Listening to the Cicadas: A Study of Plato's Phaedrus

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Cambridge University Press, Nov 30, 1990 - Philosophy - 293 pages
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This full-length study of Plato's dialogue Phaedrus, now in paperback, is written in the belief that such concerted scrutiny of a single dialogue is an important part of the project of understanding Plato so far as possible 'from the inside' - of gaining a feel for the man's philosophy. The focus of this account is on how the resources both of persuasive myth and of formal argument, for all that Plato sets them in strong contrast, nevertheless complement and reinforce each other in his philosophy. Not only is the dialogue in its formal structure a dovetail of myth and argument, but the philosophic life that it praises is also shaped by an acknowledgement of the limitations of argument and the importance of mythical understanding. By means of this correlation of form and content Plato invites his readers, through the very act of reading, to take a first step along the path of the philosophical life.
  

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Contents

Orientation
1
Topic and topography
2
The impresario
4
Boreas and his interpreters
9
Professional and layman
12
The philosopher as artist
16
Walking into the background
21
What the cicadas sang
25
A manipulative affair
103
Myth and understanding
113
Coping with contingency
119
the selfmoving soul
123
gods and men
125
choice and chance
133
Love among the philosophers
140
mixed pleasure
150

Apologia pro capitulo suo
34
From argument to example
37
Teaching and practice
39
Lysias lambasted
45
The philosopher judges himself
59
The critique of pure rhetoric
68
Wise words from Pericles
70
Symptoms and causes
74
Teisias at the bar
81
The voice of reason?
86
Lysias against love
88
Socrates to compete
95
contingency and necessity
159
beauty distributed
167
the clarity of confidence
175
sheeps clothing
185
philosophic madness
190
Writing the conversation
204
The writing on the soul
222
Notes
233
Bibliography
286
Index
291
Copyright

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About the author (1990)

G. R. F. Ferrari is professor of Classics at the University of California, Berkeley.

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