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Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 23, Issue 2, Spring 2019

Andy German
Pages 305-321
DOI: 10.5840/epoche2019131131

ΠΑΛΙΝ ἘΞ ἈΡΧΗΣ
Resumption and Recollection in Plato

I argue that Plato’s deployment of the resumptive phrase πάλιν ἐξ ἀρχῆς illuminates the philosophical significance of his art of transition in Socratic dialogues. These explicit calls for a new beginning often appear when a conversation fails to account for two particular elements of ordinary experience: assumptions about whole-part relations and about the interlocutor’s self-conception as a being responsive to basic rational and normative distinctions. Returning to the archē is a form of ἀνάμνησις, reminding us that these assumptions constitute true, but inarticulate, opinions of a fundamental kind. They are the preconditions for discourse that philosophical διαλέγεσθαι must preserve and ground.