"Soma-sema", l'Ade e l'iniziato. "Giochi di parole" concernenti l'uomo, il filosofo e il retore-politico nella risposta di Socrate a Callicle nel "Gorgia" di Platone

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In this article I have analyzed and commented on an important passage from "Gorgias", 492 e - 493 d, where Plato uses four couples of terms, that he assigns to a “scholar” of the Magna Grecia, in the most difficult point of Callicle’s confutation. Starting from a map of the occurrences of these nouns in the "Gorgias", and when necessary, in other dialogues, I present a new reading of “the play on words” of this passage, from which comes Plato’s choice to insert in his writing the philosophical fundamentals only through hints and metaphors. With the couple "soma-sema" the twin dimension of man, “body and soul” is mentioned. The ideal of life that Callicle proposes is equivalent to “a being in the tomb”, while virtuous life upheld by Socrates – that. Callicle thinks is “worthy of stones and the dead”, coincides, on the contrary, with “true life”. Philosophical research, starting from the body, comes to man as a whole, in an invisible dimension. To better understand this concept, the reader can’t be passive in front of the writing, but they must discuss with Socrates, deepening the research on man and his components. Secondly, the couple of words anoetos-amyetos suggests that to Plato he who is not “inducted into the Mysteries”, that is into the final fundamentals, is “irrational”. With the metaphor of the “initiation to the Mysteries” Plato here alludes to the deepest level of his philosophy. Socrates seems to be familiar only with the “Small Mysteries”, that is with trivial things, but he also knows the “Great Mysteries”, that is he knows what “Beauty in itself”, “Good in itself”, and “Justice in itself” are. With the couple "pithanos-pithos", Plato underlines the link between persuasion and soul. The passionate part of the soul, that is irrational and unstable, is here compared to a vase with a hole, unable to hold its contents. While the Sophists use a false rhetoric, without real knowledge of the object they are talking about, for Plato the “true rhetoric” knows both the soul and the world of Ideas. Lastly, the pair "Ades-aides", both in "Gorgias", and in "Phaidon", and in "Kratylos", alludes to the level of the invisible world, which establishes the immateriality and immortality of the soul and virtuous life. It thus appears in the background that through knowledge and virtue Socrates realizes order and justice in the soul and in the polis, as the figure of the “true philosopher”. Whoever does not follow the path of the philosopher to the end, remains unreasonable and non-initiated. Starting from the most important results of the debate on the value of writing according to Plato, and from my research on the value of the “play of words” in Plato’s writing, I show in this article that this passage from "Gorgias" is one of the most decisive where Plato explains “in a coded way” the fundamentals of his system, which allow him to confute the adversary.
Titolo tradotto del contributo[Autom. eng. transl.] "Soma-sema", Hades and the initiate. "Puns" concerning the man, the philosopher and the political rhetorician in Socrates' answer to Callicles in Plato's "Gorgias"
Lingua originaleItalian
pagine (da-a)261-288
Numero di pagine28
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2012


  • SEMA
  • SOMA


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