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Plato: The Symposim - Essay Example

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Plato: The Symposium Plato’s dialogues today stand as some of the foundational works of Western philosophy. Because of their construction during a formative period of intellectual thought, as well as because their expansive nature, these texts have influenced a countless array of thinkers…
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Plato: The Symposim
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Download file to see previous pages The Symposium was featured in the canon of the Platonic dialogues. This essay examines various contextual and literary elements related to Plato’s Symposium. The Symposium is specifically a philosophical document from Greek antiquity. The origins of the document are known through scholarship over the ages. The dialogue is believed to have been written in 385 B.C. As noted, the subject of the dialogue is a drinking party where a group of individuals speak about their perspectives on love. While it is believed that this dialogue was written as an instructional manual for teaching at Plato’s Academy, the exact intentions of the work’s construction are unknown. Specifically, this document is linked to thirty-six dialogues that Plato constructed during Greek antiquity (Hunter p. 12). There are a number of things that are unknown about the dialogues. The exact order the dialogues were constructed is unknown. Additionally, the exact intended audience is unknown. In terms of tone the text is highly contemplative. While it exists in discussion form, the specific topics discussed are philosophical deliberations into the vagaries of love. For instance, Phaedrus indicates at several points that the significance of the meeting is to express their perspectives on the concept of love. ...
In this way each speaker offers perspectives on the reason that love is so significant. Phaedrus indicates that Love is the oldest of the gods. Additionally, Phaedrus believes that not only is Love the oldest of the Gods, but Love also is the God that gives humans the most benefits. Socrates provides a number of insights on love. In this way he argues that love is a form of recognition. In this way he indicates in experiencing love, man is able to see God in his true essence in a form of communion. Socrates also views love as a form of appreciation. He indicates that he was once told, “The essence of beauty...my dear Socrates...is that life, above all others which man should live, in the contemplation of beauty absolute; which if you once beheld, you would see not to be after the measure of Gold.” In this way Socrates is indicating that love need not be sexual, but also involves the notion of appreciation. This concept would later come to be recognized as Platonic Love (Hunter p. 75). Through this text Plato makes a number of assumptions and expresses a variety of values. One such consideration is the nature of love as a high virtue. In this way Phaedrus indicates that love is the one thing that does the most to promote virtue in people. In this way, love is recognized as the primary virtuous element in human relationships; this way love keeps each other from committing adultery or other forms of dishonor. Another, perhaps sensational, value that is discussed is the distinction that is made between common and heavenly love. In this way Pausanius indicates there are two Goddesses of love. Aphrodite functions as the heavenly love. This form of love is contrasted with the common form ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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