Editor's note: After blind peer review, this paper was selected for reading at the University of Dayton's 10th annual Philosophy Colloquium, held Feb. 27-28, 1981.

Was Socrates a psychotherapist? Attempting to answer this question may lead toward a better understanding of Socrates as reported by Plato (and perhaps by Aristophanes and Xenophon), and it may help to clarify our own notion of psychotheraphy. Contra, it may be argued that psychotherapy as we understand it was invented by Charcot and Freud, so it would be anachronistic to ascribe it to any of the ancients; interpreted, this means that our concept of psychotherapy requires the hypothesis of an unconscious, a subconscious, an ego, and a superego; part of the therapeutic endeavor is to bring to consciousness repressed materials. We cannot neatly apportion unconscious, ego, and superego among the three Platonic parts of the soul, and it would be grotesque to reinterpret anamnesis and the Socratic midwifery in terms of the psychoanalytic experience.



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