Socrates and the Politics of Music: Preludes of the Republic

in Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

At least since the appearance of Aristotle’s Politics, Plato’s Republic has been read as arguing for a politics of unity in which difference is understood as a threat to the polis. By focusing on the musical imagery of the Republic, and specifically on its compositional organization around three ‘preludes’, this essay seeks an understanding of Socratic politics that moves beyond the hypothesis of unity. In the first ‘prelude’, Thrasymachus and his insistence that justice is the self-interest of the stronger threatens to subject the harmony of the community to the tyrannical whims of the individual. In the second, the perfected justice of Adeimantus’s city threatens to destroy the erotic rhythm of difference that is the very condition for the possibility of the polis. It is only in the song of dialectic, which itself is called a ‘prelude’, that the tension between the rhythm of plurality and the rational homophony of unity is dynamically tuned in such a way that both the anarchic politics of self-interest and the totalitarian politics of rationalized oppression are equally muted. This conception of politics is embodied in the relationship that emerges between Glaucon and Socrates. Ultimately, the true political community is established here, between rational, erotic individuals seeking justice in concrete, living dialogue.

Information

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 12 12 4
Full Text Views 1 1 1
PDF Downloads 1 1 1
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0