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Socrates Founding Political Philosophy in Xenophon's "Economist", "Symposium", and "Apology"$
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Thomas L. Pangle

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226642475

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226642505.001.0001

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Teaching Socrates How a Gentleman Educates His Wife

Teaching Socrates How a Gentleman Educates His Wife

(p.45) Chapter Three Teaching Socrates How a Gentleman Educates His Wife
Socrates Founding Political Philosophy in Xenophon's "Economist", "Symposium", and "Apology"

Thomas L. Pangle

University of Chicago Press

Socrates’s marriage made his way of life start overlapping, in one major respect, with the way of life of the conventional gentleman. This gives a sharp new point of focus for the comparison and contrast between the two ways of life. But the philosopher had a more profound theoretical reason for his intense interest in hearing about the gentleman’s education of his wife. For this would be very revealing of the gentleman’s guiding moral principles. What is more, the rule of husband over wife is that part of household management that is most unmistakably the rule of the free over the free, and therefore, as Aristotle stresses, may be taken (somewhat playfully) as the paradigm of republican rule. The paradigm works especially if one abstracts from the bearing and raising of children, or if one considers household management and the relation between spouses during the time when the wife has not yet become pregnant or brought forth any children—and that is the case with Xenophon’s Economist: neither Critobulus nor Ischomachus are presented as having yet impregnated their wives, and the bearing and raising of children is (surprisingly and most thought-provokingly) never thematically discussed as a part of household management

Keywords:   women’s education, marriage, feminine virtue, feminine rule

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