Plato As Public Intellectual: E.R. Dodds’ Edition of the Gorgias and its ‘Primary Purpose’

In: Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek and Roman Political Thought
Author: R.B. Todd
View More View Less

Purchase instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):


E.R. Dodds’ 1959 edition of Plato’s Gorgias is a conventional treatment of this dialogue, aimed at audiences interested in close study of the text. Dodds himself regretted this outcome. He felt he had lost sight of an earlier goal, formulated at a time of political turmoil on the eve of WorldWar II, of using the Gorgias to bring out ‘both the resemblance and the difference between Plato’s situation and that of the intellectual today’. The present paper attempts to reconstruct that goal, as it survives residually in his edition, surfaces in his The Greeks and the Irrational, and appears in some writings from the 1930s, particularly in unpublished lectures. Dodds did frequently juxtapose ancient and modern conceptions of the intellectual, and in a way that cast Plato in a positive light, as someone politically engaged and self-critical, and acutely sensitive, as Dodds himself was, to the political implications of social psychology.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 173 98 32
Full Text Views 117 9 1
PDF Downloads 32 14 2