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Title: Power and Vulnerability: Plato’s Gorgias in Context
Authors: Walling, Ian
Advisors: Lane, Melissa
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: Criticism
Subjects: Philosophy
Political science
Classical studies
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Abstract:This dissertation argues that the central theme of Plato’s Gorgias is the relationship between power and the good life. By examining the connections of Plato’s Gorgias with the writings of the historical sophist Gorgias of Leontini, and by developing a novel account of Plato’s approach to social criticism it generates new interpretations of the treatment of rhetoric, power, and the good in the dialogue. I show that the core error of the arguments presented by Gorgias, Polus, and Callicles was to conflate a controlling form of power with the ability to advance our real interests. After reconstructing Socrates’s criticisms of this mistake I conclude by analyzing the role of vulnerability in the relationships Socrates’s takes to be integral in developing moral virtue.
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

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