Agnes Callard and I are putting together a discussion on Plato and the Classics, potentially to be hosted on Clubhouse. Professor Callard is an Associate Professor in the University of Chicago’s Department of Philosophy and the author of the 2018 book Aspiration: The Agency of Becoming. She’s previously written about Pascal’s wager, and (separately) whether or not to cancel Aristotle.
What should we talk about? (And yes, I’ve read the comments on Tyler’s post.)
Here are some good questions to ask me:
Why is the death of Socrates so important?
Why does the Phaedo end with a myth?
Is philosophy (private) thinking or (public) talking?
How can one learn from another person without being indoctrinated by them?
Can virtue be taught?
What made Dr. Callard think the questions she suggested would be good questions to ask her?
Pleasingly meta. 🙂
Why, exactly, is the goose known to be so silly? Does it matter?
Should we start reading the classics at a young age and reread every few years or so, a la the Chinese studying the fall of the Soviet Union every 10 years?
What’s the most boring/least interesting part of any classical text you’ve read and why? Has this changed over time?
Rank Hercules’s 12 labours, from most favorite to least favorite.
You get one chance at producing any classical text into a film/tv show/whatever. Which do you choose any why?
Favorite modern reinterpretation of a classical text?
If you could debate Plato today (length of debate is arbitrary), do you think you’d win? If not, whom do you know that is currently alive or recently passed (last 5 years) would probably win against Plato?
If Plato had a Twitter account, would he have more or less followers than Naval?
Is Modern Plato™ a respected professor/public intellectual, a weird hippie, or a just a bum on the internet?
Is Socrates correct that the unexamined life is not worth living? If so, what does this imply about the large number of people who seem to lead unexamined lives?
(1) What can Classics (the academic discipline) teach us about how to how to use the resources of the modern world to help us improve very old learning techniques?
(2) In 2007 you were perhaps the most sought-after job candidate in the discipline. Your writing sample was, from my admittedly limited perspective, one of the most discussed philosophy articles (full stop, not just by job candidates) that season. Did this experience have non-obvious effects on your career?
(3) It is traditional in philosophy to conduct a conference presentation by simply reading a whole paper, often in exactly the form one intends to publish it. This model has been criticized as inefficient, boring, and inattentive to the distinction between speech and writing. What do you think of it?
(4) How much do you read current issues of philosophy journals? What is your strategy for reading a given journal article?
(5) It is commonly assumed that many (perhaps all) of our thoughts are propositionally structured or at least can be modeled that way. Is this a safe assumption?
Is the Athenian jury OG cancel culture? What are the similarities and differences?
How does the charge of impiety connect to other dialogues (e.g. the Euthyphro) where piety is a central theme?