Seminar in Philosophy: Plato: Gorgias and Republic
Another fine image from the Perseus
collection! Seated at left is the artisan god Hephaestus. He is showing
the goddess Thetis the marvelous armor (shield, helmet, and leg armor)
that he has made for her son Achilles. The shield in particular
is literally marvelous; according to Homer (Iliad 478-608) the images with
which Hephaestus has adorned the shield seem to move and make sounds.
(This may not seem like a big deal now, but remember that Hephaestus
doesn't have access to electricity - Zeus controls that.) Why, if the
gods have arts, do they not have philosophy? And why do we have arts and philosophy?
This page lists each week's assigned reading, plus supplementary
recommended and suggested reading. Recommended readings are those I
think will be very helpful; suggested and optional readings are those I
think will be helpful or interesting, but not of as high a priority as
the recommended ones. Toward the bottom of the page you will find some
suggested readings that cover broader topics than we can cover in a
through the whole
page periodically. As I come across additional materials that might be
of interest concerning each topic I will add them.
Some of the readings listed here are available online through databases
to which the GMU Library subscribes. To access articles on the
library's databases: Go to the GMU
library page. Click "Research Databases" and then click on the
of your selected database ('J' for JSTOR, 'P' for Project Muse, etc.).
If you are off-campus or if you are not using the GMU dialup service,
you will have to enter your email address and password to access these
For JSTOR: From the page of 'J' listings, click on JSTOR. Then click on
"Search," and from the "Search" page, click on "Advanced Search." Enter
the author's name and the journal title in the appropriate search
boxes. For prolific authors, it may be helpful to enter the date or a
bit of the article title as well. Alternate method: From the main JSTOR
page, click on "Browse" and scroll down until you find the title of the
journal you're looking for, then click on that title. This will bring
you to a page listing all issues of the journal.
Unless otherwise noted, all articles
are available via JSTOR.
Reading due January 27
447a - 488b
David Roochnik, "Is Rhetoric an Art?" Rhetorica
12.2 (1994): 127-154. Available online via JSTOR.
Metaphysics Book A (Book One),
Chapters 1 and 2
notes on Metaphysics Book A,
Chapters 1 and 2
- Recommended (required, if you
don't remember, or don't yet know, what a technē is)
Michael Gagarin, "Did the Sophists Aim to Persuade?" Rhetorica
19.3 (2001): 275-291.
Available online via JSTOR.
1. Jacob Howland, "Re-Reading Plato: The Problem of
Platonic Chronology." Phoenix. 45.3 (1991): 189-214.
due February 3
488b - 509c
1. Isocrates, "Against the Sophists." Available
. Isocrates was roughly contemporary with Plato. (Please
note that the footnotes in the Perseus edition were written by the text
editor, Norlin, and not by Isocrates.)
2. Kenneth C. Blanchard, Jr.,
"The Enemies of
Socrates: Piety and Sophism in the Socratic Drama." The
Review of Politics 62.3 (2000): 421-449. Available
online via JSTOR.
1. James L. Wiser, "Philosophy as Political Action: A
Reading of the Gorgias." American
Journal of Political Science 19.2 1975): 313-322.
due February 17
509c - 527e
1. Dan Avnon, "'Know Thyself': Socratic Companionship and Political
Community." Political Theory
23.2 (1995): 304-329.
2. Alessandra Fussi, "The Myth of the Last Judgment in the Gorgias
." Review of Metaphysics
due February 24
due March 3
David Sachs, "A Fallacy in Plato's Republic
2. Raphael Demos, "A Fallacy in Plato's Republic
?" Philosophical Review
C.D.C. Reeve, "Glaucon's Challenge and Thrasymacheanism." Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy
34 (2008): 69-104. (Available via Google Books.)
due March 17
due March 24
J.M. Cooper, "The Psychology of Justice in Plato." American Philosophical Quarterly
due March 31
Notes on Plato's Republic
Books V - VII
due April 7
2. John D. Harman, "The Unhappy Philosopher: Plato's Republic
as Tragedy." Polity
18.4 (1986): 577-594.
1. John Ferguson, "Sun, Line, and Cave Again." Classical Quarterly
new series 13.2
due April 14
David Roochnik, "Counting on Number: Plato on the Goodness of
Arithmos." American Journal of
115.4 (1994): 543-563.
due April 21
due April 28
due May 5
General background, and works of
2. Carol Poster, " The Idea(s) of Order of Platonic
Dialogues and Their Hermeneutic Consequences." Phoenix
52.3/4 (1998): 282-298.
3. Scott Consigny, Gorgias: Sophist
Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press,
2001. On reserve at the JC Library.
4. Francisco Gonzalez, ed., The
Third Way: New Directions in Platonic Studies.
Rowman and Littlefield, 1995. On
reserve at the JC Library.
(The Introduction is especially
5. James King, "Elenchus, Self-Blame, and the Socratic Paradox." Review of Metaphysics
6. Debra Nails, The People of Plato.
Indianapolis: Hackett, 2002. On
reserve at the JC Library.
7. Gerald Press, ed., Plato's
Dialogues: New Studies and Interpretations.
Lanham, MD: Rowman
and Littlefield, 1993. On reserve at
the JC Library.
8. Gerald Press, ed., Who Speaks for
Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000. On reserve at the JC Library.