Politics as architectonic expertise? Against Taking the So-called ‘Architect’ (Greek Passage) in Plato’s Statesman to Prefigure this Aristotelian View

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Abstract

This article rejects the claim made by other scholars that Plato in the Statesman, by employing the so-called ‘architect’ (Greek Passage) in one of the early divisions leading to the definition of political expertise, prefigured and anticipated the architectonic conception of political expertise advanced by Aristotle. It argues for an alternative reading in which Plato in the Statesman, and in the only other of his works (Gorgias) in which the word appears, closely tracks the existing social role of the architektōn, who was designated as such only in virtue of appointment by a city to a role that was crucially defined as epitactic, involving overseeing the workers on site engaged in constructing some civic building works. It is this epitactic dimension of the role on which Plato relies in the Statesman, as opposed to the kind of claim to overarching integrative expertise that Aristotle would use the figure of architectonic political knowledge to make.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-467
Number of pages19
JournalPolis
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Classics
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science

Keywords

  • Architect
  • Aristotle
  • Gorgias
  • Plato
  • Politics
  • Statesman

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