PHIL 181 - Lecture 24 - Censorship

Lecture 24 - Censorship


Professor Gendler explores some aspects of the question of what sorts of non-rational persuasion are legitimate for a government to engage in. She begins with two modern examples that illustrate Plato’s view on state censorship. She next turns to the text itself and outlines in detail Plato’s argument that since we are vulnerable to non-rational persuasion, and since a powerful source of such persuasion is imitative poetry, such poetry must be censored by the state. Drawing on a number of earlier themes from the course, she then discusses several implications of the fact our limited ability to rationally regulate our non-rational responses to representations makes fiction both potentially powerful, and potentially dangerous.



Plato, Republic, Books II, III, X, summaries; Book II, 376d-378e; Books II & III, 378e-392c; Book X

Nehemas, “Plato and the Mass Media”

Course Media





Low Bandwidth Video

mov [100MB]

High Bandwidth Video

mov [500MB]