Forthcoming Book from Acumen Publishing

Apologies for not posting recently. Acumen Publishing, a leader in academic philosophy, offered to bring out a book promptly in response to the interest in my Apeiron article. The 300 pp. manuscript summarises the progress made on Plato’s symbolic schemes since the article was accepted. It is now finished and amplifies the evidence and arguments of the article many times over. The book is titled The Musical Structure of Plato’s Dialogues and is “optimistically” scheduled for a May or June 2011 release.

This book introduces a new approach to interpreting the symbolism in Plato’s dialogues, and shows its value in two, extended test-cases. Important new features of the book include:

— a survey of surprising recent research on symbolism and allegory in classical  Greece, which shows that allegory was an important theme of discussions in the circles around Socrates and a central issue in debates over threats to traditional religion (following Richard Janko et al.)

— a close-reading of the symbolism in the Symposium and Euthyphro, showing that the same scheme and the same kind of symbols are used consistently at regular intervals in both dialogues

— a revised and comprehensive discussion of the musicological background to  the musical `scales’ embedded in the dialogues, showing that the same scale used by Plato was discussed by Theon of Smyrna and that the use of `quarternotes’ equally-spaced between the major notes had precedents in the fourth century (following Andrew Barker’s The Science of Harmonics in Ancient Greece)

I thank the classics departments at University College London, Leeds, and Manchester where sections and chapters of the new book were first presented.

The new table of contents is available here.

Acumen’s announcement of the new book is here.




About jaybeekennedy

Centre for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, Manchester University
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