Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Lisa Leibowitz

Second Advisor

Fred Baumann


The quarrel between philosophy and poetry has implications for our lives as both citizens and ordinary human beings. By closely reading and interpreting Book X of Plato’s Republic, which judges poetry by the standard of truth, and Aristophanes’ Clouds, which provides a comic critique of philosophy, we may see that the philosopher and the poet seem to engage in conversation, addressing similar points from opposing views and outlining the terms of their disagreement. This thesis aims to point to questions raised and answered by the poet and the philosopher about the status of reason in governing the soul and the city, the best life for human beings according to their nature, and the role of laws and convention in our lives and relationships. It also applies the discussion of these topics to issues of free expression today, and explores moral authority as both the philosopher and the poet see it.

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