Emily Hulme Kozey
Seymour Reader in Ancient History and Philosophy
Ormond College/The University of Melbourne
Hulme Kozey, Emily. Forthcoming. “Is Farming a Technē?: Folk Concepts in Plato and Aristotle.” Ancient Philosophy.
Plato and Aristotle both grant and deny the status of techne to farming. How can we resolve this apparent inconsistency? The answer is by construing techne as a folk concept and farming as a marginal member of this category: farming is a techne in the sense of a specialized, rational practice, but it is a non-central case of techne because it is tied to the land and involves work outdoors.
Hulme Kozey, Emily. 2019. “The Good-Directedness of Techne and the Status of Rhetoric in the Platonic Dialogues.” Apeiron 52 (3): 223–44.
Does a techne, qua techne, need to be good-directed? On the basis of the Gorgias, many scholars have thought the answer is yes; I argue here to the contrary. There are, of course, many beneficial technai, such as medicine and weaving; and there are even unconditionally good technai, like the politike techne; but Plato also happily construes piracy as a techne in the Sophist, and, more normally, all sorts of neutral practices as technai (e.g., drama). In order to make this argument, I provide a taxonomy of the different kinds of technai and demonstrate that, across the corpus, there does not seem to be a good-directedness requirement. I then address the evidence of the Gorgias, where most commentators find a connection between techne and good-directedness. I argue that this interpretation is incorrect, and that rhetoric in fact fails to be a techne in the Gorgias solely because it is unable to give a rational account. A close reading of the Gorgias shows that this is a plausible interpretation, and comparison with the Phaedrus reinforces the point: in both dialogues, whether rhetoric will be a techne or not hinges only on the question of rationality, not a good-directedness condition.
Hulme Kozey, Emily. 2018. “Another Peri Technes Literature: Inquiries about One’s Craft at Dodona.” Greece & Rome 65 (2): 205–17.
Thousands of tablets have been recovered from Dodona which report the questions asked of the oracle (see below for one example). Many of the questions are about the author’s techne, and whether he will be (financially) successful by pursuing it. Often, the question is about a patroia techne (i.e., an ancestral trade). I analyze these tablets to show that they bring out different aspects of techne than the literary sources do: these are not merely rational skills, but full-time jobs that are connected with an individual’s broader social identity and family ties.