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From Zoroaster to Socrates: Ancient Philosophy and Magic in the 5 th and 4 th Centuries B.C. (II)

(Original title: Od Zoroastra k Sokratovi: vzťah antickej filozofie a mágie v 5. a 4. storočí pred Kristom (II))
Filozofia, 73 (2018), 3, 212-223.
Type of work: Articles
Publication language: Slovak

The second part of the study analyses Platoʼs ambivalent use of magical terminology. On the one hand, magic is a synonym for sophistry and trickery. On the other hand, the description of Socratesʼ seductive personality is conveyed in the same magical terms used in the description of sophistry. Further, we focus on the persuasive function of Platoʼs myths, which is explicitly described as magical. The epistemic value of philosophical myths is rather problematic: Plato himself refers to them as „noble lies“. Thus philosophy, as conveyed by Plato, is a noble brand of sophistry, operating through divine enchantments and spells. In the last part we show possible Zoroastrian influences in the Socratic thought tradition.


Epódé (incantation), Magic, Myth, Plato, Socratic literature, Sophistry, Zoroastrianism

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