Date of Award
Dr. Zoli Filotas
Dr. Joseph Tinguely
Dr. Dale Clark
Plato, censorship, dialectic, poetry, rhetoric
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.
Gerberding, Seth J., "Plato's Ban: Why the Poets are Exiled" (2020). Honors Thesis. 84.