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Teaching Plato in Palestine


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Michael Walzer ix Preface xiii Part I 1 Teaching Plato in Palestine 3 2 Teaching Maimonides in Makassar 30 3 Spinoza in Shtreimels: An Underground Seminar 53 4 Citizen Philosophers in Brazil 79 5 Word-Warriors: Philosophy in Mohawk Land 100 Part II 6 Diversity and Debate 139 Acknowledgments 189 Notes 193 Bibliography 205 Index 215

About the Author

Carlos Fraenkel teaches philosophy and religion at the University of Oxford and McGill University in Montreal. He is the author of Philosophical Religions from Plato to Spinoza, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Nation, the London Review of Books, and the Times Literary Supplement, among other publications.


Winner of the 2015 Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction, Quebec Writers' Federation One of The Australian's Books of the Year 2015 (selected by Aminatta Forna) Longlisted for the 2016 Sheikh Zayed Book Award in Arabic Culture in Other Languages "What unites [the classroom conversations] is [Fraenkel's] skill in the art of posing questions designed to perplex and provoke. He lets us overhear the Socratic form of dialogue that Plato invented and that Mr. Fraenkel practices much to his students' pleasure, and ours."--Benjamin Balint, Wall Street Journal "Fresh, iconoclastic, stimulating debates."--Kirkus "The author urges religious people who aren't bound by literalism, secularists who don't dismiss all religion as anachronism, and inquisitive types of all persuasions to try something. First, accept freedom of expression, recognize your fallibility and prepare yourself to revise received assumptions. And then plunge into debates about morality, faith, governance, rights and other matters that divide us ... the discussions you engage in, as suggested by his and his students' experiences, will likely broaden your horizons and nourish your intellect."--Rayyan Al-Shawaf, Toronto Star "If you read one book published this year, then you might make it Teaching Plato in Palestine: Philosophy in a Divided World."--Aminatta Forna, The Independent "Teaching Plato in Palestine is a slim, straightforward yet surprisingly rich work of philosophy that will intrigue the amateur as well as the expert."--Sarah Gustafson, Key Reporter "Carlos Fraenkel ... persuasively shows the value of philosophical work that engages the broader public and other cultures... Each [episode in the book] is beautifully described and the results are utterly captivating."--Daniel A. Bell, Literary Review of Canada "A refreshing perspective."--Frank Freeman, The Hedgehog Review "A lively, informative book."--Alexander Orwin, Claremont Review of Books "Fraenkel offers a bold answer to the question of what philosophy has to offer to the non-philosopher. Philosophy is important not because the corporate world needs sharper analysts; not because it exposes myths and emancipates slaves; not because it draws us closer to God. Rather, we, each and every one of us, should philosophise so that we might become more deeply enmeshed in our friends and neighbours' individual quests for truth. This is an inviting vision."--Taneli Kukkonen, Philosophers' Magazine

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