GREEK 644

PLATO'S  PHAEDO

Professor Radcliffe G. Edmonds III

Office: Thomas 245

Office Phone: 526-5046

redmonds@brynmawr.edu

Thomas 223

Th 2:00-4:00

Office Hours: MWF 10-11

or by appointment

 

Required Texts:

Plato, Phaedo, ed. & comm. Christopher Rowe

Plato, Phaedo, trans. & comm. David Gallop

 

Recommended Texts:

The Greek Commentaries on Plato's Phaedo: Olympiodorus v. 1 & Damascius v. 2

 

Course Description:   

                  In the Phaedo, Plato presents a poignant picture of the last hours of Socrates.  Plato’s dialogues all prompt questions about how to read and understand the complex interchanges between the interlocutors, but no dialogue presents the stakes of the discussion as vividly as the Phaedo, where the debates on the nature of death and the soul are set against the background of Socrates’ imminent execution.  How ought one to live?  What does it mean to die?  How is the life of philosophy a practice for death?

                  In this seminar, we will explore the ideas of life and death, soul and body, philosophy and purification in the Phaedo.  In addition to a close reading of the text itself, we will sample from the scholarly debates over the understanding and interpretation of the Phaedo that have gone on over the past two and a half millennia of reading Plato’s Phaedo. 

 

Course Requirements:

Class participation: 

                  Each week's assignment will include readings from both the Phaedo and some secondary interpretations.  The first part of the seminar each week will consist of a close reading of the ancient Greek text, with attention to Plato's choice of words and images.  Every student is expected to be prepared to translate from the selection designated for the week.  The second part will involve discussion about the interpretation of the text, using the secondary readings as a springboard for discussion.  One student will be assigned to write and present a short reaction for each of the secondary readings for the week.  Such reactions should consist, not of a summary of the selection, but rather of points of agreement and disagreement and of questions for further discussion.  Every student is expected to contribute actively to the discussion of the readings.

                  The readings not in the required textbooks will be available on Blackboard in the Course Documents section or indirectly through a link from the online version of the syllabus (http://www.brynmawr.edu/classics/redmonds/grek64411.htm). 

 

Written Assignments: 

                  In addition to the brief reactions to the readings, there will be one long (around 25 pages) final paper for the course.  Each student should select a topic in consultation with the professor before the middle of the term, and a rough outline and preliminary bibliography should be handed in by the end of the first week after spring break. Every student will present a short version of the project in the final weeks of the term, and a rough draft of the paper is due before the presentations. The final version of the paper will be due before the end of the finals period. 

Schedule of Readings:

 

Week 1 1/20 – Introduction

Readings:

Phaedo in Gallop translation

introduction in Rowe

Supplementary Readings:

Guthrie, W. K. C. (1975). The Phaedo. Plato:  The Man and His Dialogues – Early Period. A History of Greek Philosophy. Vol. 4. Cambridge University Press: 324-365.

 

 

Week 2 1/27 – 57a-63e8

Readings:

Gerson, Lloyd (2000). Plato Absconditus. Who speaks for Plato?  Studies in Platonic Anonymity, ed. Gerald A. Press, Rowman & Littlefield, USA: 201-210.

Nussbaum, M. C. (1986). Plato’s AntiTragic Theater. The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy. Cambridge University Press: 123-135.

Press, Gerald (1993). Principles of Dramatic and Non-Dogmatic Plato Interpretation. Plato's Dialogues:  New Studies & Interpretations, ed. Gerald A. Press, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. USA: 107-128.

 

Supplementary Readings:

Olympiodorus 1-2

Damascius I.1-47

 

 

Week 3 2/3 63e9-69e5

Readings:

Epp, Ronald (1969). Some Observations on the Platonic Concept of Katharsis in the Phaedo. Kinesis 1, no. 2: 82-91.

Pakaluk, Michael (2003). Degrees of Separation in the Phaedo. Phronesis 48, No. 2: 89-115.

Parker, R. (1983). Miasma:  Pollution and Purity in Early Greek Religion. Oxford, Clarendon Press.

 

Supplementary Readings:

Olympiodorus 3-8

Damascius I.48-175

 

 

Week 4 2/10 69e6-77a5

Readings:

Frede, Dorothea (2001). Not in the Book:  How Does Recollection Work? Plato's Phaedo: Proceedings of the Second Symposium Platonicum Pragense. Ed. Havlicek & Karflk. Prague: 241-265.

Gallop, David (1982). Plato's 'Cyclical Argument' Recycled. Phronesis 27, No. 3: 207-222.

Kahn, Charles (2003). On the Philosophical Autonomy of a Platonic Dialogue: The Case of Recollection. Plato as Author:  The Rhetoric of Philosophy. Ed. A. Michelini. Brill, Leiden: 299-312.

 

Supplementary Readings:

Olympiodorus 9-12

Damascius I.175-310

 

Sedley, David (2006). Form–Particular Resemblance in Plato’s Phaedo. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 106: 311-327.

Svavarsson, S. H. (2009). Plato On Forms And Conflicting Appearances: The Argument Of Phaedo 74a9–C6. Classical Quarterly 59.1: 60–74.

 

 

Week 5 2/17 77a6-84b8

Readings:

Edmonds, Radcliffe, “A Lively Afterlife and Beyond”

Gadamer, H. G. (1980). Proofs of Immortality in Plato’s Phaedo. Dialogue and Dialectic: 21-38.

Obeyesekere, Gananath (2002). Eschatology In Greek And Rebirth Soteriology. Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist, and Greek Rebirth. Ewing, NJ, USA: University of California Press.

 

Supplementary Readings:

Olympiodorus 13

Damascius I.311-360

 

Long, Herbert Strainge (1948). A Study of the Doctrines of Metempsychosis in Greece from Pythagoras to Plato, J.H. Furst: Princeton.

 

 

Week 6 2/24 84c1-91c5

Readings:

Gallop, David (2003). The Rhetoric of Philosophy: Socrates' Swan-Song. Plato as Author:  The Rhetoric of Philosophy. Ed. A. Michelini. Brill, Leiden: 313-332.

Loraux, Nicole (1995). Therefore Socrates is Immortal. The Experiences of Tiresias: The Feminine and the Greek Man. Trans. Wissing. Princeton University Press: 145-167.

Morgan,  Kathryn (2010). The Voice of Authority: Divination and Plato’s Phaedo.Classical Quarterly 60.1: 63–81

 

Supplementary Readings:

Iamblichus, De Anima

 

 

Week 7 3/4 91c6-97b8

Readings:

Boys-Stones, George (2004). Phaedo of Elis and Plato on the Soul. Phronesis XLIX/1: 1-23.

Corrigan, Kevin (2010). Simmias' Objection to Socrates in the Phaedo: Harmony, Symphony and Some Later Platonic/ Patristic Responses to the Mind/Soul-Body Question, International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 4. 2: 147-162.

 

Supplementary Readings:

Damascius I.361-406

 

 

Week 8 Spring Break

 

 

 

Week 9 3/17 97b9-102a9

Readings:

Bailey, D. T. J. (2005). Logic and Music in Plato’s Phaedo. Phronesis L.2: 95-115.

Gonzalez, Francisco (1998). A Second Sailing in the Phaedo. Dialect and Dialogue: Plato’s Practice of Philosophical Inquiry. Northwestern University Press: 188-208.

Robinson, Thomas M. (2001). Socrates, Anaxagoras, Nous and Noźsis. Plato's Phaedo: Proceedings of the Second Symposium Platonicum Pragense. Ed. Havlicek & Karflk. Prague: 357-367.

 

Supplementary Readings:

Damascius I.407-420

 

 

Week 10 3/24 102a10-107b10

Readings:

Frede, Dorothea. (1978). The Final Proof of the Immortality of the Soul in Plato's "Phaedo" 102a-107a. Phronesis 23. 1: 27-41.

Keyt, David. (1963). The Fallacies in "Phaedo" 102a-107b. Phronesis 8. 2: 167-172.

Kuperus, Gerard (2007). Traveling with Socrates: Dialectic in the Phaedo and Protagoras. Philosophy in Dialogue:  Plato’s Many Devices. Ed. G. A. Scott. Northwestern University Press: 193-211.

 

Supplementary Readings:

Damascius I.421-465

 

 

Week 11 3/31 107c1-115a8

Readings:

Clay, Diskin (1985). The Art of Glaukos (Plato Phaedo 108D4-9). American Journal of Philology 106: 230-236.

Couprie, Dirk L. (2005). Some remarks on the earth in Plato's Phaedo. Hyperboreus 11 (2): 192-204.

Sedley, D. (1989-90). Teleology and myth in the Phaedo. Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy 5: 359-98.

 

Supplementary Readings:

Damascius I.466-522

 

 


Week 12 4/7 107c1-115a8

Readings:

Annas, Julia (1982). Plato's Myths of Judgement. Phronesis XXVII: 119-143.

Edmonds, R. (2004). The Upward Path of Philosophy: The Myth in Plato’s Phaedo. Myths of the Underworld Journey: Plato, Aristophanes, and the ‘Orphic’ Gold Tablets. New York, Cambridge University Press: 159-220.

Kingsley, Peter (1995). The Phaedo Myth. Ancient Philosophy, Mystery, and Magic: Empedocles and Pythagorean Tradition. Clarendon Press: Oxford: 79-132.

 

Supplementary Readings:

Damascius I.523-551

 

 

Week 13 4/14 115a9-118a17

Readings:

Dumezil, Georges (1999). ''We Owe a Coek  to Asclepius . . . " A Divertissement on the Last Words of Socrates. The Riddle of Nostradmus: A Critical Dialogue. Trans. Betsy Wing. The Johns Hopkins University Press: 95-124.

Most, Glenn W. (1993). 'A Cock for Asclepius'. The Classical Quarterly n.s. 43.1: 96-111.

Madison, Laurel (2002). Have We Been Careless with Socrates’ Last Words?: A Rereading of the Phaedo. Journal of the History of Philosophy  40.4: 421–36.

 

Supplementary Readings:

Damascius I.552-562

 

Bloch, Enid (2002). Hemlock Poisoning and the Death of Socrates: Did Plato Tell the Truth? The Trial And Execution Of Socrates: Sources And Controversies. Ed. Brickhouse & Smith, Oxford University Press: 255-278.

Gill, Christopher (1973). The Death of Socrates. Classical Quarterly NS 23: 25-28.

 

 

Week 14 4/21 Student Presentations

 

 

Week 15 4/28 Student Presentations

 

 

 

 

 


Bibliography

 

Annas, Julia (1982). Plato's Myths of Judgement. Phronesis XXVII: 119-143.

Bailey, D. T. J. (2005). Logic and Music in Plato’s Phaedo. Phronesis L.2: 95-115.

Bloch, Enid (2002). Hemlock Poisoning and the Death of Socrates: Did Plato Tell the Truth? The Trial And Execution Of Socrates: Sources And Controversies. Ed. Brickhouse & Smith, Oxford University Press: 255-278.

Boys-Stones, George (2004). Phaedo of Elis and Plato on the Soul. Phronesis XLIX/1: 1-23.

Clay, Diskin (1985). The Art of Glaukos (Plato Phaedo 108D4-9). American Journal of Philology 106: 230-236.

Corrigan, Kevin (2010). Simmias' Objection to Socrates in the Phaedo: Harmony, Symphony and Some Later Platonic/ Patristic Responses to the Mind/Soul-Body Question, International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 4. 2: 147-162.

Couprie, Dirk L. (2005). Some remarks on the earth in Plato's Phaedo. Hyperboreus 11 (2): 192-204.

Dumezil, Georges (1999). ''We Owe a Coek  to Asclepius . . . " A Divertissement on the Last Words of Socrates. The Riddle of Nostradmus: A Critical Dialogue. Trans. Betsy Wing. The Johns Hopkins University Press: 95-124.

Edmonds, R. (2004). The Upward Path of Philosophy: The Myth in Plato’s Phaedo. Myths of the Underworld Journey: Plato, Aristophanes, and the ‘Orphic’ Gold Tablets. New York, Cambridge University Press: 159-220.

Epp, Ronald (1969). Some Observations on the Platonic Concept of Katharsis in the Phaedo. Kinesis 1, no. 2: 82-91.

Frede, Dorothea (2001). Not in the Book:  How Does Recollection Work? Plato's Phaedo: Proceedings of the Second Symposium Platonicum Pragense. Ed. Havlicek & Karflk. Prague: 241-265.

Frede, Dorothea. (1978). The Final Proof of the Immortality of the Soul in Plato's "Phaedo" 102a-107a. Phronesis 23. 1: 27-41.

Gadamer, H. G. (1980). Proofs of Immortality in Plato’s Phaedo. Dialogue and Dialectic: 21-38.

Gallop, David (1982). Plato's 'Cyclical Argument' Recycled. Phronesis 27, No. 3: 207-222.

Gallop, David (2003). The Rhetoric of Philosophy: Socrates' Swan-Song. Plato as Author:  The Rhetoric of Philosophy. Ed. A. Michelini. Brill, Leiden: 313-332.

Gerson, Lloyd (2000). Plato Absconditus. Who speaks for Plato?  Studies in Platonic Anonymity, ed. Gerald A. Press, Rowman & Littlefield, USA: 201-210.

Gill, Christopher (1973). The Death of Socrates. Classical Quarterly NS 23: 25-28.

Gonzalez, Francisco (1998). A Second Sailing in the Phaedo. Dialect and Dialogue: Plato’s Practice of Philosophical Inquiry. Northwestern University Press: 188-208.

Guthrie, W. K. C. (1975). The Phaedo. Plato:  The Man and His Dialogues – Early Period. A History of Greek Philosophy. Vol. 4. Cambridge University Press: 324-365.

Kahn, Charles (2003). On the Philosophical Autonomy of a Platonic Dialogue: The Case of Recollection. Plato as Author:  The Rhetoric of Philosophy. Ed. A. Michelini. Brill, Leiden: 299-312.

Keyt, David. (1963). The Fallacies in "Phaedo" 102a-107b. Phronesis 8. 2: 167-172.

Kingsley, Peter (1995). The Phaedo Myth. Ancient Philosophy, Mystery, and Magic: Empedocles and Pythagorean Tradition. Clarendon Press: Oxford: 79-132.

Kuperus, Gerard (2007). Traveling with Socrates: Dialectic in the Phaedo and Protagoras. Philosophy in Dialogue:  Plato’s Many Devices. Ed. G. A. Scott. Northwestern University Press: 193-211.

Loraux, Nicole (1995). Therefore Socrates is Immortal. The Experiences of Tiresias: The Feminine and the Greek Man. Trans. Wissing. Princeton University Press: 145-167.

Madison, Laurel (2002). Have We Been Careless with Socrates’ Last Words?: A Rereading of the Phaedo. Journal of the History of Philosophy  40.4: 421–36.

Morgan,  Kathryn (2010). The Voice of Authority: Divination and Plato’s Phaedo.Classical Quarterly 60.1: 63–81

Most, Glenn W. (1993). 'A Cock for Asclepius'. The Classical Quarterly n.s. 43.1: 96-111.

Nussbaum, M. C. (1986). Plato’s AntiTragic Theater. The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy. Cambridge and New York, Cambridge University Press: 123-135.

Obeyesekere, Gananath (2002). Eschatology In Greek And Rebirth Soteriology. Imagining Karma : Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist, and Greek Rebirth. Ewing, NJ, USA: University of California Press.

Pakaluk, Michael (2003). Degrees of Separation in the Phaedo. Phronesis 48, No. 2: 89-115.

Parker, R. (1983). Miasma:  Pollution and Purity in Early Greek Religion. Oxford, Clarendon Press.

Press, Gerald (1993). Principles of Dramatic and Non-Dogmatic Plato Interpretation. Plato's Dialogues:  New Studies & Interpretations, ed. Gerald A. Press, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. USA: 107-128.

Robinson, Thomas M. (2001). Socrates, Anaxagoras, Nous and Noźsis. Plato's Phaedo: Proceedings of the Second Symposium Platonicum Pragense. Ed. Havlicek & Karflk. Prague: 357-367.

Sedley, D. (1989-90). Teleology and myth in the Phaedo. Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy 5: 359-98.

Sedley, David (2006). Form–Particular Resemblance in Plato’s Phaedo. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 106: 311-327.

Svavarsson, S. H. (2009). Plato On Forms And Conflicting Appearances: The Argument Of Phaedo 74a9–C6. Classical Quarterly 59.1: 60–74.