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Mason Marshall, Reading Plato’s Dialogues to Enhance Learning and Inquiry: Exploring Socrates’ Use of Protreptic for Student Engagement

(London: Routledge, 2021), 234p. $160

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  1. For Marshall’s project of learning about protreptic by reading the dialogues, he stipulates that we read them under the assumption that Socrates is primarily concerned with protrepticizing his audience. This assumption might be false, but no matter; Marshall isn’t interested in figuring out what the correct interpretation of the dialogues is.

  2. Cooper (1997) elegantly expresses such a view as an explanation of Plato’s use of the dialogue form. See pp. xviii-xxi.

  3. Marshall points to Kahn (2000) and Sedley (2007), among others.

  4. It seems like there is a new current in Anglophone universities that does in fact focus on the reception of Plato, a current that has been well established in some European universities for some time.

  5. Marshall (p. 135) is quoting Barnes (1995) p. xvi.

  6. It might seem disturbing to reduce the value of conventional Plato scholarship to the pleasure it produces in those who read and write it, and place conventional Plato scholarship on a par with say an adult romance novel sold at a grocery store. I am not reducing it to just that; I am only pointing out that this is one way it might have value.

  7. For one, Annas (2017) p. 71.


  • Annas, J. (2017). Virtue and Law in Plato and Beyond. Oxford University Press.

  • Barnes, J. (1995). Introduction. In The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle. J. Barnes (Ed.) Cambridge University Press: ix–xix.

  • Cooper, J. M. (1997). Introduction. In Plato: Complete Works. J. M. Cooper (Ed.) Hackett Publishing Company: vii-xxvi.

  • Kahn, C. H. (2000). Response to Griswold. Ancient Philosophy, 20(1), 189–193.

  • Marshall, M. (2021). Reading Plato’s Dialogues to Enhance Learning and Inquiry. Routledge.

  • Sedley, D. (2007). Creationism and its Critics in Antiquity. University of California Press.

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Correspondence to Benjamin Keoseyan.

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Keoseyan, B. Mason Marshall, Reading Plato’s Dialogues to Enhance Learning and Inquiry: Exploring Socrates’ Use of Protreptic for Student Engagement. Philosophia (2022).

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