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Φαίδρος

Belleza al joven Lisias ue ha elaborado un discurso en contra de Eros La segunda parte está consagrada a una discusión sobre el arte de la palabra en donde Sócrates elabora un recuento de las ventajas y desventajas de la retóric Very interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed it

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Rsación ue se prolonga durante un día entero y versa sobre el amor la retórica y la naturaleza de la escritura el diálogo se divide en dos partes ue se oponen y complementan En la primera Sócrates inicia en los misterios de la I have heard a tradition of the ancients whether true or not they only know although if we found the truth ourselves do you think that we should care much about the opinions of menDelightful rumination on the contrast of rhetoric and philosophy on the written against the spoken and the madness which is love I read this as grist for a Derrida project which failed to appear on command Other tools reuire being readied

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Junto con el Banuete el Fedón y la República el Fedro ocupa un lugar preeminente entre los llamados diálogos críticos Aunue mucho se ha insistido sobre la dificultad de determinar el tema a partir del cual se organiza esta conve Every heart sings a song incomplete until another heart whispers back Those who wish to sing always find a song At the touch of a lover everyone becomes a poet Plato THE SCHOOL OF LOVE Phaedrus is commonly paired on the one hand with Gorgias and on the other with Symposium with all three combining and leading towards Republic It is compared with Gorgias in sharing its principal theme the nature and limitations of rhetoric and with Symposium in being devoted to the nature and value of erotic love The connection with Republic is tenuous though it contributes to the criticism of the arts of Rhetoric Also the psychology illustrated here by the image of the charioteer and the two horses is fully compatible with the tripartite psychology of Republic and even clarifies an important ambiguity in itThe SettingSocrates and Phaedrus walks out from Athens along the river Ilisus The conversation that takes place between Phaedrus and Socrates is both interrupted and motivated by three speeches one by Lysias and then two extemporized by Socrates himself in response inspired to employ his knowledge of philosophy in crafting two speeches on the subject of erotic love to show how paltry is the best effort on the same subject of the best orator in Athens Lysias who knows no philosophy The Three Speeches The First SpeechThe first speech purportedly by Lysias is a shallow badly constructed piece a clever piece of sophistry designed to establish the implausible thesis that the pursued loved should gratify someone who is not feeling love non lover rather than a true erast s lover The Second SpeechNot surprisingly since in this speech Socrates undertakes to improve on the form at least as much as the content of Lysias speech there is considerable overlap of theme Ethically however Socrates appears to have genuine concern for the good of the loved than Lysias didBut most interestingly Socrates takes the dichotomy of Lysias speech of Non Lover Vs Lover and inverts the whole argument by subsuming both categories into Lust It is left unsaid till the Third Speech but Socrates has now effectively made the argument into Lust Vs Love Non Lover also included into Lust Ever heard of the expression Platonic Love It is far interesting than its popular meaning These are the points you should bear in mind my boy You should know that the friendship of a lover arises without any good will at all No like food its purpose is to sate hunger Do wolves love lambs That s how lovers befriend the loved The Third Speech The Palinode Lysias speech had argued that a lover is to be avoided in favor of a non lover and in Socrates first speech he seeks merely to improve upon this thesis of Lysias but in the second he entirely repudiates the content of the first and he calls this second speech a recantation or palinodeThe straight forward opposition of pleasure and the good in the Second Speech though reminiscent of early dialogues such as Gorgias is thus undermined in the palinode where we see that the impulse towards pleasure is an essential part of a person s motivation and that if hisher rational part is in control this impulse can be channelled towards the goodThe Palinode thus gives a less one sided view of love a view in which love and reason can go hand in hand in which love is not entirely selfish but can be associated with educational and moral values and in which at the same time passion and desire find their proper place In order fully to praise love Plato felt that he had to explain its place in the metaphysical life of a human being through a myth as usualThe overall movement of the central part of the palinode is that it begins with a vision of the soul s purpose and ends with an analysis of the human condition of loveThe suggestion is that we won t understand human experience unless it is put into a much larger context and that the experience of love is essential for a human being to fulfill hisher highest potentialAfter these three speeches the conversation turns to the value of rhetoric in general and what could be done to make it a true branch of expertise or knowledgeOn Rhetoric An AsideA dialogue earlier than Phaedrus Gorgias is devoted to rhetoric and to the contrast between the rival ways of life philosophy and rhetoric promote In Phaedrus the uestion of the value of rhetoric is raised immediately after the palinode and signals an abrupt change of direction for the dialogue as to what constitutes good and bad rhetoric and Socrates suggests that knowledge of truth is the criterion persuasion without knowledge is denigrated without a grasp of truth rhetoric will remain an unsystematic knack Now this too is a reference to Gorgias where rhetoric was defined in just these terms Plato does not really seem have changed his mind about it since GorgiasThere are two main overt topics in the dialogue rhetoric and love Rhetoric is meant to persuade and a lover will try to persuade hisher beloved to gratify their desires the Greek word for persuade also means seduce The lover s search for the right kind of beloved to persuade is a specific case of the general principle that the true rhetorician must choose a suitable kind of soul with the help of dialectical insight The lovers are said to try to persuade their beloveds to follow a divine pattern this is the highest educational aspect of loveThus the dialogue is about love and rhetoric as it seems to be but they are connected because both are forms of soul leading both are educationalSo for this reviewer the uestion of which to focus on of Rhetoric or Love is redundant A focus on either should serve the purpose and the focus for the rest of this review will be on Love Rhetoric got its space in the Gorgias review Love The Guiding Light of Philosophers The first two speeches raise the uestion whether or not love is a good thing and the rest of the dialogue answers the uestion in the affirmative Love is good because it enables one to draw near to another person whose soul is of the same type as one s own but is capable of becoming perfectly so This educational potential will be fulfilled provided the pair channel their energies into mutual education this is the proper context of the praise lavished on the combination of philosophy and lovePlatonic Love A ClarificationBefore we go further we need to address the standard criticism on Platonic Love that it is about non sexual love More importantly the even educated criticism has to be addressed that it is about Homoerotic loveFor this we need to take a look at the Athenian society of the timeFirst the Athenians rarely married for love a wife was for bearing children while slave girls were used for extra sex Love then was likely to be met outside marriage and it might be a younger man who aroused it And this goes not just for love but even for the shared interests that underpin love the educational potential of a love affair always one of the main things that interested Plato was unlikely to be fulfilled in one s marriage since an Athenian male had few shared interests with his wife and would not expect her to be interested in education Second with women being seen or less entirely as sex objects Plato clearly felt that it was all too easy to get caught by the physical side of a heterosexual relationship However since Athenian society did place a slight stigma on the sexual side of a homoerotic relationship a lover might well hesitate before consummating the relationship in this way and such hesitation vividly portrayed in Phaedrus meant that there was at least the opportunity for the sexual energy to be channelled towards higher spiritual or educational purposesMoreover the older man was expected to cultivate the boy s mind to be an intellectual companion It was in effect a form of education Greek education was pitiful restricted to upper class boys and taught no than the three Rs sport Homer and the lyric poets and the ability to play a musical instrument In a peculiar way the Athenian institution of homoerotic affairs filled a gap by providing a boy with a realistic grasp of local culture and worldly wisdomThus we can see why homoeroticism is the context only because it was normal then and not because it was regarded as worthy of special attention against a standard of heterosexuality as normal Transposed on to present society we can see that the whole enterprise should logically apply now to normal or heterosexual relations as well and is uite in character for the modern times some would even say that it is the idealThus glossing over homoeroticism as a relic of the Athenian society we need to read instead from our own society s standpoint Hence in this review you will find that the love spoken of is directed not at a boy as in the Platonic dialoguesociety but at the loved as substituted by the reviewer without discrimination This is also the most useful and logical POV for this reviewer to adopt to understand the dialogue best Also please assume the heshe or hisher connotation if the reviewer has omitted it at places The Myth Love as The Window to the Universe It is often said that Symposium Republic and Phaedrus should be read together This is particularly true when it comes to the interconnected Myths that populate these three dialoguesPoetic and inspiring myths portray the soul s vision of reality and love in The Symposium as well as in PhaedrusIn his myth in The Symposium Plato has Aristophanes present the famous story about soul matesThe myth in Phaedrus altering this is a description of the entire cycle of what can happen to a soul we hear of the tripartite nature of souls and how it is essential to a winged soul to rise up attempt to see the plain of truth which lies beyond In the Myth we are incarnated as humans if the attempt was not fully successful doomed for thousands of yearsA philosophically inclined lover however can use hisher memory of Forms to regrow their wings and ascend again This Memory is triggered by the glimpse of Beauty in hisher beloved if his love of truth is enough to leave him with a lingering dissatisfaction with every day life Beauty alone has this privilege to be the most clearly visible and the most loved and thus the trigger for the uest for meaningLove Memory Mutual AssistantsReaders and admirers of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance would find this section particularly identifiable Love as remembrance should also find ready acceptance among Proust readers In fact the image of the loved triggering a vision of beauty that unlocks the memory of life s true purpose is just about as Proustian as it gets Loved then need not be a person at all it just needs to be a store of memory personally beautiful enough to trigger the vision of the beyond of everyday life but this is a digressionIn the palinode love and memory are critically connected love is our reaction to the half remembered Form of Beauty and of Truth The starting point is the perception of beauty on earth and the conseuent recollection of Beauty seen before The beloved s face acts as it were as a window on to the FormIn short love prompts recollection recollection is the precondition for knowledge and knowledge is the precondition for the right handling of words In this way all the major themes of the dialogue tie together The Chariot of Life The Rider The Horses The Soul is divided in three at the beginning of the Myth two parts in the form of horses and the third in that of a charioteer One of the horses is good the other not one white noble and the aide of Reason the other unruly Black and crazed with desire The difference between the two is that the bad horse s reasoning is limited to short term goals just as Lysias non lover was too whereas the charioteer aims for and considers the overall goodness of a person s life as a wholeThis is in fact very reminiscent of The Bhagavad Gita with the Senses as the Horses and Reason as the Charioteer Philosophy Love Lust An Inventory of Usefulness Plato chose the term er s from the range of possibilities because of its frankly passionate connotations In Phaedrus he gives an astonishing analysis of what in his view is really happening beneath the surface of a love affair and focuses particularly on its ecstatic aspects the ability of love to get us to transcend our normal bounds Notice then how far removed this conception of love is from what we generally understand by the phrase platonic love which is defined by my dictionary as love between soul and soul without sensual desire On the contrary sensual desire has to be present because it is the energizing forceThe Two Horses symbolize Love and Lust in a fashionThe Black HorseLustSensual Desire is crucial to the process It is the one that gets us close enough to the belovedsoulmate in the first placeThus the non intellectual elements of the soul were necessary sources of motivational energy and that the passions and the actions inspired by them are intrinsically valuable components of the best human life The intensity of the experience of philosophical love as Plato sees it is precisely the intensity of the simultaneous presence in the lover of passionTo return to the course of the myth we are told in the second part about the development of a human love affair The nature of the love affair depends entirely we hear on how removed the philosopher partner is from the world how ascetic he is in a sense if he is fully mired in his body all he will want is sex with the beautiful beloved who arouses his love but if he is a philosopher the vision of worldly beauty will remind him of heavenly Beauty and his soul will grow wings and aspire to return to the region beyond heaven where he first caught sight of true Beauty But Plato stresses that the philosophic lover will not want this just for himself being attracted to someone like himself that is to a potential philosopher he wants to bring out this potential in his partner Thus not only does the philosophical lover educate his partner but he also educates himself he ascends the ladder only by pulling someone else up on to the rung he has vacated The educational aspect of philosophy is here properly fulfilledThe implication is that the kind of lover you are on earth depends to a large extent on how philosophic you are how receptive you are to the vision of Beauty It depends entirely on you if Love opens the window to Philosophy The Academy of Life Love Er s is the Greek word for passionate love and in the context of relations between human beings it means primarily sexual desire or even lust Because er s in this sense invariably has a sharply delineated object it is not just a vacuous feeling of warmth or affection it suits Plato s purposes since his major enuiry is to ask what the true object of love isIs it no than it appears to be or is it something deeper In Symposium he answers that love is a universal force that energizes and motivates us in whatever we do because its object is something we perceive as good for ourselves Its object self evidently at least for Plato and his fellow Greeks is beautyThe ultimate deepest aim of Love Plato says is immortality self procreation in a beautiful environment The highest manifestation of this is not the physical procreation of offspring but the perpetuation of ideas in an educational environment in which the lover takes on the education of the beloved This is the position taken for granted in PhaedrusThere is also a prosaic and non mythical way to approach the message in Phaedrus As Plato makes plain elsewhere when he says that someone desires something he means that he lacks something So when he says that love is lack we also need to see what it is that a lover s soul lacks and it turns out to be the perfection of itself as a human soul knowledge or self knowledge Someone in love has an inkling of his own imperfection and is impelled to try to remedy the defectThough couched in terms of his own metaphysics and psychology Plato s description of passionate love will strike an immediate chord with any lover Love can make philosophers of any of us Love is important because beauty is the most accessible Form here on earth and is the primary object of love Note that it is always a very personal conception of Beauty being referred to which only the beloved can see the whole eye of the beholder thing if you please Everyone chooses their love after their own fashion from among those who are beautiful to them and then treats the loved like hisher very own god building himher up and adorning himher as an image to honor and worshipHence Love is the best school possible a place of mutual continuous most interested interesting and truly involved education that one can ever find There is nowhere else that you can learn about the human condition Enroll in the school of love if you would be philosophers if you would know the meaning of life Know Thyself through Love You may believe this or not as you like But seriously the cause of love is as I have said and this is how lovers really feel


About the Author: Plato

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10 thoughts on “Φαίδρος

  1. says:

    “Every heart sings a song incomplete until another heart whispers back Those who wish to sing always find a song At the touch of a lover everyone becomes a poet” Plato THE SCHOOL OF LOVE Phaedrus is commonly paired on the one hand with Gorgias and on the other with Symposium with all three combining and leading towa

  2. says:

    HARRY's apartment from When Harry Met Sally HARRY is asleep on his couch On the table next to him are a mostly empty bottle of bourbon and a copy of Phaedrus Enter SOCRATESSOCRATES Good evening HarryHARRY How SOCRA

  3. says:

    A Twist in Your TogaAs they say in the classics I’m glad I reviewed The Symposium before Phaedrus the two relate to similar subject matter it’s uncertain in what order they were written However Phaedrus isn

  4. says:

    Phaedrus is another Socratic dialogue but one which actually is a dialogue Socrates runs into his friend Phaedrus who tells him of a conversation he just had with Lysias a mutual acuaintance As in the Symposium htt

  5. says:

    I have heard a tradition of the ancients whether true or not they only know; although if we found the truth ourselves do you think that we should care much about the opinions of menDelightful rumination on the contrast of rhetoric and philosophy on the written against the spoken and the madness which is love I read this as grist for a Derr

  6. says:

    I’m making my way though Plato’s collected dialogues – and there are uite a few of them All the same I’m surprised by how many I’ve read before I’m going to add some comments about the individual ones as I go through them and maybe something overall on them as a collection once I’ve finishedIt would be easy to say this dialogue is about love except that the Phaedrus isn’t actually about love alo

  7. says:

    I am myself a great lover of these processes of division and generalization; they help me to speak and to think This is one of Plato’s discursive dialogues wandering from topic to topic like a real conversation rather than presenting a tigh

  8. says:

    Spoiler alert This book is not about a philosophy of love as many reviewers seem to believe As every dream has its manifest content a storyline that masks a latent content the suppressed unconscious emotions that bubble into our semi conscious REM sleep Socrates' discourse on the nature of love thinly masks the true subject of this

  9. says:

    Very interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed it

  10. says:

    Initial Problem Can a lover be a stable friendP1 The Lover is dis ordered than the non loverP2 Love is a desire Plato 237P2a Erromenos Eros is

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