This article considers the relationship between lógos and agency in Plato's Ion. It argues the dialogue's concern with its own agency as a dialogic text is a portrait of the rational structure of human action. The Ion stages this concern in two ways–it has a reflexive plot that mirrors the psychology of the titular character and it yokes together war and poetry. Ion's performative art is competitive recitation, and the Ion begins with Homer as divine poet, and ends with Ion as unacknowledged military general. Thus the dialogue seems to structurally aim at overcoming the tension between action and reflection, even as it raises the stakes: violence requires no words; poetry requires no deeds. This, the author suggests, frames a question about the agency of lógos itself by highlighting the Ion's way of investigation. The medium and the object of the dialogue are the same; poetry and prose are not distinguished by mónon tà ěpē–words alone (530c1).


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pp. 3-30
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