alignment between philosophy and proverbial statement. There he singles out Plato as not only the greatest philosopher but one without peer in the use of proverbs. Plato is, in Erasmus's words, paroimiodesteros—the master of proverbs.

Keywords:   traditionality, Plato, philosophical tradition, philia, poetry, sophistry

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