Why Plato Wrote

Why Plato Wrote

by Danielle S. Allen


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Why Plato Wrote by Danielle S. Allen

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.

  • Shows that Plato wrote to change Athenian society and thereby transform Athenian politics
  • Offers accessible discussions of Plato’s philosophy of language and political theory
  • Selected by Choice as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2011

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781118454398
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 12/26/2012
Series: Blackwell-Bristol Lectures on Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition Series
Pages: 244
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

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

Acknowledgments ix

Abbreviations xi

Prologue: Why Think about Plato? 1

Part I: Why Plato Wrote 9

Chapter 1: Who Was Plato? 11

Chapter 2: The Importance of Symbols in Human Life 24

Chapter 3: The Philosopher as Model-Maker 38

Chapter 4: The Philosopher as Shadow-Maker 55

Chapter 5: What Plato Wrote 70

Chapter 6: How Plato Lived 79

Part II: What Plato Did 87

Chapter 7: The Case for Influence 89

Chapter 8: Culture War Emergent 108

Chapter 9: Culture War Concluded 122

Epilogue: And to My Colleagues 143

Appendix 1: The Relationship between Paradigms and Forms 148

Appendix 2: A Second Tri-partite Division of the Soul? 154

Appendix 3: Miso- Compounds in Greek Literature 158

Notes 161

References 206

Further Reading 215

Index 219

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“In this groundbreaking book Danielle Allen gives us Plato for the 21st century: a boldly pragmatic and fiercely political philosopher, a ‘legislator of the world’ whose vivid writing reframed the moral practices of real communities, a provocative and successful linguistic entrepreneur whose Socratic dialogues sparked a culture war that defined Athenian politics in the Age of Alexander. Compelling reading for anyone who cares passionately about philosophy, politics, or classical Greece.”
Josiah Ober, Stanford University

“Why Plato Wrote is a deep and original work of scholarship, a model of how the history of political philosophy should be studied, and a pleasure to read.”
Richard Kraut, Northwestern University

“Allen finds Plato to have invented himself as a writer in order to use language as a route to social change.  The simple question 'why Plato wrote' unlocks a key to Plato's political thought which no future scholar will be able to do without.”
Melissa Lane, Princeton University

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