I’d like to thank my philosophy compatriots for being so welcoming to someone from another discipline. I imagine it must have been burdensome to have a student who wasn’t familiar with some basic concepts trying to get in on the conversation.
Generally, the class has increased my admiration of Plato tremendously. I knew he was a tremendous writer before this semester, but recently I have felt only complete astonishment at his capabilities. It is truly a pleasure to encounter such a great mind through such beautiful prose, and my soul is the better for it.
I think one of the chief things I learned is that there is no such thing as a truly aporetic dialogue. Although the characters may never give an explicit answer to a question, the dialogue itself, as a whole, does give an answer. It may not be a full answer, and perhaps cannot be easily formulated into a proposition, but nonetheless, Plato still offers truth and a way out of ignorance. As Cleanth Brooks once said, we shoudn’t try to reduce poetry to a single statement; to do such is the “heresy of paraphrase.” I think something similar is the case with Plato’s dialogues. The easily abstracted propositions are not the only important parts of Plato’s writing, because they belong to a much larger whole. The whole itself is a sort of experience, and it is that experience that we can be sure the writer meant for us to go through. It is that experience which helps us become better human beings and answers the questions Socrates perpetually puts to his interlocutors.
Thanks for a great semester, and God bless.