Plato and Tradition

Paper Text – $29.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2864-4
Publication Date
January 2013
Page Count
162 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Plato and Tradition

The Poetic and Cultural Context of Philosophy
Patricia Fagan

Plato’s dialogues are some of the most widely read texts in Western philosophy, and one would imagine them fully mined for elemental material. Yet, in Plato and Tradition, Patricia Fagan reveals the dialogues to be continuing sources of fresh insight. She recovers from them an underappreciated depth of cultural reference that is crucial to understanding their central philosophical concerns. Through careful readings of six dialogues, Fagan demonstrates that Plato’s presentation of Socrates highlights the centrality of tradition in political, erotic, and philosophic life. Plato embeds Socrates’s arguments and ideas in traditional references that would have been familiar to contemporaries of Socrates or Plato but that today’s reader typically passes over. Fagan’s book unpacks this cultural and literary context for the proper and full understanding of the philosophical argument of the Platonic dialogues. She concludes that, as Socrates demonstrates in word and deed, tradition is essential to successful living. But we must take up tradition with a critical openness to questioning its significance and future. Her original and compelling analyses may change the views of many readers who think themselves already well versed in the dialogues.
About the Author

Patricia Fagan is an associate professor of classics in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the University of Windsor.


"In Plato and Tradition, Patricia Fagan shows us a Plato more thoroughly steeped in and appreciative of his tradition than we moderns, we relative illiterates (with respect to Greek culture at least), are likely to discern on our own. Fagan's Plato stands to teach us how to think about human development in its inextricable intertwining with habit, storytelling, and the authority of what is old. For scholars wishing to publish on Plato's dialogues, Fagan's commentary is a must." —Gregory Recco, author of Athens VictoriousDemocracy in Plato's Republic