PHIL 2170 Lecture Notes - Agathon, Ancient Greek Philosophy

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Published on 15 Nov 2011
Dalhousie University
PHIL 2170
Wednesday, January 24, 2011
Socrates criticizes other speakers;
To me it seems astonishingly clear, Agathon, that desire necessarily lacks what it desires
and that without lack there can be no desire. How about you? (39)
Desire necessitates the lack of something in the thing we desire
Love itself isn’t beautiful, happiness, etc – it’s the seeking out of those qualities
What a rich person desires is to continually get richer, what he desires is
something in the future
When we want something, we want it because we don’t have it; getting to the
point ‘why we love’ at all
Have to agree love is not beautiful
So when you say you desire what you already have, don’t you really mean, “I wish to
possess tin the future the things I have right now?” – wouldn’t he agree that this is so?
Love is a means we take to satisfy other desires
Socrates love is the son of resource and poverty
“As the son of Resource and Povety, this is Love’s plight:…” (p.41)
Touching on the darker side of love; whenever we seek out good or beauty we are
Love slips in when we least expect it; “love does not have what it wants
[poverty]”, “love will try anything ex. Can’t get Matt Damon, get the guy who
looks like him [resource]”
Creates a middle ground for love
Love has a function: Love’s function is reproduction in the beautiful, both in body and in
soul (p.43)
1. A lover loves beautiful things (42) [things that make me happy, excited, etc. –
Halwani – ‘value’, good; hard to love things you don’t value]
2. All love is for the good (42,43) [I love things because they’re beautiful; expansion
on the previous point. Repercussions: ]
3. Lovers want to possess the good forever (43) [Ex. Halwani suggests what he
means is if I want something in my life, why not forever? You wouldn’t want it
for 5 minutes – otherwise it wouldn’t be love. For Socrates the good we want is
4. When we love, we reproduce the good, making it immortal (43) [In order to make
the things we love last forever, make them immortal i.e. procreation. Strong
theme in old Greek philosophy – ideas, thoughts, family names, etc. pass on into
eternity. ]
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