Friday, July 30, 2010

:-> Plato with emoticons :^D

I don't know if anyone else caught this, but J. Aaron Simmons and Scott Aikin have a nifty article in the fall 2009 APA Newsletter on students using emoticons to interpret Plato's dialogues. As Simmons and Aikin write, this is a clever way to help students embed themselves in the give-and-take of the dialogues:
Students in introductory classes regularly need some bridge between their everyday reading skills, which are increasingly shaped by technologically influenced practices such as the use of emoticons, and those skills necessary for reading philosophy. Often, the Platonic dialogues are the first extended exposure students have had to philosophical writing. By tapping into the communicative norms understood and deployed by our students in their everyday lives, we may be better able to engage them with Plato’s philosophy—particularly its dramatic style.
Check out this terrific sample of the Euthyphro with their students' emoticon annotations:

2a – Euthyphro: “What’s new, Socrates” :-> (hey hey)
2a – Euthyphro: “...Surely you are not prosecuting anyone before the king-archon as I am?” 8-I (eyes wide with surprise)
2a – Socrates: “The Athenians do not call this a prosecution but an indictment, Euthyphro.” :-| (grim)
2b – Euthyphro: “Who is he?” >:-< (angry)
2c – Socrates: “…He is likely to be wise…” ;-> (devilish wink)
3c – Euthyphro: “Whenever I speak of divine matters in the assembly and foretell the future, they laugh me down as if I were crazy; and yet I have foretold nothing that did not happen.” :-( (frowning)
3c – Socrates: “…to be laughed at does not matter perhaps, for the Athenians do not mind anyone they think clever, so long as he does not teach his own wisdom, but if they think he makes other to be like himself, they get angry.” :-Y (a quiet aside)
4a – Socrates: “My dear sir! Your own father?” 8-O (Omigod!!)
5a – Euthyphro: “I should be of no use, Socrates...if I did not have accurate knowledge of all things.” :-, (smirk)
5a – Socrates: “It is indeed most important, my admirable Euthyphro, that I should become your pupil...” :-> (bitingly sarcastic)
7a – Socrates: “Splendid, Euthyphro! You have now answered in the way I wanted.” :^D (Great! I like it!)
 Great idea! Good work!


  1. broken link? need to read!

  2. Anon 2:48: :-C Broken link! Fixed.

  3. Sweet. All that time studying Denison's Greek Particles and now I learn they're emoticons!


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