An outline of outlines : typological reasoning in Plato and Aristotle

Placeholder Show Content


My dissertation represents the first systematic study of the idea of an 'outline' (τύπος/typos) in Plato and Aristotle. Pushing back against the general consensus that Plato and Aristotle use typos vocabulary in a non-technical manner to indicate a 'rough sketch, ' I argue that language of typoi in both authors is consistently connected to a common conceptual structure. A typos: 1) marks out the object of inquiry within a larger domain of candidate objects and 2) identifies the primary elements of the essential definition of this object, 3) with the elements included in the outline subsequently requiring further clarification and articulation in order to produce a perfected account of the essence of that object. In Chapter I, I identify the key questions that arise when we consider various occurrences of the term in Plato and Aristotle together, with these questions serving to orient the dissertation as a whole. In Chapter II, I develop my understanding of the shared conceptual structure indicated by the language of typoi through a close reading of Nicomachean Ethics I.7. I argue that Aristotle's use of the term in the chapter must be understood in light of an epigraphic metaphor, show how his use conforms to Plato's own employment of the term, and suggest how the conceptual framework identified through the language of typoi fits into Aristotle's more general understanding of the structure of philosophical inquiry. Chapter III aims to confirm my claim that a typos includes the primary elements of an essential definition by showing how Plato uses the terminology in the Cratylus to indicate precisely those primary essential elements. Chapter IV turns to the Republic, showing how the tripartite common structure associated with the language of typoi in contexts of theoretical inquiry is also employed by Plato in practical contexts to indicate the structure of early character formation. Finally, Chapter V points forward to future avenues of research, suggesting how patterns of typological reasoning identified in my study of Plato and Aristotle are appropriated and transformed in the subsequent history of ancient philosophy.


Type of resource text
Form electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
Extent 1 online resource.
Place California
Place [Stanford, California]
Publisher [Stanford University]
Copyright date 2023; ©2023
Publication date 2023; 2023
Issuance monographic
Language English


Author Slabon, Thomas Paul
Degree supervisor Code, Alan Dodd, 1951-
Thesis advisor Code, Alan Dodd, 1951-
Thesis advisor Bobonich, Christopher
Thesis advisor Nightingale, Andrea Wilson
Degree committee member Bobonich, Christopher
Degree committee member Nightingale, Andrea Wilson
Associated with Stanford University, School of Humanities and Sciences
Associated with Stanford University, Department of Philosophy


Genre Theses
Genre Text

Bibliographic information

Statement of responsibility Thomas Slabon.
Note Submitted to the Department of Philosophy.
Thesis Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2023.

Access conditions

© 2023 by Thomas Paul Slabon

Also listed in

Loading usage metrics...