Plato’s Animals

Plato’s Animals

Gadflies, Horses, Swans, and Other Philosophical Beasts
Edited by Jeremy Randolph Bell and Thomas Patrick Oates
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 05/01/2015
ISBN: 978-0-253-01620-1
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Plato's Animals examines the crucial role played by animal images, metaphors, allusions, and analogies in Plato's Dialogues. These fourteen lively essays demonstrate that the gadflies, snakes, stingrays, swans, dogs, horses, and other animals that populate Plato's work are not just rhetorical embellishments. Animals are central to Plato's understanding of the hierarchy between animals, humans, and gods and are crucial to his ideas about education, sexuality, politics, aesthetics, the afterlife, the nature of the soul, and philosophy itself. The volume includes a comprehensive annotated index to Plato’s bestiary in both Greek and English.

Author Bio

Jeremy Bell is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University.

Michael Naas is Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University. He is author of Miracle and Machine: Jacques Derrida and the Two Sources of Religion, Science, and the Media and Derrida From Now On.


“Will provide fertile ground for future work in this area.”
 — Jill Gordon, author of Plato's Erotic World: From Cosmic Origins to Human Death

“A unique and intriguing point of entry into the dialogues and a variety of concerns from metaphysics and epistemology to ethics, politics, and aesthetics.”
 — Eric Sanday, University of Kentucky

“Shows readers of Plato that he remains significant to issues currently pursued in Continental thought and especially in relation to Derrida and Heidegger.”
 — Robert Metcalf, University of Colorado, Denver

“Plato's Animals is a strong volume of beautifully written paeans to postmodern themes found in premodern thought.”
 — Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

 — Choice

“Remarkable.33.2 2016”
 — Polis

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Table of Contents

Editors' Introduction: Plato's Menagerie

Part I. The Animal of Fable and Myth
1. Making Music with Aesop's Fables in the Phaedo / Heidi Northwood
2. "Talk to the Animals": On the Myth of Cronos in the Statesman / David Farrell Krell

Part II. Socrates as muōps and nark
3. American Gadfly: Plato and the Problem of Metaphor / Michael Naas
4. Till Human Voices Wake Us and We Drown: The Aporia-fish in the Meno / Thomas Thorp

Part III. The Socratic Animal as Truth-Teller and Provocateur
5. We the Bird-Catchers: Receiving the Truth in the Phaedo and the Apology / S. Montgomery Ewegen
6. The Dog on the Fly / H. Peter Steeves

Part IV. The Political Animal
7. Taming Horses and Desires: Plato's Politics of Care / Jeremy Bell
8. Who Let the Dogs Out? Tracking the Philosophical Life among the Wolves and Dogs of the Republic / Christopher Long

Part V. The (En)gendered Animal
9. The City of Sows and Sexual Differentiation in the Republic / Marina McCoy
10. Animality and Sexual Difference in the Timaeus / Sara Brill

Part VI. The Philosophical Animal
11. Animal Sacrifice in Plato's Later Methodology / Holly Moore
12. The Animals That Therefore We Were? Aristophanes's Double-Creatures and the Question of Origins / Drew A. Hyland

Part VII. Animals and the Afterlife
13. Animals and Angels: The Myth of Life as a Whole in Republic 10 / Claudia Baracchi
14. Of Beasts and Heroes: The Promiscuity of Humans and Animals in the Myth of Er / Francisco J. Gonzalez

List of Contributors
Plato's Animals Index
Name and Subject Index