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Why Plato Wrote


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Abbreviations xi

Prologue: Why Think about Plato? 1

Part I: Why Plato Wrote 9

Chapter 1: Who Was Plato? 11

Chapter 2: The Importance of Symbols in Human Life 24

Chapter 3: The Philosopher as Model-Maker 38

Chapter 4: The Philosopher as Shadow-Maker 55

Chapter 5: What Plato Wrote 70

Chapter 6: How Plato Lived 79

Part II: What Plato Did 87

Chapter 7: The Case for Influence 89

Chapter 8: Culture War Emergent 108

Chapter 9: Culture War Concluded 122

Epilogue: And to My Colleagues 143

Appendix 1: The Relationship between Paradigms and Forms 148

Appendix 2: A Second Tri-partite Division of the Soul? 154

Appendix 3: Miso- Compounds in Greek Literature 158

Notes 161

References 206

Further Reading 215

Index 219

About the Author

Danielle S. Allen is UPS Foundation Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. She is the author of The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (2000) and Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship Since Brown vs. the Board of Education (2004).


Packed with controversial theses, engagingly andintelligently written, iconoclastic there s not muchwrong with this book as a work of ancient philosophy. ( The Heythrop Journal, 4 September 2013) "In her bold and richly absorbing study, Why Plato Wrote,Danielle S. Allen argues that the answer to why Plato wrote is alsothe answer to the relation between the Platonic dialogues andAthenian political life ... He may have elected not to enter thepolitical fray in Athens as ordinarily understood, but DanielleAllen shows with elegance and scholarship that he was indeed apoliticos, just as Diogenes Laertius claimed." (Times LiterarySupplement, 23 December 2011) "I have learned much from this book. It demands that we connectPlato's writing to real life in his city. Even those who do notshare all its conclusions will be challenged by Allen's manyoriginal insights into how Plato used symbols to work on ourintellect, our preconceptual beliefs, and our emotions." (BrynMawr Classical Review, 21 November 2011) "This extraordinary and scholarly book takes a fascinating newlook at Plato as politikos. It is a joy to read. Excellent notes,bibliography, and index. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-levelundergraduates through faculty/researchers." (Choice, 1 June2011)

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