A Platonist and a Sophist discuss Quality

Catherine Rowett Image

“Catherine Rowett has been a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of East Anglia, Norwich (since 2003), Reader in the School of Archaeology, Classics, and Oriental Studies at the University of Liverpool from 2000 to 2003, and before that Reader in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Wales, Swansea. Her publications include Rethinking Early Greek Philosophy (1987) and Eros Unveiled: Plato and the God of Love (1994), as well as the chapter on Heraclitus in the Routledge History of Philosophy, Volume 1 and many articles on a wide range of issues in Ancient Philosophy from the Presocratics to the Early Christian period.” From Amazon.com


It’s been approximately two thousand five hundred years since Socrates, Plato and the Sophists roamed ancient Athens. It’s been about that same amount of time then since a Sophist discussed Quality with a Platonist. You can see my modern day Sophist response to Catherine Rowett the Platonist academic’s review of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by clicking here.

My thanks first and foremost to Catherine Rowett for doing what so few ancient greek academics have done by acknowledging the existence of Robert Pirsig’s insights into ancient greek philosophy. While her views toward them are mostly antagonistic; writing a paper on them is largely a step forward. Thanks also go to Dr. Ant McWatt who provided final draft comments.

The abstract is as follows:

“This paper reviews Catherine Rowett’s (Catherine Osborne from 1979 to 2011) examination of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZMM) and Plato’s Phaedrus which can be found by clicking here. After providing a summary of the Phaedrus dialogue and the context in which it was created, I provide a rundown of Rowett’s examination of the book and show that because our values shape our experience, Rowett’s value of Plato appears to blind her to a correct reading of ZMM. This is not intended as a formal paper and hence I have taken liberty with links in place of citations.”

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