Discourse and Truth: The Problematization of Parrhesia.



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Parrhesia and Philosophy

Finally, parrhesia's evolution can be traced through its relation to the field of philosophy -- regarded as an art of life (techne tou biou).

In the writings of Plato, Socrates appears in the role of the parrhesiastes. Although the word " parrhesia " appears several times in Plato, he never uses the word " parrhesiastes "-- a word which only appears later as part of the Greek vocabulary. And yet the role of Socrates is typically a parrhesiastic one, for he constantly confronts Athenians in the street and, as noted in the Apology, points out the truth to them, bidding them to care for wisdom, truth, and the perfection of their souls .And in the Alcibiades Major as well, Socrates assumes a parrhesiastic role in the dialogue. For whereas Alcibiades friends and lovers all flatter him in their attempt to obtain his favors, Socrates risks provoking Alcibiades anger when he leads him to this idea : that before Alcibiades will be able to accomplish what he is so set on achieving, viz., to become the first among the Athenians to rule Athens and become more powerful than the King of Persia, before he will be able to take care of Athens, he must first learn to take care of himself. Philosophical parrhesia is thus associated with the theme of the care of oneself (epimeleia heautou).

By the time of the Epicureans, parrhesia's affinity with the care of oneself developed to the point where parrhesia itself was primarily regarded as a techne of spiritual guidance for the " education of the soul ". Philodemus [110-140 BC], for example (who, with Lucretius [99-55 BC], was one of the most significant Epicurian writers during the First Century BC), wrote a book about parrhesia [Περί παρρησίας] which concern technical practices useful for teaching and helping one another in the Epicurean community. We shall examine some of these parrhesiastic technique as they developed in , for example, the Stoic philosophies of Epictetus, Seneca, and others .




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