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Ruling Passion: The Erotics of Statecraft in Platonic Political Philosophy

Ruling Passion: The Erotics of Statecraft in Platonic Political Philosophy

by Waller Newell

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Ruling Passion is the only book-length study of tyranny, statesmanship, and civic virtue in three major Platonic dialogues, the Georgias, the Symposium, and the Republic. It is also the first extended interpretation of eros as the key to Plato's understanding of both the depths of human vice and the heights of human aspirations for virtue and happiness. Through his detailed commentary and eloquent insights on the three dialogues, Waller Newell demonstrates how, for Plato, tyranny is a misguided longing for erotic satisfaction that can be corrected by the education of eros toward the proper objects if its pleasure: civic virtue and philosophy. In unfolding these reflections through his analysis, Newell also demonstrates a rich and deep grasp of the complexities of the tyrannical personality and countless new insights into the dramatic dimensions of Plato's dialogues. Written in a clear and engaging style, Ruling Passion will be of interest to philosophers, political theorists, classicists, historians, and anyone generally intrigued by the ironies, mysteries, and longings of human nature and psychology.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781461666165
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 06/07/2000
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Waller Newell is professor of political science at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: A Platonic Perspective on Eros, Tyranny, and Statesmanship
Chapter 2 The Problem of Callicles: Two Kinds of Eros
Chapter 3 The Ontology of Primordialism and the Platonic Critique of the Sophists
Chapter 4 The Erotics of Statecraft
Chapter 5 The Education of the Civic-Spirited
Chapter 6 Virtue, Eros, and Trancendence
Chapter 7 Conclusion: Socratic Statesmanship

What People are Saying About This

Henry Higuera

Ruling Passion is a masterful reading of Plato, and it is also the most complex and nuanced analysis in our day of political ambition and the theoretical challenges it raises. Through the character of Callicles in the Gorgias Newell captures both the idealism and the selfishness intertwined in political ambition. Their deep connection, he shows, sheds a harsh but revealing light on both eros in the Symposium and the tripartite soul in the Republic. This portrayal of "the problem of Callicles" deserves to haunt all thinking on these topics for the next decade or so.

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