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In the course of a lively drinking party, a group of Athenian intellectuals exchange views on eros, or desire. From their conversation emerges a series of subtle reflections on gender roles, sex in society and the sublimation of basic human instincts. The discussion culminates in a radi A fascinating discussion on sex, gender, and human instincts, as relevant today as ever. The discussion culminates in a radical challenge to conventional views by Plato's mentor, Socrates, who advocates transcendence through spiritual love.

The Symposium is a deft interweaving of different viewpoints and ideas about the nature of love--as a response to beauty, a cosmic force, a motive for social action and as a means of ethical education.


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Plato, Republic, Book 10, section a

Published February 27th by Penguin Books first published More Details Original Title. Socrates philosopher. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Symposium , please sign up.


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It has the informality of a drinking party …more Eva Brann, Peter Kalkavage and Eric Salem's new translation of the Symposium is the best I have ever read. It has the informality of a drinking party while still conveying the nuances of the Greek. See 1 question about The Symposium…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters.

Overview of Plato's Symposium - Philosophy

Sort order. It depicts a friendly contest of extemporaneous speeches given by a group of notable men attending a banquet. The men include the philosopher Socrates, the general and political figure Alcibiades, and the comic playwright Aristophanes. View all 3 comments. Mar 25, Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing. Resource was drunk with nectar this was before wine was discovered , went into the garden of Zeus, and fell into drunken sleep. Poverty formed the plan of relieving her lack of resources by having a child by Resource; she slept with him and became pregnant with Love.

So the reason Love became a follower and attendant of Aphrodite is because he was conceived on the day of her birth; also he is naturally a lover of beauty and Aphrodite is beautiful. In other words, for one seeking philosophic wisdom, love is born and exists within the framework of truth and understanding, thus, in order to have a more complete appreciation of the nature of love, one must be committed to understanding the nature of truth.

The second point is how within the Platonic tradition, truth is linked with beauty. Two of my own Plato teachers were adamant on this point, citing how modern people who separate beauty from truth can never partake of the wisdom traditions. Although I am not a strict Platonist, I tend to agree.

When I encounter people who have sharp minds and are keenly analytical but communicate their ideas in snide or sarcastic unbeautiful language or are in any way disingenuous or degrading of others, I find such behavior very much in bad taste.


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I wanted to focus on this one paragraph to convey a sense of the richness of this magnificent Platonic dialogue. One could mine wisdom nuggets from each and every paragraph. And, yes, I get a kick every time I read the speech of Aristophanes featuring those cartwheeling prehumans with four arms and four legs. Also, two fun facts: One: reflecting on Alcibiades, the history of philosophy records another incredibly handsome man with a similar great head of curly hair and full curly beard, a man fortunately!

Two: Diogenes Laertius reports the Greek philosopher Epicurus also wrote a book with the title Symposium. Unfortunately, this piece of writing is lost to us. View all 6 comments. May 21, Richard Derus rated it it was ok. As I have read The Symposium with less than stellar results, I warned him off. Well, see below for what happened next.

Stephen wrote: "Damn I would much rather take advantage of your previous suffering than have to duplicate it. They're all lying around together on couches, which is as promising a start to a story as I can think of, when the boys decide to stay sober boo! Phaedrus subject of a previous Socratic dialogue by Plato gives a nice little speech, dry as a popcorn fart, about how Love is the oldest of the gods, and Achilles was younger than Patroclus, and Alcestis died of love for her husband, and some other stuff I don't remember because I was drifting off, and so I got up to see if I would stay awake better on the patio.

It was a little nippy that day. So next up is the lawyer. I know, right?

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Ask a lawyer to talk about love! Like asking a priest to talk about honor, or a politician to talk about common decency! So he pontificates about pederasty for a while, which made me uncomfortable, so I got up to get some coffee. I may have stopped by the brandy bottle on the way back out, I can't recall. Who knew they had hippies in those days? I needed more brandy, I mean coffee! Then comes Aristophanes. Now seriously, this is a good bit. Aristophanes, in Plato's world, tells us why we feel whole, complete, when we're with our true love: Once upon a time, we were all two-bodied and two-souled beings, all male, all female, or hermaphroditic.

When these conjoined twins fell into disfavor, Zeus cleaved them apart, and for all eternity to come, those souls will wander the earth seeking the other half torn from us. Now being Aristophanes, Plato plays it for laughs, but this is really the heart of the piece. Plato quite clearly thought this one through, in terms of what makes us humans want and need love. It's a bizarre version of Genesis, don'cha think? So there I was glazed over with brandy-fog admiration for the imagination of this ancient Greek boybanger, and I was about to give up and pass out take my contemplations indoors when the wind, riffling the pages a bit, caused me to light on an interesting line.

I continued with the host's speech.

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Now really Especially about luuuuv? I mean, the previous speech. It was a little bit hard to hold the magnifying glass, for some reason, and it kept getting in the way of the brandy bottle. I mean, coffee thermos! I'm not all the way sure what Plato had Socrates say, but it wasn't riveting lemme tell ya what.

I woke up, I mean came to, ummm that is I resumed full attention when the major studmuffin and hawttie Alcibiades comes in, late and drunk! As I leaned to do so, I remember thinking how lovely and soft the bricks looked. When I woke up under the glass table top, the goddamned magnifying glass had set what remains of the hair on top of my head on fire.

Plato And Plato 's Republic

The moral of the story is, reading The Symposium should never be undertaken while outdoors. View all 77 comments. Jul 27, Manny rated it liked it Recommends it for: People confused by Love. Shelves: linguistics-and-philosophy , too-sexy-for-maiden-aunts , well-i-think-its-funny.

What Is Virtue and Can It Be Taught?

Let's all welcome our finalists! They shake hands. More applause. I'm thrilled to have with us living legend Paul McCartney, world-famous novelist E. James, the beautiful and talented Lindsay Lohan, controversial scientist Richard Dawkins and ever-popular hockey mom Sarah Palin! It's impossible to make out a word anyone says. I'm just going to remind you of the rules before we start. Each member of the jury gives us a short speech, and then we count up the votes to see who our lucky winner is. Over to you, Paul! Well, I look at our two finalists, and you know what I'm thinking?

I'm thinking they won that special place they have in our hearts because they told us about Love. And I remember back in when John gave that interview where he said - no offense intended - "we're more popular than Jesus". Because it is amazing, isn't it? There's nothing you can do that can't be done Nothing you can sing that can't be sung Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game It's easy Nothing you can make that can't be made No one you can save that can't be saved Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time It's easy All you need is love-- OPRAH: That's wonderful, Paul, but who are you voting for?

He was always had a thing for Socrates. George too. Yes, Socrates it is. The scoreboard shows Really takes me back. So Socrates is in the lead, but it's early days yet.