Can the education which so many search for today on our college campuses be found in the works of a past author? On the Socratic Education: An Introduction to the Shorter Platonic Dialogues uncovers the education that Socrates sought on his own behalf and, in so doing, made available to others. Sixteen dialogues are discussed, each considered on its own, but also placed within the context of Plato's account of the Socratic quest. The aim of the book is to make Socrates' investigation and resolution of the questions that still concern us as human beings more accessible to serious contemporary readers.
This outstanding work provides the most penetrating analysis I have yet encountered of the precise goals and methods of that educational activity in which Socrates so fully and fruitfully engaged for the benefit of himself and others. The author proceeds through an interpretation, tightly and economically focused on this theme, of the shorter Platonic dialogues-many of which have never before received so serious and so illuminating an exegesis... The scholarship is meticulous, the contribution-to the fields of Plato studies, educational theory, classical philosophy, and political philosophy-truly major. -- Thomas Pangle, University of Toronto This is a valuable book. The Heythrop Journal Modestly suggesting that his commentaries are an 'introduction' to the dialogues, and that they are offered as a contribution to contemporary debates on liberal education, Bruell reveals himself a subtle exegete and makes a highly important contribution to classical scholarship. Attentive to every nuance and twist of a dialogue, he displays a discernment and irony developed only after years of painstaking reading and rereading of the dialogues... The value of Bruell's portrait of Socrates extends beyond classical Athens and sheds light on contemporary platitudes that range from cultural relativism, legal positivism, and psychological reductionism to how to respond to the seductive appeal of sham teachers and the prolixity of those academics who lack the self-conscious, moderating reluctance to teach and open themselves to learning something from their students. -- Peter C. Emberley, Carleton University American Political Science Review Brilliant. Bruell's book gives an education in the proper method of following Socrates's highly eristic, mercurial arguments. -- Charles H. Fairbanks Review of Metaphysics This is a book to be studied, not merely read... Few works can claim to give Socratic philosophy the kind of living force that Bruell achieves. Polis Serious students of Socratic education should find this book an invaluable supplement to the Platonic dialogues. On the Socratic Education is studded with startling insights into the dialogues, often advancing interpretations strikingly at odds with dominant views or, more often, raising questions and considerations not usually raised. It should remain a beacon of light and a stimulus to further investigation within the field of Platonic scholarship for many decades. -- Nathan Tarcov, University of Chicago