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Lecture

PHIL 2170 Lecture Notes - Agathon, D. H. Lawrence, Unintended Consequences


Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHIL 2170
Professor
Samantha Copeland

Page:
of 2
Monday, January 17, 2011
Defining Romantic Love:
Love, described as a set of necessary and/or sufficient conditions
oHalwani, love as emotion
oAgathon, love as a god
Love, as a means to an end (a good for humans)
oSpeeches of the Symposium, especially Socrates
oDH Lawrence, love as a higher emotion – allows us to become complete,
fully realized human beings
Love, as a human end in itself (a human good)
oAristophanes and Nozick, humans by nature desire actual or practical
union through love
oLove is the desire to create a union – Union – by sharing a love. Loving
becomes the end itself; relationship that we’re looking for
oNozick – wants to create a ‘we’ in which ‘we’ can then engage the world
as a united entity – the idea of ‘couple’ – metaphysical in Aristophanes;
Nozick – sense of the union, not the physical union that’s important
Agathon – host of the Symposium (in reference to the dialogue).
Most similar to Halwani – makes up a list of characteristics that love must have
Love as an emotion – narrows down characteristics that must be necessary for
love (#16 is the most fundamental)
Agathon however, tries to describe the god Eros. Rather than looking for an
emotion, he’s looking for when we would say Eros is present in the world
oNo one’s paid enough attention to the characteristics of this god
oLooking at what Eros does, but not Eros – have to look further to see what
the God is (p.36)
oEx. Eros is:
oYoungest of the gods (we find erotic love in its greatest quantity and
intensity among the young),
oA gentle god (we find love in the soft soul, and he makes those who are
other rough more gentle),
o“Also flowing of form” (because of the way he moves and slips through
souls love is not awkward but graceful; love is subtle, supposed to have a
certain lightness of heart),
oOf fine complexion (he lives in flowers),
oJust and peaceful (love does not work through force, what we agree upon
through love can wrong neither party),
oTemperate (love is a master of all desires and pleasures when it is
present; If we have any other desire/pleasure, and we also have love, love
is in control of those other desires. Because love is the strongest force, our
concept of what is pleasurable, love is the master of the emotion – it
becomes temperate because it controls our emotions),
oCourageous (Ares loves Aphrodires, so the most courageous god is
possessed by love; goddess of love gets to decide what the god of war
does; shows the power of Eros – determines the relationships between
other gods),
oWise (“Love is so wise a poet as to make poets of others”; Love imparts
its skills upon the lover; because I’m a lover I’m a better poet; if
something can impart a skill, it must already possess that skill.)
oLook to the cause, not to the effect, and then we can understand love
(p.37)
oWants to separate love from necessity; suggests love can’t be the oldest
god, because at that time there was conflict (i.e. castration, faking births,
casting stones in the uterus, etc.). What existed before then? Necessity.
Times of chaos must be ruled by necessity; love is dictated by order (love
without order unachievable?)
Love does not exist where necessity rules; we can only have love
when we aren’t ruled by necessity; love is a luxury
Aristophanes
Socrates is teaching people things that make very little sense – i.e. Bad things
about politics, wrong things about the gods, etc. – ties in how Socrates was taken
down by Athenian democracy
Why do we love the way we love? Sees a strong desire for union. Explains the
strong desire to unite with someone.
Unintended consequence: presence of love. We now spend our entire lives
seeking our other half
Explains the need for wanting to spend a life with someone. Explaining or just a
human characteristic that needs a myth? Legitimizing the unreasonable reason to
spend a life with someone else, as well as homosexuality, humans, etc.
A metaphysical union – desires built into the very nature of human beings. Can’t
help ourselves – a state we want to return to – metaphysical origins of our
physical nature
United beings as humans but separated in the physical world – not our biology but
our souls
Not the union itself, but the pursuit of the union is love. If this is the best
condition, whoever has come the closest to it must be the best of us all. Not about
what love can get us, who we are when we’re in love because we have found that
union that all humans seek; found our unified whole – makes us the best people.