The Philosopher's Song

The Philosopher's Song : The Poets' Influence on Plato

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The Philosopher's Song is a full-length treatment of Plato and the dynamic course of his philosophical thought, regarded from a distinctly poetic point of view. Kevin Crotty demonstrates how Plato's invention of philosophy needs to be situated within the context of a society where poets were cultural authorities, whose teachings emphasized such tragic themes as the instability of things and the indeterminacy of moral terms. The interest of Plato's philosophy lies to a great extent in the compelling interest of what he sought to repress-the poetic and political heritage of a world tragically conceived. Plato's attacks on the poets are notorious. Despite his apparently frank hostility, however, his relation to the poets was exceedingly complex, argues Crotty. Even the banishment of the poets in the Republic turns out to be, more deeply, a recruitment of mimetic poetry for Plato's metaphysics. Once endowed with a metaphysical significance, however, the poets posed a serious challenge to Platonic idealism, and spurred Plato to revise considerably his metaphysical scheme. Crotty ultimately concludes that the views of politics and ethics in Plato's later works return in many ways to the insights of the more

Product details

  • Hardback | 276 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 25.4mm | 544.31g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739144065
  • 9780739144060
  • 2,166,372

Review quote

This book locates the founder of philosophy in the context of his culture, a focus often missing in Platonic scholarship. It should be of great interest both to classicists and to philosophers. Crotty's earlier work on archaic literature enables him to demonstrate the radical divide between Plato's work and a poetic tradition that depicted the tragic failure of human efforts to create a stable and dependable world. Crotty shows the contrasting currents of tragedy and philosophy that intermingle in the narrative of Socrates' death in Phaedo, while his analysis of Sophist and Politicus shows how these dialogues subtly modify the doctrinaire stance of that dialogue and of Republic. -- Ann Michelini, University of Cincinnatishow more

About Kevin M. Crotty

Kevin Crotty is professor of classics at Washington and Lee more

Table of contents

Part 1 Part One Chapter 2 Chapter 1. Achilles' Insight: Poetic and Moral Consciousness in Homer Chapter 3 Chapter 2. The Poetics of Justice: Aeschylus' Oresteia and Plato's Republic Part 4 Part Two Chapter 5 Chapter 3. Socrates' Intellectual Crisis: The Phaedo Chapter 6 Chapter 4. The Greatest Charge Against Mimetic Poetry Part 7 Part Three Chapter 8 Chapter 5. The Metaphysics of Fallibility: The Sophist Chapter 9 Chapter 6. The Statesman: The Tragedy of Politics and the Shape of Plato's Thoughtshow more