JCJC SHS 3 - JCJC : Sciences humaines et sociales : Cultures, arts, civilisations

Socrates : texts, traditions and interpretations. Towards a new hermeneutics of Socraticism (from Antquity to the end of the Medieval Period). – SOCRATES

New access to the testimonies on Socrates

The first complete collection of texts, translated into French with commentary, on the life and doctrine of Socrates, on his transmission and reception in the Antiquity up to the Middle-Ages

Give access to the different images of Socrates from Antiquity to the Middle-Ages

We intend to rebuild and reorganize the textual material on Socrates (more than 1200 pages of Greek and Latin texts), to translate and annotate this whole corpus in order to provide the scientific community of researchers and teachers, but also a wider readership of students, with an indispensable working tool. By the study of the different uses of the most emblematic figure of the Occidental philosophical tradition. we shall also reflect on the modes of integration and disintegration, assimilation and transformation which are specific to the history of philosophy. This will enable us to access to a new image of Socrates through the multiplicity of the ancient testimonies dedicated to him, and so open original perspectives of research on the Socratic question and promote future doctoral thesis about the different trends of Socraticism.

We wish to break down, first of all, the disciplinary barriers, in gathering specialists with different and complementary competences (philosophical, historical and literary) around a single object : the reconstruction of the philosophy of Socrates. A second type of barriers we intend to break down is historical: Plato is not the sole worthy witness on Socrates : the analysis of all the sources at disposal is the only means to to make sense of Socrates’ thought and philosophical practice, beyond the diversity and sometimes antagonism of the testimonies,. The third scientific problem to solve is methodological: the aim of our work is to solve the problems of inconsistencies, circularities or repetitions in the presentation of the textual fragments on Socrates.

We have already translated a large part of the evidence on Socrates which will figure in our edition, published articles in scientific journals or collected volumes, presented papers at international meetings, participated in TV programmes. Our computer researches in the Latin literature have enabled us to discover some unpublished texts. Our foreign colleagues follow the progress of our work through the website. Several PhD students have joined our working team.



The SOCRATES project is a research project in the history of Ancient Philosophy whose main objective is to give a full and renewed access in French translation to the fragments and testimonies on Socrates and the Socratics. This general objective will be met by fulfilling the three tasks here described: 1) we shall give a full annotated translation with selective commentaries on a vast textual material which has been rather neglected and under-studies ; 2) we will offer a selection of the most significant fragments and testimonies in a Long and Sedley type anthology on Socrates and the Socratics, in order to reach a broader readership ; 3) we will study the reception of Socrates from the end of Antiquity to the Renaissance, especially in the Latin and Arabic Medieval philosophical literature. The main thesis underlying the whole project is that the philosophy of Socrates, who famously never wrote anything, can only be grasped through an exhaustive study of all Socratics, including the ones often considered minor and the ones who are the most remote from Socrates' time.

The SOCRATES project has four main characteristics. Firstly, its methodology consists in combining the expertise of ancient philosophers and classicists, a necessary combination given the textual material under study. Second, SOCRATES is a research project in the field of ancient philosophy, which implies that the study of the fragments cannot be separated from the analysis of their reception in Antiquity and later on. Thirdly, SOCRATES wishes to give a broader access to the fragments by publishing accessible and yet scientific text books which will help developing doctoral work on the Socratic question as a whole. Last, the SOCRATES project is a deeply international project and aims at establishing a long-lasting scientific community on Socratic studies.

Project coordinator

Monsieur Dimitri EL MURR (UNIVERSITE DE PARIS I - PANTHEON SORBONNE) – dimitri.el-murr@univ-paris1.fr

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.



Help of the ANR 150,000 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 48 Months

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