Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Ambition and Rebellion: Citizen Motivation and the Spirited Passions in the Political Thought of Plato and Xenophon
Authors: Vandiver, Joshua Jon
Advisors: Lane, Melissa S.
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: Ambition
Subjects: Political Science
Ancient history
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This work advances a novel approach to the study of Greek political thought by uncovering a hitherto unnoticed dialogue between Plato and his contemporary Xenophon regarding citizen motivation and moral psychology. In the works of these thinkers, citizens are motivated to engage in political activity in part due to aspects of their psychology: desires for political recognition and comparative standing arising from a distinct class of spirited or irascible passions. Two spirited passions are particularly central to citizen motivation. The first is ambition, <italic>philotimia</italic>, the desire for status and honor in and for the political community. The second is political anger, reactive irascibility to perceived injustices to oneself, others, or the political community. While in Plato&rsquo;s ideal theory these are non-ideal forms of citizen motivation, this approach reveals how Plato&rsquo;s theoretical discourse reshaped Greek political language in ways which he did not expect or approve. I argue the first evidence of Plato&rsquo;s impact is found in the concepts of the spirited passions subsequently embraced and deployed by Xenophon to conceptualize political rebellion, recognition, leadership, and change. By uncovering this dialogue, we better understand Greek theories of citizenship, the role of psychology and the passions in Greek political language, the complex nature of theoretical innovation and reception, and the influence and relevance of Greek political thought to subsequent periods, including our own.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Vandiver_princeton_0181D_10327.pdf3.5 MBAdobe PDFView/Download

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.