Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

Document Type



This dissertation evaluates the appropriateness of using Socrates as a model for contemporary citizenship. I examine the question of Socrates' civic character by inquiring about the relation of the philosopher (or political scientist) to the city (that is, to political life) without taking for granted that they share a common aim or purpose. Instead, I prepare the discussion with an examination of the treatment of Socrates by the comic poet Aristophanes in the Clouds. I suggest that Socrates' famed eros, his unwavering love of wisdom, was a problem, one that threatened the very foundations of political society. By conceiving of Socrates, the first of the political philosophers, as a political problem, I hope to open up a new approach to this most pertinent of political questions. Moreover, I seek an answer to this question by re-evaluating the importance of the lone fact that separates Socrates from his student Plato, who, in contrast to his teacher, left a written collection of his thoughts. It is in the nature of the written dialogue itself that we find the reconciliation between philosophy and politics, or between the good and one's own. With this reconciliation, we see what is essential to political life and civic virtue, as well as why Socrates cannot be a model for contemporary citizenship.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

James R. Stoner