Linda Rabieh on Plato's Eleatic Stranger

Thu, November 11, 2021 5:00 PM - Thu, November 11, 2021 7:00 PM at Kedzie Room, The Graduate Hotel

Plato’s Eleatic Stranger famously concludes the Statesman with the unsatisfying claim that the true statesman’s task consists in “weaving together the manly and the moderate.” That healthy politics requires harmonizing rival factions seems obvious, but why he calls the rival factions “the manly” and “the moderate,” and what he means by “weaving” them together remains obscure. Moreover, the Stranger’s investigation is guided by the attempt to distinguish the true statesman from never-clearly-identified pretenders to the title. This talk examines these puzzling features of the dialogue and argues that doing so clarifies the Stranger’s understanding of science, and the distinctive character of Socrates’ peculiar political activity.

Linda Rabieh teaches political philosophy at MIT in the Department of Political Science and the Concourse Program, an interdisciplinary program in the sciences and humanities. She is the author of “Plato and the Virtue of Courage” from Johns Hopkins University Press, as well as of various articles on ancient and medieval political thought. For the past six years, she has been co-director of MIT’s January “ancient” Greece and Rome program, and, most recently, co-chair of the MIT Ancient and Medieval Studies speaker series.