Public Engagement


NSSR Philosophy Workshop Series: Michael Weinman

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm

80 Fifth Avenue, G802 80 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003

Michael Weinman (ECLA of Bard, Berlin) will deliver a lecture entitled: "Why 729? Harmonic Theory and the Role of Dialectic in Republic 9, 587b-588a."


I here aim to do two things. First, to give an account of why Plato’s Socrates insists he say precisely how many times pleasant the life of just is in comparison to the unjust, and why the answer is 729 times. Second, to do so in a way that offers a resolution—or a working principle for the dissolution—of the “dogma” vs. “drama” debates in the interpretation of the dialogues generally.Toward that end, my talk proceeds in four parts. First, I parse the “state of the art” in ongoing debates about the significance of dialectic and the best way to interpret the dialogues as works both philosophic and poetic, with special attention to how they stand with respect to Republic. Then, I address the status of “Pythagoreanism” as a philological and historiographical category with great significance for this interpretive dilemma. Finally, I offer my answer to “why 729?” in light of the conclusions that emerge from the above considerations and the intertextual evidence for a profound (but surprising) legacy of Philolaus’ theory of harmony in Republic and Timaeus. In a brief “coda,” I make a suggestion as to what I see as the possible significance of my intervention here for the broader interpretive questions raised earlier.

Event Type

Lectures and Panel Discussions




The New School for Social Research




Free; no tickets or reservations required; seating is first-come first-served.

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