In Memory and the Political Art in Plato’s Statesman, Catherine Craig provides an original reading of Plato’s Statesman by bringing memory to the foreground. The dialogue itself explores various components of political memory, such as common speech, myths, and laws, and argues that these create a framework in which we live our political lives. Each of these aspects of political memory serves as an image to move the individual to rational inquiry. In this way, the dialogue suggests that political memory can serve as a starting point for philosophic recollection, allowing for a move from knowledge of the rational soul to first principles. Craig shows how Plato weaves together the personal, political, and philosophic dimensions of memory, providing a richer understanding of the significance of memory for political life. Beyond providing an analysis of the Statesman, this book helps readers consider the challenges of political memory in contemporary political life, while also arguing that memory mediates between universal, rational principles and the particular ends and circumstances of human life.
Catherine Craig is Postdoctoral Scholar at Arizona State University.
Chapter One: Self-Forgetting Featherless Bipeds
Chapter Two: Remembering the Age of Cronus
Chapter Three: Sleeping and Wakefulness in the Age of Zeus
Chapter Four: Weaving the Cloak of Memory
Chapter Five: Memory and Law
“A fresh reading of the Statesman identifying memory as the unifying thread of the dialogue. Most interesting is the analysis of the Statesman through the lens of the respective roles of historical and philosophic memory and of the relationship between the two in the life of a political community. Craig’s account is insightful, rich, nuanced, and carefully carried out.”