Digital Dialogue 58: Love of the World

For episode 58 of the Digital Dialogue I am joined at the 51st annual meeting of SPEP in Rochester, NY by Silvia Benso. She is Professor of Philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology, where she teaches courses in Ancient Greek Philosophy, Contemporary European Philosophy, the history of philosophy, ethics and feminist philosophy.

Besides having published articles on Nietzsche, Heidegger, Levinas, and ancient philosophy (especially Plato), she is the author of Thinking After Auschwitz: Philosophical Ethics and Jewish Theodicy (in Italian), The Face of Things: A Different Side of Ethics, and the co-author of the volume Environmental Thinking: Between Philosophy and Ecology (in Italian). She is also the general co-editor for the series Contemporary Italian Philosophy published by SUNY Press.

I would be remiss if I did not also say that she is a graduate of the philosophy PhD program at Penn State.

She is also a long time member and friend of the Ancient Philosophy Society, so when we found out we were coming to Rochester for SPEP, we knew just who we wanted to invite to speak at the APS at SPEP session. She joins me today on the Digital Dialogue to speak about the paper she delivered entitled:


Life, Death and Liesure: Recovering Socrates’ Love of the World

Listen here:

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • dirkusa says:

    the qualities of readership/interpretation that get recommended, and then performed, in this conversation are attractive to this reader but I'm with Stanley Fish and others that such an ethos cannot be necessitated/author-ized by the text itself but rather comes from the social arrangements/interests of particular readers.

  • @Dirkusa, your comment is well taken, and it resonates with a longer conversation that emerged from my presentation on Plato and the Politics of Reading a few weeks ago in San Francisco. In the Storify I created of the conversation that emerged there, @alexanderzane in discussion with @DulceFlecha, made a similar point: we cannot ascribe an ethos to the text itself, but rather it is readers that bring the ethos with them to the text.
    Here is the link to the Storify, its under the heading "A Longer Conversation."
    http://storify.com/cplong11/plato-and-the-politic
    However, I want to defend the notion that the text has an ethos as well; it is rooted in the ethos of its author, but not fully determined there, because the meaning of the text, what it has to say, is bound also up with the history of its provenance, and the manner in which it is taken up by, as you say, "the social arrangements/interests of particular readers."
    Nevertheless, the ethos of the text can no more be reduced to those arrangements and interests than it can be to the intentions of its author. There is something in a text that is uniquely its own, independent of the author who gave it birth or those of us who, reading it, breath new life into it again. This unique ethos of a text is what holds every reading of it accountable to the truth it has to articulate.

  • dirkusa says:

    hmm, sounds reminiscent of certain strains of biblical hermeneutics, perhaps we need a phenomenology of reading to flesh out such suggestions of how texts (or their ethoi, spirits?) hold readers accountable.

  • Yes, I gesture to a phenomenology of reading at the end of my forthcoming book on Socratic and Platonic Political Philosophy. It needs to be fleshed out further, and your comments here help with that. I embrace the vocabulary of ethoi, but not so much that of spirits.

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