Plato Symposium Nehamas And Woodruff Pdf
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The men include the philosopher Socrates , the general and political figure Alcibiades , and the comic playwright Aristophanes. The speeches are to be given in praise of Eros , the god of love and desire. In the Symposium , Eros is recognized both as erotic love and as a phenomenon capable of inspiring courage, valor, great deeds and works, and vanquishing man's natural fear of death.
It is seen as transcending its earthly origins and attaining spiritual heights. This extraordinary elevation of the concept of love raises a question of whether some of the most extreme extents of meaning might be intended as humor or farce. Eros is almost always translated as "love", and the English word has its own varieties and ambiguities that provide additional challenges to the effort to understand the Eros of ancient Athens. The event depicted in the Symposium is a banquet attended by a group of men, who have come to the symposium , which was, in ancient Greece, a traditional part of the same banquet that took place after the meal, when drinking for pleasure was accompanied by music, dancing, recitals, or conversation.
They might speak more frankly, or take more risks, or else be prone to hubris—they might even be inspired to make speeches that are particularly heartfelt and noble. Eryximachus has challenged the men to deliver, each, in turn, an encomium —a speech in praise of Love Eros.
Though other participants comply with this challenge, Socrates notably refuses to participate in such an act of praise and instead takes a very different approach to the topic. The party takes place at the house of the tragedian Agathon in Athens. This dialogue is one of Plato's major works, and is appreciated for both its philosophical content and its literary qualities. So dialogue plays a smaller role in the Symposium than it does in Plato's other dialogues.
Socrates is renowned for his dialectic approach to knowledge often referred to as the Socratic Method , which involves posing questions that encourage others to think deeply about what they care about and articulate their ideas. In the Symposium , the dialectic exists among the speeches: in seeing how the ideas conflict from speech-to-speech, and in the effort to resolve the contradictions and see the philosophy that underlies them all.
The Symposium is, like all of Plato's dialogues, fiction. The characters and the settings are to some degree based on history, but they are not reports of events that actually occurred or words that were actually spoken. There is no reason to think they were not composed entirely by Plato.
The reader, understanding that Plato was not governed by the historical record, can read the Symposium , and ask why the author, Plato, arranged the story the way he did, and what he meant by including the various aspects of setting, composition, characters, and theme, etc.
For a very long time, it was widely believed that Socrates was presented in the dialogues by his admiring disciple, Plato, as an ideal philosopher and ideal human being. It was thought that what Socrates said was what Plato agreed with or approved of. Then in the late 20th century, another interpretation began to challenge that idea.
This new idea considers that the Symposium is intended to criticize Socrates, and his philosophy, and to reject certain aspects of his behavior.
It also considers that Socratic philosophy may have lost touch with the actual individual as it devoted itself to abstract principles. The above view, attributed to Martha Nussbaum , can, however, be challenged in favor of the traditional one. The portrayal of Socrates in the Symposium for instance his refusal to give in to Alcibiades' sexual advances is consistent with the account of Socrates put forward by Xenophon and the theories that Socrates defends throughout the Platonic corpus.
Plato shows off his master as a man of high moral standards, unwavered by baser urges and fully committed to the study and practice of proper self-government in both individuals and communities the so-called "royal science".
The dialogue's ending contrasts Socrates' intellectual and emotional self-mastery with Alcibiades' debauchery and lack of moderation to explain the latter's reckless political career, disastrous military campaigns, and eventual demise.
Alcibiades is corrupted by his physical beauty and the advantages thereof; he ultimately fails to ascend to the Form of Beauty through philosophy. One critic, James Arieti, considers that the Symposium resembles a drama, with emotional and dramatic events occurring especially when Alcibiades crashes the banquet. Arieti suggests that it should be studied more as a drama, with a focus on character and actions, and less as an exploration of philosophical ideas.
This suggests that the characters speak, as in a play, not as the author, but as themselves. This theory, Arieti has found, reveals how much each of the speakers of the Symposium resembles the god, Eros, that they each are describing. It may be Plato's point to suggest that when humankind talks about god, they are drawn towards creating that god in their own image.
Andrew Dalby considers the opening pages of the Symposium the best depiction in any ancient Greek source of the way texts are transmitted by oral tradition without writing. It shows how an oral text may have no simple origin, and how it can be passed along by repeated tellings, and by different narrators, and how it can be sometimes verified, and sometimes corrupted. Apollodorus was not himself at the banquet, but he heard the story from Aristodemus, a man who was there.
Also, Apollodorus was able to confirm parts of the story with Socrates himself, who was one of the speakers at the banquet. Aristophanes' comedy, The Frogs BC , attacks the new tragedy of Agathon and Euripides , and opposes it to the old tragedy of Aeschylus. In The Frogs , Dionysus , the god of theatre and wine, descends into Hades and observes a heated dispute between Aeschylus and Euripides over who is the best in tragedy.
Dionysus is engaged to be the judge, and decides the outcome, not based on the merits of the two tragedians, but based on their political stance regarding the political figure, Alcibiades.
Since Aeschylus prefers Alcibiades, Dionysus declares Aeschylus the winner. That contest provides the basic structure on which the Symposium is modeled as a kind of sequel: In the Symposium Agathon has just celebrated a victory the day before and is now hosting another kind of debate, this time it is between a tragedian, a comic poet, and Socrates. At the beginning of the Symposium Agathon asserts that "Dionysus will be the judge", and Dionysus is, though Alcibiades performs as a surrogate for the god.
So the character, Alcibiades, who was the deciding factor in the debate in The Frogs , becomes the judge in the Symposium , and he now rules in favor of Socrates, who had been attacked by Aristophanes in The Clouds.
The Symposium is a response to The Frogs , and shows Socrates winning not only over Aristophanes, who was the author of both The Frogs , and The Clouds , but also over the tragic poet who was portrayed in that comedy as the victor. It is considered that the work was written no earlier than BCE, and the party to which it makes reference has been fixed in BCE, the year in which the host Agathon had the dramatic triumph mentioned in the text.
The disastrous expedition to Syracuse , of which Alcibiades was a commander, took place the following year,  after which Alcibiades deserted to Sparta , Athens ' archenemy.
Hamilton remarks that Plato takes care to portray Alcibiades and Socrates and their relationship in a way that makes it clear that Socrates had not been a bad influence on Alcibiades. Plato does this to free his teacher from the guilt of corrupting the minds of prominent youths, which had, in fact, earned Socrates the death sentence in BC.
The story of the banquet is narrated by Apollodorus, but before the narration proper begins, it is shown that Apollodorus is telling the story to a friend of his that isn't named, and also that the story of this banquet has been told before by others, as well as previously by Apollodorus himself. This section previews the story of the banquet, letting the reader know what to expect, and it provides information regarding the context and the date.
The banquet was hosted by the poet Agathon to celebrate his first victory in a dramatic competition: the Dionysia of BCE. Apollodorus was not present at the event, which occurred when he was a boy, but he heard the story from Aristodemus , who was present.
Apollodorus later checked parts of the story with Socrates, who was also there. In this brief introductory passage, it is shown that the narrator, Apollodorus, has a reputation for being somewhat mad, that he is a passionate follower of Socrates, and that he spends his days either listening to Socrates or else telling others of what he has learned from Socrates.
The story, as told by Apollodorus, then moves to the banquet at Agathon's home, where Agathon challenges each of the men to speak in praise of the Greek god, Eros. Apollodorus tells his friend a story of a symposium, or banquet, that was hosted by the playwright Agathon to celebrate his victory in a dramatic festival the night before.
Socrates is late to arrive because he became lost in thought on the way. When they are done eating, Eryximachus takes the suggestion made by Phaedrus, that they should all make a speech in praise of Eros, the god of love and desire.
It will be a competition of speeches to be judged by Dionysus. It is anticipated that the speeches will ultimately be bested by Socrates, who speaks last. Phaedrus starts by pointing out that Eros is the oldest of the gods, and that Eros promotes virtue in people. He distinguishes between this virtuous love, and the love of an older man for a young immature boy, which he says should be forbidden on the grounds that love should be based on qualities of intelligence and virtue that are not yet part of a boy's makeup and may not develop.
Eryximachus has the next speech although he has switched with Aristophanes and suggests that Eros encourages "sophrosyne", or soundness of mind and character, and is not only about human behavior, but also occurs in music, medicine, and many other areas of life.
The fourth speech is from Aristophanes, who tells a comic, fantastical story about how humans were at one time two people conjoined, but this was seen as threatening to the gods, so Zeus cut everyone in half just like fish is cut in two parts. The irony in his storytelling is obvious he praises the "confidence, courage and manliness" of males searching for males "and there is good evidence for this in the fact that only males of this type, when they are grown up, prove to be real men in politics" - which is highly ironical for such a critic of the times' politicians as Aristophanes himself  Love is the desire we have to find our other half, in order to become whole.
Agathon follows Aristophanes, and his speech sees Eros as youthful, beautiful, and wise; and as the source of all human virtues. Before Socrates gives his speech he asks some questions of Agathon regarding the nature of love.
Socrates then relates a story he was told by a wise woman called Diotima. According to her, Eros is not a god but is a spirit that mediates between humans and their objects of desire. Love itself is not wise or beautiful but is the desire for those things.
Love is expressed through propagation and reproduction: either physical love or the exchanging and reproducing of ideas.
The greatest knowledge, Diotima says, is knowledge of the "form of beauty", which humans must try to achieve. When Socrates is nearly done, Alcibiades crashes in, terribly drunk, and delivers an encomium to Socrates himself. No matter how hard he has tried, he says, he has never been able to seduce Socrates, because Socrates has no interest in physical pleasure.
Despite this speech, Agathon lies down next to Socrates, much to Alcibiades' chagrin. The party becomes wild and drunken, with the symposium coming to an end. Many of the main characters take the opportunity to depart and return home.
Aristodemus goes to sleep. When he wakes up the next morning and prepares to leave the house, Socrates is still awake, proclaiming to Agathon and Aristophanes that a skillful playwright should be able to write comedy as well as tragedy d.
When Agathon and Aristophanes fall asleep, Socrates rises up and walks to the Lyceum to wash and tend to his daily business as usual, not going home to sleep until that evening d. Phaedrus opens by citing Hesiod , Acusilaus and Parmenides for the claim that Eros is the oldest of the gods. He confers great benefits, inspiring a lover to earn the admiration of his beloved, for example by showing bravery on the battlefield, since nothing shames a man more than to be seen by his beloved committing an inglorious act db.
As evidence for this, he mentions some mythological heroes and lovers. Even Achilles , who was the beloved of Patroclus , sacrificed himself to avenge his lover, and Alcestis was willing to die for her husband Admetus.
Pausanias, the legal expert of the group, introduces a distinction between a nobler and a baser kind of love, which anticipates Socrates' discourse. The base lover is in search of sexual gratification, and his objects are women and boys. He is inspired by Aphrodite Pandemos Aphrodite common to the whole city. The noble lover directs his affection towards young men, establishing lifelong relationships, productive of the benefits described by Phaedrus.
This love is related to Aphrodite Urania Heavenly Aphrodite and is based on honoring one's partner's intelligence and wisdom. He then analyses the attitudes of different city-states relative to homosexuality. The first distinction he makes is between the cities that clearly establish what is and what is not admitted, and those that are not so explicitly clear, like Athens. In the first group there are cities favorable to homosexuality, like Elis , Boeotia and Sparta , or unfavorable to it like Ionia and Persia.
The case of Athens is analyzed with many examples of what would be acceptable and what would not, and at the end, he makes the assertion that Athens' code of behavior favors the nobler type of love and discourages the baser. Eryximachus speaks next, though it is Aristophanes' turn, as the latter has not recovered from his hiccups enough to take his place in the sequence. First Eryximachus starts out by claiming that love affects everything in the universe, including plants and animals, believing that once love is attained it should be protected.
Love might be capable of curing the diseased. Love governs medicine, music, and astronomy a , and regulates hot and cold and wet and dry, which when in balance result in health a.
ISBN 13: 9780872200760
The men include the philosopher Socrates , the general and political figure Alcibiades , and the comic playwright Aristophanes. The speeches are to be given in praise of Eros , the god of love and desire. In the Symposium , Eros is recognized both as erotic love and as a phenomenon capable of inspiring courage, valor, great deeds and works, and vanquishing man's natural fear of death. It is seen as transcending its earthly origins and attaining spiritual heights. This extraordinary elevation of the concept of love raises a question of whether some of the most extreme extents of meaning might be intended as humor or farce. Eros is almost always translated as "love", and the English word has its own varieties and ambiguities that provide additional challenges to the effort to understand the Eros of ancient Athens. The event depicted in the Symposium is a banquet attended by a group of men, who have come to the symposium , which was, in ancient Greece, a traditional part of the same banquet that took place after the meal, when drinking for pleasure was accompanied by music, dancing, recitals, or conversation.
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The version of Plato's Symposium used is a translation by Alexander Nehamas and Paul Woodruff, (Indianopolis and Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company,.
Bryn Mawr Classical Review
Use old embed code. Hide old embed code. Uploaded Nov 20 A fascinating discussion on sex, gender, and. Unfolding in an informal setting, Plato's The Symposium is a powerful with notes and an introduction by Christopher Gill in Penguin Classics.
It's fast and free!. Self realization is aimed at self confidence, self actualization, self reliance, independence, free and responsible citizenry who are capable of contributing meaningfully to the development of humanity. This is an uneven book: in parts exciting and illuminating, in parts spec-ulative and bizarre.
Over the course of the past three decades, Alexander Nehamas Department of Philosophy, Princeton University and Paul Woodruff Department of Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin have written extensively on Plato, including five well-received translations published by Hackett, one of which, the edition of the Symposium, was a collaborative effort. Each of these sections will be discussed briefly below. The preface states that Woodruff translated the three speeches in the dialogue and wrote the notes to the entire translation, that Nehamas translated the conversation between Socrates and Phaedrus and wrote the introduction, and that each author edited the work of the other. The introduction begins by discussing the possible, or rather impossible, dates for the conversation between Socrates and Phaedrus, as well as the possible dates when Plato could have written the dialogue. Also included is a discussion of pederasty, rhetoric, and a detailed summary of the Phaedrus. After such general remarks the questions of the structure and meaning of the Phaedrus are taken up.
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Eros and Philia are the two Greek words, which can be translated as love in English. This article focuses on the idea that Plato weaves around the emotion of love. On the one hand, there is the verb philein and its cognates philia is the noun, philos the adjective —a word we use all the time when we talk about philanthropy, philosophy, philharmonic, and the like. That does not mean that whenever someone wants something, he loves it. The relationship goes in the other direction: whenever someone loves, he wants. This thesis says nothing about what kind of desire one has, when one loves.
A model of the kind of text one needs for lecture courses: the translation is extremely readable and made even more accessible by intelligent printing decisions on dividing the text, spacing for clarification, etc.
A model of the kind of text one needs for lecture courses: the translation is extremely readable and made even more accessible by intelligent printing decisions on dividing the text, spacing for clarification, etc. And the introduction admirably presents both basic information and a sense of current scholarly opinion. Nugent, Princeton University.