Up In The Clouds


So I decided to use Aristophanes’ Clouds as the first text for my summer Intro class and, while now rereading it, I’m wondering if it was such a good idea.  I mean we are reading Plato’s dialogues afterwards, but I wonder if Aristophanes’ mocking intonations (or, mockage) will set the wrong tone for the serious business of philosophy? I mean all that business about farting gnats and taking a crap might create an impression that philosophy is for those who are “up in the clouds” – I’m concerned for the souls of my students now.

2 thoughts on “Up In The Clouds

  1. Could be an originally fresh alternative.

    Normally what happens is that you read (or are taught) some background on Plato/Socrates, develop sympathy for Socrates. Then read Plato’s ‘Apology’ still sympathising with Socrates.

    Maybe you can work something out whereby they start with ‘Clouds’, then move onto ‘Apology’ whilst predisposed to mistrust the sophistry of Socrates. Later they redisocover and learn to appreciate Socrates through further dialogues (e.g. ‘Meno’), before finally reconsidering their interpretation of Socrates’ final trial in one of the other trial dialogues (e.g. ‘Crito’).

    • Well, I’m doing Euthyphro, Apology and Crito after Clouds. We’ll see how that goes – maybe presenting a comic view of philosophy and than a tragic view of philosophy would help make the case that… I’m actually not sure what the case is – that philosophy is both useful and useless?

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