A study of Plato's Laches.
Access changed 5/23/23.
In Plato’s Laches, we find Socrates speaking to two generals, Laches and Nicias, during the Peloponnesian War. The philosopher finds himself in a position where he might possibly direct statesmen during a crucial political moment. However, instead of giving them guidance, it appears that instead, Socrates sets these generals in conflict with each other. The end of the conversation raises questions about philosophy’s own possibility in the light of challenges posed to it by divine revelation. Socrates, thus, might be interested in spending time with the sons of Lysimachus and Melesias, because, he believes that by educating them, he can refine their moral self-understanding enough to be useful interlocutors for his continued inquiry into moral opinions, and, therewith, the divine. Political philosophy comes to light then, not as a skill that guides politics, but an activity that attempts to ground the possibility of philosophy.