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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. It may be a desire that Plato would locate in the appetitive part of the soul, but it need not be. The word Plato most often uses for desire in the passage examined in this article, as so often, is epithumia. Keywords: loveerosphilieaphilanthropyphilosophyphilharmoniceranerastes. But philia is not necessarily low in affect. Although it can be applied to nearly any group of cooperative associates, it is the word that would most naturally be used to name the strong feeling and close relationship that exists among family members and also among close friends, whether or not they are sexually attracted to each other.
To call two people philoi is to suggest neither that there is nor that there is not an erotic component to their relationship. So there is no semantic oddity in the thesis, which Plato endorses sec. He does not single out sexless relationships for special commendation—although we will see how such a misreading of his thought might arise. On the contrary, he is especially interested in sexually charged relationships and is aware of their potential to do great good—though also great harm.
Instead, it searches but does not find a proper of philia. He considers it a subject from which philosophers have a great deal to learn and upon which philosophy can cast much light. Sex dating in Plato does not have, as Aristotle does, a robust and systematic theory about philia in its own right. The heart of his theory of intimacy, affection, and sexuality lies in those speeches.
Every Platonic dialogue presents its own riches and difficulties of interpretation. Readers of his Symposium cannot be criticized for paying special attention to the speech delivered by Socrates that is the approach I adopt herefor it is reasonable to suppose that this is the most important segment of the dialogue—the one that contains the correct theory of love, which Plato himself accepts and recommends to his readers. That supposition can be supported by the fact that the p. But however important the speech of Socrates is for an understanding of SymposiumPlato must want his readers to pay careful attention to the other speeches as well—to see how they bear on each other, complementing each other in some respects but conflicting in others.
Can it be that Plato gives the final word to Alcibiades because his encomium contains some corrective to what has gone before? The problem of understanding Symposium as a philosophical work is in part a problem of seeing how all of its material hangs together. Phaedrus creates rather different obstacles. It seems to be a work about two subjects—love and rhetoric—and yet it contains a theory of composition that insists that every discourse must contain an organic unity, each part contributing to a larger organizational plan c.
Plato is apparently prodding his readers to ask themselves what the principle of organization of this dialogue is.Prague's Dirty Secrets - The Truth about one of the Most Romantic Cities in Europe
In this essay, I must bypass that question and so give short shrift to Phaedrus though see secs. The centrality of Diotima's ascent a—b in the scheme of Symposium is undeniable, but some of the ideas it contains Sex dating in Plato be understood on their own, since they build on earlier material. More precisely, when someone loves eraithere is something or someone he wants and, therefore, something or someone he needs and lacks.
Plato realizes that this thesis requires defense, and so he has Socrates show Agathon that apparent counterexamples to it can be redescribed in ways that make them conform to it. If I already am healthy at the present time, what would be the point of wanting to be healthy at the present time? A desire is a motivator; its role is to move us to do something. He wants to have his health in the future, but that is something that he does not yet have. He lacks and needs future health. The word Plato most often uses for desire in this passage, as so often, is epithumia.
Plato might be accused of making a mistake here: people can want things that have nothing to do with themselves, and so desiring is not the same thing as needing and lacking. Suppose I want someone else's needs to be fulfilled. That does not show that I have a need or a lack. If I act on my desire, that is not because I need or lack something but because someone else does. Perhaps this criticism of Plato can Sex dating in Plato sustained. He can insist that this type of desire always arises out of the subject's needs, even if he were to concede that other desires might not.
Agathon claimed in his speech that love is never of ugliness but always of beauty band that assumption is allowed to stand in Socrates' conversation with him a—b. It is more plausible to take him to mean that the relation between love and beauty is not quite as simple as Agathon and Socrates had been assuming e2—3. The object of one's desire, when one loves, is always something that is good—but it is never claimed, during the remainder of the dialogue, that it must be something beautiful or taken to be such.
What someone who loves health desires is not that he be healthy now but that he be healthy in the future. If health is part of his conception of happiness, surely he will want to be healthy not just for some short period of time but for a very long one—in fact, indefinitely into the future. Being mortal, he cannot have his health for as long as he would like, and so his love of health le to the pursuit of some approximation to his possessing health eternally. She draws on the assumption that as sexual beings we cannot help being responsive to beauty c—d and that the outcome of this responsiveness, p.
She then e—e broadens the basic ideas of her theory by elaborating on the notion that someone can be pregnant in soul and not merely in body. Someone who loves wisdom and justice, for example, cannot possess these qualities forever, but even so he can get closer to this goal by inculcating them, through reasoning and education b—cin the next generation, which will, in turn, reproduce its virtues in others.
In this way, one can come as close as mortality allows to the eternal possession of what one takes to be good. But, Diotima insists, one cannot do this in the absence of a sense of beauty b. Just as the desire for sexual intercourse is aroused by the sight of physical beauty, so the desire to give birth to discourse in the education of a younger person is aroused by some perceived beauty in that person's soul.
She is not merely making the obvious point that they copulate.
Rather, her idea is that for them sexual activity serves a purpose that they know nothing about: the production of a new generation and, therefore, membership in a chain that extends without end into the future. What of human beings who are not pregnant in soul but only in body? Is Diotima saying that the function—whether acknowledged or not—of their sexual intercourse, like that of all animals, is the eternal possession of life itself?
Perhaps, but she must also make room in her theory for the fact that nearly all parents want to transmit their values to their children. If what they love and what they therefore wish they could have forever is not merely life but also money or health or sports, then they will do what they can to reproduce the love of these goals in their children.
To have a simulacrum of life forever merely requires being part of an unending generative chain, but human beings can, in a way, also have health or wealth forever by giving to their children a passion for these goals and the resources needed for sustaining them. There is no reason, in fact, why Diotima should deny that ordinary parents pregnant in body but not soul might also love justice and virtue in general and try to possess these goods eternally by engendering this love in their children.
She also mentions a way of eternally possessing the good that bypasses sexual reproduction but falls short of the pregnancy of soul that issues in reasoned education.
The great heroes of the past, she claims, sought honor and glory for their acts of courage and wanted to possess these goods forever c—e. Even when it is directed at another person, it nonetheless expresses a desire for the lover's own good. When the present self plans for the satisfaction of its desires, it is already reaching out to something that is merely similar to rather than identical to what it is now.
That, Diotima, claims, is why all living things care for their offspring b. Love of life one's own life, that is lies behind efforts to preserve not only one's own body and soul but also the lives of one's offspring. Similarly, if one loves justice—that is, if one wants it to be the case that one possesses this good forever—then one will not only see to it that one's future soul possesses this good but also look for ways in which other people who bear some similarity to oneself and will take one's place also possess this good.
If one propagates what one loves by having and raising a family that is, if one is pregnant in body but not soulone will try to inculcate a love of justice in one's children.What to Know Before You Go I Iceland
But Diotima claims that there is a superior way of wanting to possess the virtues eternally. Some are pregnant in soul rather than body; in other words, they have within them notions about justice that they want to expose to the light of public discourse, in the hope that they can create just conditions for others who will outlive them.
That selflessness, whether praiseworthy or not, is rare among human beings and therefore s for very little of the good that they have achieved. Her tacit assumption is that a mother loves her child because that child was once inside her. When she likens a poet's songs or a statesman's laws to their children d—eshe is drawing on the idea that those products were once inside their minds and is suggesting that they are loved at least partly for that reason.
What they produce in their philosophical discussions, if it is nurtured well, will itself become a thing of beauty, for if a poem can be beautiful so too can other forms of discourse when the ideas in them fit together harmoniously. It is important not to lose sight of the fact that these two philosophers love each other —far more so than many other couples do—and not only their discursive offspring, however beautiful their tly produced philosophical theory may be.
In this respect, at least, Diotima's theory of love has become familiar and widely accepted: couples who talk to each other about serious matters and arrive at a meeting of minds enjoy a better form of love than do those whose relationship rests on nothing but the physical attraction that initially brought them together and their responsibilities as parents. When she starts to explain the notion of the soul's pregnancy, she says that the offspring that it is most fitting for a soul to produce is wisdom and that by far the greatest and most beautiful form of wisdom is the one that organizes the affairs of cities and households—namely, justice and moderation a.
This suggests that the beautiful product that arises from the discussions of a philosophical couple is not merely of interest and value to them —rather, it can also benefit the entire political community. The way in which two people love each other matters to everyone else, not only when the offspring of such love is who will enter the political community and affect it for better or worse but also when the offspring is a theory about how the community should arrange its affairs. Presumably, one of Diotima's reasons for claiming that this product of a pregnant soul is most beautiful by far is precisely the potential it has for improving the life of the whole city.
Of course, the philosophical couple is unlikely to have had this motive for establishing their relationship.Sex dating in Plato
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Between Platonic Love and Internet Pornography