Date of Award

2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Philosophy

First Advisor

Susan S. Meyer

Abstract

In this dissertation, I investigate Plato’s apparently diverse usages of the notion ‘harmonia’ in order to ascertain a) whether these usages have anything in common and, relatedly, b) whether this notion plays a significant role in Plato’s philosophy. I begin with a survey of pre-Platonic texts before turning to four key Platonic dialogues: the Gorgias, the Phaedo, the Republic, and the Timaeus in order to argue that, even though most contemporary studies of Plato’s thought fail to study this notion in any detail, it nonetheless plays an important role in many of his central doctrines. I contend that harmonia is an intelligible, mathematical structure that operates throughout the microcosm (soul, body, city-state) and macrocosm (the universe) and, in each case, it serves to improve the entities in which it is instantiated. We need harmonia in order to ascend to the study of the Good which, for Plato, is the highest study; harmonia is, then, a crucial means to the most important end.

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Available to all on Sunday, June 06, 2021

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