Carlos Fraenkel, "Teaching Plato in Palestine: Philosophy in a Divided World" (Princeton UP, 2015)


We tend to think of Philosophy as a professional academic subject that is taught in college classes, with its own rather specialized problems, vocabularies, and methods. But we also know that the discipline has its roots in the Socratic activity of trying to incite debate and critical reflection among our fellow citizens. That is, we acknowledge that, apart from its existence as a technical discipline, Philosophy is a kind of civic activity that, we hope, can help us to address life's biggest questions, even when we find ourselves deeply divided over their answers. In Teaching Plato in Palestine: Philosophy in a Divided World (Princeton University Press, 2015), Carlos Fraenkel tells the tale of his attempts to recapture Philosophy's Socratic dimension. He recounts his adventures in doing philosophy in nonstandard contexts, with atypical interlocutors, and in unfamiliar places. Along the way, we see a hopeful and encouraging vision of philosophy emerge as a collection of rational techniques and intellectual virtues that can, indeed, rescue our individual and collective lives from impending incivility.

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Robert Talisse

Robert Talisse is the W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.

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