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The Philosophy of Education in Plato's Socratic Works

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Education became an important business in Plato’s Athens. Wealthy young people paid fortunes to renowned lecturers to acquire the capabilities, knowledge, and strategies to become successful politicians and leaders. But, can the art of citizenship really be thought? What exactly is leadership, and excellence? Can an inadequate education harm the students, and if so, how to recognise it? These are some of the questions discussed in Plato’s Socratic dialogues (works where Socrates is the leading character). And there are no straightforward answers. Most of the arguments and questioning drag the interlocutors (and the reader) into perplexing puzzles they will be unable to solve. Socrates’ critical analysis seems absolutely negative and devastating. My aim in this talk, however, is to show that in cross-examining all sorts of professionals of education, Plato’s Socrates also reveals his own philosophy of education.

This talk is part of the FERSA Guest Lectures series.

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