Plato - A Voice for Peace. Political Accountability and Dramatic Staging
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With this dissertation I intend to give a contribution to the field peace and peacethematic. The hypothesis of the dissertation is that it is possible to read the Platonic corpus as a body of critique where Plato in the last resort stands forth as a voice pro peace. I employ a method denoted as slow reading, and I read the dialogues systematic from the outset of their internal dramatic dating.
I present two main arguments. The first is that the Republic can be read as dramatic backdrop for the other dialogues. The readings of the Republic will show, on the one hand, how Socrates legitimizes the discipline of philosophy by contrasting it to sophistry; on the other hand, that by awakening the well-established two-city-topos Socrates paves the way for a profound critique of Athenian cultural and moral values. This, in turn, leads to a redefinition of the concepts stasis (faction) and polemos (war) which entails radical new thoughts that are not reducible to the contemporary warwaging politics. The second argument is related to the dialogues, which I denote as dramatic historical touchdowns. I relate to the theme encountering youths and highlights how Socrates, in conversations with young men intends to make them turn toward philosophy, which is an education and a path aiming toward freedom. Regarding the dialogues, I argue that the readers are invited to view how the past is recreated in the present, and to apprehend that this recreating is a dramatic and welldirected showing of how the past is responsible for the present conditions. In addition, I analyze the entrance of the Eleatic Stranger; he brings confusion at stage and through him, the Socratic practice of philosophy gradually fades away. The last text encountered is Socrates’ apology where I—through a rhetorical reading—show that he presented a coherent defense both as a philosopher and as a citizen.
Overall, through the readings I intend to show that the Platonic corpus contains a critique of the values that led to the decay of Athens. Due to this critique and the dramatic staging of prominent personas not willing or able to change, the past was made responsible for the conditions of the present. By launching an alternative politeia and paideia that is not compatible to war-waging, and by showing the multiple and, thus individual, paths toward philosophy, Plato in the end stands forth as a powerful voice pro peace.