Classics Department Annual Benefactors' Lecture

Dartmouth Events

Classics Department Annual Benefactors' Lecture

Author, words and meaning: Plato and the problem of hermeneutics, Stephen Halliwell, University of St. Andrews

Thursday, May 5, 2016
Haldeman 41 (Kreindler Conference Hall)
Intended Audience(s): Public
Categories: Clubs & Organizations, Conferences, Lectures & Seminars

This lecture will explore some of the complexities that are built into the interpretation of poetry in Plato’s dialogues. It will challenge, in particular, the claim that the dialogues are committed to a model of strong intentionalism, i.e. the principle that the meaning of a text is to be equated with authorial intention, and will argue instead that we can find clear traces of the idea of a hermeneutics of the text in its own right. In investigating these issues (which have larger implications for the interpretation of Plato’s own work), the lecture will propose that it is important to recognise in the practices of the Platonic Socrates an ambivalence between rationalistic and mantic (i.e. quasi-divinatory) modes of interpretation. 

STEPHEN HALLIWELL is Professor of Greek and Wardlaw Professor of Classics at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. He has taught in the Universities of Birmingham, Cambridge, London, and Oxford, and has held visiting professorships in Belgium, Canada, Italy and the USA. His books include Aristotle’s Poetics (1986), Plato Republic 10 (1988), The Aesthetics of Mimesis: Ancient Texts and Modern Problems (2002, awarded the Premio Europeo d’Estetica 2008), Greek Laughter: a Study of Cultural Psychology from Homer to Early Christianity (2008, winner of the Criticos Prize, 2008), and Between Ecstasy and Truth: Interpretations of Greek Poetics from Homer to Longinus (2011). He is a Fellow of both the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 

This event is free and open to the public!  Reception to follow.




For more information, contact:
Carol Bean-Carmody

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.