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Symposium by Plato
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Symposium (edition 1989)

by Plato, Alexander Nehamas (Translator), Paul Woodruff (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,711511,478 (3.97)80
Member:xydexx
Title:Symposium
Authors:Plato
Other authors:Alexander Nehamas (Translator), Paul Woodruff (Translator)
Info:Hackett Pub Co Inc (1989), Paperback, 107 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:philosophy

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The Symposium by Plato

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English (41)  Spanish (6)  French (1)  Greek (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (50)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
And Agathon said, It is probable, Socrates, that I knew nothing of what I had said.
And yet spoke you beautifully, Agathon, he said.


Back in the late 1990s a cowpunk band named The Meat Purveyors had a song, Why Does There Have To Be A Morning After? It detailed stumbling around in the cruel light of day, sipping on backwash beer from the night before and attempting to reconstruct what at best remains a blur.

The event depicted here is a hungover quest for certainty. The old hands in Athens have been tippling. Socrates is invited to the day after buffet. The Symposium attempts to explore the Praise for Love which occupies such a crucial yet chaotic corner of our earthly ways. There is ceremonial hemming-and-hawing about the sublime and then Socrates steps into the fray. All is vanity, Love is a bastard child of Poverty: the attempts at the Ininite and Eternal only reflect poorly on our scrawny and fleeting tenure. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Delightful and entertaining, a good inspiration for your own party, but also fuck Plato. ( )
  alexanme | Dec 9, 2018 |
(Original Review, 2003-03-02)

The problem for me is that philosophy is surely about ideas which are themselves constructed out of language. Dinosaurs, or evidence for them in the fossil record, are not linguistic constructs - but philosophical ideas would seem to be.

I don't mean that ideas themselves are entirely linguistic. I can have ideas that involve non-linguistic elements - for example I can mention a landscape that I could never fully describe in all its visual richness - and which there would not be words to sufficiently describe even if I had an eternity to do so (though that is arguable come to think of it, as assemblages of pixels can describe extraordinarily rich visual scenes - sorry bit of a side track).

I don't even mean that philosophical concepts have to be made of language. It may well be possible to conceptualise ideas beyond the constraints of language and, as it happens, I think we can do that. The problem is, of course, that once you try to communicate any such ideas to anyone else you have to reduce them down to linguistic constructs (or perhaps logical constructs but I would say that logic and maths are languages too, albeit, like French, not languages that I am at all fluent in).

It goes back to things like your "moral facts" which intrigue me but, so far, I am just not convinced of it. Dinosaur fossils sure - facts. You can poke them with a stick, measure them and compare them to other fossils etc. Moral facts, they don't seem to be solid enough to have convinced Plato of the wrongness of slavery.

I find this sort of reasoning from "moral facts" problematic. It comes down to how Plato and Aristotle might have defined an "inferior person". For much of human history, and certainly for Plato's contemporaries, "inferior" might simply mean "from a tribe that was defeated in battle". Military success thus defines superiority. What fact could be used to show that this view is false? ( )
  antao | Nov 26, 2018 |


Plato’s Symposium is one of the best loved classics from the ancient world, a work of consummate beauty as both philosophy and as literature, most appropriate since the topic of this dialogue is the nature of love and includes much philosophizing on beauty. In the spirit of freshness, I will focus on one very important section, where Socrates relates the words of his teacher Diotima on the birth of Love explained in the context of myth:

“Following the birth of Aphrodite, the other gods were having a feast, including Resource, the son of Invention. When they’d had dinner, Poverty came to beg, as people do at feasts, and so she was by the gate. 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.”

Diotima continues but let’s pause here as according to many teachers within the Platonic tradition there are at least two critical points to be made about this passage. The first is how love is conceived in the garden of Zeus, and that’s Zeus as mythical personification of Nous or true intellectual understanding. 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. (Incidentally, these exact two points are made eloquently by Pierre Grimes in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1cbhhloYU4&list=PLC427DEF36A4A46F9 ).

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. In a very real sense, I feel these individuals have cut themselves off from the world’s wisdom traditions, particularly from the Platonic tradition.

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!) with a much stronger character – the Stoic philosopher and Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. 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. Darn! ( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |
Foundational to the mythos and language of Islamic mysticism (especially Rumi's Sufism). Philosophy as poetry as dialogue. ( )
  mavaddat | Jul 11, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Platoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Allen, Reginald E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Anderson, Albert A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Auberger, JanickTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Azcárate, Patricio deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baskin, LeonardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beltrán, JordiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Benardete, SethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Benedetto, Vincenzo diIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bloom, AllanCommentatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brès, YvonCommentatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brentlinger, John A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brisson, LucTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burnet, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Calogero, GuidoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Centrone, BrunoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cerinotti, AngelaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Çetinkaya, CüneytTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Colli, GiorgioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cousin, VictorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Diano, CarloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Diego, Estrella deIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dienst, WolfgangEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Farinetti, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferrari, FrancoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Forster, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Galimberti, UmbertoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gerbrandy, PietIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gil, LuisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gill, ChristopherTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Griffith, TomTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Groden, Suzy Q.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gual, Carlos GarcíaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guiomar, Marie-GermaineCommentatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hamilton, WalterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Henningsen, NielsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hernández, Marcos MartínezTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildebrandt, KurtTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horváth, JuditTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howatson, M. C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huesca, Antonio RodríguezForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hübscher, ArthurTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jaccottet, PhilippeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jowett, BenjaminTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koch, RenéeCommentatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koolschijn, GerardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kubo, MasaruTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
L'Yvonnet, FrançoisCommentatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laborderie, JeanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, DesmondTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leroux, GeorgesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Loenen, D.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lonsdale, MichaëlNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Luca, RobertoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Luise, Fulvia deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mori, ShinichiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nehamas, AlexanderTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Novotný, FrantišekTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nucci, MatteoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Connor, David K.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ojeda, RafaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paulsen, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pelliccia, HaydenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peroli. EnricoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Piettre, BernardCommentatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Presas, EulàliaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Racine, Jean BaptisteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reale, GiovanniEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rehn, RudolfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robin, LéonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Romero, Fernando GarcíaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Romilly, Jacqueline dePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rouse, W.H.D.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sacristán, ManuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schüler, DonaldoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schleiermacher, FriedrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schmidt, JochenCommentatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schmidt-Berger, UteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Segre, BrunoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Serafina, AndrzejaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sharon, AviTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shaw-Parker, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sheffield, Frisbee C. C.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shelley, Percy ByssheTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Songe-Møller, VigdisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steiner, GeorgesPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Susanetti, DavideIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taglia, AngelicaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Totti, ElmoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trede, MoniqueTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vérain, JérômeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vicaire, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Waterfield, RobinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Witwicki, WładysławTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodruff, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyller, Egil A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zanatta, FabioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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APOLLODORO - Credo di non essere impreparato a rispondere sulle cose che volete sapere.
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This is Plato's Symposium in modern translation. Please do not combine with the edition of the dialogue in the Classical Greek text.
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Book description
The Symposium, Plato’s meditation on passionate love, or the Greek erōs, is both pivotal to our understanding of his wider philosophy and one of Ancient Greece’s greatest and most beautiful literary triumphs. In a lively dialectic, Plato considers love’s complex nature, distill- ing the desire for physical love from the love of virtue and goodness, and guiding us to a recognition and appreciation of true Beauty, in its essential and unchanging Platonic Form. As A. C. Grayling explains in his new foreword, we discover that ‘love is in essence the desire for all kinds of good there can be – happiness, nobility, moral goodness, beauty itself ’
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140449272, Paperback)

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 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:48 -0400)

(see all 11 descriptions)

The scene is a dinner party for the literati of Athens, the action a series of speeches by the guests. From these there emerges a complete and complex philosophy of love. Christopher Gill's translation retains all the drama and humour of the Greek, bringing the historical figures to life.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140449272, 0141023848

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