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On Manly Courage

A Study of Plato's Laches

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Walter T. Schmid. Foreword by George Kimball Plochmann


NLEB (Other formats: Hardcover)
248 pages, 6 x 9


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About the Book

Walter T. Schmid offers the first original interpretation of the Laches since Hermann Bonitz in the nineteenth century in the only full-length commentary on the Laches available in English.

Schmid divides the book into five main discussions: the historical background of the dialogue; the relation of form and content in a Platonic dialogue and specific structural and aesthetic features of the Laches; the first half of the dialogue, which introduces the characters and considers the theme of the education of young men; the inquiry with Laches, which examines the traditional Greek conception of military courage; and the inquiry with Nicias in which two nontraditional conceptions of courage are mooted, one closely associated with the sophistic movement in Athens, the other with Socrates himself. Furnishing a detailed paragraph-by-paragraph reading that traces Socrates’ ongoing quest for virtue and wisdom— a wisdom founded in the action of a whole human life— Schmid conclusively shows how and why the Laches fills an important niche in Plato’ s moral theory.


Walter T. Schmid is professor of philosophy and religion at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.