Frisbee Sheffield argues that the Symposium has been unduly marginalized by philosophers. Although the topic, eros, and the setting at a symposium have seemed anomalous, she demonstrates that both are intimately related to Plato's preoccupation with the nature of the good life, with virtue, and how it is acquired and transmitted. For Plato, analyzing our desires is a way of reflecting on the kind of people we will turn out to be and on our chances of leading a worthwhile and (...) happy life. In its focus on the question why he considered desires to be amenable to this type of reflection, this book explores Plato's ethics of desire. (shrink)
Frisbee Sheffield argues that the Symposium has been unduly marginalized by philosophers. Although the topic - eros - and the setting at a symposium have seemed anomalous, she demonstrates that both are intimately related to Plato's preoccupation with the nature of the good life, with virtue, and how it is acquired and transmitted.
In his Symposium, Plato crafted speeches in praise of love that has influenced writers and artists from antiquity to the present. But questions remain concerning the meaning of specific features, the significance of the dialogue as a whole, and the character of its influence. Here, an international team of scholars addresses such questions.
Plato's Symposium, written in the early part of the 4th century BC, is set at a drinking party attended by some of the leading intellectuals of the day, including Aristophanes, the comic dramatist, Socrates, Plato's mentor, and Alcibiades, the brilliant but treacherous politician. Each guest gives a speech in praise of the benefits of desire and its role in the good and happy human life. At the core of the work stands Socrates' praise of philosophical desire, and an argument for (...) the superiority of the philosophical life as the best route to happiness. This edition provides an accessible and engaging new translation by M. C. Howatson, and a substantial introduction, by Frisbee C. C. Sheffield, which guides the reader through the various parts of the dialogue and reflects on its central arguments. A chronology and detailed notes on the participants help to set this enduring work in context. (shrink)
Abstract Scholarship on the Symposium is dominated by a debate on interpersonal love started by Gregory Vlastos in his article, `The Individual as an Object of Love in Plato.' This paper argues that this debate is a misguided one, because it is not reflective of the central concerns of this text. Attention needs to be turned to the broader ethical questions posed about the ends of life, the nature of human happiness, and contemplation. Failure to do so will mean that (...) the Symposium continues to be eclipsed as a key resource in central debates in Platonic ethics. (shrink)
It is often held that Plato did not have a viable account of interpersonal love. The account of eros—roughly, desire—in the Symposium appears to fail, and, though the Lysis contains much suggestive material for an account of philia—roughly, friendship—this is an aporetic dialogue, which fails, ultimately, to provide an account of friendship. This paper argues that Plato's account of friendship is in the Phaedrus. This dialogue outlines three kinds of philia relationship, the highest of which compares favourably to the Aristotelian (...) notion of love for another ‘for their own sake’. In contrast to the account of eros in the Symposium, this gives Plato an account of interpersonal love that meets some of the requirements laid down by Gregory Vlastos for a satisfactory account of interpersonal love. (shrink)
In “Thinking and Moral Considerations,” Arendt explores whether there is a relationship between thinking and abstention from wrongdoing. Two propositions are used from Plato’s Gorgias to explore the normative dimension of thinking, conceived as internal dialogue between a two-in-one in the mind: that one should not be out of harmony with oneself and that it is better to suffer than do wrong. Arendt attempts to derives the second “moral” proposition from the first, a move which has been seen as weak. (...) This paper offers a new reading of the argument by bringing Arendt into closer dialogue with Plato. The argument is in fact grounded in the importance of plurality and relationality (to the thinking dialogue), and what is required to negotiate it: equality. Wrongdoers show a disdain for equality, and as such they are not collaboration-apt; so, there can be no collaborative dialogue with a wrongdoer. This generates the desired conclusion that if one is to think collaboratively and harmoniously (desired because the two exist in my one person), one should abstain from wrongdoing. (shrink)
This paper argues that the educational and social practices of Plato’s Laws are deeply concerned with the citizens’ affective relationship both to the ideals of the city and to other persons. Two kinds of love – eros (roughly, passionate love or desire) and philia (roughly, friendship) are central to this enterprise. We are familiar with the idea that virtue is not just a matter of doing the right thing, but doing it with the appropriate feelings and desires; so, too, for (...) virtuous citizenship: what is required is both passionate devotion towards the ideals of the city (eros) and an orientation towards other persons (philia), in which citizens are recognized as equals and acknowledged as persons of worth and value, such that one is moved to treat them as deserving of goods and opportunity. Citizens learn this not, or not solely, through grasping principles of ‘equality’ and ‘justice’, but by communal experiences in which they take pleasure and which cultivate a certain kind of love. (shrink)
The Routledge Companion to Ancient Philosophy is a collection of new essays on the philosophy and philosophers of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. Written by a cast of international scholars, it covers the full range of ancient philosophy from the sixth century BC to the sixth century AD and beyond. There are dedicated discussions of the major areas of the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle together with accounts of their predecessors and successors. The contributors also address various problems of (...) interpretation and method, highlighting the particular demands and interest of working with ancient philosophical texts. All original texts discussed are translated into English. (shrink)