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            The main problem one
immediately faces when reading Plato is the one that came to be known as the
“Socratic problem”. Almost all of the Plato’s dialogues host Socrates as the
hero. Due to the absence of written material attributed the “historical (real)
Socrates”, there consequently occurs a debate over whether the reader really
listens to the historical Socrates in Platonic dialogues, or whether Plato uses
Socrates as a mouthpiece to share his ideas. Historians have no way other than
sketching a historical Socrates from the dialogues of his students. There are
four main sources the historians resort to, the most important two of which
being a cluster of dialogues belonging to Xenophon and Plato; and the testimony
of Aristotle, in addition to a play by Aristophanes. It is a matter of debate
from which of these sources the historical Socrates is to be drawn. Although
there could be said to be a current tendency to acknowledge Platonic works as
authoritative, Montouri reminds us that “…Plato does not give us a single image
of Socrates, coherent and complete, but a disconserted plurality of images…”
(as cited in Dorion, 2011, p.7). Hence, it becomes twice as hard to distinguish
between Plato and Socrates in Platonic dialogues, if possible to distinguish at
all. Nevertheless, the writer of this essay shall be making a distinction
between the dialogues as to whether which philosopher is really the hero. The
dialogues to be referred throughout the dialogue are the Republic, the Meno and the
Euthyphro of Plato. The writer of the
essay suggests that in the Euthyphro
one is hearing the historical Socrates, in the Meno one is presented with both historical Socrates and Plato, and
in the Republic, except for the first
book, one is to be faced with Plato himself. (It is worth noting that while in
the Euthyphro it is claimed to be
historical Socrates speaking, the points derived will be valid for Plato’s
understanding of philosophy as well.)

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