Platonism, Moral Nostalgia and the City of Pigs

Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium of Ancient Philosophy 17 (1):207-27 (2001)
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Abstract

Plato’s depiction of the first city in the Republic (Book II), the so-called ‘city of pigs’, is often read as expressing nostalgia for an earlier, simpler era in which moral norms were secure. This goes naturally with readings of other Platonic texts (including Republic I and the Gorgias) as expressing a sense of moral decline or crisis in Plato’s own time. This image of Plato as a spokesman for ‘moral nostalgia’ is here traced in various nineteenth- and twentieth-century interpretations, and rejected. Plato’s pessimism about human nature in fact precludes any easy assumption that things, or people, were better in the old days.

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Author's Profile

Rachel Barney
University of Toronto, St. George

Citations of this work

Aristotle and the Origins of Evil.Jozef Müller - 2020 - Phronesis: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy 65 (2):179-223.
Rehabilitating the ‘City of Pigs’.Joel De Lara - 2018 - Journal of Ancient Philosophy 12 (2):1-22.
Departed Souls? Tripartition at the Close of Plato’s Republic.Nathan Bauer - 2017 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 20 (1):139-157.
Plato as a Theorist of Legitimacy.Benjamin M. Studebaker - forthcoming - International Journal of the Platonic Tradition:1-22.

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