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Flores, Samuel OrtencioThe Roles of Solon in Plato’s Dialogues
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2013, Greek and Latin
This dissertation is a study of Plato’s use and adaptation of an earlier model and tradition of wisdom based on the thought and legacy of the sixth-century archon, legislator, and poet Solon. Solon is cited and/or quoted thirty-four times in Plato’s dialogues, and alluded to many more times. My study shows that these references and allusions have deeper meaning when contextualized within the reception of Solon in the classical period. For Plato, Solon is a rhetorically powerful figure in advancing the relatively new practice of philosophy in Athens. While Solon himself did not adequately establish justice in the city, his legacy provided a model upon which Platonic philosophy could improve. Chapter One surveys the passing references to Solon in the dialogues as an introduction to my chapters on the dialogues in which Solon is a very prominent figure, Timaeus-Critias, Republic, and Laws. Chapter Two examines Critias’ use of his ancestor Solon to establish his own philosophic credentials. Chapter Three suggests that Socrates re-appropriates the aims and themes of Solon’s political poetry for Socratic philosophy. Chapter Four suggests that Solon provides a legislative model which Plato reconstructs in the Laws for the philosopher to supplant the role of legislator in Greek thought. The Athenian Stranger orients legislation towards virtue. I conclude that figure of Solon provides a basis for Plato to redirect the aims of politics towards philosophy and cultivation of virtue in the soul.

Committee:

Bruce Heiden (Advisor); Anthony Kaldellis (Committee Member); Richard Fletcher (Committee Member); Greg Anderson (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Ancient History; Classical Studies; Philosophy

Keywords:

Plato; Solon; ancient philosophy; classics

Danielewicz, Joseph RobertParody as Pedagogy in Plato's Dialogues
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2015, Greek and Latin
This dissertation is a study of parody in Plato’s dialogues. In it I argue that parody is not merely a literary, aesthetic, or rhetorical feature of his texts, but a part of his philosophical program and pedagogy. Plato humorously represents the ideas of other intellectuals to show the reader things about them which they might not have seen before such as their hidden assumptions and unintended consequences. In the Introduction I contrast my position with that which sees Plato’s philosophy as equivalent to some number of doctrines or philosophical positions. Often we try to square what Socrates is saying with what we think Plato believes, instead of seeing that what he says is actually a critical parody of someone else’s views. Here I situate my argument within larger schools of Platonic interpretation and discuss the history and theory of parody. In Chapter One I argue that we can better understand Plato’s use of parody by looking at his dramatic predecessor, Aristophanes. The comic playwright not only humorously represents and subjects to criticism many of the same ideas and habits of thought and speech Plato does, but he too does so in order to educate his audience. He uses humor and the (mis)representation of parody to paradoxically show them the truth. In Chapter Two I analyze Agathon’s speech in Plato’s Symposium, arguing that it serves as a parody of the views of the sophist Gorgias. This recognition allows the reader to see that Agathon’s eros is actually an external, physical, compelling force, something not apparent on the surface of his encomium. It is this underlying assumption about desire that Plato is exposing through the humor of parody. In Chapter Three I show that the theory of music education in the Republic is not representative of Plato’s views, but a parody of the theories of Damon, an intellectual in Pericles’ inner circle. Plato is showing his readers what happens when one adopts Damon’s ideas which, like Gorgias’, rest on materialist principles. In Chapter Four, I argue that Socrates’ etymological demonstration in the Cratylus, far from harboring Plato’s theory of language, is actually a parody of contemporary views about words. In this dialogue, Plato shows how one’s ideas about language go hand in hand with a metaphysics and ethics. He uses parody to show what a materialist view of language means for one’s conception of virtue, reality, and the self.

Committee:

Bruce Heiden, Dr. (Advisor); Richard Fletcher, Dr. (Committee Member); Tom Hawkins, Dr. (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Classical Studies; Philosophy

Keywords:

philosophy; ancient philosophy; Plato; parody