Dogs and Birds in Plato

Philosophy and Literature 38 (2):446-461 (2014)
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Arguing for censorship of the poets in the Republic, Socrates draws most of his examples from Homer. These examples often depict soldiers facing death on the battlefield. Homer, in turn, often represents a soldier's death with the image of dogs and birds scavenging upon his body. Homer's representations of death, then, often include dogs or birds, and these images are found in the near background of Plato's Republic. How does Plato himself use these animal images? I discuss Plato's depictions of dogs and birds, and characterize his general notion of their function in moral education and mental functioning



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Janet McCracken
Lake Forest College

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