2021-02Thematic Section
Philosophy Plays: A Neo-Socratic Way of Performing Public Philosophy


This paper provides an explanatory rationale within a theoretical philosophical framework for the Philosophy Plays project as a call to public philosophy, conceived as a way of life and a form of communal therapy for the mind.  The Philosophy Plays aim is to introduce philosophy to the general public through philosophical presentations by professional philosophers incorporating drama. Like Plato’s dialogues, the Philosophy Plays, that combine dialectic (the philosophical talk) with rhetoric (the drama) seek to engage their public audiences in a realistic and shared lived experience, rendering philosophy a practical and meaningful applied activity for all participants, conceived as a way of life.


Philosophy Plays, drama, Plato, philosophy as a way of life, public philosophy, Stoic philosophy

How to cite:

Spence, Edward H. “Philosophy Plays: A Neo-Socratic Way of Performing Public Philosophy.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 5, no. 2 (2021):  35-57. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2021.0016.


Edward H. Spence
Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney
NSW 2006, Australia


Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. Translated by James A. K. Thomson. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Classics, 1953.

Annas, Julia. The Morality of Happiness. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Annas, Julia. Platonic Ethics, Old and New. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999.

Becker, Laurence. A New Stoicism. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998.

Cicero. Tusculan Disputations (Loeb Classical Library) 2nd Edition. Translated by John Edward King. Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London: Harvard University Press, 1927. https://doi.org/10.4159/DLCL.marcus_tullius_cicero-tusculan_disputations.1927.

Epictetus. Epictetus: Discourses and Selected Writings. Translated and edited by Robert Dobbin. London: Penguin Classics, 2018.

Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. London: Penguin Books, 1996.

Gewirth, Alan. Self–fulfillment. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998. https://doi.org/10.1515/9781400822744.

Gewirth, Alan. Reason and Morality. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1978.

Hadot, Pierre. The Inner Citadel: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. Translated by Michael Chase. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.

Hadot, Pierre. Philosophy as a Way of Life. Translated by Michael Chase. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1995.

Journal of Performance Philosophy. Accessed 16 May, 2021.

Long, Anthony Arthur. Hellenistic Philosophy – Stoics, Epicureans, Sceptics. 2nd Edition. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.

Nussbaum, Martha. Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education. Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London: Harvard University Press, 1997. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctvjghth8.

Nussbaum, Martha. Poetic Justice: The Literary Imagination and Public Life. Boston: Beacon Press, 1995.

Nussbaum, Martha. The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1994.

Pascal, Blaise. Pensées. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1996.

Plato, Symposium, and the Death of Socrates. Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions Ltd., 1997.

Striker, Gisela. Essays on Hellenistic Epistemology and Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139172783.

Striker, Gisela. “Stoicism.” In Encyclopedia of Ethics. Edited by Lawrence C. Becker and Charlotte B. Becker, 1208-1213. New York: Garland Publishing, 1992.

University of Chicago. “Center for Practical Wisdom.”  Center for Practical Wisdom | The University of Chicago (uchicago.edu). Accessed 16 May, 2021.

University of Santa Cruz. Centre for Public Philosophy. https://publicphilosophy.ucsc.edu/why-philosophy/. Accessed 16 May, 2021.

Open Access Statement:

This is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author, as long as the author and original source are properly cited. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Submitting a text to Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture means that the author agrees with the general conditions of this license. The author does and will maintain copyrights and publishing rights for his/her article without any restrictions.