Volume 23, Issue 2, Spring 2019
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.