Socratic and Platonic Political Philosophy

Socratic and Platonic Political Philosophy : Practicing a Politics of Reading

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In the Gorgias, Socrates claims to practice the true art of politics, but the peculiar politics he practices involves cultivating in each individual he encounters an erotic desire to live a life animated by the ideals of justice, beauty and the good. Socratic and Platonic Political Philosophy demonstrates that what Socrates sought to do with those he encountered, Platonic writing attempts to do with readers. Christopher P. Long's attentive readings of the Protagoras, Gorgias, Phaedo, Apology, and Phaedrus invite us to cultivate the habits of thinking and responding that mark the practices of both Socratic and Platonic politics. Platonic political writing is here experienced in a new way as the contours of a politics of reading emerges in which the community of readers is called to consider how a commitment to speaking the truth and acting toward justice can enrich our lives together.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 113989904X
  • 9781139899048

Table of contents

Overture; 1. Politics as philosophy; 2. Crisis of community; 3. Attempting the political art; 4. The politics of finitude; 5. Socratic disturbances, Platonic politics; 6. The politics of writing; 7. Philosophy as politics.
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Review quote

'In presenting analyses of five dialogues - Protagoras, Gorgias, Phaedo, Apology of Socrates, and Phaedrus - Long draws extensively on a wide range of Platonic scholarship. His interpretation of the meaning of Socrates' claim to practice the true art of politics, its exemplification in the specific dialogues he treats, and the way in which Plato's dialogues are intended to replicate it is nevertheless quite original. Emphasizing the importance of dialogue and the ways in which Socrates addressed specific individuals and tried to benefit them by forming a philosophical community, Long's account of Socrates' true art of politics does not describe political practice as it was ordinarily understood. It is much nobler and more high minded.' Catherine Zuckert, University of Notre Dame 'Long has written a compelling and innovative work on Socratic and Platonic politics. [His] hermeneutic uncovers dimensions of political discourse in Plato that are often overlooked, such as attentiveness, listening, and recollection. His work invites us into collaborative reading with both Plato and the ongoing conversation of contemporary scholarship.' Marina McCoy, Boston College
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About Christopher P. Long

Christopher P. Long is Associate Dean for Graduate and Undergraduate Education in the College of the Liberal Arts and Professor of Philosophy and Classics at The Pennsylvania State University. He has published numerous articles on ancient Greek philosophy, specifically on Aristotle and Plato; critical theory; twentieth-century continental philosophy; and the history of philosophy. His articles have appeared in journals including the Review of Metaphysics, Polis, Epoche, Continental Philosophy Review, the Southern Journal of Philosophy, and Ancient Philosophy. He is author of The Ethics of Ontology: Rethinking an Aristotelian Legacy (2004) and Aristotle on the Nature of Truth (2011). He has served on the executive committee of the Ancient Philosophy Society for nine years, including three as co-director. A leader in the innovative use of digital technologies for academic research and pedagogy, he is the creator and host of the Digital Dialogue, a podcast dedicated to cultivating the excellences of dialogue in a digital age. Before coming to Penn State in 2004, he was Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Richard Stockton College in New Jersey. He received his PhD in 1998 from the Graduate Faculty at the New School for Social Research.
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