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Plato's Symposiu,

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PHIL 2170
Letitia Meynell

Plato (important) – 424/423BC – 348/347BC - He wrote about erotic love - Student of Socrates (who is the main character in his dialogues) - Teacher of Aristotle The Symposium - The drinking party basically - Question about how to read it o Is Socrates the mouthpiece for Plato’s views? o Or are all of the speakers telling us something about the nature of love?  The right view is a combo of all these views o Or is it just a survey of the current views of the time? - Normative sexual practice – Greek pederasty o Notice that the dialogue is entirely addressed to man  Expect homosexuality, homonormative dialogue addressed to men (older men and teenage boys)  NOT talking to women - Despite the cultural differences, we can learn from it right? If love is universal…? - It also raises the question; what is the right way to philosophize love? o Tell stories, dictionaries, etc. Phaedrus Drinking too much previously, so they come up with the idea of discussing the god of love so they do not have to drink anymore. – This is what’s happening in the background not what they all agree upon or what Phaedrus is saying. • Love is the oldest of gods • Love gives is the greatest goods because it gives us guidance • “A sense of shame in acting shamefully, and a sense of pride in acting well” (15) o Going to war, wanting to run but thinking well what would me love think of me. • It is painful to be seen to act badly by those who we love • Love inspires us with courage • Notice the contemporary irony in the idea of an army made up of entirely gay men being unbeatable. o Makes sense but does not fit with our idea of same sex love. Pausanius – 2 kinds of love “Considered in itself no action is good or bad, honorable or shameful.” (16) Common Aphrodite’s Love • Truly common/vulgar • All about sex •
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