Plato and the Body: Reconsidering Socratic Asceticism
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Offers an innovative reading of Plato, analyzing his metaphysical, ethical, and political commitments in connection with feminist critiques.For centuries, it has been the prevailing view that in prioritizing the soul, Plato ignores or even abhors the body; however, in Plato and the Body Coleen P. Zoller argues that Plato does value the body and the role it plays in philosophical life, focusing on Plato's use of Socrates as an exemplar. Zoller reveals a more refined conception of the ascetic lifestyle epitomized by Socrates in Plato's Phaedo, Symposium, Phaedrus, Gorgias, and Republic. Her interpretation illuminates why those who want to be wise and good have reason to be curious about and love the natural world and the bodies in it, and has implications for how we understand Plato's metaphysical and political commitments. This book shows the relevance of this broader understanding of Plato for work on a variety of relevant contemporary issues, including sexual morality, poverty, wealth inequality, and peace.
State University of New York Press