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RADICAL PLATO: JOHN STUART MILL, GEORGE GROTE AND THE REVIVAL OF PLATO IN NINETEENTH- CENTURY ENGLAND

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Abstract:

The revival of Plato's philosophy in the nineteenth century presents many interesting features. It has become typical to contrast the 'Idealist' Plato portrayed by the don of Greek studies and introducer of Hegel into England, Benjamin Jowett, with the 'Sceptic' Plato presented by the Radical philosophers John Stuart Mill and George Grote. Notwithstanding the mutual high esteem and reviews of each other's works and the fundamentally similar image of Plato they offer, Grote and Mill have a very different relationship with Plato's thought: Grote recruits Plato in the Radicals' field for his use of dialectical inquiry into truth while remaining unaffected by Plato's moral and political ideas; whereas Mill shows a profound Platonic influence in his notion of the rights and duties of a philosophical elite. Their totally divergent view of Protagoras, and relativism, tells the whole tale.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dipartimento di Storia Antica, Università di Bologna, Via Zamboni 38, I 40126 Bologna, Italy., Email: giovanni.giorgini@unibo.it

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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