Rationality, eros, and daemonic influence in the Platonic Theages and the Academy of Polemo and Crates

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Abstract

The educational efficacy ascribed by the Theages to erotic intimacy and daemonic influence has troubled scholars, who generally consider it decadent, superstitious, and irrational. Similar concerns arise concerning the Academy of Polemo and Crates, which is the Theages ’ probable source. I argue that the dialogue signals how cooperative rational inquiry is compatible with erotics and daemonology through allusions to the Symposium and Theaetetus . Moreover, the most “outrageous” passage—the story of Aristides—is signposted as an ironic puzzle, not a straightforward representation of Socratic philosophizing. The way is thus cleared to revise our understanding of rationality in this dialogue and this period of the Academy.
Translated title of the contributionRationality and Daemonic Influence in the Theages
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-424
JournalAmerican Journal of Philology
Volume134
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Structured keywords

  • Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition

Keywords

  • Theages
  • Polemo
  • Crates
  • Eros
  • Socrates
  • Spuria Platonica
  • Demonology

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