Platonic Studies of Greek Philosophy

Form, Arts, Gadgets, and Hemlock

By Robert S. Brumbaugh

Subjects: Ancient Greek Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Philosophy
Paperback : 9780887068980, 302 pages, January 1989
Hardcover : 9780887068973, 302 pages, January 1989

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Table of contents




Part I: Reinterpreting Plato's Republic


1. A New Interpretation of Plato's Republic
2. Interpreting Book V When the Republic is Read as Dialectic
3. Republic VI: The Divided Line
4. Republic VII: The Ideal Curriculum and Education
5. Republic VIII-IX: On Mathematical Imagery


Part II: On Some Platonic Questions


6. Doctrine and Dramatic Dates in Plato's Later Dialogues
7. Diction and Dialectic: A Note on the Sophist
8. Plato's Atlantis: Myth or History?
9. The Text and Intention of Plato's Parmenides


Part III: Platonic Thoughts about Aristotle


10. If Aristotle Had Become Head of the Academy . ..
11. The Unity of Aristotle's Metaphysics
12. Aristotle as a Mathematician


Part IV: Ideal Form in a World of Gadgets


13. The World of the Greek Philosophers and the Sense of Form
14. Classical Gadgets, the Hardware of Early Western Science
15. Scientific Apparatus Onstage in 423 BC
16. Plato's Relation to the Arts and Crafts


Part V: The Feminine, Genres, and Once Again the Hemlock


17. Four Definitions of Women in Classical Philosophy
18. Philosophy and Literary Style: Two Paradigms of Classical Examples
19. The Trial of Socrates


Epilogue. All the Great Ideas

A Postscript. My Final Lecture on the History of Ancient Philosophy



Robert S. Brumbaugh is Professor of Philosophy at Yale University.


"Platonic Studies is a tour de force of contemporary philosophy, combining painstaking analyses of Platonic and Aristotelian texts with imaginative reconstruction. It links a revisionary interpretation of the ancient social, scientific, and technological setting for Greek philosophy with trenchant 'Platonic' criticisms of contemporary conditions. Technical analyses, such as that of the mathematical ratios structuring the argument of a dialogue, are lightened with personal observations about what attracted the author's original interest to the problem. A recurrent motif throughout these essays is a brilliant and deliberate strategy of positioning each of the topics to show why they are of interest to a contemporary reader—not only for current applicability but because our own experience opens us to appreciate the ancient Greek world in ways often opaque to our predecessors. A persuasive part of Brumbaugh's Platonism is that his topics are interesting and valuable in themselves, and knowing about them is thus intrinsically worthwhile. This is a truly extraordinary book by an extraordinary thinker. " — Robert C. Neville, SUNY, Stony Brook

"Brumbaugh has an uncanny ability to shed new light on familiar works, such as The Republic. He shows the reader how to look at Plato's dialogues in terms of the characters in the drama as well as the direct illustration of method and ideas. " — Brian Hendley, University of Waterloo, Ontario