Baracchi, Claudia 1962-

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Baracchi, Claudia 1962-

PERSONAL:

Born March 13, 1962. Education: Vanderbilt University, Ph.D., 1996; University of Bologna, doctoral degree.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Philosophy Department, 79 5th Ave., New School for Social Research, New York, NY 10003. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Philosopher, educator, and writer. New School for Social Research, New York, NY, associate professor of philosophy.

WRITINGS:

Of Myth, Life, and War in Plato's Republic, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 2002.

Aristotle's Ethics as First Philosophy, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2008.

Contributor to periodicals, including Epochè, Social Research, and Research in Phenomenology.

SIDELIGHTS:

Claudia Baracchi is a philosophy professor whose primary research interest is the ethico-political underpinnings of ancient Greek thinking. She is the author of two books focusing on this area: Of Myth, Life, and War in Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Ethics as First Philosophy.

Writing for the Bryn Mawr Classical Review, Svetla Slaveva-Griffin called Of Myth, Life, and War in Plato's Republic a "serious and insightful study offering a new, somewhat post-modern and deconstructive interpretation of the Republic." Slaveva-Griffin noted that "the aim of [Baracchi's] investigation is to penetrate the depth of the complexity of the [Republic] and, by doing so, to uncover the text speaking for itself outside of any scholarly systematization." Utopian Studies contributor Anthony J. Papalas declared that "specialists in Plato's Republic will benefit from this excellent and thought-provoking study. If they read with care, they may occasionally hear Plato's Republic speaking for itself, and the message for a totalitarian state is alarming."

Published in 2002, the book closely examines what many consider to be perhaps the most influential text in the history of Western philosophy. Writing in the book's introduction, the author notes: "One could indeed say that the history of the reception of this text, of the responses and reflections it engendered, coincides with the history of the formation of the Western canon … with the history of Western philosophy itself, or even the history of the West tout court."

According to Barrachi, even after more than two thousand years, the Republic remains difficult to understand. The author writes that to understand and appreciate Plato's real meaning, special attention must be paid to what the work's original language discloses. Writing in the book's introduction, Baracchi notes that "the reading here presented consistently stems from a meticulous textual work—even when, in fact, especially when its articulations may be at odds with or openly question certain canonical versions of Plato."

In the first part of the book, the author examines various issues relating to the establishment of the "just city" in the writings of Socrates. She begins with the issue of generation (a discussion that also ends her study) and then addresses reproduction and the ultimate road toward decay. The author then focuses on the connection between war and the cycle of life via Plato's writings about the myth of Er, which is the final parable in the Republic. In the process, the author reveals how the Republic is primarily about life and war and their connections.

Robert Metcalf, writing for Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, commented that the author's "extravagant reading of Plato's Republic does succeed in the effort to subtract from Plato scholarship, principally by allowing the reader to step outside customary interpretations and see the text in a novel way. Given the prevailing silence among commentators as to the pathos to which philosophy is attuned, Baracchi's attention to this pathos, as a primary hermeneutic directive, is something from which all Plato scholars can learn a great deal." Review of Metaphysics contributor John A. Scott noted: "Claudia Baracchi's book is an important step forward in reshaping how contemporary philosophy takes account of its origins and project. It is not an easy read but, like any really good book, it demands and rewards rereading. It sharpens philosophical attention and practice."

In her next book, Aristotle's Ethics as First Philosophy, Baracchi examines the links between practical and theoretical knowledge as viewed by Aristotle. Using many texts from the Aristotelian writings, the author reveals how Aristotle's theoretical thinking is universally based on a set of specific practices and that a person's encounter with natural phenomena always relates to the specific spirit of a culture or an era, which is called ethos.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Baracchi, Claudia, Of Myth, Life, and War in Plato's Republic, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 2002.

PERIODICALS

Bryn Mawr Classical Review, January 13, 2003, Svetla Slaveva-Griffin, review of Of Myth, Life, and War in Plato's Republic.

Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal, Volume 23, number 2, Drew Hyland, review of Of Myth, Life, and War in Plato's Republic.

Il Pensiero Politico: Rivista di Storia delle Idee Politiche e Sociali, Volume 37, number 2, 2004, G. Giorgini, review of Of Myth, Life, and War in Plato's Republic.

Review of Metaphysics, March, 2004, John A. Scott, review of Of Myth, Life, and War in Plato's Republic, p. 601.

Utopian Studies, winter, 2006, Anthony J. Papalas, review of Of Myth, Life, and War in Plato's Republic, p. 258.

ONLINE

Cambridge University Press Web site,http://www.cambridge.org/ (July 10, 2008), overview of Aristotle's Ethics as First Philosophy.

New School for Social Research Web site,http://www.newschool.edu/ (July 10, 2008), faculty profile of author.

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews,http://ndpr.nd.edu/ (May 13, 2003), Robert Metcalf, review of Of Myth, Life, and War in Plato's Republic.