In this Book

Penn State University Press
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summary
In this first comprehensive treatment of Plato’s political thought in a long time, John Wallach offers a "critical historicist" interpretation of Plato. Wallach shows how Plato’s theory, while a radical critique of the conventional ethical and political practice of his own era, can be seen as having the potential for contributing to democratic discourse about ethics and politics today. The author argues that Plato articulates and "solves" his Socratic Problem in his various dialogues in different but potentially complementary ways. The book effectively extracts Plato from the straightjacket of Platonism and from the interpretive perspectives of the past fifty years—principally those of Karl Popper, Leo Strauss, Hannah Arendt, M. I. Finley, Jacques Derrida, and Gregory Vlastos. The author’s distinctive approach for understanding Plato—and, he argues, for the history of political theory in general—can inform contemporary theorizing about democracy, opening pathways for criticizing democracy on behalf of virtue, justice, and democracy itself.

Table of Contents

  1. Front Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
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  1. Preface, Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-xi
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-14
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  1. Part 1: Settings
  2. p. 15
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  1. 1. Interpreting Plato Politically
  2. pp. 17-39
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  1. 2. Historicizing the Platonic Political Art
  2. pp. 41-119
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  1. Part 2: Interpretations
  2. p. 121
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  1. 3. The Political Art in Aporetic Dialogues, or Plato’s
  2. pp. 123-211
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  1. 4. The Constitution of Justice: The Political Art in Plato’s Republic
  2. pp. 213-329
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  1. 5. The Political Art as Practical Rule
  2. pp. 331-387
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  1. Part 3: An Appropriation
  2. p. 389
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  1. 6. The Platonic Political Art and Postliberal Democracy
  2. pp. 391-431
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 433-457
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 458-468
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  1. Back Cover
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