Theses Doctoral

Beauty on Display: Plato and the Concept of the Kalon

Fine, Jonathan

A central concept for Plato is the kalon – often translated as the beautiful, fine, admirable, or noble. This dissertation shows that only by prioritizing dimensions of beauty in the concept can we understand the nature, use, and insights of the kalon in Plato. The concept of the kalon organizes aspirations to appear and be admired as beautiful for one’s virtue. We may consider beauty superficial and concern for it vain – but what if it were also indispensable to living well? By analyzing how Plato uses the concept of the kalon to contest cultural practices of shame and honour regulated by ideals of beauty, we come to see not only the tensions within the concept but also how attractions to beauty steer, but can subvert, our attempts to live well.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Mann, Wolfgang R.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 9, 2018