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Debra Nails
Michigan State University
  1. Who Speaks for Plato?: Studies in Platonic Anonymity.Hayden W. Ausland, Eugenio Benitez, Ruby Blondell, Lloyd P. Gerson, Francisco J. Gonzalez, J. J. Mulhern, Debra Nails, Erik Ostenfeld, Gerald A. Press, Gary Alan Scott, P. Christopher Smith, Harold Tarrant, Holger Thesleff, Joanne Waugh, William A. Welton & Elinor J. M. West - 2000 - Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
    In this international and interdisciplinary collection of critical essays, distinguished contributors examine a crucial premise of traditional readings of Plato's dialogues: that Plato's own doctrines and arguments can be read off the statements made in the dialogues by Socrates and other leading characters. The authors argue in general and with reference to specific dialogues, that no character should be taken to be Plato's mouthpiece. This is essential reading for students and scholars of Plato.
     
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  2.  19
    Agora, Academy, and the Conduct of Philosophy.Debra Nails - 1995 - Kluwer Academic Publishers.
    Agora, Academy, and the Conduct of Philosophy offers extremely careful and detailed criticisms of some of the most important assumptions scholars have brought to bear in beginning the process of (Platonic) interpretation. It goes on to offer a new way to group the dialogues, based on important facts in the lives and philosophical practices of Socrates - the main speaker in most of Plato's dialogues - and of Plato himself. Both sides of Debra Nails's arguments deserve close attention: the negative (...)
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  3. Two Dogmas of Platonism.Debra Nails - 2013 - Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium of Ancient Philosophy 28 (1):77-112.
    Contemporary platonism has been conditioned in large part by two dogmas. One is the belief in a fundamental cleavage between intelligible but invisible Platonic forms that are real and eternal, and perceptible objects whose confinement to spacetime constitutes an inferior existence and about which knowledge is impossible. The other dogma involves a kind of reductionism: the belief that Plato’s unhypothetical first principle of the all is identical to the form of the good. Both dogmas, I argue, are ill-founded.
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  4. Plato's Symposium: Issues in Interpretation and Reception.J. H. Lesher, Debra Nails & Frisbee C. C. Sheffield (eds.) - 2006 - Harvard University Press.
  5. Tragedy Off-Stage.Debra Nails - 2006 - In J. H. Lesher, Debra Nails & Frisbee C. C. Sheffield (eds.), Plato's Symposium: Issues in Interpretation and Reception. Harvard University Press.
    I argue that the tragedies envisioned by the Symposium are two, both of which are introduced in the dialogue: (i) within months of Agathon's victory, half the characters who celebrated with him suffer death or exile on charges of impiety; (ii) Socrates is executed weeks after the dramatic date of the frame. Thus the most defensible notion of tragedy across Plato's dialogues is a fundamentally epistemological one: if we do not know the good, we increase our risk of making mistakes (...)
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  6. Plato's Republic in Its Athenian Context.Debra Nails - 2012 - History of Political Thought 33 (1):1-23.
    Plato's Republic critiques Athenian democracy as practised during the Peloponnesian War years. The diseased city Socrates attempts to purge mirrors Athens in crucial particulars, and his proposals should be evaluated as counter-weights to existing institutions and practices, not as absolutes to be instantiated. Plato's assessment of the Athenian polity incorporates two strategies -- one rhetorical, the other argumentative -- both of which I address. Failure to consider Athens a catalyst for Socrates' arguments has led to the misconception that Plato was (...)
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  7.  25
    Socrates.Debra Nails - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  8. Social-Scientific Sexism: Gilligan's Mismeasure of Man.Debra Nails - 1983 - Social Research 50.
    I argue that Carol Gilligan's claims about female moral development reproduce and encourage the oppression of women. A comparison of her descriptions of abortion-decision study cases with those of Mary F. Belenky (whose dissertation recorded more data from the same interviews than did Gilligan's book), show troubling discrepancies. Gilligan's book is more literature than science, retelling women's stories in compelling--but misleading--ways.
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  9. Second Sailing: Alternative Perspectives on Plato.Debra Nails & Harold Tarrant (eds.) - 2015 - Societas Scientiarum Fennica.
  10. Problems with Vlastos’s Platonic Developmentalism.Debra Nails - 1993 - Ancient Philosophy 13 (2):273-291.
  11.  31
    Tidying the Socratic Mess of a Method.Debra Nails - 1997 - Southwest Philosophy Review 13 (2):1-14.
  12.  7
    Plato's Democratic Entanglements: Athenian Politics and the Practice of Philosophy (Review).Debra Nails - 2001 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 39 (2):289-290.
  13. Spinoza and the Sciences.Marjorie Grene & Debra Nails - 1988 - Philosophy of Science 55 (3):480-482.
     
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  14.  37
    Spinoza And The Sciences.Marjorie G. Grene & Debra Nails - 1986 - Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
    The chapters of the book do not situate Spinoza among the natural philosophical giants who opened the way to modern science. Rather they explore Spinoza's relation to the sciences in a variety of ways. Contributors: Joseph Agassi, Thomas Cook, Marjorie Grene, Hans Jonas, André Lecrivain, Genevieve Lloyd, Alexandre Matheron, Nancy Maull, Debra Nails, Michel Paty, Richard H. Popkin, David Savan, Heine Siebrand, and Joe D. Van Zandt.
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  15.  17
    Annotated Bibliography of Spinoza and the Sciences.Debra Nails - 1986 - In Marjorie G. Grene & Debra Nails (eds.), Spinoza and the Sciences. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 305--314.
  16. A Human Being Like Any Other: Like No Other.Debra Nails - 1986 - Philosophical Forum 18 (2):124.
     
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  17.  28
    A Little Platonic Heresy for the Eighties.Debra Nails - 1985 - Teaching Philosophy 8 (1):33-40.
  18.  12
    A Little Platonic Heresy.Debra Nails - 1988 - Demonstrating Philosophy:71-78.
    Translations of Plato's Republic, footnotes, and commentary strongly influence how the dialogue is interpreted. This brief paper compares a few English translations and commentaries.
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  19. 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.
    Despite Diotima’s irresistible virtues and attractiveness across the millennia, she spells trouble for philosophy. It is not her fault that she has been misunderstood, nor is it Plato’s. Rather, I suspect, each era has made of Diotima what it desired her to be. Her malleability is related to the assumption that Plato invented her, that she is a mere literary fiction, licensing the imagination to do what it will. In the first part of my paper, I argue against three contemporary (...)
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  20.  29
    Colloquium 3: Two Dogmas Of Platonism.Debra Nails - 2013 - Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium of Ancient Philosophy 28 (1):77-101.
    Contemporary platonism has been conditioned in large part by two dogmas. One is the belief in a fundamental cleavage between intelligible but invisible Platonic forms that are real and eternal, and perceptible objects whose confinement to spacetime constitutes an inferior existence and about which knowledge is impossible. The other dogma involves a kind of reductionism: the belief that Plato's unhypothetical first principle of the all is identical to the form of the good. Both dogmas, I argue, are ill-founded.
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  21.  6
    Doing It Vs. Teaching It: A Modest Proposal.Debra Nails - 1988 - Philosophie Et Culture: Actes du XVIIe Congrès Mondial de Philosophie 5:486-487.
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  22.  18
    Epitaph For The Third Man.Debra Nails - 1978 - Auslegung 6:6-23.
    The "third man" argument presented in plato's "parmenides" is valid against any articulated version of the theory of forms. Plato recognized this fact, yet continued to hold the theory because the most fundamental description of what is (the "unwritten theory") cannot be articulated and does not fall victim to the third man.
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  23.  59
    Five Platonic Characters.Debra Nails - 2015 - In Gabriele Cornelli (ed.), Plato's Styles and Characters: Between Literature and Philosophy. De Gruyter. pp. 297-316.
    As a way of arguing that Platonic characters' individual roles within familial, social, and religious structures could deepen our understanding of some philosophical issues--human nature, epistemology, justice and education in the polis, virtue--I present information about the characters Meno of Thessaly, Theaetetus of Sunium, Diotima of Mantinea, Phaenarete (wife of Sophroniscus and Chaeredemus), and [unnamed] of Athens (wife of Pericles and Hipponicus).
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  24. Metaphysics at the Barricades : Spinoza and Race.Debra Nails - 2005 - In Andrew Valls (ed.), Race and Racism in Modern Philosophy. Cornell University Press.
  25.  28
    Of Children, Fools and Madmen: Spinoza’s Scientific Method and the Constraint of Fact.Debra Nails - 1985 - Southwest Philosophy Review 2:30-42.
    "Of Children, Fools, and Madmen: Spinoza's Scientific Method and the Constraints of Fact" Spinoza has been largely ignored in the history of the scientific method in the seventeenth century. Such neglect is unjustified insofar as Spinoza deliberately circumscribed with scientific method both Biblical hermeneutics (TTP), a field which he deserves credit for founding, and political theory (TP). Although he wrote no discrete discourse on method, he wove his scientific methodological principles into the fabric of his philosophical treatises.
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  26.  34
    Ousia in the Platonic Dialogues.Debra Nails - 1979 - Southwestern Journal of Philosophy 10 (1):71-77.
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  27.  57
    On Wittgenstein: The Language-Game and Linguistics.Debra Nails - 1976 - Auslegung 3 (2):75-82.
    Wittgenstein was not the "anti-philosopher" he is so often characterized as having been. this short paper points out inadequacies in some of the traditional views of wittgenstein's philosophy. it then suggests a more positive view of what wittgenstein believed the object of philosophy ought to be: in short, the language-game conceived as human activity, object and linguistic sign, mediated by the rules of grammar. finally, to provide an example of one of the ways in which philosophy might proceed, i discuss (...)
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  28.  1
    Plato’s Antipaideia: Perplexity for the Guided.Debra Nails - 1998 - The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 3:205-210.
    ‘Paideia’ connotes the handing down and preservation of tradition and culture, even civilization, through education. Plato’s education of philosophers in the Academy is inimical to such an essentially conservative notion. His dialectical method is inherently dynamic and open-ended: not only are such conclusions as are reached in the dialogues subject to further criticism, so are the assumptions on which those conclusions are based. In these and other ways explored in this paper, Plato demonstrates that paideia has no harbor within philosophy.
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  29.  41
    Plato's Housing Policy.Debra Nails & Soula Proxenos - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 10:73-78.
    Plato put housing second only to a secure food supply in the order of business of an emerging polis [Republic 2.369d); we argue, without quibbling over rank, that adequate housing ought to have fundamental priority, with health and education, in civil societies' planning, budgets, and legislative agendas. Somethingmade explicit in the Platonic Laws, and often reiterated by today's poor — but as often forgotten by bureaucrats— is that human wellbeing, eudaimonia, is impossible for the homeless. That is, adequate housing is (...)
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  30.  81
    Plato's Housing Policy: Then and Now.Debra Nails & Soula Proxenos - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 10:73-78.
    Plato put housing second only to a secure food supply in the order of business of an emerging polis [Republic 2.369d); we argue, without quibbling over rank, that adequate housing ought to have fundamental priority, with health and education, in civil societies' planning, budgets, and legislative agendas. Something made explicit in the Platonic Laws, and often reiterated by today's poor — but as often forgotten by bureaucrats— is that human wellbeing, eudaimonia, is impossible for the homeless. That is, adequate housing (...)
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  31.  6
    Platonic Interpretive Strategies, and the History of Philosophy, with a Comment on Renaud.Debra Nails - 2016 - Plato: The Internet Journal of the International Plato Society 16:109-122.
    François Renaud replies to the question of what principles one ought to employ in the study of Plato by arguing that, and demonstrating how, the argument and the drama operate together successfully in the Gorgias. In agreement with Renaud’s approach, I expose some historical roots with a review of Platonic interpretive strategies of the modern period in the context of history of philosophy more generally. I also try to show why argument and drama operate together, an insight I attribute to (...)
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  32. Platonic Interpretive Strategies, and the History of Philosophy, with a Comment on Renaud.Debra Nails - 2017 - Plato Journal 16:109-122.
    François Renaud replies to the question of what principles one ought to employ in the study of Plato by arguing that, and demonstrating how, the argument and the drama operate together successfully in the Gorgias. In agreement with Renaud’s approach, I expose some historical roots with a review of Platonic interpretive strategies of the modern period in the context of history of philosophy more generally. I also try to show why argument and drama operate together, an insight I attribute to (...)
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  33.  19
    Review of Cristina Ionescu, Plato's Meno: An Interpretation[REVIEW]Debra Nails - 2007 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (11).
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  34.  19
    Seduced by Prodicus.Debra Nails - 2001 - Southwest Philosophy Review 17 (2):129-139.
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  35. The People of Plato a Prosopography of Plato and Other Socratics.Debra Nails - 2002 - Hackett Publishing Company.
    _The People of Plato_ is the first study since 1823 devoted exclusively to the identification of, and relationships among, the individuals represented in the complete Platonic corpus. It provides details of their lives, and it enables one to consider the persons of Plato's works, and those of other Socratics, within a nexus of important political, social, and familial relationships. Debra Nails makes a broad spectrum of scholarship accessible to the non-specialist. She distinguishes what can be stated confidently from what remains (...)
     
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