Jan 15 Colloquia – Sarah Jansen: “Plato and Laughing at People”

Sarah Jansen (Carleton College) will be giving her talk on Friday, January 15, 2016 in BUCH A201 at 4pm.

Plato and Laughing at People

In the paper I explore the dialogues’ engagement with the ethics of laughing at people, arguing that, for Plato, such laughter is central to the practice (or malpractice) of reasoned discourse. Through a new analysis of both the dialectic and drama of the dialogues (especially the Philebus), I argue that Plato distinguishes between bad and good laughing at people. The former is foolish and serious; its wicked and immoderate pleasures stifle inquiry and mire laughers in power plays and ignorance. The latter is wise and playful; its virtuous and moderate pleasures advance cooperative inquiry and our knowledge of our shared human limitations.



This event is free and open to the public, faculty, staff and students.