Date of Award

Spring 4-30-2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Zoli Filotas

Second Advisor

Dr. Joseph Tinguely

Third Advisor

Dr. Dale Clark


Plato, censorship, dialectic, poetry, rhetoric

Subject Categories

Epistemology | History of Philosophy | Philosophy of Science


This thesis examines Plato’s ban of poetry in the Republic. In particular, I draw a link between Plato’s method for finding the truth, dialectic, and his banishment of the poets. There are three parts to this thesis. First, I analyze dialectic as a process, understanding what the science searches for and how it does so. Second, I analyze poetry and its metaphysical standing and how that influences psychology. Finally, I argue that the design of dialectic has an inherent weakness, a weakness that allows poets and rhetoricians to corrupt former students of dialectic. In Plato’s perfect state, there is no way to prevent this degradation: there will inevitably be those who become disaffected by dialectic. If the poets are permitted in the state, they will take advantage of these former students and use their powers to undermine the state. Therefore, Plato’s only option is exile and banishment.



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