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.
Cover Page Title Page Copyright Page Dedication Page Contents Acknowledgments Introduction Siting Plato Part One: Aspects of the Athenian Civic Self-Image Chapter One The Allure of Harmodius and Aristogeiton: Public/Private Relations in the Athenian Democratic Imaginary Telling the Tale Embracing the Simplified Tale Thinking with the Tale Thucydides' Critique Aristotle's Critique Chapter Two Citizen as Parrhēsiastēs (Frank Speaker) Truth-Telling and Risk-Taking Frank Speaking and Freedom Frank Speaking and the Integrity of Assembly Debate Chapter Three Citizen as Erastēs (Lover): Erotic Imagery and the Idea of Reciprocity in the Periclean Funeral Oration Citizen as Erastēs Citizenship as Reciprocity between Lover and Beloved Chapter Four Citizen as Theatēs (Theater-Goer): Performing Unity, Reciprocity, and Strong-Mindedness in the City Dionysia The Event Representing the Unity of the Democratic Polis Enacting Democratic Norms Part Two: Plato's Democratic Entanglements Chapter Five Unsettling the Orthodoxy Philosopher as Tyrant-Slayer The Matter of Bias Dismay over the Fate of Socrates Disdain for the Common Man The "Doctrine" of the Republic The Work of the Academy Personal Involvement in Syracusan Politics Chapter Six Philosopher as Parrhēsiastēs (Frank Speaker) The Laches: Recognizing Parrhēsia The Gorgias: Embracing Parrhēsia The Republic: Practicing Parrhēsia The Laws: Practicing Parrhēsia Chapter Seven Remembering Pericles: The Political and Theoretical Import of Plato's Menexenus Plato's Opposition to the Veneration of Pericles Plato's Rejection of Pericles' Model of Democratic Citizenship Plato's Theoretical Interest in Funeral Oratory Chapter Eight Theory and Theatricality A Puzzle Four Patterns. Preliminary Thoughts on Theory and Theater-going Philosopher as Theatēs in the Republic Theorist as Theōros in the Laws Why Is Socrates Absent from the Laws? Concluding Remarks Citation Index General Index.
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Electronic reproduction. Ann Arbor, Michigan : ProQuest Ebook Central, 2021. Available via World Wide Web. Access may be limited to ProQuest Ebook Central affiliated libraries.