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Plato's Democratic Entanglements : Athenian Politics and the Practice of Philosophy - S. Sara Monoson

Plato's Democratic Entanglements

Athenian Politics and the Practice of Philosophy

Hardcover Published: 28th May 2000
ISBN: 9780691043661
Number Of Pages: 256

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In this book, Sara Monoson challenges the longstanding and widely held view that Plato is a virulent opponent of all things democratic. She does not, however, offer in its place the equally mistaken idea that he is somehow a partisan of democracy. Instead, she argues that we should attend more closely to Plato's suggestion that democracy is horrifying "and" exciting, and she seeks to explain why he found it morally and politically intriguing.

Monoson focuses on Plato's engagement with democracy as he knew it: a cluster of cultural practices that reach into private and public life, as well as a set of governing institutions. She proposes that while Plato charts tensions between the claims of democratic legitimacy and philosophical truth, he also exhibits a striking attraction to four practices central to Athenian democratic politics: intense antityrantism, frank speaking, public funeral oratory, and theater-going. By juxtaposing detailed examination of these aspects of Athenian democracy with analysis of the figurative language, dramatic structure, and arguments of the dialogues, she shows that Plato systematically links democratic ideals and activities to philosophic labor. Monoson finds that Plato's political thought exposes intimate connections between Athenian democratic politics and the practice of philosophy.

Situating Plato's political thought in the context of the Athenian democratic imaginary, Monoson develops a new, textured way of thinking of the relationship between Plato's thought and the politics of his city.

Winner of the 2001 American Political Science Association's Best First Book Award, Foundations of Political Theory Section "Sara Monoson is that rare exception to the rule that political theorists cannot sustain the interest of political philosophers: her training in ancient history and classical Greek give her treatment of Plato's complicated relationship to democracy a depth and richness that will repay the efforts of the most exacting of critics."--Debra Nails, Journal of the History of Philosophy "No one interested in Plato and Athenian democracy or in Plato generally can afford to miss this serious study of Plato's political philosophy in relation to Athenian democracy."--F. Rosen, Political Studies "Clearly written, wide-ranging, but tightly organized. [Monoson] wears her erudition lightly, commanding a clear and cogent prose that is a pleasure to read... Her richly textured portrait of Athenian political culture requires that we reexamine the contrasts conventionally associated with 'ancient' versus 'modern democracy.' Her work also invites us to think harder about the practices through which ideals of freedom and equality may be realized."--Morris B. Kaplan, Political Theory "One of the many strengths of S. Sara Monoson's book about Plato's views on democracy ... is the frank recognition of the open-endedness of Platonic interpretation. Her aim is not to argue for a particular cut-and-dried version of Plato's thoughts about democracy but rather to add new dimensions to what is conceded to be a rich cluster of subtle and ambivalent attitudes ... All those working on either Plato or Athenian democracy will find much of interest."--Richard Mulgan, Ethics

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction Siting Platop. 3
Aspects of the Athenian Civic Self-Imagep. 19
The Allure of Harmodius and Aristogeiton: Public/Private Relations in the Athenian Democratic Imaginaryp. 21
Telling the Talep. 22
Embracing the Simplified Talep. 28
Thinking with the Talep. 29
Thucydides' Critiquep. 42
Aristotle's Critiquep. 49
Citizen as Parrhesiastes (Frank Speaker)p. 51
Truth-Telling and Risk-Takingp. 52
Frank Speaking and Freedomp. 54
Frank Speaking and the Integrity of Assembly Debatep. 56
Citizen as Erastes (Lover): Erotic Imagery and the Idea of Reciprocity in the Periclean Funeral Orationp. 64
Citizen as Erastesp. 67
Citizenship as Reciprocity between Lover and Belovedp. 74
Citizen as Theates (Theater-Goer): Performing Unity, Reciprocity, and Strong-Mindedness in the City Dionysiap. 88
The Eventp. 90
Representing the Unity of the Democratic Polisp. 92
Enacting Democratic Normsp. 98
Plato's Democratic Entanglementsp. 111
Unsettling the Orthodoxyp. 113
Philosopber as Tyrant-Slayerp. 113
The Matter of Biasp. 115
Dismay over the Fate of Socratesp. 118
Disdain for the Common Manp. 122
The 'Doctrine" of the Republicp. 125
The Work of the Academyp. 137
Personal Involvement in Syracusan Politicsp. 145
Philosopher as Parrhesiastes (Frank Speaker)p. 154
The Laches: Recognizing Parrhesiap. 155
The Gorgias: Embracing Parrhesia.p. 161
The Republic: Practicing Parrhesiap. 165
The Laws: Practicing Parrhesiap. 179
Remembering Pericles: The Political and Theoretical Import of Plato's Menexcnusp. 181
Plato's Opposition to the Veneration of Periclesp. 182
Plato's Rcjection of Pericles Model of Democratic Citizenshipp. 189
Plato's Theoretical Interest in Funeral Oratoryp. 202
Theory and Theatricalityp. 206
A Puzzlep. 206
Four Patternsp. 207
Preliminary Thoughts on Theory and Theater-goingp. 208
Philosopber as Theates in the Republicp. 212
Theorist as Theoros in the Lawsp. 226
Why Is Socrates Absent from the Laws?p. 232
Concluding Remarksp. 237
Citation Indexp. 239
General Indexp. 245
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691043661
ISBN-10: 0691043663
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 28th May 2000
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.39 x 15.6  x 1.6
Weight (kg): 0.54