23 (2)
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catalogue – 43669
Until 01.01.2019 - Scientific Yearbook of the Institute of Philosophy and Law of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

ISSN 2686-7206 (Print)

ISSN 2686-925X (Оnlinе)

Emelyanov Andrey
The subject of the article is the reconstruction of the death event of Socrates, as well as the hermeneutics of his last words spoken shortly before his death. Based on ancient Greek texts and a subsequent tradition, the author identifies three key interpretations of these words. According to the first interpretation, the death of Socrates is a kind of a cure for life (Plato, Xenophon, F. Nietzsche). Within the framework of the second one it is understood as an act of parrhesias or a form of philosophical verdict of the truth (J. Dumézil, M. Foucault). The third interpretation aims to deconstruct the “heroic” pathos of this event. Based on historical sources, a hypothesis is put forward according to which Socrates is considered as a political criminal, an enemy of Athenian democracy. Based on this thesis, his death is revealed as a religious practice of the scapegoat ritual. From this perspective this expression of Socrates (“We owe a rooster to Asclepius”) is perceived as irony and grotesque and does not, in fact, seriously affect the general context of his philosophical practice. In our opinion, each of three interpretations presented forms its original horizon in understanding philosophy as the therapy of a soul. So in the first case we are talking about a comforting conversation format as caring about ourselves. In the second case, we are talking about the consideration of the figure of a philosopher as a “philosopher on barricades” (caring for others) – about a tradition that finds its continuation in Plato's “trips” to Syracuse to visit Dionysius as well as in the revolutionary actions of May 1968. Finally, the third format of philosophical therapy reconstructs the mechanism of ancient social practice in front of us during which the image of the sage and his philosophical practice are considered by society as poison which threatens with its fundamental foundations. The latter problematizes the figure of a philosopher and his role in the context of a political, religious and social life of a community. If the first two forms of understanding philosophy as a social therapy represent its discourse as the means of “healing”, which arises in order to cure society from internal ailments, then the latter, on the contrary, symbolically depicts a philosopher's public condemnation and his death itself as the only medicine that can save society from a disease called philosophy.
Keywords: Socrates; last words of Socrates; parrhesia; scapegoat ritual; pharmacon; social therapy
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