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Other titles in the Blackwell-Bristol Lectures on Greece, Rome and the Classical series:
Blackwell-Bristol Lectures on Greece, Rome and the Classical #1: Why Plato Wroteby Danielle S. Allen
Synopses & Reviews
Why Plato Wrote is the first book to be published in the prestigious Blackwell Bristol Lecture Series in Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition. In this thought-provoking text Danielle Allen eloquently argues that Plato wrote to change Athenian culture and thereby transform Athenian politics. She makes the case that Plato was not only the world’s first systematic political philosopher, but also the western world’s first think-tank activist and message man.
Allen contends that the roles of philosopher and message man were not mutually exclusive, and that Plato’s pursuit of language as a vehicle for affecting cultural norms was grounded in his philosophy of language. Why Plato Wrote is a lucid and engaging commentary on Plato’s philosophy of language and its relation to his political theory.
Book News Annotation:
Allen (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey) makes a cogent case for Plato and other Greek philosophers still being relevant to understanding the processes by which intellectuals' ideas help shape a community's values. Arguing that Plato was the world's first systematic political philosopher and an activist as well, she traces how his ideas on linguistic power and cognition from the Republic dialogues acted as agents of change in Athenian political discourse. Appended material treats the relationship between paradigms and his "Forms," cognitive and motivational conflicts in the soul per the Republic, and the frequency of particular ("miso-") compounds in classical Greek literature. The volume is based on lectures given at the University of Bristol in 2008. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Why Plato Wrote argues that Plato was not only the world’s first systematic political philosopher, but also the western world’s first think-tank activist and message man.
About the Author
Danielle S. Allen is UPS Foundation Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. She is the author of The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (2000) and Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship Since Brown vs. the Board of Education (2004).
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations.
Prologue: Why Think about Plato?
Part I: Why Plato Wrote.
1. Who Was Plato?
2. The Importance of Symbols in Human Life.
3. The Philosopher as Model-Maker.
4. The Philosopher as Shadow-Maker.
5. What Plato Wrote.
6. How Plato Lived.
Part II: What Plato Did.
7. The Case for Influence.
8. Culture War Emergent.
9. Culture War Concluded.
Epilogue: And to My Colleagues.
Appendix 1. The Relationship between Paradigms and Forms.
Appendix 2. A Second Tri-partite Division of the Soul?
Appendix 3. Miso- Compounds in Greek Literature.
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