Plato the Teacher
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Plato the Teacher : The Crisis of the Republic

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The pedagogical technique of the playful Plato, especially his ability to create living discourses that directly address the student, is the subject of Plato the Teacher. "The crisis of the Republic" refers to the decisive moment in his central dialogue when philosopher-readers realize that Plato's is challenging them to choose justice by going back down into the dangerous Cave of political life for the sake of the greater Good, as both Socrates and Cicero did.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 512 pages
  • 152 x 230 x 30mm | 839.99g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739184415
  • 9780739184417
  • 91,138

Review quote

Plato the Teacher constitutes a major contribution to Plato studies and is striking in its profundity and originality. For Altman, Plato is first and foremost an educator, constructing his corpus as a whole and the Republic in particular so as to maximize their pedagogic punch. An educator can only be an altruist, and, for Altman, Plato's altruism forms the very core of the Republic, whose essential ethical teaching for us all is found in Socrates' directive to the philosopher-kings: 'You must go down.' Plato the Teacher abounds in startlingly fresh readings of passages that have grown stale, and is infused with clarity, erudition, and passion. -- Roslyn Weiss, Lehigh University How Plato's dialogues ought to be arranged and, accordingly, how they are to be read, has provoked much debate. Some scholars believe that identifying their chronology of composition (the order in which they were written) is crucial to understanding Plato's philosophical development; others believe their dramatic order is of paramount importance. High school teacher Altman opts for a different yet altogether refreshing approach, advocating a paideutic scheme that focuses on the order in which Plato intended his dialogues to be taught. As its title would suggest, Altman's book is, most immediately, an exegesis of Republic; however, its broader purpose is to show that Republic, or more specifically the allegory of the cave, occupies a central position in a complex philosophical curriculum. In his effort to defend this provocative thesis, Altman is impressively successful. His scholarship is impeccable, his familiarity with the Platonic corpus thorough, and his reading of individual passages meticulous. Given its high level of erudition and frequent reference to the original Greek, this book will appeal mainly to scholars; nevertheless, it is a book with which all students of Plato will want to become familiar. Summing Up: Highly recommended. CHOICE I have never read anyone who has attempted to identify Plato quite so fully and so audaciously with the modern democratic spirit as does Altman. His book is impassioned and deeply personal. Flashes of brilliance and insight abound in it, and its vivid, folksy, self-consciously American eloquence is wonderfully engaging. -- John Ferrari, University of California, Berkeley Guided by Cicero, as Plato's 'best student,' Plato the Teacher reads the Republic and specifically its allegory of the cave as an exemplar of Plato's student-centered pedagogy about justice, addressed to those both inside and outside the text. Sensitive to the dialogue's language and context, provocative in its freshness, originality, and depth of engagement with the text and its many interpreters, and thoroughly Platonist in its insistence on a transcendent Idea of the Good beyond Being, Plato the Teacher makes a signal philosophical, ethical, and political contribution to the study of Plato. -- Jill Frank, University of South Carolina We have here the seemingly impossible: a reading of the Republic that is highly original, because not easily classifiable under any of the interpretative approaches current today, while also representing a return to classic two-world Platonism. This old/new Plato will doubtless provoke needed reexamination and debate among all readers of this inexhaustible dialogue. -- Francisco Gonzalez, University of Ottawa William H. F. Altman's Plato the Teacher presses the question of Plato's pedagogical purpose further than any other modern scholar, and as a result offers a strikingly original and compelling interpretation of the Platonic corpus...[H]is work is...implicitly an alternative to the various ways that scholars have written about Plato on education...Altman's book blazes a different trail - it offers a Platonic philosophy of education based primarily on how Plato educates his readers, both ancient and modern. [His] engagement with the voluminous scholarship on Republic is impressive...Altman's passion for studying Plato is evident throughout the work. Journal of Philosophy of Educationshow more

About William H. F. Altman

William H. F. Altman teaches Latin and World History at E. C. Glass, a public high school in Lynchburg, Virginia.show more

Table of contents

An Introduction to Plato's Republic: Inside and Outside the Text 1 Part 1 The First Words of Plato's ???? te?/a Chapter 1: ?at?ss?? Chapter 2: ???? Chapter 3: et? G?a?????? Chapter 4: et? G?a?????? Chapter 5: t?? ???st???? Part 2 Challenges Chapter 6: Cephalus and the Meaning of Life Chapter 7: Polemarchus Meets Appearance and Reality Chapter 8: Thrasymachus and the City of Good Men Only Chapter 9: Glaucon's Challenge to Socrates Chapter 10: The Challenge of Adeimantus to Plato Part 3 The Shorter Way Chapter 11: Introduction to Methodology Chapter 12: Methodology II: Hypotheses Chapter 13: Methodology III: Images Chapter 14: Looking Out for Number One Chapter 15: Making Friends with Thrasymachus Part 4 The Longer Way Chapter 16: The Speech to the Guardians Chapter 17: Justice and the Good on the Divided Line Chapter 18: The Idea of the Good and Plato's Theory of Forms Chapter 19: An Intellectual History of the Return Chapter 20: Whistling a Tune on the Way Down Part 5 The Firesticks Chapter 21: 432d1-435a4 Chapter 22: Two Jobs for One Man: Beyond the Tripartite Soul Chapter 23: The Third Wave of Paradox Chapter 24: Plato's Letters Chapter 25: Untimely Meditations on the Idea of Justice Part 6 Democracy and Education Chapter 26: Genetic Fictions Chapter 27: The Equality of the Sexes Chapter 28: Higher Education: Why the Good is not the One Chapter 29: Reading Order Revisited Chapter 30: The Age of Heroes Part 7 Choices Chapter 31: The Sewer of Romulus Chapter 32: The Perfectly Bearable Lightness of Being Chapter 33: Coming Up and Going Down Chapter 34: Plato the Imitator Chapter 35: Odysseus or Achilles? Bibliography Index locorum Index About the Authorshow more