Seth Benardete, 1930 - 2001

Socrates the master ironist and Socrates the first political philosopher seem to be the same. And if they are the same, political philosophy would have to be double—with one face turned toward and the other away from the city. The Platonic dialogue is the replication of this Janus.

— Seth Benardete


Seth Benardete (1930–2001) was Professor of Classics at New York University from 1966 until the last year of his life. During this period he also regularly offered a graduate seminar on Plato or Aristotle at the New School for Social Research and held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Carl Friedrich von Siemens Stiftung in Munich.
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While philosophy as such may be suspect in the city, Socrates’ distinctive turn to “the human things” seems to bring it out in the open. As the Socratic turn indicates, the philosopher may seek knowledge of human nature and of the whole, but the necessary starting point is an inquiry into the political things.
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