In November 2019, the publishing house “Greek-Latin Cabinet Yu.A. Shichalina "released a Russian translation "People of Plato" (2002) Debra Neils (hereinafter D.N.). This is a large-scale reference of personalities (prosopography), acting or mentioned in the dialogues of Plato, familiarity with which, according to the author, is necessary for understanding the Platonic philosophical method (p. 28). What is this method? The answer to this question is beyond the scope of prosopography. Sam D.N. dedicated a whole a book (hereinafter “Agora”), in which she proposed to consider the “Plato method” as, in essence, the development of the “Socrates method”. This sets a definite perspective in which all the "people of Plato" turn out to be not only the characters of the Plato dialogues, but also historical persons in reliable circumstances – the "people of Socrates." Thus, according to D.N., dialogues turn out to be an outlet for the social environment and philosophical practices of historical Socrates. And she offers to rethink this environment, making Socrates a kind of street preacher, open to communication with anyone who wants to “improve” his soul. But there are some inconsistencies.
In the introduction to Plato’s People, we read: “In David’s painting“ The Death of Socrates ”… a tribute is given to the widespread belief that Socrates was surrounded by youth aristocrats. Meanwhile, this opinion is erroneous ”(p. 29). D.N. leads unforgiving statistics: in the Fedon dialogue, “of the twenty-three Athenian aristocrats present, only two are reliably, and at most five are Athenians younger than thirty”; among those present – "three slaves, a former slave, illegitimate, two or three women, three children and six foreigners, only one of whom, apparently, is rich."
Of course, in order to maintain the thesis that Socrates was interested not only in the “beautiful and rich” (cf. Agora, p. 209), Fedon is the most suitable illustration; but it’s enough to refer to the “Protagoras”, where the whole color of the Athenian youth is presented in order to violate these statistics. However, even the Fedon hardly supports the image of Socrates deprived of social prejudices. Women, children, and slaves appear to disappear right there; Socrates is sympathetic to all, but he is much more interested in the young intellectuals Symmius and Cebet, who studied under the Pythagorean Philolaus; old Crete is more concerned about the funeral. Others — the Athenians and strangers — remain silent; one can suspect that 14 names were needed by Plato only for the sake of a metaphor representing Socrates as a kind of Theseus (incidentally mentioned at the beginning of the dialogue as the savior of the famous "seven pairs" of young men and women and all Athens).
Other evidence of Socrates' unlimited democracy is illusory, but there is no need to disassemble it: first of all, one should ask how true the Platonic dialogues reproduce Socrates’s environment, whatever it may be. For this, it is necessary to turn to the solution of the "Socrates problem" that D.N. suggested earlier.