Catherine H. Zuckert, Plato’s Philosophers: the coherence of the dialogues

캐서린 주케르트의 이 책은 플라톤의 대화편들이 배경으로 삼고 있는 연대를 기준으로 재배열하여 주해한 책이다. 주케르트는 제목과 마찬가지로 플라톤의 대화편들에 등장한 여러철학자들 소크라테스와 비교하면서 논변을 전개하고 있다. 결론인 “Why Plato Made Socrates His Hero”는 플라톤이 그러한 비교를 통해서 소크라테스를 자신의 ‘영웅’으로 내세운 이유를 정리하고 있다. 이 까닭을 생각해보는 것은 George Steiner가 Lessons of the Masters에서 궁금해 했던 것, 즉 ‘소크라테스가 죽을 때 왜 플라톤이 그 자리에 없었는지’(☛번역하기 27)에 대한 의문을 해소하는 데 도움이 될 것이다. 아래는 결론의 시작 문단이다. 

Reading the Platonic dialogues in the order of their dramatic dates, we see that Plato concludes his story with the presentation of Socrates, in the words of Phaedo, as “the best, most prudent, and most just”(Phaedo 117c) man he ever met. Present in all but two of the dialogues, and the leading philosophical spokesman in most, Socrates is obviously the most prominent character in Plato’s prose dramas. At the conclusion of the series in the Phaedo we have seen that Plato present Socrates as an exemplary figure not only in speech but also in deed. The question nevertheless remains: exemplary in what respect? Was Socrates as good a philosopher or as good a citizen as he was a good human being? Phaedo says that Socrates was the most prudent or intelligent man (andros...  phronimōtatou) he ever met, but intelligent (phronimos) is not necessarily the same as wise (sophos). As we have seen in his use of other philosophical spokesman, Plato dramatizes the limitations, if not defects, of Socrates’ speeches and deeds. But if Plato understood the limitations of Socrates both as a philosopher and statesman, why did he make Socrates the star, so to speak, of his dialogues?