By Stella Sandford
What does the examine of Plato’s dialogues let us know concerning the smooth which means of ‘sex’? How can fresh advancements within the philosophy of intercourse and gender aid us learn those historical texts anew?
Plato and intercourse addresses those questions for the 1st time. every one bankruptcy demonstrates how the trendy reception of Plato’s works Ð in either mainstream and feminist philosophy and psychoanalytical thought Ð has presupposed a ‘natural-biological’ notion of what intercourse may suggest. via a severe comparability among our present knowing of intercourse and Plato’s proposal of genos, Plato and intercourse places this presupposition into query. With its groundbreaking interpretations of the Republic, the Symposium and the Timaeus, this publication opens up a brand new method of intercourse as a philosophical concept.
Including serious readings of the theories of intercourse and sexuation in Freud and Lacan, and touching on such theories to Plato’s writings, Plato and Sex either questions our assumptions approximately intercourse and explains how these assumptions have colored our realizing of Plato. What effects isn't just an unique examining of a few of the main trendy facets of Plato’s philosophy, yet a brand new try and imagine during the which means of intercourse this present day.
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Extra resources for Plato and Sex
To be a poet a man must suit his fashions to the requirements of his plays. ’57 All this, perhaps, might lead us to reconsider Socrates’ example in the Republic of the difference between bald and long-haired men. As this brief discussion of a few details from a couple of Aristophanes’ plays has shown, in their common context the distinction between hairiness and hairlessness is intimately bound up with the distinction between men and women, and Socrates’ example is perhaps carefully chosen with this is mind.
454d2–e5) This is usually interpreted to mean that sex difference, reduced to function in reproduction, is irrelevant to employment, to the extent that it does not dictate that either men or women have any particular aptitudes for any particular kinds of work, and this surely is part of what Socrates means to say. But Socrates’ argument also does more than this. In moving through the distinctions between i) bald men and long-haired men, ii) those with the nature of a doctor and those with the nature of a carpenter, and iii) men and women, only the last pair are explicitly said to be different gene¯ (to to¯n andro¯n kai to to¯n gunaiko¯n genos), but the other classes of people (bald men, long-haired men, doctors, carpenters, males, females) do also, of course, constitute speciﬁc gene¯ too.
454d6–e5) What is perhaps most interesting about this – the crux of Socrates’ argument – is obscured by the translation of genos as ‘sex’, and by the use of the English terms ‘male’ and ‘female’ in the ﬁnal line. In classical Greek there is no distinct word for ‘sex’. The word genos, which is sometimes translated as ‘sex’, means, primarily, ‘race’, ‘stock’, ‘kin’; also ‘offspring’, ‘tribe’, ‘generation’, and ‘kind’. For example, in the ﬁrst ﬁve books of the Republic, Plato uses the word genos to speak at 368a5 of the ‘race’ of the sons of Ariston; at 429a1 and 460c7 of the ‘class’ of the guardians; at 459b5 of the Sex and Genos 23 ‘breeds’ of birds and dogs (to te to¯n ornitho¯n kai to to¯n kuno¯n genos); at 470c2 of the Hellenic ‘race’; at 473d7–8 of ‘the human race’; and at 477c1 of the ‘class’ of faculties or powers.
Plato and Sex by Stella Sandford