Rick Benitez on Plato

31 August 2006

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Of all philosophers in Western history, Plato has had the most widespread influence. Yet the very diversity of thinkers influenced by Plato indicates a fundamental difficulty of interpretation.

This lecture focuses on the problem of interpreting Plato, with attention to three key issues - Plato's choice of the dialogue form; his use of analogy, metaphor and myth; and his philosophical development.

In this lecture, Associate Professor Rick Benitez of the University of Sydney's Department of Philosophy argues for a non-doctrinal approach to Plato, in which the dialogue form is primarily elementary, in which the use of myth acknowledges the limitation of dogmatic philosophy, and in which the traditional story of Plato's development, which involves a crisis of self-criticism, is called into question.

The RIHSS Key Thinkers Public Lecture Series explores the lives and works of figures who have changed the way we think about and view our world. Presented by local scholars with a particular expertise in a relevant field of study, lectures will place their subjects within their individual social and intellectual contexts and summarise the central issues of their work.

Other upcoming lectures in the series:

6 September - Jesus - Reverend Dr. Ivan Head

13 September - Lynne Segal - Professor Raewyn Connell

20 September - Cornelius Castoriadis - Associate Professor Vrasidas Karalis

4 October - Walter Benjamin - Dr. Melissa Hardie

11 October - Norbert Elias - Associate Professor Robert Van Krieken

18 October - Karl Marx - Dr. John Buchanan