Plato vs. the Poets: Philosophy, Politics, and the Arts in the Ancient World with Dr. Firmin DeBrabander

Plato vs. the Poets: Philosophy, Politics, and the Arts in the Ancient World with Dr. Firmin DeBrabander


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In his utopian city, developed in the Republic, Plato sparks a famous fight with the Poets. His critique of art, while controversial, offers a nuanced view of Plato's deeply influential political philosophy.

In the Republic, Plato says poets should be escorted out of his utopian city. Their contributions are deeply at odds with the constitution of this city. Plato is worried about the influence of artists in general–how they shape the human soul and inflame the passions. Oddly, if ironically, Plato makes good use of the arts as well. This suggests his plan for the arts is actually quite nuanced, if complicated.

In fact, his critique of art provides important insight into Plato's political thought, which has proven so influential ever since. Plato is and remains one of the most important critics of democracy. As liberal democracy comes under fire across the globe, we would do well to understand its inherent challenges as problems, as Plato already saw them two thousand years ago.

Led by an expert on Political Philosophy, Firmin DeBrabander, this interactive seminar will address Plato's contentious commentary on the arts, and his broader political critique. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with a better understanding of Plato's contribution to modern political philosophy, and his recommendations for democracy.

You may also enjoy Spinoza: Europe’s Greatest Heretic, Philosopher, and Thinker with Dr. Firmin DeBrabander 

Firmin received his Ph.D. from Emory University in 2002 and specializes in Political Philosophy. Dr. DeBrabander also teaches courses in Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy, Aesthetics, Moral Philosophy, Environmental Ethics, and Economic Theory. He has written two books: Spinoza and the Stoics (Continuum Press, 2007) and Do Guns Make Us Free? (Yale University Press, 2015). He is currently at work on a manuscript on privacy. Dr. DeBrabander has written pieces in a social and political commentary for a variety of publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Baltimore Sun, Salon, The Atlantic, and The New Republic.

This conversation is not suitable for children under age 16

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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