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Lecture 28

PHIL 1F91 Lecture 28: The Lysis
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Department
Philosophy
Course
PHIL 1F91
Professor
Brian Lightbody
Semester
Fall

Description
The Lysis  210b introduces what we might call a stranger idea about love and friendship. Socrates argues, “that everyone will love you and become familiar with you if you become knowledgeable because you will be helpful and beneficial”  This notion develops a well-established ethos in ancient Greek society which is that of the excellent individual  Love and friendship are given to those who are capable, skillful  But if this is the case then, as our translator points out, friendship only has instrumental value The instrumental value of friendship  This may seem strange to us because we have a post-romantic notion of friendship th  Romanticism was the period of history immediately after the 18 century, the age of Enlightenment  The romantics stressed, among other things, “community feeling” communion with nature. They were often disenchanted with modernity Post-Romantics  We are still suffering from the hangover that is Romanticism. We are of the opinion that our friends are similar spirits to ourselves. Finding such similar spirits helps us to fix the diremption we find in ourselves  Plato would not only reject such a view but indeed this ideal would be alien to him Why not cut to the chase?  However, if friends only have instrumental value, then why not desire and pursue the things your fiends have?  This question is raised in 211d-e but Socrates says that he would rather have friends than material goods. Indeed he would rather have Darius as a friend than the power and riches of Darius himself but why?  Keeping the ancient Greek narrative in mind, what is so valuable about friendship? Can you be friends with someone who hates you?  From the discussion, a seemingly tangential question and inquiry is provoked: what relationship needs to exist in order to say you are friends with someone?  Does the relationship need to be symmetrical vis a vis love?  Consider the following relationships between A and B:  A loves B but B is indifferent to A. is A a friend of B?  A hates B and undermines him at every turn. B loves A and helps him in many ways. Is B a friend of A Do Opposites create friendship?  Plato next examines a common belief, namely, that opposites attract.  Plato quotes Hesiod “Potter is piqued with potter, singer with singer” 215d  The pint of this chestnut of wisdom is that sometimes we are bothered by thos
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