Socratic Charis: Philosophy without the Agon

Socratic Charis: Philosophy without the Agon

by Lisa Atwood Wilkinson


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Socratic Charis: Philosophy without the Agon by Lisa Atwood Wilkinson

This book explores the possibility that Plato’s philosophia is influenced by non-agonal practices and values that historically and philosophically antedate the agonal practices of the Athenian ekklesia. The author surveys literature concerning the predominance of agonal in ancient Greek culture, the values associated with oral poetic performance as a religious practice, and the ubiquitous character of the gift practice known as xenia in the ancient world. The author compares the structure of the agon to the structure of other ancient practices, and reasons that while agonistic practices are oppositional and binary, poetic and social practices are narrative and plural and exemplify, alternative to the agonal, the value of charis—grace. Reading Socratic speech and Socratic inquiry in terms of charis illuminates the narrative structure of Plato’s portrayal of Socrates and precludes one-dimensional analyses of Plato’s writings as philosophically agonistic and demonstrative. Rather the value of Socratic charis illustrates the value of genuine dialogue, and the author suggests how revaluing Socratic dialogue in light of charis can be relevant to current thinking about philosophy, politics, and the agon.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780739167175
Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication date: 03/01/2013
Pages: 190
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Lisa A. Wilkinson is associate professor of philosophy at Nebraska Wesleyan University and author of “Parmenides and To Eon: Reconsidering Muthos and Logos”.

Table of Contents

Introduction – Gold for Bronze
Chapter 1: Troubling the Agon
The Myth of the Agon
The Politics of the Agon
The History of the Agon
Chapter 2: Non-Agonistic Practices
Who and What is Zeus?
Non-Agonistic Speech
Chapter 3: Xenia: An economy of Charis
Gift Practices
God for Bronze
Chapter 4: The “Gift” of Socrates
Who and What is Socrates?
Socrates as Gift
The Economy of Philosophy
Chapter 5: Socratic Charis
Poetic Charis
Cephalus: A Graceful Head?
Socratic Charis
Epilogue – Listening for the Tyrant

What People are Saying About This

Marina McCoy

Wilkinson's book challenges traditional accounts of the agonistic nature of Greek society, suggesting thatcharisor "grace" is an equally important concept. Her book is an innovative work that offers new insights and opens up fresh lines of inquiry into the nature of poetic practice, political friendship, and Socratic dialogue. Wilkinson helps us to reconnect Socratic philosophical practice to social relationships and political community.

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