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 single week. Check through the whole page at least once per week, for as I come across additional materials that might be of interest concerning each topic I will add them.
The schedule of readings is
to change, depending on whether there are snow days, whether there are
days scheduled for make-ups of classes cancelled due to snow days, and
other contingencies. The class will be notified if such changes occur.
Weiss, R. "Oh, Brother! The
of Rhetoric and Philosophy in Plato's Gorgias." Interpretation:
A Journal of Political Philosophy vol. 30, no. 2 (2003): 195-206.
journal is available in Fenwick Library. (Note: Fenwick subscribes to
journals entitled Interpretation, so check for the subtitle A
Journal of Political Philosophy.)
Cooper, J.M. Reason and Emotion. Princeton University Press, 1999.
Gonzalez, F.J., ed. The Third Way: New Directions in Platonic Studies. Rowman and Littlefield, 1995. The Introduction is especially helpful.
Griswold, C.L. "E Pluribus Unum?" Ancient Philosophy 19 (1999): 361-397; see also the response by C.H. Kahn and a reply to Kahn by Griswold in Ancient Philosophy 20 (2000). Available in Fenwick Library. Griswold discusses recent work pertaining to the following issues, among others: whether and in what way Plato's dialogues might be seen as connected or unified; whether some dialogues should be identified as "early," "middle," or "late," and if so for what reasons and with what implications; whether there is evidence that Plato or Socrates changed his views over time; and how if at all views can be ascribed to Plato or Socrates.
Hösle, V. "Interpreting Philosophical Dialogues." Antike und Abendland 48 (2002): 68-90. In Fenwick Library.
Mara, G.M. "Democratic Self-Criticism and the Other in Classical Political Theory." The Journal of Politics vol. 65, no. 3 (2003): 739-758. (This article does not deal directly with the dialogues we will study, but it makes points that are relevant to the issues they raise.)
Nails, D. The People of Plato. Hackett, 2002. This book looks first of all at which of the characters in Plato's dialogues, and which of the people they mention, are based on historical people. Nails then gathers a terrific amount of information on these people, their families, and the events in which they were involved; and lays this out in a systematic and comprehensible manner. She also presents a comprehensive discussion of the "dramatic date" of each dialogue, if that can be determined. (The "dramatic date" of a dialogue is the date when the action of the dialogue is supposed to take place. For example, the dramatic date of the Apology must be 399 BCE, as we know from independent information that Socrates' trial was in 399 BCE.)
Press, G., ed. Who Speaks for Plato? Rowman and Littlefield, 2000. Chapters 1, 2, and 15 may be particularly helpful.
Roochnik, D. The Tragedy of Reason. Routledge, 1990.
of interest on sophists too.
Vlastos, G. "The Paradox of Socrates." In Vlastos, Studies
in Greek Philosophy, Vol. II: Socrates, Plato and Their
Tradition. Ed. D.W. Graham. Princeton University Press,
Cassin, B. "Who's Afraid of the Sophists? Against Ethical Correctness." Trans. C.T. Wolfe. Hypatia vol. 15, no. 4 (2000): 102-120. Available in print version in Fenwick Library, and electronically through Project Muse. (For instructions on how to access Project Muse, click on the link or scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page.)
Cavell, S. "Beginning to Read Barbara Cassin." Hypatia vol. 15, no. 4 (2000): 99-101. Available in print in Fenwick Library, and electronically through Project Muse.
Consigny, S. Gorgias: Sophist and Artist. University of South Carolina Press, 2001.
Gagarin, M. "Did the Sophists aim to Persuade?" Rhetorica vol. 19, no. 3 (2001): 275-291. Available in Fenwick Library.
Guthrie, W.K.C. A History of Greek Philosophy, Vol. III: The Sophists. Cambridge University Press, 1971. Warning: Guthrie's analysis of surviving writings by sophists and of Greek poetry is excellent, highly scholarly, and very responsible. However, Guthrie does not stop there. He assumes that when Plato uses a real-life sophist (or any real-life person) as a character in his dialogues, Plato puts into that character's mouth things that the real-life person actually said, or something close. For example, Guthrie assumes that the historical Protagoras actually said the things that Plato's charcter Protagoras says; or at least, that the historical Protagoras would agree with the things Plato's character says. Guthrie seems to believe that Plato would not be exaggerating, speculating, using poetic license, etc. in writing these dialogues. It is certainly reasonable to think that when Plato uses a real-life person as a character (i.e. when he bases a character on a historical person), there must be some connection between what the character says and does, and what the historical person said and did. However, it is not immediately clear what those connections are: we have no evidence that Gorgias, Protagoras, Polus, Callicles, et al. actually said, or would say, what Plato has the characters with those names say. Perhaps they would think he was misrepresenting them; perhaps not. The point is, when you read Guthrie, it is most prudent to focus on his analysis of known sophistic writings, of poetry, and of historical data.
Loenen, J.H.M.M. Parmenides, Melissus, Gorgias. Royal VanGorcum, 1959.
Schiappa, E. Protagoras and Logos. University of South Carolina Press, 1991.
Schmitz, T.A. "Plausibility in the Greek Orators." American Journal of Philology vol. 121, no. 1 (2000): 47-77. Available in print in Fenwick Library, and electronically through Project Muse.
Sprague, R.K., ed. The Older Sophists. University of South Carolina Press, 1972. This is a collection of translations of the extant fragments of the writings of sophists of the fifth and fourth centuries BCE.
Wardy, R. The Birth of Rhetoric: Gorgias, Plato, and their successors. Routledge, 1996.
Woodruff, P. "Rhetoric and Relativism: Protagoras and Gorgias." Ch.
14 in A.A. Long, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Early Greek
Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Curd, P.K. The Legacy of Parmenides. Princeton University Press, 1998.
Hussey, E. The Presocratics. Hackett, 1972.
Kirk, G.S., J.E. Raven, and M. Schofield. The Presocratic Philosophers. 2d ed. Cambridge University Press, 1983.
Loenen, J.H.M.M. Parmenides, Melissus, Gorgias. Royal VanGorcum, 1959.
Long, A.A., ed. The Cambridge Companion to Early Greek Philosophy. Cambridge University Press, 1999. Chapter 6, by D. Sedley, is on Parmenides and Melissus; Chapter 7, by R. McKirahan, is on Zeno. This book also has a very comprehensive bibliography.
McKirahan, R. Philosophy Before Socrates. Hackett, 1994.
Mourelatos, A.P.D., ed. The Pre-Socratics: A Collection of Essays. 2d ed. Princeton University Press, 1993. Part V is on Parmenides, Part VI on Zeno.
Mourelatos, A.P.D. The Route of Parmenides. Yale University Press, 1970.
Tarán, L. Parmenides. Princeton University
Fussi, A. "Why is the Gorgias so Bitter?" Philosophy
and Rhetoric vol. 33, no. 1 (2000): 39-58. In Fenwick Library.
Klosko, G. "The Refutation of Callicles in Plato's Gorgias."
Greece and Rome 31 (1984):
126-139. Available in print in Fenwick Library, and electronically
Vlastos, G. "Was Polus Refuted?" In Vlastos, Studies
in Greek Philosophy,Vol. II.
B. Williams, Shame and Necessity. University of
There is also another way to get on-line journal articles: Go
to the GMU library page. Click on
"E-journal finder" ('e-journal' means a journal that is available
such journals often also exist in print form). Enter a word from the
of the journal in the "Keyword" box. (You can also try entering the
title in the "Title" box, but that often fails unless you know the
title as the publisher lists it - for example, 'The Classical
works although ''Classical Quarterly' does not.) If that doesn't work,
try clicking on the first letter of the journal's title from the
above the search boxes. That should bring you to a page where the
title is listed along with the database(s) where it can be found.