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The Symposium


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Title: The Symposium

  • The Symposium
  • Philosophy 190 Plato
  • Fall, 2014
  • Prof. Peter Hadreas
  • Course website
  • http//

copy of portrait bust of Plato by Silanion
Platos Academy Mosaic Siminius Sephanus Pompeii
The Complex Framing of the Symposium 1. The
dialogue begins with a companion asking
Apollodorus to tell him about the speeches that
Socrates and others made at a dinner party a
decade or so before. The companion remarks So
it was really a long time ago, (p. 459, 173B) 2.
Apollodorus says thats odd he was asked the same
thing a few days before by Glaucon. 3.
Apollodorus says he was not there, but he heard
the speeches from a fellow called Aristodemos .
. . a real runt of a man who always went
barefoot. He went to the party because, I think,
he was obsessed with Socrates one of the worst
cases at that time. Naturally, I checked part of
his story with Socrates, and Socrates agreed with
his account, Apollodorus says. (p. 459
173B). 4. Apollodorus proceeds to recount the
party to the companion allegedly as he heard it
from Aristodemos.
(No Transcript)
The Readers of Platos Time Would Know the World
had Greatly Changed From the Time of the Famous
Dinner Party to When the Party was Recounted 1.
The dinner party took place a few months before
the sailing of the great armada to Sicily in 415
B.C. E. The conquest of Sicily was (wrongly)
confidently anticipated. It was imagined Sicily
would be a stepping stone to further Athenian
expansion. 2. Alcibiades notorious career had
yet to unfold. 3. Aristophanes was at the height
of his comedy-writing powers. 4. It was the first
victory of a new poet, Agathon. Agathon in the
interim would befriend a despotic tyrant and
emigrate. 5. In the interim, Phaedrus and
Eryximachus would be exiled.
A. E. Taylor remarks   Not only is the
occasion itself, the first public victory of the
new poet, a festive one, but the year is one in
which the temper of the Imperial city itself was
exceptional joyous and high. The date is only a
few months before the sailing of the great Armada
which was confidently expected to make the
conquest of Sicily a mere stepping stone to
unlimited expansion, possible to the conquest of
Carthage the extraordinary tone of hubris
characteristic of Alcibiades in the dialogue
becomes much more explicable when we remember
that at the moment of speaking he was
commander-designate of such an enterprise and
drunk with the ambitions Thucydides ascribes to
him quite as much as wine. Taylor, A. S., Plato
The Man and His Work, (London Methuen Co Ltd.,
1926/1978), p. 210.
Mikhail Bakhtin in 1920, (1895-1975) Russian
philosopher of language, semiotician, and
literary critic
Bakhtin on Socratic Dialogues We possess a
remarkable document that reflects that
simultaneous birth of scientific thinking and of
a new artistic prose-model for the novel. These
are the Socratic dialogues. For our purposes
everything in this remarkable genre, which was
born just as classical antiquity was drawing to a
close, is significant. Characteristically it
arises as apomnemoneumata recollections, that
is, as a genre of the memoir type, as transcripts
based on personal conversations among
contemporaries . . .1 1. M. M. Bakhtin, The
Dialogic Imagination Four Essays, Holquist ed.,
Emerson and Holquist trans. (Austin, TX The
University of Texas Press, 1981), p. 24,
  • Cooksey applies Bakhtins theories to the
  • (continued)
  • Whether it be the mad obsessiveness of
    Apollodorus narrative, the limits of
    Aristodemus memory, or the disagreements,
    ironies, and humor among the various speakers at
    Agathons party, the Symposium challenges Platos
    readers to engage actively and passionately with
    the text, not just to accept it as the same
    thing forever. In this way, Plato breaks out of
    the hermeneutic bind. The markings on the page
    may be fixed, but not their subsequent readings.
    In the end, the text of the Symposium itself
    becomes daimonic, neither divine nor human, but
    the messenger between them.
  • Cooksey, Thomas L., Platos Symposium A
    Readers Guide, (London Continuum International
    Publishing Group. London, 2010), p. 130.

  • Cooksey applies Bakhtins theories to the
  • continued
  • Bakhtins conception of the novel, inspired by
    the Platonic dialogue, offers us in retrospect,
    insight into the working of the Symposium, If in
    the Phaedrus, Socrates complains that written
    words go on telling you just the same thing
    forever (275E), then the Symposium gives the
    answer. The deliberate ambiguities that Plato
    inserts into his work by means of the successive
    narrative frames and the foregrounding of textual
    transmission raise the issue of authority in the
    minds of the attentive reader. Made conscious of
    the limits of the text, the reader is invited to
    rethink and reinterpret what he or she has read.
  • Cooksey, Thomas L., Platos Symposium A
    Readers Guide, (London Continuum International
    Publishing Group. London, 2010), p. 130.

Leo Strauss (1899 1973) a political philosopher
who specialized in classical political
philosophy. He spent most of his career at the
University of Chicago. Strauss returned to the
notion that contemporary society suffered from
types of nihilism. He supported a renewed
reflection on classical political philosophy as a
starting point for judging political action.
Strausss overview of the six speeches.   I
would like to remind you of two things. The first
is that there are three speeches in which eros is
viewed from a point of view outside of it those
of Phaedrus, Pausanias, Eryximachus, who view
eros with regard to gain, moral virtue and art
techne. Eros is sovereign in Aristophanes,
Agathon and Socrates. Strauss, Leo, On
Platos Symposium, edited and with a Forward by
Seth Benardete, (Chicago University of Chicago
Press, 2001), p. 116.  
Speech of Phaedrus (This is the same Phaedrus as
in Platos dialogue by that name.) Love engenders
courage Phaedrus says that Eros is the
oldest of the gods so he has no parents. He
inspires the admiration of the beloved since
nothing shames persons more than to be seen by
their beloved committing an inglorious act
(178d-179b). And so love can inspire bravery of a
lover on the battlefield. He mentions
Aristogeiton and Harmodius, the tyrranicides.
Phaedrus also cites women who sacrificed
themselves out of love Alcestis died for her
husband Admetus. Phaedrus refers to the
erastes/eroumenous or lover/beloved relation.
Achilles fought bravely at the death of his lover
Patroclus though although he was, because
younger, beloved. According to Phaedrus, the
tragedian Aeschylus erroneously made Achilles the
lover (erastes) (180a), claiming instead that
Achilles was the beautiful, still-beardless,
younger beloved of Patroclus and citing Homer
in his support. (Iliad 23.102)
Interlude Aristophanes gets the hiccups
(185C-E p. 469)     Perhaps Plato intends to
ridicule Aristophanes, whose caricature of
Socrates in his comedy Clouds may have offended
him. Alternately the comedy may be directed at
Eryximachus, as the famous physician is reduced
to giving medical advice of a rather trivial
sort. A third possibility is that the satire is
directed at Pausanias. The latter view takes the
suggestion that Aristophanes hiccups may have
been from overeating or something else (185C)
as involving a hint that the something else was
being fed up with bad speeches. The Symposium
and the Phaedrus, Platos Erotic Dialogues,
trans. and commentary by William S. Cobb,
(Albany, NY 1993), p. 66.
Interlude Aristophanes gets the hiccups
(185C-E p. 469) At any rate, the reader
should visualize what is going on during
Eryximachus speech that follows. Aristophanes
holds his breath until he explodes and starts
hiccupping again. Then he gargles, no doubt
loudly, but still continues to hiccup. Finally,
he makes himself sneeze several times. The
Symposium and the Phaedrus, Platos Erotic
Dialogues, trans. and commentary by William S.
Cobb, (Albany, NY 1993), p. 66.
Video on the Myth in Aristophanes Speech by
Pascal Szidon You can see it at http//www.youtu
Aristophanes, comic poet c. 446 BC  c. 386 BC
Now here is why there were three kinds, and why
they were as I described them The male kind was
originally an offspring of the sun, the female of
the earth, and the one that combined both genders
an offspring of the moon, because the moon shares
in both. They were spherical, and so was their
motion, because there were like their parents in
the sky. p. 473, 190B.
They Zeus and the other gods couldnt wipe out
the human race with thunderbolts and kill them
off as they did the giants, because that would
wipe out the worship they receive, along with the
sacrifices we humans give them. On the other
hand, they couldnt let them run riot. At last,
after great effort, Zeus had an idea. p. 473,
  • VI. Speech of Agathon (194E-197E pp. 477-80)
  • Love is a god.
  • According to Agathon, the god Eros
  • is youngest of all
  • is soft
  • is pliant
  • is comely
  • 5) has all the virtues

A fresco taken from the north wall of the Tomb of
the Diver (from Paestum, Italy, c. 475 BCE) a
symposium scene
 Strauss on Agathons Speech (194E-197E pp.
477-80) Love is a god.   According to Strauss
 Eidos, shape, which is the word for the
Platonic idea, occurs here only in the sense of
visible shape. The eidos, the essence, of Eros
himself does not become the theme of Agathon. .
Now let us summarize what Agathon says about
the beauty of Eros Beauty here is the beauty of
the body of Eros. He is young, delicate, of
pliant shape, and of beautiful color. If we look
at Greek concepts of beauty in Aristotles
Rhetoric, we find that there are also two other
elements of bodily beauty which Agathon omits
strength and size. . . . One could say that Eros,
as described by Agathon, has the beauty of a
serpent or a butterfly rather than the beauty of
human shape. Strauss, Leo, On Platos
Symposium, edited and with a Forward by Seth
Benardete, (Chicago University of Chicago Press,
2001), p. 160.
Socrates criticism of Agathons speech   In my
foolishness, I thought you should tell the truth
about whatever your praise, that this should be
your basis, and that from this a speaker should
select the most beautiful truths and arrange them
most suitably. . . But now it appears that this
is not what it is praise anything whatever
rather, it is to apply to the object the grandest
and the most beautiful qualities, whether he
actually has them or not. And if they are false,
that is no objection for the proposal,
apparently, was that everyone here make the rest
of us think he is praising Love and not that he
actually praises him. p. 481, 198Dff. my
Socrates refutes two main theses of Agathon.
Love is most beautiful and the best. Agathon
had said (480, 1978C).   Principle I Love is in
need . . . . Ask yourself whether it is
necessary that this be so a thing that desires
something of which it is in need otherwise if it
were not in need, it would not desire it. 200B,
p. 482.     Principle II When something desires
something it does not have what it desires.
Socrates quotes Agathon for there is no love
of ugly ones. (p. 483, 201A)  So! If something
needs beauty and has got no beauty at all would
you still say that it is beautiful? Certainly
not. Then do you still agree that Love is
beautiful, if those things are so? Then Agathon
said, It turns out, Socrates, I didnt know what
I was talking about in that speech. p. 484, 201B
Diotima of Mantinea Jadwiga Luszczewska, who used
the pen name Diotima, posing as the ancient seer
in a painting by Józef Simmler, 1855.
Two Principles Applied and the Character of
Love   1. Love is somewhere between the
beautiful and the ugly. 202B. Following Diotima,
Socrates compares Love to correct belief, that
is, it is between ignorance and knowledge. 202B
2. Love is a daemon. (Daemons were the way that
gods entered into people in Homer.) 202E 3. He
Love is between mortal and immortal. (p. 485,
  • Myth of Birth of Love
  • He was a son born on Aphrodites birthday of the
    parents Resource, Poros, and Need, Penia.
    Love is described as hard, parched and barefoot,
    not soft and delicate.
  • Love is described as hard, parched and barefoot.
    Who fits these qualities in the Symposium?
  • How is Socrates characterization of love
    incompatible with Agathons?
  • What might be point of Platos saying that Love
    was born on Aphrodites birthday, but is not her

What is the point of loving beautiful things?
204D-E, p. 487   Diotimas asks What will
this man have, when the beautiful things he wants
have become his own? I Socrates said there
was no way I could give a ready answer to that
question Then she said, Suppose someone changes
the question, putting good in place of
beautiful, and asks you this Tell me,
Socrates, a lover of good things has a desire,
what does he desire? That they become his
own, I said. And what will he have, when the
good things he wants have become his own? This
time its easier to come up with the answer, I
said. Hell have happiness.
  Love and in love and lovers are a special
case of loving the good.   Diotima The main
point is this every desire for good things or
for happiness is the supreme and treacherous
love in everyone. But those who pursue this
along any of its many waysthrough making money,
or through the love of sports, or through
philosophy we dont say these people are in
love, and we dont call them lovers. Its only
when people are devoted exclusively to one
special kind of love that we use the words that
really belong to the whole of it lover and in
love and lovers. 205D, p. 488. Rejection of
Aristophanes myth Now there is a certain story,
she said, according to which lovers are those
people who seek their other halves. But people
will cut off their their own arms or legs if they
are diseased. These extreme actions are
determined because belonging to me means
good. pp. 488-9, 205E.
  Love wants the 1) good 2) it is be theirs
3) that they possess it forever love is wanting
to possess the good forever.   Diotima That is
because what everyone loves is really nothing
other than the good? Do you disagree? Zeus! Not
I, I said. Now then, she said, Can we simply say
that people love the good? Yes, I said But
shouldnt we add that in loving it, they want the
good to be theirs? We should. And not only
that, she said, they want the good to be their
forever, dont they? We should add that too. In
a word then, love is wanting to possess the good
forever. Thats very true I said. 206A, p. 489
  How do lovers as ordinarily called -- pursue
wanting the good to be theirs forever? They give
birth in beauty.   Diotima Wed rightly say
that when they are are in love they do something
with eagerness and zeal. But what is it precisely
that they do? Can you say? If I could, I said,
I wouldnt be your student, filled with
admiration for your wisdom, and trying to learn
these very things. Well, Ill tell you, she
said, Its giving birth in beauty, whether in
body or soul. (p.489) 206B.  
  • The Lesser Mystery
  • The sublimation of giving birth in beauty.
    (206C-210A 489-92).
  • The pattern is found in animals. First they
    are sick for intercourse with each other, then
    for nurturing their young.
  • 2. Learning has the same pattern For what we
    call studying exists because knowledge is leaving
    us, because forgetting is the departure of
    knowledge, while studying puts back a fresh
    memory in place of what went away, thereby
    preserving a piece of knowledge, so that it seems
    to be the same, 208A pp. 490-1.
  • 3. Seeking honor has the same pattern  to lay
    up glory immortal forever. p. 491 208D  
  • 4. Poetic creation has the same pattern Homer
    and Hesiod authored eternal creations in poetic
    beauty p. 492 209D
  • 5. Same pattern in the creation of good political
    regimes, e. g. Solon and Lycurgus. Compare
    legacies of Lincoln or Martin Luther King, p.
    492, 209E.

  • Giving Birth in Beauty
  • The Beauty of Women and Fertility1
  • . . . the most attractive female faces are
    displaying physical features indicative of higher
    levels of pubertal estrogens (full lips) and
    lower levels of androgen exposure (short narrow
    lower jaw and large eyes) than average females.
    This combination of hormones also appears to be
    responsible for the low 0.7 waist to hip ratio
    that has been found to be a universally
    attractive feature of female bodies, and
    associated with physical health and high
    fertility2,3. In the absence of contraception,
    female fertility reaches its maximum in the
    mid-twenties, declines by about 20 in the
    mid-thirties, and then falls precipitously by a
    further 60 during the forties.4 The thinning of
    a females lips parallels these steep declines in
    fertility and it is not uncommon for females to
    use lipstick or collagen injections for
    maintaining or enhancing their facial
    attractiveness. Taken together, these
    observations suggest that female beauty depends
    upon specific highly visible hormonal markers
    that are indicative of higher than average
  • 1. The text is quoted from Beauty, Bacteria, and
    the Faustian Bargain, Victor S. Johnston,
    Professor Emeritus, NMSU.
  • 2. Singh, D. (1993) Body shape and womans
    attractiveness The critical role of waist-to-hip
    ratio. Hum. Nature 4, 297-321.
  • 3. Zaastra, B. M. et al. (1993) Fat and female
    fecundity Prospective study of effect of body
    fat distribution and conception rates. Brit Med
    J, 306, 484-487.
  • 4. Henry, L. (1961) Some data on natural
    fertility. Eugen Quart, 8, 81-91.

Giving Birth in Beauty The Beauty of Women and
Fertility1 (continued) To study the emotional
value of facial features, ERPs event related
potentials have been recorded from males exposed
to a random sequence of male and female facial
images designed to systematically manipulate the
size and shape of facial features.2 The results
reveal that for female faces, but not male faces,
the P3 positive wave amplitude is highly
correlated with males beauty ratings, and the
largest P3 positive wave response is evoked by
female faces displaying full lips and a short
narrow chin, the feature combination postulated
to be an index of high fertility. It appears that
male brains are exquisitely sensitive to these
hormonal markers and respond to such cues within
500 milliseconds the latency of the P3 positive
wave component. In the real world, this implies
that a man could probably assess the beauty of a
womans face in a single glance across a crowded
room! 1. The text is quoted from Beauty,
Bacteria, and the Faustian Bargain, Victor S.
Johnston, Professor Emeritus, NMSU. 2. Johnston,
V. S., and Oliver-Rodriguez, J. C. (1996) Facial
Beauty and the Late Positive Component of
Event-related Potentials. J Sex Res. 34, 188-198.
Downloaded 10/4/14 from website The Perfect
Human Face, http//theperfecthumanface.blogspot.
The Worlds Scientifically Most Beautiful Woman?
according toi Design Taxi, Apr 30, 2012 916AM
UTC Florence Colgate has all the classic
signs of beauty, Carmen Lefèvre, of The
Perception Lab at the University of St Andrews
School of Psychology, told The Daily Mail. She
has large eyes, high cheekbones, full lips and a
fair complexion. Symmetry appears to be a very
important cue to attractiveness.
Downloaded 10/4/14 from website The Perfect
Human Face, http//theperfecthumanface.blogspot.c
  • The Attractiveness of Males and Signs of
    Increased Capacity for Reproduction.1
  • Image processing software has allowed
    experimenters to systematically manipulate the
    degree of testosterone markers on the facial
    images of human males.2 These studies have
    revealed that females prefer male faces that are
    more masculine than the average male and this
    preference becomes more extreme at ovulation or
    when selecting the face of a short-term mate,
    compared to a long-term mate occasions when
    there is either a higher probability of
    conception or little expectation of resources
    other than good genes.3,4 The relationship
    between masculine secondary sexual traits and
    good genes is supported by studies of
    fluctuating asymmetry (FA). FA is the measured
    deviation from perfect bilateral symmetry of
    those physical traits for which signed
    differences between the left and right sides have
    a mean of zero over the population.5
  • The text is quoted from Beauty, Bacteria, and
    the Faustian Bargain, Victor S. Johnston,
    Professor Emeritus, NMSU.
  • Johnston, V. S. et al. (2001) Male facial
    attractiveness Evidence for hormone mediated
    adaptive design. Evol Hum Behav. 22, 251- 267.
  • 3. Penton-Voak, I. S., et al. (1999) Menstrual
    cycle alters face preference. Nature, 399,
  • 4. Scarbrough, P. and Johnston, V. S. (2005)
    Individual differences in women's facial
    preferences as a function of digit ratio and
    mental rotation ability. Evol Hum Behav, 26 (6)
  • 5. Van Valen, L. (1962) A study of fluctuating
    asymmetry. Evolution, 16, 125-142.

The Attractiveness of Males and Signs of
Increased Capacity for Reproduction.1 Across
many species2 including humans3,4 males with low
FAs enjoy better health and more mating success
than asymmetrical males. Such asymmetries can be
caused by pathogenic parasites or other insults
encountered during the course of development, so
low FA is believed to be a valid index of a
competent immune system.5 Since there is a
significant positive correlation between low FA
and facial masculinity in human males, facial
testosterone markers can serve as a visible proxy
for good genes.6 1. The text is quoted from
Beauty, Bacteria, and the Faustian Bargain,
Victor S. Johnston, Professor Emeritus, NMSU. 2.
Møller, A.P. and Thornhill, R. (1997) Bilateral
symmetry and sexual selection A meta-analysis.
Am. Nat. 151, 174-192. 3. Thornhill, R. and
Gangestad, S. W. (1994) Human fluctuating
asymmetry and sexual behavior. Psychol Sci. 5,
297-302 4. Waynforth, D. (1998) Fluctuating
asymmetry and human male life-history trait in
rural Belize. P R Soc Lond. B. 265, 1497-1501. 5.
Gangestad, S. et al. (1994) Facial
attractiveness, developmental stability and
fluctuating asymmetry. Ethol Sociobiol, 15,
73-85. 6. Gangestad, S.W. and Thornhill, R.
(2003) Facial masculinity and fluctuating
asymmetry. Evol Hum Behav, 24, 231-241.
The Greater Mysteries 210A-212C, p. 492-4.   1.
The final initiation takes the forms of an
elaborate metaphor of an ascending staircase.
(210A suing them like rising stairs (p. 493,
211C)   Diotima describes a series of ascending
forms of love, using the metaphor of a staircase
(210Eff.). From an appreciation of physical
beauty, one ascends first to an appreciation of
the beauty of practical endeavors and social
practices and then to an appreciation of the
beauty of knowledge and understanding in general.
In the final step of the ascent, Diotima says,
after turning toward the great sea of beauty,
the initiate studies it and gives birth to many
splendidly beautiful conversations and thoughts
in a magnanimous philosophy, until, as he becomes
more capable and flourishes in this situation, he
comes to see a knowledge of a singular sort that
is of this kind of beauty 210D. Here, the
initiate comes finally to that understanding
which is none other than the understanding of
that beauty itself, so in the end he knows what
beauty itself is (211C).1 1. Cobb, William S.,
The Symposium and the Phaedrus Platos Erotic
Dialogues, (Albany, NY State University of New
York Press, 1993,) pp. 77.  
The Greater Mysteries 210A-212C, p. 492-4.
210E3- 211B6 Original 210E3-211B6 (almost) literal translation
?? ??? ?? µ???? ??ta??a p??? t? ???t??? pa?da??????, ?e?µe??? ?fe??? te ?a? ????? t? ?a??, p??? t???? ?d? ??? t?? ???t???? ??a?f??? ?at??eta? t? ?a?- µast?? t?? f?s?? ?a???, t??t? ??e???, ? S???ate?, ?? d? (5) ??e?e? ?a? ?? ?µp??s?e? p??te? p???? ?sa?, p??t?? µ?? 211. (a.) ?e? ?? ?a? ??te ?????µe??? ??te ?p????µe???, ??te a??a??- µe??? ??te f?????, ?pe?ta ?? t? µ?? ?a???, t? d a?s????, ??d? t?t? µ??, t?t? d? ??, When someone has been this far led in the lore of love, passing correctly from viewing beautiful/good things, proceeding to the end toward the objects of love, suddenly a wondrous vision will be revealed, the beautiful/good in its nature. This is that, Socrates, for the sake of which were all the previous toils. First it always is and is neither generated nor destroyed, neither becoming greater nor lesser, nor yet beautiful/good in part, nor ugly/base in part, nor yet at such a time nor yet not at such a time,
The Greater Mysteries 210A-212C, p. 492-4
210E3- 211B6 Original 210E3-211B6 (almost) literal translation
??d? p??? µ?? t? ?a???, p??? d? t? a?s????, ??d ???a µ?? ?a???, ???a d? a?s????, ?? t?s? µ?? ?? ?a???, t?s? d? a?s???? ??d a? fa?tas??seta? (5) a?t? t? ?a??? ???? p??s?p?? t? ??d? ?e??e? ??d? ???? ??d?? ?? s?µa µet??e?, ??d? t?? ????? ??d? t?? ?p?st?µ?, ??d? p?? ?? ?? ?t??? t???, ???? ?? ??? ? ?? ?? ? ?? ???a?? (b.) ? ?? t? ????, ??? a?t? ?a? a?t? µe? a?t?? µ???e?d?? ?e? ??, t? d? ???a p??ta ?a?? ??e???? µet????ta t??p?? t??? t????t??, ???? ?????µ???? te t?? ????? ?a? ?p????µ???? µ?d?? ??e??? µ?te t? p???? µ?te ??att?? ????es?a? µ?d? p?s?e?? µ?d??. neither in relation to the beautiful/good, nor in relation to the ugly/base, neither only at its core the beautiful/good, nor at its core the ugly/base, and not for some people beautiful/good nor for others ugly/base nor yet will it appear to him beautiful/good such as in a face, nor hands, nor anything else belonging to the body, nor yet some word, nor some knowledge, nor as being in some other thing, such as in an animal, or on the earth, or in the heavens, but itself, according to itself, with itself, always being of one kind, and the other beautiful/good things partake of it in such a manner, that although they come to be and perish, never does it become more nor less, nor yet is ever changed.
Heidegger on Identity1 While we are
circumscribing in this fashion what is identical.
We are reminded of an old word by which Plato
makes the identical perceptible, a word that
points back to still an older word. In the
dialogue The Sophist, 254D, Plato speaks of
st?s?? and ????s??, rest and motion. Plato has
the stranger say at this point ?????? a?t??
??ast?? t??? µ?? d???? ?te??? ?st??, a?t?
d??a?t? ta?t??. Each one of them is different
from the (other) two, but itself the same for
itself. Plato doesnt say say ??ast?? a?t?
ta?t??. each itself the same, but says ??ast??
?a?t? ta?t?? each the same for itself. The
dative ?a?t? means each thing itself is
returned to itself, each itself the same for
itself with itself. . . . . A more fitting
formulation of the principle of identity A A
would accordingly mean not only that every A is
itself the same but rather that every A is
itself the same with itself. Sameness implies the
relation of with, that is, a mediation, a
connection, a synthesis the unification into a
unity. 1. Heidegger, Martin, Identity and
Difference, Stambaugh trans., (New
York/Evaston/London Harper Row, 1969), pp.
Plotinus on the Ladder of Ascent to Beautiful In
Itself1   And what does this inner sight see?
When it is just awakened it is not at all able to
look at the brilliance before it. So that the
soul must be trained, first of all to look at
beautiful ways of life then at beautiful works,
not those which the arts produce, but from the
works of men who have a name for goodness then
look at the souls of the people who produce the
beautiful works.
Plotinus (205 -270 CE)
How then can you see the sort of beauty a good
soul has? Go back into yourself and look and if
you do not yet see yourself beautiful, then, just
as someone making a statue which has to be
beautiful cuts away here and polishes there and
makes one part smooth and clears another till he
has given his statue a beautiful face, so you too
must cut away excess and straighten the crooked
and clear the dark and make it bright, and never
stop working on your statue till the divine
glory of virtue shines out on you, till you see
self-mastery enthroned upon its holy seat. 1.
Plotinus, Enneads, I.6.9 On Beauty, trans.
A.H. Armstrong, 259-61.  
Plotinus on the Ladder of Ascent to Beautiful In
Itself1 continued   If you have become like
this, and see it, and are at home with yourself
in purity, with nothing hindering you from
becoming in this way one, with no inward mixture
of anything else, but wholly yourself, nothing
but true light, not measured by dimensions, or
bounded by shape into littleness, or expanded to
size by boundedness, but everywhere unmeasured,
because greater than all measures and superior to
all quantity when you see that you have become
this, then you have become sight you can trust
yourself then you have already ascended and need
no one to show you concentrate your gaze and
see. This alone is the eye that sees the great
beauty.   1. Plotinus, Enneads, I.6.9 On
Beauty, trans. A.H. Armstrong, 259-61  
Augustine of Hippos Appropriation of the Ascent
to the Beautiful in Itself1   The Light by which
the soul is illuminated in order that it may see
and truly understand everything . . . . is God
Himself . . . When it tries to behold the Light,
it trembles in its weakness and finds itself
unable to do so. . . . When it is carried off
and after being withdrawn from the senses of the
body is made present to this vision in a more
perfect manner, it also sees above itself that
Light, in whose illumination it is enabled to see
all the objects that it sees and understands in
itself.   1. Augustine of Hippo, De Genesi ad
litteram, 12.31.59, trans. John Hammond Taylor,
in The Literal Meaning of Genesis, vol. 2 (New
York Paulist Press, 1982).  
Augustine of Hippo (354 430 CE) in his study by
Sandro Botticelli
  • Abu-al-Mawahib al-Shadhili
  • North-African Islamic scholar founder of the
    Shadhili Sufi order
  • (1196-1258 CE)1
  • "The manifestation of beauty in objects varies
    with the gift of the observer. Thus the common
    folk do not see other than the appearance of
    physical beauty while the chosen have unveiled
    before them the picture of abstract beauty in
    which is manifested the splendor of His name, the
    Exalted, that is resplendent in all creation
    through various phenomena."
  • al-Shadhili, Princeton oriental texts, Volume
    IV, Illumination in IslamicMysticism, downloaded
    10/5/2014, from https//

Ralph Waldo Emerson Essays Second Series
1844 The Poet But the highest minds of the
world have never ceased to explore the double
meaning, or, shall I say, the quadruple, or the
centuple, or much more manifold meaning, of every
sensuous fact Orpheus, Empedocles, Heraclitus,
Plato, Plutarch, Dante, Swedenborg, and the
masters of sculpture, picture, and poetry. For we
are not pans and barrows, nor even porters of the
fire and torch-bearers, but children of the fire,
made of it, and only the same divinity
transmuted, and at two or three removes, when we
know least about it. And this hidden truth, that
the fountains whence all this river of Time, and
its creatures, floweth, are intrinsically ideal
and beautiful, draws us to the consideration of
the nature and functions of the Poet, or the man
of Beauty, to the means and materials he uses,
and to the general aspect of the art in the
present time.  
Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882
The Greater Mysteries 210A-212C, p. 492-4.   The
ultimate vision is identified with a kind of
knowledge . . . but the lover is turned to
the great sea of beauty, and, gazing upon this,
he gives birth to many glorious beautiful ideas
and theories, in unstinting love of wisdom,
until, having grown and been strengthened there,
he catches sight of such knowledge, and it is the
knowledge of such beauty. . . 1 210E, p. 493 1.
Nehamas and Woodruff in their translation of the
Symposium in our Complete Works edited by John M.
Cooper, insert an ellipsis a series of dots --
after the last word in the quote as you find
above. But, there is no such ellipsis in the
Greek text. Nehamas and Woodruff are taking a
questionable license with the text here.
Anselm Feuerbach (1829-1880) painted this scene
from Plato's Symposium in 1869. It depicts the
tragedian Agathon as he welcomes the drunken
Alcibiades into his house. http//nibiryukov.naro
  • Entrance of Alcibiades 212Dff. The Satyrization
    of Socrates.
  • 1. Alcibiades compares Socrates often to a satyr.
    Especially to Marsyas, who was a master flautist
    and flute music (aulos-music) was thought to
    inspire passions.
  • 2. Socrates says he is in love with Alcibiades.
    This is ironical. 213D Alcibiades says
    accurately that Socrates does not care about good
    looks. 216E.
  • 3. Alcibiades continues about his frustrated
    love for Socrates. He describes in detail how he
    tried to seduce him. 217C They went to the
    gymnasium and wrestled. Still no erotic response.
    219B They slept together with Alcibiades cloak
    around Socrates still no response.
  • 4. Alcibiades, further satirizes, Socrates two
    mysteries regarding the purposes and goal of
    love. He says, Socrates love amount to
    deception. Socrates keeps on saying he loves
    Alcibiades but when Alcibiades tries to seduce
    Socrates, Socrates will not reciprocate.

Entrance of Alcibiades 212Dff. The Satyrization
of Socrates.  5. Socrates is the essence of
restraint and self-control. This is shown in
battle in Potidaea and Delium. Socrates was not
moved by cold or hunger. And he was always
brave.   6. Alcibiades says that Socrates it
utterly one of a kind. Hes not human. So
Alcibiades prefers to see him as a satyr.
Satyrs, by the way, were neither gods nor men,
but like Socrates daimon Eros neither divine nor
mortal. 7. There is a parallel for everyone
everyone else that is. But this man here is so
bizarre, his ways and his ideas are so unusual,
that, search as you might, youll never find
anyone else, alive or dead, whos even remotely
like him. The best you can do is not to compare
him to human, but liken him, as I do, to Silenus
and the satyrs, and the same goes for his ideas
and his arguments. p. 503 221D.
  Coda (p. 504-5, 222D-223D) 1. After
Alcibiades speech A large drunken group,
finding the gates open because someone was just
leaving, walked into the room and join the party.
The realization of total dionysianism
arrives.   2. Eryximachus, Phaedrus, and
presumably Pausanias, leave. Aristodemus falls
asleep and sleeps through the night. When
Aristodemus awakes he finds Agathon,
Aristophanes and Socrates still in conversation.
Socrates is talking about how authors should be
able to write both comedy and tragedy. As
Socrates goes on, Aristophanes falls asleep in
the middle of discussion, and Agathon drifts off.
3. Seeing that Aristophanes and Agathon are
asleep Socrates got up and left and Aristodemus
followed him, as always.    
References for slides used in this powerpoint
Slide6, framing of the Symposium
framing-narrative41.jpg Slide 19, bust of
Aristophanes, http//
hanesmediaviewer/FileAristofanes.jpg Slide
20, whole creatures in Aristophaness myth
lato-in-miracleman/ Slide 21, half creatures in
Aristophaness myth http//onegirlinlife.files.wo Slide
33, scientifically most beautiful woman
face3004/1.jpg slide 48, portrait of Augustine
of Hippo, http//
jpg slide 49, picture of book Illumination in
Islamic Mysticism, Princeton University Press,
ml  slide 50, photograph opf Emerson