17. Gardener of Souls

Philosophical Education in Plato's Phaedrus

  1. Dan O'Brien PhD Research Fellow Associate Lecturer
  1. Anne Cotton DPhil, BA, MSt

Published Online: 13 AUG 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444324563.ch17

Gardening - Philosophy for Everyone

Gardening - Philosophy for Everyone

How to Cite

Cotton, A. (2010) Gardener of Souls, in Gardening - Philosophy for Everyone (ed D. O'Brien), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444324563.ch17

Editor Information

  1. Oxford Brookes University, UK

Author Information

  1. Christ Church, Oxford, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 AUG 2010
  2. Published Print: 24 SEP 2010

Book Series:

  1. Philosophy for Everyone

Book Series Editors:

  1. Fritz Allhoff

Series Editor Information

  1. Western Michigan University, USA

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444330212

Online ISBN: 9781444324563



  • gardener of souls - Philosophical Education in Plato's Phaedrus;
  • philosophical education in Plato's dialogues - Socrates engaging in conversation with Phaedrus;
  • philosophical development and likening it - to growth of plants in a garden;
  • education as gardening - an image of natural growth;
  • wise grower, crucial for development of seeds;
  • Socrates, and human flourishing - with process of education, philosophical dialogue and reflection;
  • Socrates' promising happiness and fulfillment - to all those who engage in philosophical process;
  • Socrates addresses problem of sterile seed - seed that does not generate philosophical activity in the soul receiving it;
  • wise grower, “content” when his seeds bear fruit - contentment that comes from true flourishing of the soul;
  • Plato, acting as a planter and grower - to the soil of his students' souls


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Education as Gardening: An Image of Natural Growth

  • Do We All Possess Fertile Souls?

  • The Gardener: What is His Contribution to the Growth of the Seeds?

  • Gardening: Labor and Reward

  • Plato as Gardener

  • Dialogue Between Text and Reader: Cultivating the Seeds

  • Teaching Us to Become Gardeners of Our Souls

  • Plato's Literary Garden: A Corpus of Works

  • Gardeners of Souls

  • Notes