SOCRATES' PRISON JOURNAL
I reproduce below the brief Preface:
The idea of this little book had been luring me for decades. I kept putting it off because I did not feel sure about where to draw the line between representing Socrates' thought and presenting my own. After having published Let Us Philosophize (1998) and Plato: An Interpretation (2005), as well as numerous articles, where I gave my reading of Socrates/Plato, I felt I could give myself free rein without worrying about fencing apart what might be read into Socrates/Plato and what is an accretion, provided always that the accretion be harmonious, in the writer's judgement, with the rest.
Beside the basic fiction of the prison journal, I have, from the start and throughout, introduced anachronistic citations, fictional situations, dreams and divine intimations, to emphasize the non-historic intent of this work. Nontheless, I maintain that my reading is truer to the genuine spirit of the Socratic-Platonic philosophy than much that goes as scholarly and erudite analysis and exposition.
I am aware that there is much reiteration in the following pages. I go back again and again to the same subject and repeat again and again the same thoughts in various forms of expression. I feel that this is necessary, since one of my main concerns in this as in my other writings is to correct what I see as grave misunderstandings and distortions that have become firmly established within mainstream philosophical thought; I am also trying to introduce and clarify concepts and views which I claim to be original and important. Both these tasks call for and justify much reiteration and much insistence.
The notes appended to the journal are of a dual nature. The biographical and historical notes are for the the benefit of the lay reader or the novice. These notes, when not drawn directly from the dialogues of Plato, are derived from sources that are readily accessible. With respect to these, I claim no originality and make no pretence of erudition. They are bits of common knowledge which I collect here simply for convenience. In the remaining notes I expand somewhat, for the purpose of clarification or emphasis, on certain ideas and views presented in the journal.
Following the notes I have reproduced in an Appendix an article which first appeared in Philosophy Pathways Issue 69, 19 October, 2003, in which I summarized a brilliant paper by Professor Enid Bloch on Plato's description of Socrates' last moments. Professor Bloch's paper deserves to be widely known as it corrects a mistaken objection to Plato's immortal portrayal of one of the most touching and inspiring scenes in human history.
For a further brief description of the contents of the book, go to: http://www.virtualbookworm.com/socratesprisonjournal.html