• Socrates and the Politics of Music: Preludes of the Republic

    Author(s):
    Christopher Long (see profile)
    Date:
    2014
    Group(s):
    Philosophy
    Subject(s):
    Philosophy
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Plato, Republic, Socrates
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6M60S
    Abstract:
    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.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    11 months ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

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