This thesis argues that Plato’s Republic provides an outline of conversion to the philosophic way of life, and in doing so founds a new kind of community that is distinct from the political community and its way of life — the philosophic community. In contrast to Plato’s Laws, which is intended to show the degree to which philosophy can transform existing political communities, the Republic (1) depicts three identifiable moments in the experience of philosophic conversion, and (2) connects this experience to the founding of a new, philosophic community. The three moments are (1) ignorance and eros, (2) questions and methods, and (3) philosophy, friendship and speeches. All three moments in the experience of philosophic conversion are guided by the questions of justice and the Good, and culminate in the question, What is the best way of life? The specific intention of this dissertation is to demonstrate that Plato’s Republic provides us today with an avenue for a credible return to philosophy as a way of life. Fulfilling this intention requires responding to some of the recent attempts to make this return, including Leo Strauss, Pierre Hadot, and Michel Foucault. My broader intention is to suggest that the experience of conversion to philosophy as a way of life depicted in Plato’s Republic can respond to Nietzsche’s critique of the possibility of philosophy as a way of life in its original, Socratic form, as well as of its value.
|Author||Elizabeth Anne L'Arrivee|
|Contributor||Mary Keys, Committee Chair|
|Contributor||James R. Muir, Committee Member|
|Contributor||Michael Zuckert, Committee Member|
|Degree Level||Doctoral Dissertation|
|Degree Discipline||Political Science|
|Departments and Units|