Tag Archives: Plato

“Essential Vulnerabilities: Plato and Levinas on Relations to the Other”

In Essential Vulnerabilities, Deborah Achtenberg contests Emmanuel Levinas’s idea that Plato is a philosopher of freedom for whom thought is a return to the self. Instead, Plato, like Levinas, is a philosopher of the other. Nonetheless, Achtenberg argues, Plato and Levinas are different. Though they share the view that human beings are essentially vulnerable and essentially in relation to others, they conceive human vulnerability and responsiveness differently. For Plato, when we see beautiful others, we are knocked out by the beauty of what is, by the vision of eternal form. For Levinas, we are disrupted by the newness, foreignness, or singularity of the other. The other, for him, is new or foreign, not eternal. The other is unknowable singularity. By showing these similarities and differences, Achtenberg resituates Plato in relation to Levinas and opens up two contrasting ways that self is essentially in relation to others.

Comic Cure for Delusional Democracy

This book shows how the discussion which is Plato’s Republic is a comic mimetic cure for civic and psychic delusion. Plato creates such pharmaka, or noble lies, for reasons enunciated by Socrates within the discussion, but this indicates Plato must think his readers are in the position of needing the catharses such fictions produce. Socrates’ interlocutors must be like us. Since cities are like souls, and souls come to be as they are through the mimesis of desires, dreams, actions and thought patterns in the city, we should expect that political theorizing often suffers from madness as well. It does. Fendt shows how contemporary political (and psychological) theory still suffers from the same delusion Socrates’ interlocutors reveal in their discussion: a dream of autarchia called possessive individualism. Plato has good reason to think that only a mimetic, rather than a rational and philosophical, cure can work. Against many standard readings, Comic Cure for Delusional Democracy shows that the Republic itself is a defense of poetry; that kallipolis cannot be the best city and is not Socrates’ ideal; that there are six forms of regime, not five; and that the true philosopher should not be unhappy to go back down into Plato’s cave.

Job Opening: Penn State, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Plato

The Department of Philosophy [http://philosophy.la.psu.edu] invites applications for a tenure track position, rank Assistant Professor, beginning Fall 2014. AOS: Ancient philosophy, particularly Plato. AOC: Open. The Department of Philosophy seeks candidates whose work is firmly grounded in ancient Greek philosophical texts and also conversant with the department’s areas of strength, including continental philosophy, American philosophy, feminist philosophy, and critical philosophy of race. Preference will be given to candidates whose work is informed by an engagement with the history of philosophy and who have a demonstrated ability to promote dialogue across philosophical traditions, both established and emerging.

The ability to contribute to the Humanities in a Digital Age (HDA) Initiative in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State (http://sites.psu.edu/humanitiesda/) is also desirable, though not required. The HDA initiative aims to use technology to enrich and promote rigorous cross-disciplinary humanities scholarship and research, open new opportunities for high caliber graduate placements in the humanities, and enhance the undergraduate experience by providing students access to, and support for, cutting-edge digital humanities research.

Applications must be submitted electronically at www.la.psu.edu/facultysearch. Please include a letter of application describing research, teaching, and any graduate mentoring experience, along with a CV, representative publications, and a brief teaching portfolio. Three letters of recommendation should be sent to Robin Haynes (rjh3@psu.edu). Inquiries may be sent to Christopher Long, search committee chair (cpl2@psu.edu). Ph.D. must be completed prior to commencement of employment. Applications received on or before November 1, 2013, will be guaranteed full review. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and diversity of its workplace. We encourage applications from individuals of diverse backgrounds.

Kirkland Publishes The Ontology of Socratic Questioning

The Ontology of Socratic Questioning in Plato's Early Dialogues

UPDATE: The Ontology of Socratic Questioning has won the 2013 Symposium Book Award of the Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy. Congratulations Sean!

The APS is happy to call your attention to the appearance of Sean Kirkland’s The Ontology of Socratic Questioning in Plato’s Early Dialogues with the SUNY University Press.

This study offers an encompassing (because fundamental) re-interpretation of the philosophical project of Socrates as depicted in Plato’s early dialogues. Throughout the works generally deemed early and authentic, the author finds a fairly uniform presentation of Socratic philosophizing, but one which upon careful review requires a radical new interpretation. Indeed, departing at the most basic level from orthodox approaches to these works,The Ontology of Socratic Questioning in Plato’s Early Dialogues does greater justice to the Platonic text, often going deeply into the etymological complexities and various resonances of Plato’s Greek. And precisely in so doing, it allows these ancient works to speak illuminatingly to one of the most central philosophical issues with which we find ourselves confronted in our present historical moment—how to think philosophically beyond the subject/object relation. Over the course of these chapters, Socratic questioning proves to be aimed at the being of virtue conceived as something other than objective reality and it proves to be undertaken by a philosophizing self conceived as something other than a subject.

Please join us in congratulating Sean on this accomplishment.

Schultz Publishes Plato’s Socrates as Narrator

Plato's Socrates as Narrator: A Philosophical Muse

The APS is very pleased to announce the appearance of Anne-Marie Schultz’s new book, Plato at Narrator: A Philosophical Muse, published by Lexington Books.

Jill Gordon writes of the book:

In this original work, Schultz draws our attention to the dialogues in which Plato has Socrates serve as narrator, and she opens a new window onto his role and function in the dialogues. Schultz provides rich interpretations of the individual dialogues she examines, while at the same time revealing a powerful lens through which to view Plato’s project and his use of Socratic narrative to further particular philosophical ends. In the process, she offers new insights that enhance scholars’ understanding of Socratic intellectualism, the role of the emotions in philosophical endeavors, various models of virtue portrayed in the dialogues, and Socrates’ relation to Homeric and other foundational narratives in Greek culture. In the end, Schultz offers a provocative and persuasive account of how Socrates as narrator of certain Platonic dialogues entices and exhorts his auditors—and Plato’s readers—to good philosophical practices.

Ryan Drake writes:

In Plato’s Socrates as Narrator, Dr Schultz provides an invaluable entry into reflections on the interrelations between the practice of philosophy, on the one hand, and its transmission, on the other, arguing in effect that the retelling of Socrates’ philosophical encounters as we find them in the Platonic corpus belongs to the work of philosophy itself. While Plato scholarship in recent years has become increasingly attuned to the ways in which the literary and dramatic aspects of the dialogues operate as integral to their philosophical content, Prof. Schultz takes such scholarship a step further to demonstrate how the status of particular dialogues as narrated contributes as well to a fuller understanding of Plato’s conception of philosophy. From the vantage point achieved through mediation on particular dialogues in their status as narrated encounters Prof. Schultz brings to light the character of philosophy not simply as an intellectual pursuit composed of explicit propositions, but also as a basic human comportment involving the motives, affects, and social position of specific character types. Both accessibly written and rigorously developed, Prof. Schultz’ investigations into the narrative and literary aspects of the Platonic corpus speak to the interests of advanced Plato scholars and beginning students alike.

To hear a discussion of the book with the author, listen to Digital Dialogue 60: Socratic Narrative.

Congratulations to Anne-Marie for the publication of this important book.

Recco and Sanday Edit Volume on Plato’s Laws

Two long time members of the APS have co-edited a volume entitled: Plato’s Laws: Force and Truth in Politics

Here is what Indiana University Press says:

Readers of Plato have often neglected the Laws because of its length and density. In this set of interpretive essays, notable scholars of the Laws from the fields of classics, history, philosophy, and political science offer a collective close reading of the dialogue “book by book” and reflect on the work as a whole. In their introduction, editors Gregory Recco and Eric Sanday explore the connections among the essays and the dramatic and productive exchanges between the contributors. This volume fills a major gap in studies on Plato’s dialogues by addressing the cultural and historical context of the Laws and highlighting their importance to contemporary scholarship.

Our own Marina McCoy of Boston College writes:

A diverse set of intelligent and original essays on the Laws featuring some of the best names in American scholarship.

Congratulations to Greg and Eric and to all the contributors published in this volume.

Gonzalez and Deslauries to Speak at APS@SPEP

We at the Ancient Philosophy Society are very excited to have two excellent speakers joining us the annual SPEP meeting being held this year in Montreal.

Francisco Gonzalez of the University of Ottawa will be presenting “What’s in a Moment? Time for Aristotle (and Heidegger)” and Marguerite Deslauriers of McGill University will be speaking on “Sexual Difference and Divine Being in Plato’s Statesman and Symposium.”

Please join us on Thursday morning, 9am to noon, November 4th, 2010 in Maisonneve D at the Marriott Château Champlain Hotel.

Also, don’t forget, the deadline for the Call for Papers for the 2011 APS Conference at Sundance in April is November 15, 2010.

Post-Doctoral Research Fellowships in Ancient Greek Philosophy in São Paulo

The Research Project on Greek Classical Philosophy: Plato, Aristotle, and their Influence in Antiquity announces three (3) postdoctoral positions at the Philosophy Department, University of São Paulo, in the following areas:

  • Plato’s Philosophy (1 Fellowship)
  • Aristotle’s Philosophy (1 Fellowship)
  • Hellenistic or Plotinus’ Philosophy (1 Fellowship)

The fellowships will be appointed to a two-year term, renewable for an additional term, beginning in March 2011. Each fellowship carries a departmental application and the responsibility of joining in the research activities of the Research Project (research seminars, conferences, meetings). These fellowships correspond to a research position, with no teaching responsibilities attached.

The fellowships are sponsored by FAPESP. Chosen candidates will earn R$ 5,028.00 (Brazilian currency) per month, tax free.

Applicants may apply to more than one position.

They should have completed the PhD in Philosophy or Classics, preferably no earlier than 2006. For each position, the applicant must include :

  • an updated Curriculum Vitae;
  • a statement of proposed research (no more than 4 pages, plus 1 separate page for bibliography), specifying the topic(s) to be studied, including a research schedule for the first two years and a list of expected publications;
  • a writing sample (dissertation chapter or other paper);
  • one sealed letter of recommendation, to be sent directly by the person making the recommendation to the address below.

All documents should be submitted in printed form; please note that the materials will not be returned. Candidates will be notified by e-mail once their dossier has been processed (please provide an e-mail address in the application).

All dossier materials and the selection committee’s evaluations remain confidential. The committee is not able to provide feedback on individual applications.

Closing date for all applications: November 13th 2010.

Applications (in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese) should be submitted (as print materials) to:

Prof. Marco Zingano
Philosophy Department
Av. Prof. Luciano Gualberto, 315
05508-900 São Paulo, SP

More information can be obtained in these sites:

Research Project: http://www.bv.fapesp.br/en/projetos-tematicos/7226/greek-classical- philosophy-plato-aristotle/
USP Department of Philosophy (www.fflch.usp.br/df)
Journal of Ancient Philosophy (www.filosofiaantiga.com)
FAPESP (www.fapesp.br)

For information not available in these sites, please contact Prof. Marco Zingano at mzingano@usp.br .

Visiting Position at Skidmore College

The Department of Philosophy and Religion at Skidmore College invites applications for
a one year, Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy for the 2010/2011 academic year.
Six courses per year, undergraduate teaching. AOS: Open//AOC: Greek. Person hired
will be responsible for teaching Introduction to Ancient Greek Philosophy, Seminar in
Plato, Introduction to Philosophy, and other courses in her or his specialty as the
schedule permits.

Minimum qualifications: ABD with significant teaching experience. PhD preferred.

Review of applications begins immediately with the position open until filled.

To learn more about and apply for this position please visit Skidmore’s website at:

Plato’s Many Devices Reviewed

Gerard Kuperus suggested that it might be a good idea to link to this review of the volume Gary Alan Scott edited entitled, Philosophy in Dialogue: Plato’s Many Devices. The review is by Rebecca Benson Cain.  In it she speaks very well of the work as a whole, which includes articles from a number of members of the Ancient Philosophy Society.

Check out Cain’s full review, which appears in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2009.04.71.

Here is a link to the book, available from Amazon.com.