Date of Thesis

2015

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Jeffrey S. Turner

Second Advisor

Peter Groff

Third Advisor

Ashli J. Baker

Keywords

Morality, Education, Politics, Soul, Socratic interrogation, Socratic education

Abstract

In this thesis I argue for the theme of moral education as an important theme for Plato's Gorgias. The Gorgias has been commonly understood in terms of politics and philosophy either separately or jointly. I argue that the theme of moral education is equally important and deserves attention. I first contextualize the Gorgias into the cultural background of late 5th century BCE when the decline of traditional morality stimulated the Greeks to ask whether virtues (which were traditionally conceived to be hereditary traits exclusive to members of noble family) were teach-able (and thus, could be learned). Next, I analyze the three conversations in the Gorgias as a unity that demonstrates the impact of Gorgias' teaching. Then, through an analysis of the relationship between morality, education, and politics, I argue that the Gorgias as a whole presents two contrasting modes of education, namely, Gorgias way of teaching and Socrates' education, between which Socrates' education is preferred, but not without its problems.

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