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Because dialogue represents philosophy happening in the context of interpersonal relationships, it is a natural place to investigate power dynamics, both displays of power and displays of resistance. But in literature, unlike in life, the power dynamics are completely within the control of one person, the author, who can script the situation as he chooses. In this chapter, I argue that there was a change in the rules of comportment found in literary dialogues between the first and fourth centuries CE that can be traced through paying close attention first to the appearance and then to the development of a new character in these discussions – a judge. A shared embrace of forensic rhetoric to express philosophical antagonism existed across changing modes of judgement in the Roman Empire. I argue that this forensic dialogic mode was introduced as a mode of sublimation of political energy, as a rerouting of resistance into a safer domain of scholastic antagonism.
This chapter focuses on the ways in which Cicero’s choice of dialogue form serves to support his preferred position of Academic Scepticism in the Academica. From the letters Cicero wrote to Atticus while composing this work, we know that he was particularly interested in the verisimilitude of the conversation presented in his text. Yet, in the dedicatory letter that accompanied this text, Cicero is at pains to point out that this conversation is, in fact, fictitious, presenting to the reader speeches that never took place. The contention of this chapter is that Cicero’s apparently paradoxical focus on both the credibility and the fictitious nature of his dialogue can be explained by the epistemological stance advocated in this text. By creating a dramatically convincing (in rhetorical terms, enargēs, or ‘evident’) account of a conversation that never took place, Cicero is providing his reader with a further counter example to the Stoic theory of the kataleptic impression, which holds that true impressions can be distinguished from false impressions by virtue of their unique enargeia (or ‘evidentness’). Consequently, then, the form of the dialogue itself serves to reinforce the Academic claim that we have access to no clear criterion of truth.
This chapter explores the relationships among Cicero’s three pre-Civil-War dialogues, De oratore, De re publica, and the incomplete De legibus, both in terms of their relationship to Plato and in terms of their connections with one another. While some important recent scholarship has emphasized the links between De re publica and De legibus, I concentrate on the links between De oratore and De re publica, in terms of their attitudes to Plato and to Hellenistic learning, the relationship they establish between Greek thought and Roman practice, and their construction of the interrelated histories of philosophy, rhetoric, and politics. I also suggest that De legibus is strikingly different from the other two works in these respects and also in the relative weight it places on the role of individuals and institutions in creating a moral and successful public world.
In this book, Matthew Pawlak offers the first treatment of sarcasm in New Testament studies. He provides an extensive analysis of sarcastic passages across the undisputed letters of Paul, showing where Paul is sarcastic, and how his sarcasm affects our understanding of his rhetoric and relationships with the Early Christian congregations in Galatia, Rome, and Corinth. Pawlak's identification of sarcasm is supported by a dataset of 400 examples drawn from a broad range of ancient texts, including major case studies on Septuagint Job, the prophets, and Lucian of Samosata. These data enable the determination of the typical linguistic signals of sarcasm in ancient Greek, as well as its rhetorical functions. Pawlak also addresses several ongoing discussions in Pauline scholarship. His volume advances our understanding of the abrupt opening of Galatians, diatribe and Paul's hypothetical interlocutor in Romans, the 'Corinthian slogans' of First Corinthians, and the 'fool's speech' found within Second Corinthians 10-13.
Though lauded as radically generically innovative, David Foster Wallace’s work – both in characteristics and range – has a number of antecedents in nineteenth-century Anglophone and other traditions, which ultimately illuminate the relationship between the two main hallmarks of his work: ethical gesture and stylistic complexity. As his reviews and comments on other authors and cultural trends make clear, Wallace was both a debunker of grand claims (in the manner of the Melville who said Emerson gave the impression that “had he lived in those days in which the world was made, he might have offered some valuable suggestions”) and a maker of such claims himself. He was obviously deeply indebted to – and may even have represented a baroque final development of – a consistent nineteenth-century American emphasis (strengthened through the movement for the abolition of slavery) on sympathetic identification as a primary social resource. Wallace combines nineteenth-century literary figures’ blend of the essayistic with the fundamental trajectory of the bildungsroman, within fiction and nonfiction. Through an analysis of Wallace’s forebears and influences, focusing on the American nineteenth century, this chapter proposes that Wallace in fact played the role of a nineteenth-century novelist (at once cultural commentator and artist) in a postmodern context. While Wallace’s ethics always seems starkly accessible, his brand of literariness does not. This is because he brings two central animating features of nineteenth-century American writing’s interventions to their most acute, impossible point: Sympathy becomes incapacitating dissolution, and educative realism approaches unreadability. Understanding this background also provides a new context for the recent diminution of Wallace’s personal reputation: His ethical appeals are not only a hypocritical contrast to private conduct but also an indispensable strategy for a formal obscurity that still sought transformative relevance.
This chapter examines two commencement ceremony performances that explored the political implications of Haitian independence, one by two white Dartmouth students in 1804, and the other two decades later by Bowdoin College’s first black graduate. In these acts, Americans dramatized Haiti’s founding fathers and its emerging democracy while incorporating Haiti into performances of pedagogy and credentialing central to the American national imaginary.
Chapter 5 examines Herbert’s attendance at the public choral liturgies of the church. Herbert was associated throughout his life with religious institutions that supported choral foundations: Westminster Abbey, Trinity College, Cambridge, Lincoln Cathedral, and, most famously, Salisbury Cathedral. Herbert’s practical interest in making music is well known; yet he was never a member of these choirs, and the music performed during public worship at these foundations is a repertoire that he would have experienced passively and aurally. This chapter reads Herbert’s poetic alongside contemporary developments in the composition and aesthetics of seventeenth-century liturgical choral music. In revealing striking analogues between Herbert’s verse and contemporary polyphonic church music, this chapter considers Herbert and his work in more receptive, attentive terms, affording significant new perspectives on the nature of devotional attention and early modern debates about the ‘beauty of holiness’ and the aesthetics of worship.
Liberalism’s primary medium is that of values, principles, and laws. One of the ways to de-absolutize liberalism in relation to multiculturalism and the respectful inclusion of minorities is to recognize the sociological and normative significance of other features of social life. I do so by focusing on the significance of identity and by highlighting the normative role of dialogue in a context of cultural and value conflicts. This offers a bottom-up basis for a political theory of multiculturalism, which is not simply about trends in academic liberalism but is about claims on national citizenship and national identity by those seeking inclusion in a new sense of the national. While a focus on identity, both in terms of recognition and in terms of fostering commonality and societal unity is not sufficient, it is a necessary dimension that political theorists who frame things in terms of liberalism miss, and thereby miss both what needs to be addressed and what is needed for liberal – amongst other – values to be secured. (Nor do socialists, human rights champions, cosmopolitans, or localists.)
The accelerating development of technological power over ourselves and our environment raises the stakes of getting our beliefs right. I suggest that we can significantly improve our processes of belief formation by increasing actively open-minded thinking (AOT). Actively open-minded thinking helps us form more accurate and well-rounded beliefs by increasing the depth and – more importantly – the breadth of information search and inference. Because individuals do not always have time for adequate investigation, AOT is also a valuable indicator of which epistemic authorities are most likely to have reached accurate conclusions via effective methods. It is associated with better reasoning across a wide variety of contexts, leading to beliefs that are more accurate, more complete, and less biased. Yet it is not regularly taught in schools, nor is it a feature of typical public discourse. I suggest several strategies for increasing this cognitive habit in school and society.
Horace Walpole finishes his account of writing The Castle of Otranto (1764) with a wry look at its syntactics, confessing that late one night he “could not hold the pen to finish the sentence, but left Matilda and Isabella talking, in the middle of a paragraph.” A close look at the beginnings, middles, and ends not only of chapters but also of paragraphs and even sentences in this first gothic novel reveals syntactical passages behaving like subterranean passages. As readers, we often don’t know what’s coming until we turn the corner of the sentence and bump into it. The lack of quotation marks to distinguish dialogue (when quotation marks were entering into common use) repeatedly slides the reader down wrong turns; we mistake one speaker for another. Later editions would insert quotation marks, brightly lighting the syntactic interior. But what Walpole initiates for the gothic on the small level of typography and syntax as well as of atmosphere and plot is precisely the uneasiness of boundaries obscured and identities blurred. This chapter tracks the spatial implications of the shapes of sentences and the peculiarities of paragraphs in The Castle of Otranto to uncover a template of syntactical structures enacting gothic structures.
Randomized prospective studies represent the gold standard for experimental design. In this paper, we present a randomized prospective study to validate the benefits of combining rule-based and data-driven natural language understanding methods in a virtual patient dialogue system. The system uses a rule-based pattern matching approach together with a machine learning (ML) approach in the form of a text-based convolutional neural network, combining the two methods with a simple logistic regression model to choose between their predictions for each dialogue turn. In an earlier, retrospective study, the hybrid system yielded a nearly 50% error reduction on our initial data, in part due to the differential performance between the two methods as a function of label frequency. Given these gains, and considering that our hybrid approach is unique among virtual patient systems, we compare the hybrid system to the rule-based system by itself in a randomized prospective study. We evaluate 110 unique medical student subjects interacting with the system over 5,296 conversation turns, to verify whether similar gains are observed in a deployed system. This prospective study broadly confirms the findings from the earlier one but also highlights important deficits in our training data. The hybrid approach still improves over either rule-based or ML approaches individually, even handling unseen classes with some success. However, we observe that live subjects ask more out-of-scope questions than expected. To better handle such questions, we investigate several modifications to the system combination component. These show significant overall accuracy improvements and modest F1 improvements on out-of-scope queries in an offline evaluation. We provide further analysis to characterize the difficulty of the out-of-scope problem that we have identified, as well as to suggest future improvements over the baseline we establish here.
The chapter focuses on the pragmatic valence of the parenthetical clause ut mihi (quidem) uidetur, a formulation which, by underscoring the subjective value of a statement, often conveys important interactional functions. A close survey of the use of this expression in Latin authors from Cicero to Augustinus highlights the essentially redressive value of the formula, which mainly acts as a mitigating hedge in stance taking, aimed at avoiding the negative effects of potential face-threatening acts and at managing self-presentation. Special attention is paid to Cicero’s usage of the formula as a refined conversational marker, through which the speaker showing modesty and awareness of others’ value reveals his superior moral and social standing. Hence, the chapter explores the role of speaker-oriented strategies of politeness in Rome, as part of an interactional style aimed at indexing a precise social identity.
Reassessing the speech on Platonic love by the interlocutor Pietro Bembo in The Book of the Courtier (1528), this essay discusses Castiglione’s Platonic love ideology both as a philosophy and as the theoretical underpinning of an amorous praxis. After an overview of the reception of Platonic love during this stage of the Italian Renaissance, it examines to what extent Bembo’s discourse reflects Ficinian Neoplatonic notions of love as enjoyment of beauty and ascent toward the divine. While Castiglione echoes Ficino in his emphasis on the role of reason, Bembo creates a more permissive standard for younger lovers and for older lovers sanctions the kiss as a pivotal point on the ascent towards spiritual love, thus reconciling contemplative aspects of Platonic love with the concrete amorous dynamics of court life. Moreover, Bembo’s speech is predicated on the awareness that desire can degenerate into fury, an aspect that is discussed in the context of the contra amorem tradition. Literary form is a constant consideration: as a Ciceronian dialogue, the text not only projects an ideal Renaissance court, but also has a mimetic function in that its medium reflects and supports its content.
Plato’s philosophical thinking begins from views and assumptions that he presupposes in his readers or in himself, whether or not he states them explicitly. This chapter surveys the following influences: (1) Homer. (2) Political developments and the moral questions they raise. (3) The interactions of natural philosophy (‘Presocratic’ philosophy) and religion. (4) The epistemological questions arising from natural philosophy. (5) Sceptical tendencies in naturalist epistemology. (6) Sophistic and rhetoric and the intellectual and political tensions connected with them. (7) Plato’s reactions to natural philosophy, sophistic and rhetoric. (8) Socratic inquiry and its sources in drama and forensic oratory.
Chapter 2 focuses on the idylls of Tennyson and Landor as they explored in verse the conversations of friendship, responding to the difficulties of social relations with other beings by figuring and configuring voices other than themselves to put them – and their readers -- in dialogue with one another. Romantic and Victorian poets turned to the example of the Hellenistic poet Theocritus, whose poetic fictions of conversation and song helped the later poets to imagine something like a Levinasian ethical social order amid political disorder. Following Coleridge, Wordsworth, Keats, and Shelley, Tennyson’s English Idyls and Landor’s Hellenic Idylls took up the ethical and political challenges of conversing across deepening divisions they perceived around them, not only between persons but also between persons and the non-human natural world. Implicit in their efforts is an optimism that later poets, not least an older Tennyson, would find difficult to sustain.
This chapter offers a guide to reading Plato’s dialogues, including an overview of his corpus. We recommend first considering each dialogue as its own unified work, before considering how it relates to the others. In general, the dialogues explore ideas and arguments, rather than presenting parts of a comprehensive philosophical system that settles on final answers. The arc of a dialogue frequently depends on who the individual interlocutors are. We argue that the traditional division of the corpus (into Socratic, middle, late stages) is useful, regardless of whether it is a chronological division. Our overview of the corpus gives special attention to the Republic, since it interweaves so many of his key ideas, even if nearly all of them receive longer treatments in other dialogues. Although Plato recognized the limits inherent in written (as opposed to spoken) philosophy, he devoted his life to producing these works, which are clearly meant to help us seek the deepest truths. Little can be learned from reports of Plato’s oral teaching or the letters attributed to him. Understanding the dialogues on their own terms is what offers the greatest reward.
There is a multiplicity or pluriverse of modes or families of democracy and citizenship on this planet, from diverse types of participatory democracy to Gaia or Earth democracy. In response to the ecological and democratic crises, the aim of this volume is to disclose and survey five modes of democracy: Indigenous democracies, Local/global participatory democracies, representative democracies, international/global democracies, and Gaia democracies. We study how they are enacted and the ways in which they interact in order to show how they can coordinate and cooperate democratically in response to the ecosocial crises we face. We call this integration of democratic diversity “joining hands” and explicate six ways of joining hands in practice. The Introduction includes overviews of each chapter.
We suggest studying how using social media affects adolescent identity development to understand the mechanism of the impact of social media on adolescent mental health. We present a model of the dual aspect of adolescent identity development – the progression towards the formation of self-evaluated commitments and values and construction of a coherent life story – and discuss how using social media facilitates or hinders processes involved, namely introspection, storytelling, and dialogue. Social media topics include dialogue with a diverse group of people, censorship, the permanence of social media data, potent social norms and values, and emphasis on appearance. Future research should develop methods for studying narratives on social media and establish the adolescent development of a narrative identity. We also suggest examining the affordances of social media platforms and how they affect processes of identity development. The chapter calls for media developers to design social media environments that support identity development.
In the past few years, it has been possible to notice parallel developments in the study of both Latin and Greek late antique poetry, two neighbouring and growing scholarly fields. Recently published studies reveal an increased focus on the contemporary context and, in relation to that, on the ‘otherness’ of late antique aesthetics, when compared with the poetics of earlier periods that classically trained scholars have been taught to admire.1 Long considered poetry of bad taste from a period of decline, late antique poetry fascinates classicists today mainly because of its otherness, its productive reception of the classical period, its innovations in terms of literary forms, and the creativity with which it responds to the ‘seismic cultural changes’2 of late antique society.
The Conclusion, marking the end of our long, rhetorical-dialectical journey with Augustine in The City of God, asks what we have learned, and why it might matter. It reflects on the multifaceted nature of Augustine’s defense of humility – experiential, historical, epistemological, metaphysical, and theological – and on the ways it offers hope for humans amid the challenges of civic life, today as well as in Augustine’s troubled era.