Oup Usa (2015)

The author argues that the fourth-century philosophers used protreptic discourses to market philosophical practices and to define and legitimize the school of higher learning.
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This lengthy introduction develops the concept of protreptic discourse not as a fully formed genre in the fourth century, as has previously been thought, but as a complex genre in the making. Using the work of M. M. Bakhtin and other genre theorists, this introduction argues that the first... see more

Levels of Discourse in Plato’s Dialogues

Plato composes dramatic protreptic speeches in which someone converts or tries to convert a person to a new way of living. Using the work of Gérard Genette, and in particular his concepts of extradiegetic and intradiegetic narrative levels, this chapter describes how, in some dialogues, na... see more

Narrative between Socrates and Crito

This chapter explores the personalities and agendas of the characters in the frame narrative of Plato’s Euthydemus: Socrates, Crito, a lover of spectacle and father looking for an instructor for his sons, and an anonymous representative of the Isocratean school of philosophy. Socrates of t... see more

From Narrative to Drama

This chapter turns to the events in the Euthydemus that Socrates portrays as having taken place the day before. Socrates tells in vivid detail how he and some visiting sophists entered into public debate over the question of how one should convince others to adopt a different way of life. ... see more

Return to the Extradiegetic Level

This chapter takes up an important interruption in Socrates’s narration in the Euthydemus and the end framing narrative between Socrates and Crito. In his narration to Crito, Socrates engineers a way to test the engagement of his extradiegetic audience. Crito is after all seeking teachers ... see more

Creating Consumers and Consensus in the Protagoras

In the Protagoras, Plato’s Socrates takes great pains to present clearly the professional claims, methodologies, and personalities of multiple rivaling sophists in a more private venue among converts, that is those already protrepticized. The proliferation of competing professional claims ... see more

“Professional” Protreptic

Isocrates too is engaged in the construction of a new discipline and profession called “philosophy.” This chapter turns to his use of protreptic discourse in a variety of discursive genres, beginning with a philosophical pamphlet (Against the Sophists). In this pamphlet, Isocrates systemat... see more

Paraenetic Protreptic

In his letters to two young Cyprian kings, Demonicus and Nicocles, Isocrates offers a long list of concrete and traditional rules for improving conduct, suggesting that the addressee (and the reading public) should be habituated to these. Using traditional aristocratic rhetoric, Isocrates ... see more

Judging Protreptic

In his autobiographical “apology” (Antidosis), Isocrates provides a detailed defense of his life and educational practices, attacking those who have slandered his school and his conception of liberal education. Here, he defines “philosophy” and argues that his competitors are not true phil... see more


A lengthy epilogue explores how Aristotle merges the “voices” of his competition, putting them into dialogue with one another in the relatively monologic discourse of his Protrepticus. Aristotle incorporates opposing and competing claims and discourses to produce a multivoiced text. One “v... see more

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Citations of this work BETA

Is the Idea of the Good Beyond Being? Plato's "Epekeina Tês Ousias" Revisited.Rafael Ferber & Gregor Damschen - 2015 - In Debra Nails, Harold Tarrant, Mika Kajava & Eero Salmenkivi (eds.), SECOND SAILING: Alternative Perspectives on Plato. Wellprint Oy. pp. 197-203.
A Horse is a Horse, of Course, of Course, but What About Horseness?Necip Fikri Alican - 2015 - In Debra Nails & Harold Tarrant (eds.), Second Sailing: Alternative Perspectives on Plato. Helsinki: Societas Scientiarum Fennica. pp. 307–324.
'Making New Gods? A Reflection on the Gift of the Symposium.Mitchell Miller - 2015 - In Debra Nails, Harold Tarrant, Mika Kajava & Eero Salmenkivi (eds.), Second Sailing: Alternative Perspectives on Plato. Societas Scientiarum Fennica. pp. 285-306.
Bad Luck to Take a Woman Aboard.Debra Nails - 2015 - In Debra Nails & Harold Tarrant (eds.), Second Sailing: Alternative Perspectives on Plato. Helsinki, Finland: Societas Scientiarum Fennica. pp. 73-90.

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