Shame, Sexuality, and (Want of) Moral Education
We would assume that a work of philosophy is better equipped than comedy to expedite our careful understanding of the relationship between morality, shame, sexual pleasure, and desire. However, something very strange happens when comedy and philosophy are put in conversation. Comedy points to the blunders in moral education, which end up producing exactly the sorts of seedy characters that such an education aims to weed out. Why does it happen that despite the best intentions of moral theories they sometimes lead to terrible practical effects? To offer an answer to this question, we examine Plato’s Gorgias with an eye on Aristophanes’ Clouds and offer several ideas why Plato’s philosophizing about such a serious subject as morality is rich with good, self-undermining humor.
Dr. Marren received her Ph.D. from Boston College. Her published and forthcoming essays (with the Humanistic Psychologist, Logoi and Muthoi, the Philosophy and Literature journal, and Pli) showcase Marren’s research in ancient Greek philosophy and drama, existential psychology, as well as in political philosophy and ethics.