Exhortations to Philosophy: The Protreptics of Plato, Isocrates, and Aristotle

Hardcover | April 15, 2015

byJames Henderson Collins

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This book is a study of the literary strategies which the first professional philosophers used to market their respective disciplines. Philosophers of fourth-century BCE Athens developed the emerging genre of the "protreptic" (literally, "turning" or "converting"). Simply put, protrepticdiscourse uses a rhetoric of conversion that urges a young person to adopt a specific philosophy in order to live a good life. The author argues that the fourth-century philosophers used protreptic discourses to market philosophical practices and to define and legitimize a new cultural institution:the school of higher learning (the first in Western history). Specifically, the book investigates how competing educators in the fourth century produced protreptic discourses by borrowing and transforming traditional and contemporary "voices" in the cultural marketplace. They aimed to introduce and promote their new schools and define the new professionalizeddiscipline of "philosophy." While scholars have typically examined the discourses and practices of Plato, Isocrates, and Aristotle in isolation from one another, this study rather combines philosophy, narratology, genre theory, and new historicism to focus on the discursive interaction between thethree philosophers: each incorporates the discourse of his competitors into his protreptics. Appropriating and transforming the discourses of their competition, these intellectuals created literary texts that introduced their respective disciplines to potential students.

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This book is a study of the literary strategies which the first professional philosophers used to market their respective disciplines. Philosophers of fourth-century BCE Athens developed the emerging genre of the "protreptic" (literally, "turning" or "converting"). Simply put, protrepticdiscourse uses a rhetoric of conversion that urge...

James Collins is Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Southern California. His dissertation was entitled "Philosophical Advertisements: Protreptic Marketing in Fourth-century Greek Culture."
Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.29 × 6.42 × 1.18 inPublished:April 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199358591

ISBN - 13:9780199358595

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Protreptic and the "rhetoric of conversion"2. Earlier protreptic configurations3. Genre theory and ?4. The rhetorical situation and objective of ?Part I. Platonic Protreptic1. Levels of discourse in Plato's dialogues2. Narrative between Sokrates and Krito1. Krito and his agenda2. Sokrates the story-teller3. From narrative to drama: inside the intradiegetic level1. Characters on stage: Sophists, Sokrates, Kleinias, Ktesippos2. Dramatic elements: staging, cheering, seating3. Apotreptic in protreptic discourse4. Formal features of the protreptic ?4. Return to the extradiegetic level: metalepsis, protreptic, and apotreptic1. From spectator to judge to interlocutor: Krito's2. Isokratean apotreptic and private program3. Sokrates' apotreptic of the apotreptic5. Creating consumers and consensus in the Protagoras1. Staging a contest among converts2. Preparing consumers for the marketplace of ideas3. Protreptic that builds consensus4. Clitophon and after the protreptic stingPart II. Isokratean ProtrepticIsokratean Philosophy, Pragmatism, and Protreptic6. 'Professional' protreptic: Against the Sophists1. Challenging the instructor's pledge2. Apotreptically revealing a profession7. Parainetic protreptic: ? and exhorting young tyrants1. Protreptic discourse as secondary genre2. Circumscribing the competition3. Making, using, becoming examples8. Judging protreptic: Antidosis, Panathenaicus1. Cultivating critics of protreptic2. Collaborating with competitors: protreptics and Epilogue. Aristotelian Protreptic and a Stabilized GenreEpilogue. Aristotelian Protreptic and a Stabilized Genre