Background Info – Plato

  • Citizen of Athens (5th c.b.c.e)
  • Rich, baking family
  • Name means “broad shoulder one”
  • Subject to the rule of the 30 tyrants
  • Political life was corrupt
  • To lead people back to eudaimonia → happiness or human flourishing
  • Logon didonai – give account to what you say and do

Dialogues – have a method

Structure

  • question to be investigated
  • key terms are defined
  • possible answers given
  • some answers are accepted, others rejected
  • aporia (aporetic) – an impasse, you are unable to give an answer
    or you come to a specific answer

Method

  • elenchus – a way of questioning or dialoguing

i.      collect

ii.      divide

iii.      bring together again

  • you move from particularity to more general and abstract ideas

Myth -> mūthos

  • story or a tale
  • translated into Latin as fictio meaning fiction = BAD
  • a structure whereby individuals construct a sense or idea about themselves
  • myths help present what is essential about selves

Liberal Myth

  • atomic individuality
  • rational
  • free
  • inherent dignity
  • right to life
  • equal

Text

Greeks had Two Types of Love

ErosPhilia
EroticFriendship
SexualNot sexual

First Question:

Is it better to be in love or not in love?

Lysias and Socrates say: Not in love because when one is not in love, they are more rational, more self possessed, feels freer, less boastful, and less painful.

Defending Love (Socrates and Plato)

What is love?

  • Love is psychological; it occurs in the psyche
  • Psyche = principle of motion and also that which moves all things
  • Love is mania – you have no control
  • Four kinds of mania
    • Divination and prophecy
    • Purification by mystery
    • Poetry and the muses/poetic inspiration
    • Love
  • Love is a particular mania that is different from poetic and religious mania
  • Love is a mania because the psyche(soul) is conflicted
  • Soul is divided into two kinds: Human and Diving
    • Human – soul/psyche is immortal; body is finite and temporal – it dies
    • Divine – immortal
  • Psyche/soul – reason gives one direct and one has desires which are good and bad
  • Love can go in two directions – heaven (good) or earth (bad/ugly)
  • True love ascends to seeing that love is concerned with living according to what is good and beautiful
  • Stages of Love (mania -> struggle -> idea of good and beautiful)
  • Infatuation/begins as a mania – you’re overcome by furies, you’re beside yourself
  • One reflect inward about mania
  • One must struggle – decide based upon what you see between the divine or base; where you want to go with this love

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