Aristophanes' comedy The Clouds is the classic expression of the poetic side in what Plato's Socrates calls the "old quarrel between philosophy and poetry" (Republic 607b). The serious heart of this friendly but profound argument is the question: which source of understanding and way of life--that of poetic wisdom, or that of the philosopher's natural science--is superior and ought to guide the other?
In the play, Aristophanes caricatures his scientific friend Socrates, as grotesquely
Sponsoring professor Thomas L. Pangle (b. 1944 in U. S.) holds the Joe R. Long Chair in Democratic Studies in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. He held previously the University Professorship in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Educated at Cornell University (BA) and the University of Chicago (PhD), he has won Guggenheim, Killam-Canada Council, Carl Friedrich von Siemens, and four National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships. He has been awarded The Benton Bowl, Yale University (for contribution to education in politics) and the Robert Foster Cherry Great Teacher of the World Prize, Baylor University. He is the author of Montesquieu's Philosophy of Liberalism (U. of Chicago Press, 1973); The Spirit of Modern Republicanism: The Moral Vision of the American Founders and the Philosophy of Locke (U. of Chicago Press, 1988); The Ennobling of Democracy: The Challenge of the Postmodern Age (Johns Hopkins U. Press, 1992); The Learning of Liberty: The Educational Ideas of the American Founders, co-authored with wife Lorraine (Univ. Press of Kansas, 1993); Justice Among Nations: On the Moral Basis of Power and Peace, co-authored with Peter J. Ahrensdorf (University Press of Kansas, 1999); and Political Philosophy and the God of Abraham (Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2003).