Plato's Dialectic on Woman
Equal, Therefore Inferior
By Elena Blair
Routledge – 2012 – 250 pages
With the birth of the feminist movement classicists, philosophers, educational experts, and psychologists, all challenged by the question of whether or not Plato was a feminist, began to examine Plato’s dialogues in search of his conception of woman. The possibility arose of a new focus affecting the view of texts written more than two thousand years in the past. And yet, in spite of the recent surge of interest on woman in Plato, no comprehensive work identifying his position on the subject has yet appeared.
This book considers not only the totality of Plato’s texts on woman and the feminine, but also their place within both his philosophy and the historical context in which it developed. But this book is not merely a textual study situating the subject of woman philosophically and historically; it also uncovers the implications hidden in the texts and the relationships that follow from them. It draws an image of the Platonic woman as rich and full as the textual and historical information allows, offering new and sometimes unexpected results beyond the topic of woman, illuminating aspects of Plato’s work that are of relevance to Platonic studies in general.
Introduction: The State of the Question Prologue: The Feminine Presence in the Dialogues. A Methodological Consideration Part I: The Dramatic/Rhetorical Texts 1. Dramatic/Rhetorical Views of Woman Part II: The Philosophical Texts 2. The Socratic Origin 3. Satirical Criticism of Simplistic Views of Equality 4. The Three Waves in the Analogy between City and Soul 5. The Logic of the First Wave 6. Thematic Transformation: the Cosmology of Woman in Timaeus 7. Solving the Puzzle of Woman in Laws Part III: Plato’s Philosophy of Woman 8. Prolegomenon to the Results 9. Equal, Therefore Inferior: The Logic of Plato on Woman 10. Beyond Plato: the Groundwork for a Theory of Woman Appendix to the Text: Greek Words on Women and the Feminine Bibliography Index
Elena Duvergès Blair is Associate Professor Emerita at Xavier University, USA.