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  • Caution and Clarity in Thinking About ISIS and Apocalyptic Activism

    January 21, 2018

    The many horrifying actions undertaken under the auspices of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) are well known to almost all who don’t deliberately avoid news reporting, so there is no need to belabor the exceptionally gory details of beheadings, crucifixions and mass killings.  However, it is significant that such…

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  • Why Plato Wrote

    January 20, 2018

    Why Plato Wrote. Danielle S. Allen. Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. As part of the Blackwell Bristol Lectures Series on Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition, Danielle S. Allen has produced an extraordinary book that not only offers an answer to the title question of her book, Why Plato Wrote, but also examines…

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  • Raymond Barfield's The Ancient Quarrel between Philosophy and Poetry

    January 19, 2018

    The Ancient Quarrel between Philosophy and Poetry. Raymond Barfield. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 2011.   From its beginnings, philosophy’s language, concepts, and imaginative growth have been heavily influenced by poetry. Drawing upon the works of a wide range of thinkers throughout the history of Western philosophy, Barfield explores the…

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  • The Musical Structure of Plato's Dialogues

    January 18, 2018

    The Musical Structure of Plato’s Dialogues. J.B. Kennedy. Acumen Press, 2011. J.B. Kennedy’s The Musical Structure of Plato’s Dialogues seeks to establish that Plato divided some, if not all, of his dialogues into twelve equal sections. These twelve sections, Kennedy argues, correlate with the Pythagorean twelve division multi-octave musical scale.…

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  • Savagery, Irony, and Satire in Plato’s Republic

    January 17, 2018

    Plato’s Republic stands in contradistinction to Aristotle’s Politics, indeed, it stands in contradistinction to almost all other works of political philosophy because Plato never speaks in the dialogue.  It would, therefore, be absurd to reach the conclusion that Plato’s dialogues teach us nothing because Plato is silent throughout his…

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  • The Real Name of the Stranger: The Meaning of Plato's Statesman

    January 16, 2018

    As a political scientist, I am interested in understanding Plato’s Statesman and in learning whether it teaches us anything noble and useful about politics. To this end, I shall state a few of my assumptions about how Plato should be read. None of these axioms are original with me…

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  • Soul Music in Plato’s Republic

    January 15, 2018

    I In the Republic, Socrates names the musical modes and he correlates them with the different constitutions of state and soul (399a–c). Since Socrates ranks the different constitutions (580a) and he correlates them with his categories of modes (398e–399d), he ranks his categories of musical modes. Glaucon gives the…

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  • The Millenarian Platonism of Alain Badiou (Part III)

    January 12, 2018

    Plato’s Republic. Alain Badiou with Susan Spitzer, trans. Polity Press, Cambridge, 2015.   In the first two parts of this essay I outlined the millenarian Platonism of French Maoist philosopher Alain Badiou and the theoretical basis behind his attempt to rewrite Plato’s Republic entirely for a 21st century communism. I…

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  • The Millenarian Platonism of Alain Badiou (Part II)

    January 11, 2018

    Plato’s Republic. Alain Badiou with Susan Spitzer, trans. Polity Press, Cambridge, 2015.   Part 2: Voegelin and Girard on Badiou. This is the second instalment in a three-part essay on the millenarian Platonism of the French philosopher Alain Badiou. What is most interesting is that Badiou has at least some…

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  • The Millenarian Platonism of Alain Badiou (Part I)

    January 10, 2018

    Plato’s Republic. Alain Badiou with Susan Spitzer, trans. Polity Press, Cambridge, 2015.   Plenty of books have been written about Plato’s Republic. However, as far as I can tell, there have only been a couple of efforts to rewrite it entirely. One is Douglas Woodruff’s amusing old skit Plato’s American…

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  • Democracy, Language, and Rhetoric

    January 9, 2018

    Democracy, Language, And Rhetoric1 “Democracy, Language, and Rhetoric” is a legitimate and important topic. However, upon confronting it, one initially encounters at least three formidable complexes of questions. Here’s an inventory of the issues that I see: First, what do we want to learn about rhetoric and language in…

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  • Democracy is Anarchy in The Republic

    January 8, 2018

    Our systems are at the breaking point now. We need more roads, more hospitals, more schools, more nurses, more teachers, more police, more fire, more water, more energy, more ports…more, more, more. I Socrates apparently maintains a contradiction in his discussion of the democratic constitution in the state…

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  • Modern Views of Plato's Silence (Part III)

    January 5, 2018

    Stanley Rosen Stanley Rosen himself is a grateful student of Leo Strauss who never­theless announces: “I am in considerable disagreement with Strauss’s gen­eral program.” 115 His dissent from Strauss assimilates irony to postmod­ernism, pressing esotericism in rhetorical directions that Strauss does not wish to take.  Rosen agrees with his…

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  • Modern Views of Plato's Silence (Part II)

    January 4, 2018

    Leo Strauss joins the debate about Platonic silence on the side of Gott-hold Lessing.60 Perhaps he also sides with Friedrich Nietzsche secretly. He opposes Friedrich Schleiermacher and G. W. F. Hegel. He treats Socratic and Platonic irony specifically in The City and Man and the esotericism of great philosophers…

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  • Modern Views of Plato's Silence (Part I)

    January 3, 2018

    Introduction Plato directly and indirectly cautions his students that he does not commu­nicate with them straightforwardly. To repeat the warnings quoted previ­ously, Plato fiercely denies in his Seventh Letter that Dionysius II and other dubious individuals could have known that about which he is serious (περί ων εγώ σπουδάζω).…

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The many horrifying actions undertaken under the auspices of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) are well known to almost all who don’t deliberately avoid news reporting, so there is no need to belabor the exceptionally gory details of beheadings, crucifixions and mass killings.  However, it is significant that such atrocities are very widely regarded not only as horrifying but also…

Read More ...

Why Plato Wrote. Danielle S. Allen. Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
As part of the Blackwell Bristol Lectures Series on Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition, Danielle S. Allen has produced an extraordinary book that not only offers an answer to the title question of her book, Why Plato Wrote, but also examines the nature of philosophical writing, the relationship between philosophy and politics, and…

Read More ...

The Ancient Quarrel between Philosophy and Poetry. Raymond Barfield. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 2011.

 
From its beginnings, philosophy’s language, concepts, and imaginative growth have been heavily influenced by poetry. Drawing upon the works of a wide range of thinkers throughout the history of Western philosophy, Barfield explores the pervasiveness of poetry’s impact on philosophy and, conversely, how philosophy has sometimes resisted…

Read More ...

The Musical Structure of Plato’s Dialogues. J.B. Kennedy. Acumen Press, 2011.
J.B. Kennedy’s The Musical Structure of Plato’s Dialogues seeks to establish that Plato divided some, if not all, of his dialogues into twelve equal sections. These twelve sections, Kennedy argues, correlate with the Pythagorean twelve division multi-octave musical scale. From his analysis of the Symposium and Euthyphro, Kennedy argues that Plato…

Read More ...

Plato’s Republic stands in contradistinction to Aristotle’s Politics, indeed, it stands in contradistinction to almost all other works of political philosophy because Plato never speaks in the dialogue.[1]  It would, therefore, be absurd to reach the conclusion that Plato’s dialogues teach us nothing because Plato is silent throughout his entire written corpus – giving way to others not named Plato…

Read More ...

As a political scientist, I am interested in understanding Plato’s Statesman and in learning whether it teaches us anything noble and useful about politics. To this end, I shall state a few of my assumptions about how Plato should be read. None of these axioms are original with me but the ways in which I apply them might be novel.…

Read More ...

I
In the Republic, Socrates names the musical modes and he correlates them with the different constitutions of state and soul (399a–c).[1] Since Socrates ranks the different constitutions (580a) and he correlates them with his categories of modes (398e–399d), he ranks his categories of musical modes. Glaucon gives the relations between the Socratic categories of modes and the modes as they…

Read More ...

Plato: The Republic. Translated by R.E. Allen. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.
As with his other works on Plato’s dialogues, R. E. Allen’s translation of the Republic is a faithful, smooth-flowing, and intelligent rendition of the material for students and the general reader. For scholars, it is another major translation of Plato’s dialogue in the tradition of Cornford, Grube, Waterfield,…

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The Republic. The Comprehensive Student Edition. Andrea Tschemplik. Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.
Tschempilk's The Republic is an excellent textbook for undergraduate students. It is based on the translation of John Llewelyn Davies and James Vaughan (1852), with the archaism and Briticism eliminated from the text. The book is organized in the traditional ten books with the Stephanus numbers. At the beginning of…

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Plato’s Republic. Alain Badiou with Susan Spitzer, trans. Polity Press, Cambridge, 2015.
 
In the first two parts of this essay I outlined the millenarian Platonism of French Maoist philosopher Alain Badiou and the theoretical basis behind his attempt to rewrite Plato’s Republic entirely for a 21st century communism. I would now like to look closely at a couple of aspects of this…

Read More ...