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"A superb translation that captures the rhetorical brilliance of the Greek. . . . The translation is faithful in the very best sense: it reflects both the meaning and the beauty of the Greek text. . . . The footnotes are always helpful, never obtrusive. A one-page outline is useful since there are no editorial additions to mark major divisions in the dialogue. An appendix "A superb translation that captures the rhetorical brilliance of the Greek. . . . The translation is faithful in the very best sense: it reflects both the meaning and the beauty of the Greek text. . . . The footnotes are always helpful, never obtrusive. A one-page outline is useful since there are no editorial additions to mark major divisions in the dialogue. An appendix containing fragments of early Greek love poetry helps the reader appreciate the rich, and perhaps elusive, meaning of eros. . . . The entire Introduction is crisply written, and the authors' erudition shines throughout, without a trace of pedantry. . . . this is an excellent book that deservedly should find wide circulation for many years to come." --Tim Mahoney, University of Texas at Arlington


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"A superb translation that captures the rhetorical brilliance of the Greek. . . . The translation is faithful in the very best sense: it reflects both the meaning and the beauty of the Greek text. . . . The footnotes are always helpful, never obtrusive. A one-page outline is useful since there are no editorial additions to mark major divisions in the dialogue. An appendix "A superb translation that captures the rhetorical brilliance of the Greek. . . . The translation is faithful in the very best sense: it reflects both the meaning and the beauty of the Greek text. . . . The footnotes are always helpful, never obtrusive. A one-page outline is useful since there are no editorial additions to mark major divisions in the dialogue. An appendix containing fragments of early Greek love poetry helps the reader appreciate the rich, and perhaps elusive, meaning of eros. . . . The entire Introduction is crisply written, and the authors' erudition shines throughout, without a trace of pedantry. . . . this is an excellent book that deservedly should find wide circulation for many years to come." --Tim Mahoney, University of Texas at Arlington

30 review for Platon Phaedre Audiobook PACK [Book + 1 CD MP3]

  1. 5 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    “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 na “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 more 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 it. The Setting Socrates 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 Speech: The 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 erastēs (lover). The Second Speech: Not 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 more genuine concern for the good of the ‘loved’ than Lysias did. But 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 more 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 palinode. The 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 his/her rational part is in control, this impulse can be channelled towards the good. The 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 usual. The 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 love. The 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 his/her highest potential. After 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 knowledge. On Rhetoric: An Aside A 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 question 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 Gorgias. There are two main overt topics in the dialogue––rhetoric and love. Rhetoric is meant to persuade, and a lover will try to persuade his/her 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 love. Thus 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 educational. So for this reviewer, the question 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 question whether or not love is a good thing, and the rest of the dialogue answers the question 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 more 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 love. Platonic Love: A Clarification Before we go further, we need to address the standard criticism on “Platonic Love”: that it is about non-sexual love. More importantly, the even more educated criticism has to be addressed: that it is about Homoerotic love. For this, we need to take a look at the Athenian society of the time: First, the Athenians rarely married for love: a wife was for bearing children, while slave-girls were used for extra sex. Love, then, was more 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 more 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 purposes. Moreover, 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 more 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 more realistic grasp of local culture and worldly wisdom. Thus, 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 quite in character for the modern times - some would even say that it is the ideal! Thus, 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 dialogue/society 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 he/she or his/her 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 dialogues. Poetic and inspiring myths portray the soul’s vision of reality and love in The Symposium as well as in Phaedrus: In his myth in The Symposium, Plato has Aristophanes present the famous story about soul mates: The 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 years. A philosophically-inclined-lover, however, can use his/her memory of Forms, to regrow their wings and ascend again. This Memory is triggered by the glimpse of Beauty in his/her 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 Quest for meaning. Love & Memory: Mutual Assistants Readers 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 digression. In 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 consequent recollection of Beauty seen before. The beloved’s face acts, as it were, as a window on to the Form. In 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 whole. This 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 erōs 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 force. The Two Horses symbolize Love and Lust, in a fashion: The Black Horse/Lust/Sensual Desire is crucial to the process: It is the one that gets us close enough to the beloved/soulmate in the first place! Thus, 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 passion. To 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 fulfilled. The 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 Erōs 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 erōs 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 enquiry is to ask what the true object of love is. Is it no more 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 beauty. The 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 Phaedrus. There is also a more 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 defect. Though 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 his/her very own god, building him/her up and adorning him/her as an image to honor and worship. Hence, 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 more 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.”

  2. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    [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 SOCRATES.] SOCRATES: Good evening, Harry. HARRY: How-- SOCRATES: Don't worry, I'm not real. This is a dream. HARRY: Uh-- SOCRATES: I see you're reading Phaedrus. Looking for advice, maybe? HARRY: I-- I just can't understand how I could have done it. Why did I fuck her? I've ruined everything. SOCRATES: You're sure about that? HARRY: We ha [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 SOCRATES.] SOCRATES: Good evening, Harry. HARRY: How-- SOCRATES: Don't worry, I'm not real. This is a dream. HARRY: Uh-- SOCRATES: I see you're reading Phaedrus. Looking for advice, maybe? HARRY: I-- I just can't understand how I could have done it. Why did I fuck her? I've ruined everything. SOCRATES: You're sure about that? HARRY: We had such a great thing going. We weren't, like, dating, so we could hang out and have fun and talk. There wasn't any jealousy or possessiveness or any of that crap. It was perfect. SOCRATES: Because you weren't lovers, you could enjoy each other's company much more? HARRY: Exactly. We did so many goofy things. You know, there was this one time we were in a diner together... SOCRATES: And what happened? HARRY: It doesn't matter. All over. SOCRATES: You seem very upset, Harry. HARRY: Of course I'm upset! It was the best relationship I've ever had. And now I've just flushed it down the can. I must have been crazy. SOCRATES: Maybe it's not such a bad idea to be crazy sometimes? HARRY: Oh, puh-lease. Don't give that mad-people-are-the-only-sane-ones bullshit. It's not going to help. SOCRATES: Come on, think about it Harry. Whenever you've done anything difficult or creative in your life, weren't you a little crazy? People shook their heads. But sometimes it worked and you felt really good about it afterwards. HARRY: Okay, Socrates, I see where you're going. But this time I just screwed up. That's all there is to it. SOCRATES: And it's particularly true with romance. Have you ever made an important romantic decision and not wondered at least once if you weren't doing something totally insane that you'd regret later? HARRY: Well, now you mention it-- SOCRATES: In everyday life, one must of course act sanely. But with religion and art and love, a little insanity is essential. HARRY: Hm-- SOCRATES: Here, let me give you this picture I sometimes use to help me focus on my own romantic life. When I want to imagine my soul, I see it as this guy driving a chariot with two winged horses. There's one good horse and one bad horse-- HARRY: You know, you were almost talking sense there for a moment, but now you're losing me again. What's My Little Pony got to do with it? SOCRATES: No, no, Harry! This isn't about children's toys, this is serious. The good horse is noble and obedient, but the bad one is full of base instincts. When it sees the loved one-- HARRY: Say, let me just ask you a direct question. What is your romantic life, exactly? SOCRATES: Well, mostly oral sex with underage boys. Some anal. But the whole point of the analogy is that I try to keep it under-- HARRY: So I'm taking romantic advice from a pedophile? SOCRATES: Now Harry, you need to remember that we belong to different cultures. In my society, what you regard as-- HARRY: I'm waking up now. [SOCRATES disappears. A moment later, HARRY is sitting up on his couch, rubbing his eyes. In the background, the sound of scattered fireworks.] HARRY: What the-- [He looks at his watch, which shows 18 minutes to midnight. Suddenly, he grabs his coat and opens the door] HARRY: I might just be in time. If I run.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Luís

    How to give a note to Plato? His dialogues are among the works that have been reread for centuries. Never aged.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ian "Marvin" Graye

    A Twist in Your Toga As they say in the classics, I’m glad I reviewed "The Symposium" before "Phaedrus". http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... Although the two relate to similar subject matter, it’s uncertain in what order they were written. However, "Phaedrus" isn’t the toga party that "The Symposium" was, primarily because there are less participants. And everybody knows, the bigger the toga party, the better. (Well, it has a potential for more surprises, though apart from the surprise elemen A Twist in Your Toga As they say in the classics, I’m glad I reviewed "The Symposium" before "Phaedrus". http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... Although the two relate to similar subject matter, it’s uncertain in what order they were written. However, "Phaedrus" isn’t the toga party that "The Symposium" was, primarily because there are less participants. And everybody knows, the bigger the toga party, the better. (Well, it has a potential for more surprises, though apart from the surprise element, I don't think there’s anything intrinsically wrong with a toga party for two.) Under Plane or Chaste Tree? Ironically, my assessment of the number of participants might not be strictly correct. It’s a tribute to Plato’s metafictional structure that, in both cases, only two people are speaking in the present. The difference lies in how many people’s views they recount (in significant detail, too). Here, Socrates and Phaedrus discuss only one other person, Lysias. In effect, Plato sets up a debate between two rival views of Love held by Lysias (as read from a book by Phaedrus) and Socrates. Unlike "The Symposium", this dialogue is conducted outdoors by a stream under the shade of two tall trees (one a plane tree, the other a chaste tree). It is also a much more sober affair. Despite all of the flirtation, it swings between plain talking and chasteness. Lover and Beloved Plato’s dialogue concerns two options for a [male] youth or "Beloved". Lysias’ tale concerned a "fair youth who was being tempted" by a "Non-lover". Lysias advocates that a Beloved should prefer a "Non-lover", while Socrates advocates a "Lover". However, this is not a contrast between a non-sexual relationship and a sexual relationship. They are both forms of homoerotic sexual relationship. The real issue is the extent to which there is a pedagogical or spiritual function in the relationship that would constitute Love or "Eros" in the Greek sense (i.e., the relationship between "Lover" and "Beloved"). Lysias Lysias advances the case of Non-lovers effectively by attacking Lovers: 1. Lovers attach pedagogical and spiritual duties to their passion or desire for the Beloved. The compulsion of their duties is the cost of their passion. As their passion wanes, they count the cost of their passion and they come to resent their Beloved. They cannot maintain the façade of selflessness once their passion flags. 2. The esteem in which Lovers hold their Beloved will suffer when they find an alternative Beloved. 3. The Lover’s love is madness, and who would be taught by a madman? 4. Because the number of Non-lovers exceeds the number of Lovers, the Beloved has a greater choice of sexual partner from the pool of Non-lovers. 5. Lovers limit the Beloved’s access to society at large. 6. Lovers fall out of love when they discover their Beloved has grown into a lesser adult. 7. Lovers praise the Beloved for ulterior motives. Phaedrus is convinced. Socrates’ First Speech (Desire and Reason) Socrates believes that Phaedrus has simply been enchanted by the rhetoric of Lysias’ arguments. He sets out to puncture the enchantment by defining the nature and power of Love. Socrates argues that the above problems result not from the duties of Love, but from Passion or Desire, which is equally found in a Non-lover: "Every one sees that Love is Desire, and we know also that Non-lovers desire the beautiful and good. Now in what way is the Lover to be distinguished from the Non-lover?" The difference between the types of Lover depends on the ability to manage or master Desire: "...in every one of us there are two guiding and ruling principles which lead us whither they will; one is the natural desire of Pleasure, the other is an acquired opinion which aspires after the Best; and these two are sometimes in harmony and then again at war, and sometimes the one, sometimes the other conquers. "When opinion by the help of Reason leads us to the best, the conquering principle is called Temperance; but when Desire, which is devoid of Reason, rules in us and drags us to Pleasure, that power of misrule is called Excess." Socrates elaborates on the cause of this imbalance: "...the irrational desire which overcomes the tendency of opinion towards Right, and is led away to the enjoyment of Beauty, and especially of personal beauty, by the Desires which are her own kindred— that supreme Desire, I say, which by leading conquers and by the force of Passion is reinforced, from this very force, receiving a name, is called Love ('erromenos eros')." Socrates’ Second Speech (The Madness of Love) In the first speech, there is a tendency to regard Love as a form of madness or mania that overcomes Reason. In contrast, in his second speech, he refers to it as "inspired madness": "...let no one frighten or flutter us by saying that the temperate friend is to be chosen rather than the inspired, but let him further show that Love is not sent by the gods for any good to Lover or Beloved...we, on our part, will prove in answer to him that the madness of Love is the greatest of heaven’s blessings." Socrates proceeds to recant the views in the first speech and to reinstate Eros, at the very least, side by side with Reason. He starts by asserting that the Soul is immortal, because it is forever in motion. Because it is self-moving, it has no beginning and equally no ending. It cannot be destroyed. A body which is self-moving or moved from within has a Soul. "The Soul in her totality has the care of inanimate being everywhere." He then describes the Soul in terms of a figure of a charioteer with a pair of winged horses. The horses of a human charioteer differ from those of a divine charioteer: one is noble (reason) and the other is ignoble (passion). The pursuit of truth requires both horses to be harnessed. If their wings are damaged and they are unable to stay in flight, they fall to the earth and form mortal creatures composed of both Soul and Body. The Soul is sustained by the Divine: "The Divine is Beauty, Wisdom and Goodness...and by these the wing of the Soul is nourished...the reason why the Souls exhibit this exceeding eagerness to behold the plain of Truth is that pasturage is to be found there, which is suited to the highest part of the Soul." In short, Love is a desire of Beauty, Wisdom and Goodness, and therefore the Divine. Love nourishes the Soul, and reunites it with the Divine. Hence, "he who loves the beautiful is called a Lover, because he partakes of it," the Divine and its "heavenly blessings". So Socrates concludes, "great are the heavenly blessings which the friendship of a Lover will confer upon [the Beloved]." Non-lovers cannot offer a Beloved these heavenly blessings. They work solely within the framework of mortal or earthly Desire. The Ranks of Beauty and of Love You could argue that the dialogue is of limited relevance to our contemporary concepts of heterosexual Love, because it operates within the framework of homoeroticism and the pedagogical/spiritual world of Greek polytheism. However, this is a potentially superficial argument. Firstly, I think that the mechanism of Love is very similar, regardless of the gender of the participants. Secondly, it's easy to imagine how the same concepts could be adapted to Monotheism. However, it's also arguable that Beauty might play a similar function within Love, regardless of whether Beauty is associated with Wisdom, Goodness or Divinity. Thus, the relationship of Beauty and Love could apply equally in the case of Atheism. Remarkably, this latter argument finds some support in "Phaedrus" itself, partly as a consequence of the polytheism of Greek religion. Socrates believed our views on Beauty depend on the gods we follow. Perhaps there is some subjectivity in our choice of god. This subjectivity might equally affect our perceptions of Beauty and our Love: "Every one chooses his love from the ranks of beauty according to his character, and this he makes his god, and fashions and adorns as a sort of image which he is to fall down and worship. "The followers of Zeus desire that their beloved should have a soul like him; and therefore they seek out some one of a philosophical and imperial nature, and when they have found him and loved him, they do all they can to confirm such a nature in him, and if they have no experience of such a disposition hitherto, they learn of any one who can teach them, and themselves follow in the same way. "And they have the less difficulty in finding the nature of their own god in themselves, because they have been compelled to gaze intensely on him; their recollection clings to him, and they become possessed of him, and receive from him their character and disposition, so far as man can participate in God. "The qualities of their god they attribute to the beloved, wherefore they love him all the more..." It’s almost as if, because the Lover’s sense of Beauty is subjective, there is inevitably an overwhelming desire to both seek it out and project it onto the Beloved of choice. But that’s a whole other story...it will be told, only elsewhere... VERSE: The Form That Love Takes Like Bob Dylan, I’ve Tried love fast and slow, But still sought answers From those in the know. So, to enquire, I searched high and low, Trying to fathom Lust and desire. I even wondered, Are they part of love? Do they connect to Virtue or higher? Can’t someone tell me? Does anyone know? How do we fall and Cupid deal his blow? What makes you realise It’s love at first sight? What is it that smiles In a lover’s eyes? Who chooses the shrine? Why love one person And another scorn? What makes love divine? What causes these storms That so lash my heart? Says what’s good for me Isn’t always so? What kind of black coal Fuels this mad fire? How do you explain What controls the soul? Could the Greeks be right? Are the answers in "Phaedrus" and/or "The Symposium"? What god’s law is it That true love informs? Or is it these god Damned Platonic Forms? SOUNDTRACK: Frankie Goes to Hollywood - "The Power of Love" [Extended Version] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLw_K-... Frankie Goes to Hollywood - "The Power of Love" [Official Version] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vpo0p... ABC - "All of My Heart" [From the album "The Lexicon of Love"] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lfph30... ABC - "The Look of Love" [From "The Lexicon of Love"] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMbNYj... Nick Cave - "Babe, You Turn Me On" [Live at the Brixton Academy London, 2004] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXk6PF... Nick Cave - "Nobody's Baby Now" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQNsSS... "...these are my many letters Torn to pieces by her long-fingered hands."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    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 acquaintance. As in the Symposium http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... the topic is love, but here, instead of looking at many different aspects of love, the topic is, initially, who is the better object of a man's love? One should keep in mind that one of the positions defended in the Symposium is: the mo 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 acquaintance. As in the Symposium http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... the topic is love, but here, instead of looking at many different aspects of love, the topic is, initially, who is the better object of a man's love? One should keep in mind that one of the positions defended in the Symposium is: the most noble form of love is that of a mature, virtuous man together with a young, inexperienced man, because the latter could learn thereby from the former how to be a man of virtue; moreover, because they could go to war (or to the assemblies of (solely male) citizens) together, the fear of shame in front of the loved one would assure that both would fight (or otherwise comport themselves) bravely and virtuously. After walking into the countryside, Socrates and Phaedrus find a secluded spot and Phaedrus recounts Lysias' view that, on the contrary, better than a love to such a beloved is a love to a non-beloved. What the devil did Lysias mean by that? I find that when I analyze Lysias' argument with the critical exactitude of a mathematician, it doesn't hold together. If one doesn't look too carefully, here are some of the main points. Strong desire blinds, causing errors and removing one's freedom; strong desire wanes, then obligations once willingly accepted are resented; if one chooses a lover on the basis of his apparent virtue (or potential for virtue), one is too strongly limiting the sample set - perhaps it is among the others you would find your truly deserving friend; if one has a lover, then everyone will think when they see you with him that you are either coming from or going to a sexual encounter (!! - Lysias counters that if you have a relation with a non-lover, then when others see you together, they will not have sex in mind...); if you have a lover, then you are doubly vulnerable to fate, for a blow to the lover is a blow to yourself. You get the idea. What Lysias proposes as better is, roughly speaking, don't get passionately involved with anyone, just have "friends with benefits" (or, using another colloquialism, "fuck buddies"). Note that the position taken has nothing to do with male-male relationships; it may be applied to any person-person relationship. Having read a fair amount of Plato by now, I recognize that this is the set up of the straw man, whom Socrates/Plato(*) will now demolish. But, first, Plato's sock puppet, I mean, Socrates must go through his "Ah, shucks" routine and pretend not to be up to the challenge. (Big sigh...) After we have been subjected to that charade again, Socrates gets down to it. I'm sure you noted in the partial list of Lysias' points above that he confused categories and tacitly weighted personal freedom of action and convenience more than other factors. That might go over well among Ayn Rand's flock, but, in light of Socrates'/Plato's defense in the Symposium of the position that the highest form of love is love for the Absolute, Lysias must get ready for a beat down. Duly delivered. But, dear reader, this first third of the dialogue is just preamble. The reason why Plato wrote this at all is what comes next. He distinguishes between the natural desire for pleasure and the acquired desire, mediated by reason, for what is best. (Ever heard of persuasive definitions?) Guess which one he thinks is better. (Both Socrates and Phaedrus think that Socrates has been inspired by the gods here... sigh...) And then for 40 pages he elaborates in great detail on the position already presented in the Symposium - the highest form of love is divine love of wisdom, of the Absolute.(**) All other forms of love are lower and should best be sublimated into the higher form. But as transparent as Plato's rhetorical ploys have become to me, I must yet acknowledge that the man writes eloquently, if not always persuasively. Plato makes an interesting digression in his paean to the Absolute - in the midst of an analysis of good versus bad speech (surprise: "good" speech reveals/serves the Absolute), he has Socrates expand upon the usefulness of written knowledge/wisdom. Although Plato's primary efforts were made in person in his school, he did, after all, write quite a bit. What did Plato think about such writings? He begins the digression with an Egyptian (!) myth about the god Theuth, who offers written language to the king of upper Egypt, who politely declines, saying that the invention will ruin the memory of his people, for they will rely on the written page instead of internalizing the content. Having read such books, instead of being instructed by the wise, they will believe themselves to be knowledgeable, whereas they are actually ignorant. Socrates agrees with the king. The written word gives only the illusion of life, but it answers to no questions, cannot accommodate itself to different audiences, cannot defend itself against counterargument. This all is negatively contrasted with the living speech of the wise employing the "dialectical art" before his students. The only positive quality of writing books he mentions is if the writing is made "for one's self, to collect a supply of memories for one's own forgetful old age." (My translation from the German.(***)) He adds, rather inconsistently, the clause "and for every person who follows the same path" to this sentence. (*) Once again, one should remember that Plato put these words into the mouths of all participants. (**) Of course, I am oversimplifying here, as my next paragraphs already indicate. (***) Read in a modern revision of Friedrich Schleiermacher's classic German translation.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Trevor (I no longer get notified of comments)

    I’m making my way though Plato’s collected dialogues – and there are quite 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 finished. It would be easy to say this dialogue is about love, except that the Phaedrus isn’t actually about love alone, but also about the power of rhetoric and why we need to be aware of that power. One of the t I’m making my way though Plato’s collected dialogues – and there are quite 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 finished. It would be easy to say this dialogue is about love, except that the Phaedrus isn’t actually about love alone, but also about the power of rhetoric and why we need to be aware of that power. One of the things I’ve particularly noticed in this read through of the dialogues is how attracted Socrates is to pretty young men. In one of the dialogues he even mentions how tongue-tied he starts off being while talking to a particularly beautiful young man. And sometimes it is fairly obvious that he is showing off in front of them. This presents something of a counter-theme to the stated aim of many of these dialogues, that beauty is more than just skin deep and that sexual attraction alone isn’t to be trusted. I guess in some ways what is being discussed in relation to love is a bit like choosing someone to be your mentor, even if at least part of that relationship is also going to be sexual. The dialogue starts with Phaedrus going to tell Socrates of something he had read on the nature of love written by Lysias. Now, Socrates stops him, because he can see the speech is basically sticking out of his pocket and so he tells him to read it to him. This is interesting given what is said later about the power of memory and the negative aspects of written texts. Lysias’ speech says that you should enter into a relationship with someone who doesn’t love you, since love comes with lots of problems – not least of which being jealousy – and so you might be better off with someone who just wants to have sex with you as they are likely to have your best interests at heart and will not try to necessarily keep you from mixing with other people. A disinterested lover is therefore likely to be a better mentor, whereas a passionate lover might ultimately do you harm. Socrates listens to this and then says that he was so swept along by how involved Phaedrus was in his reading of the speech that it was all a bit contagious. Which is interesting for the second theme of this dialogue – on rhetoric – since it is that kind of contagion that ultimately Socrates is going to want to overcome. But he then says he could do a better speech on the same theme, but before starting he covers his head, I think basically out of shame and embarrassment since he is going to be swept along by the muses in what he is saying. In a sense this sort of thing sounds like it is Socrates being ironic and even a little sarcastic – and I’m sure it is that too – but I also started to wonder if this wasn’t a bit like watching science fiction films while knowing a little of physics. You know, like in Star Wars where people zap off at light speed across the universe, but everyone is still in the same time relative to each other. If you worry about the physics of the film, you’ll ruin your enjoyment of the film – but if you don’t worry about it, then you have to sort of pretend to remain dumber than you necessarily are. The solution being to worry about the physics after you’ve enjoyed the film, perhaps... Although, as someone who hasn’t seen a Star Wars film since the second one (which was probably numbered episode 7 or something stupid like that), the other option is, of course, to not bother watching them at all. Which I guess is ultimately Socrates’ point and one I've basically followed by default. In Socrates’ first speech he is also arguing that you are better off with a non-lover – since being in love is a kind of madness and since a lover wants their own pleasure from the object of their love, that is unlikely to involve them worrying too much about what is bests for the young man. In fact, it is likely to have pretty bad consequences for the young man, since the lover will be moulding them into something that will best suit their own passions. A non-lover, on the other hand, is more likely to be a guide in the young man’s life and so ought to be chosen for those reasons. Except, love is basically a god and so Socrates, in making this speech against love, has just blasphemed – the little ghost guy that tells him when he made some sort of blunder tells him this before he can leave, and so he now has to make another speech to make amends. And so, this time his focus is on the benefits of love. In this Socrates talks of how the particular beauty of the young man acts as a kind of stepping stone towards grasping the truth of the form of the beautiful – and this is realised in the movement from the particular (the beauty of the boy) to the universal (beauty per se) - or from the concrete realisation of beauty in the young boy, to the abstract (and therefore more true) nature of beauty as a form. To achieve ‘true’ love, the lover and the boy need to be swept along by desire so as to be nearly overcome by it, but to ultimately not give into that desire – that is, I guess, they show that their desire for knowledge and truth about beauty is stronger than the baser emotions involved in consuming and consummating their physical desire. So, to recap a little – Phaedrus reads a speech by Lysias to Socrates, Socrates first tries to improve this speech, by improving upon its rhetorical form, but then has to give another version of the speech to not just fix up its form, but also the problems with its content. We then come to a discussion on the nature of rhetoric itself – or rather, of writing. Socrates sees writing as a problem, and it is important in that context to remember that he, a bit like Jesus, never wrote anything, but spent his life in discussions with people. All the same, as I said at the start, it is interesting that he demanded a reading of the first speech, rather than a recollection of it. Socrates believed discussion was far superior to writing since if you don’t understand something said by someone you are talking to, you can ask them a question – and asking questions is certainly Socrates’ thing. But with a book it has the problem of only being able to tell you the same thing over and over again. And as I said before, we can too easily get swept along by the beauty of a speech, and miss the fact that perhaps nothing worthwhile is being said. I noticed this particularly this week, after the Labor Party here in Australia lost the election – an election it had been decided by everyone for years it would be impossible for the ALP to lose. Anyway, one of their ex-politicians put a video online of him very passionately saying things needed to change. He didn’t say which things needed to change, how they needed to change, how those changes might make it more likely for the ALP to win the next election – none of that – just that things needed to change. He did, however, say this with remarkable force and conviction, so much so that I'm quite sure he was terribly, terribly sincere, and his little video has received 16,500 views. It is just that, despite the depth of his sincerity, I'm not sure I could tell you what he is being sincere about. Of course, the problem with writing isn’t just that you can’t ask the written text questions – well, you can, it’s just you can’t expect answers. Rather, the real problem with written texts for Socrates is the impact they have on memory. Writing is often considered to be an ‘aid’ to memory – but for Socrates, it is likely to be the exact opposite. Whereas before writing you had to remember by-heart things you wanted to ‘take with you’, with writing you can always refer back to the text. The problem is, that having something ‘in your heart’ isn’t quite the same as having something that you can ‘look up’. For a long time I tried to learn poetry by heart, and for pretty much the same reason Socrates is saying here. I highly recommend it, by the way – you can play with poems you know by heart in ways it is harder to play with them if you have to track them down and read over again. And that does make a difference. You understand poems more once you have committed them to memory – Part of me thinks that should sound obvious, but another part of me suspects many people might not really believe it. This is one of the classic dialogues – perhaps one of the top ten – a couple of things I’ve read about it talk about how it is one of Plato’s homosexual dialogues – which is, of course, a bit stupid – given that homosexuality as we think of it now wasn’t really what the Ancient Greeks understood by the idea of love (or even sex) between a man and a ‘boy’. We find it impossible to understand the past other than through the lens of our present prejudices. As such, this book is a good curative for that.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jonfaith

    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 men? Delightful 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 require being readied.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    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 dialogue: bullshit, how to produce it, and how to recognize it. For the reader, his dialectical approach gives us a hint about how to resist it. With self-de 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 dialogue: bullshit, how to produce it, and how to recognize it. For the reader, his dialectical approach gives us a hint about how to resist it. With self-deprecating charm -- true to form -- Socrates schools beautiful young Phaedrus on his own susceptibility to bullshit, alternately praising Phaedrus's current object of infatuation, the silver-tongued rhetor Lysias, and ruthlessly dismantling the rhetorical artifices of Lysias' manufacture. This excellent translation by Christopher Rowe is not only accessible to the reader not familiar (or terribly comfortable) with the Socratic dialogs, but manages, too, to emphasize Socrates' sharp wit, good humor, and gentleness of pedagogy. Rowe's scholarly introduction provides context and background making clear the significance of this work. It is a testament to Plato -- an early generation child and devotee of alphabetic literacy -- that he takes pains to accurately convey to us Socrates' belief that writing would sap the intelligence of the Athenian youth, making them both less knowledgeable about the universal precepts of logic, and less inclined to engage in a dialectic with thought externalized and made permanent.

  9. 5 out of 5

    House of Books

    Very interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    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 more discursive dialogues, wandering from topic to topic like a real conversation rather than presenting a tight argument. As such, it is not exactly satisfying as a presentation of Plato’s idealistic philosophy by itself; but it makes for a wonderful companion piece to other dialogues, such as the Gorgias or the Symposium. The two primary themes of this dial 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 more discursive dialogues, wandering from topic to topic like a real conversation rather than presenting a tight argument. As such, it is not exactly satisfying as a presentation of Plato’s idealistic philosophy by itself; but it makes for a wonderful companion piece to other dialogues, such as the Gorgias or the Symposium. The two primary themes of this dialogue are love and rhetoric; and they are combined in the criticism of speeches about love. The love that Plato embraces is, predictably, Platonic: the admiration of the soul rather than the lust of the body. As usual, Socrates attacks rhetoric for being the art of twisting and obscuring the truth; and as usual, I find his arguments to be rather purposefully naïve. Knowing the truth and convincing somebody else of it are two entirely different things; and the skillful use of language can very much help with the latter (though, of course, it can also be used to deceive). Plato of all writers knew the value of rhetoric: it is as much for his literary skill as his intellectual merit that he remains so widely read. As a case in point, this dialogue is notable for containing some of Plato’s more memorable episodes. We see Socrates, for once, outside the city, relishing the beauty of the natural scenery, his senses almost drunk with pleasure. The “madness” or “divine inspiration” of lovers and poets is frequently noted, to be contrasted with the cool rationality of Socrates. Plato also gives us the famous metaphor of the soul as a charioteer with two horses, one of the flesh and one of the spirit. And the dialogue ends with Socrates’ denunciation of writing—which, again, can only sound playfully disingenuous when written by Plato. The dialogue then ends, and Socrates and rhetoric live to fight another day.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Aitken

    Initial Problem: Can a lover be a stable friend? P1: The Lover is more dis-ordered than the non-lover. P2: Love is a desire [Plato 237] P2a: Erromenos Eros is the Supreme Desire. P3: (Socrates speaking): The non-lover has all the advantages in which the lover is deficient. P(1-3) establish that the lover is always unstable. He is concerned with pleasing the beloved. It seems if he is controlled by desire (Eros), then he isn’t rational. In fact, he is mad. But Socrates raises an interesting question: D Initial Problem: Can a lover be a stable friend? P1: The Lover is more dis-ordered than the non-lover. P2: Love is a desire [Plato 237] P2a: Erromenos Eros is the Supreme Desire. P3: (Socrates speaking): The non-lover has all the advantages in which the lover is deficient. P(1-3) establish that the lover is always unstable. He is concerned with pleasing the beloved. It seems if he is controlled by desire (Eros), then he isn’t rational. In fact, he is mad. But Socrates raises an interesting question: Do we not consider Eros divine (the ancient Greek would have said yes)? If so, he can’t be evil. If he isn’t evil, does that call into question P(1-3)? Socrates renews his argument: P4: What if madness weren’t necessarily an evil? [244] Prophecy is a kind of madness, yet no one considers prophets evil (not usually). Therefore, “love” might be a madness, but it isn’t automatically evil. Here Socrates breaks the narrative and talks about the nature of the soul. The soul is immortal, which means it is indestructible and self-moving. Therefore, the soul can’t be evil. Therefore, presumably, it’s desiring isn’t madness. In fact, it has to be mad. P4*: Souls long for that which is beyond themselves [248]. Plato introduces the famous metaphor that the soul is a charioteer. Soul = Good Horse (forms) OR Bad Horse (defective) Charioteer Knowledge Problem: Truth is in the eternal realm, yet I am in this world of flux. How can I know truth? How can I know what I don’t yet know? Desire (Eros) mediates between what is known and what is unknown. As Socrates says, “I love, but know not what” [255]. Thus, knowing is a form of loving. As Catherine Pickstock says, “Eros is described as a liquid, pouring into the eyes and overflowing into others” (Pickstock 239). Pickstock suggests that knowledge implies a pre-understanding “through a desire to know.”

  12. 4 out of 5

    Oscar Walsh

    so sick of zoom calls, just want to walk barefoot in a stream with my homie and talk about love as extreme sexual tension crackles between us i don't want click and collect i want my bros to read speeches to me please i jsut want to walk in a stream please i don't want a smartphone i so sick of zoom calls, just want to walk barefoot in a stream with my homie and talk about love as extreme sexual tension crackles between us i don't want click and collect i want my bros to read speeches to me please i jsut want to walk in a stream please i don't want a smartphone i

  13. 4 out of 5

    David Haines

    A very interesting read. With the Symposium, this book is one of Plato's most important books on love. His exploration of the relationship between love and beauty is very interesting. His treatment of love in a homoerotic relationship (specifically between adult men and boys of between approximately 13 and 18) in both the Symposium and the Phaedrus is sometimes placed center screen, as if Plato was approving of it, when it is only a culturally accepted practice that is used by Plato as a way of t A very interesting read. With the Symposium, this book is one of Plato's most important books on love. His exploration of the relationship between love and beauty is very interesting. His treatment of love in a homoerotic relationship (specifically between adult men and boys of between approximately 13 and 18) in both the Symposium and the Phaedrus is sometimes placed center screen, as if Plato was approving of it, when it is only a culturally accepted practice that is used by Plato as a way of talking about love (and, in fact, of pointing away from sensuality towards training in philosophy). Some people try to make a great deal of Plato's treatment of homoerotic love, as if this is what the book is about. This is to misread Plato. For others, his treatment of this subject may keep them from reading this book, but, it is worth noting that though homoerotic relationships between boys and men were often accepted in Ancient Greek culture, Socrates and Plato are actually to be read as dissenting voices. In fact, as the translator and editor of this volume notes, Socrates and Plato would probably have argued that homoerotic behaviour was against the very nature of love, as the purpose of love was reproduction. Physical erotic love was for reproduction (thus between a man and a woman), and so was mental or spiritual love. But mental or spiritual love was for the reproduction of lovers of the divine ideas and beauty--the philosophers. Almost all of Plato's observations, made in the context of homoerotic love between men and boys, can be removed from that context and placed within the context of any human relationship.

  14. 4 out of 5

    E.

    The Phaedrus was not one of the dialogues we read in my Plato seminar in grad school, so I thought I'd finally tackle it. I didn't like it much. I'm guessing that that might be the influence of my particular professor, but I'm not sure. Some of the other goodreads reviews are very well-written and do a nice job of analyzing the dialogue. Many highly recommend it. The dialogue is a conversation between Socrates and Phaedrus out for a walk on a hot summer afternoon. They take shelter in a cool spot The Phaedrus was not one of the dialogues we read in my Plato seminar in grad school, so I thought I'd finally tackle it. I didn't like it much. I'm guessing that that might be the influence of my particular professor, but I'm not sure. Some of the other goodreads reviews are very well-written and do a nice job of analyzing the dialogue. Many highly recommend it. The dialogue is a conversation between Socrates and Phaedrus out for a walk on a hot summer afternoon. They take shelter in a cool spot and discuss love and rhetoric. The dialogue begins playfully and flirtatiously, and I enjoyed the discussions of same-sex love which is often part of the cultural milieu in Plato's dialogues, but is explicitly discussed here. Socrates argues at one point that lovers must be avoided and then turns around and argues the exact opposite, which then leads into the real topic of the dialogue -- rhetoric and how it can be used to argue most anything and to deceive people from the truth. A number of other topics appear, including the immortality of the soul and its make-up and even interesting comments on divine possession, revelation, and religious practice (I wrote an essay on Socrates on this topic in grad school). There is good and important information here for student of Socrates/Plato, however I didn't find it, overall, as engaging (both as literature and philosophical treatise) as many of Plato's other works.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ygraine

    "at this point, then, his whole soul seethes and pounds––in fact, the soul of someone who is beginning to grow wings experiences exactly the same sensations that children feel when they are teething, with their teeth just starting to grow, and they feel an itching and a soreness in their gums. so the soul, as it grows its wings, seethes and feels sore and tingles." & "at the end of their lives, when they leave their bodies, they may not have any wings, but they do have the desire to gain them, and "at this point, then, his whole soul seethes and pounds––in fact, the soul of someone who is beginning to grow wings experiences exactly the same sensations that children feel when they are teething, with their teeth just starting to grow, and they feel an itching and a soreness in their gums. so the soul, as it grows its wings, seethes and feels sore and tingles." & "at the end of their lives, when they leave their bodies, they may not have any wings, but they do have the desire to gain them, and this is no small prize to have gained from the madness of love. for it is a law that those who have already made a start on the skyward journey shall no longer go into the darkness and enter upon the journey downward to the underworld. instead, they live a life of brightness and happily travel in each other’s company, and sooner or later, thanks to their love, gain their wings together." read in dialogue with death in venice, got caught on the strange & lovely eroticism of this account of teething soul-wings ? & on the poetic brilliance of a too fleshy, too earthbound love that still carries its lovers upwards ?

  16. 4 out of 5

    Quiver

    At first glance, Pheadrus is a dialogue about homoerotic love. The dialogue takes place between young and attractive Athenian aristocrat, Phaedrus, and the familiar Socrates, as they walk, and then sit under a tree waiting for the heat to pass. Within this outwardly simplistic organisation, however, Plato constructs an intricate layering of forms, topics, and arguments. The work is composed around three speeches: the first one is given by Phaedrus (actually he is regurgitating a speech written by At first glance, Pheadrus is a dialogue about homoerotic love. The dialogue takes place between young and attractive Athenian aristocrat, Phaedrus, and the familiar Socrates, as they walk, and then sit under a tree waiting for the heat to pass. Within this outwardly simplistic organisation, however, Plato constructs an intricate layering of forms, topics, and arguments. The work is composed around three speeches: the first one is given by Phaedrus (actually he is regurgitating a speech written by Lysias); the second and third are composed by Socrates in answer. Socrates' first speech is an improvement of Lysias' speech, correcting its structural and logical deficits, but not changing the thrust of the argument or the conclusion that a cool and calculating lover is superior to one enthralled by his beloved. Socrates second speech is a palinode, or recantation, of the first, and in it he argues that a kind of divine madness or passion is necessary for love to achieve its full (educational) potential. SOCRATES: But I’m sure you’d agree that every speech should be put together like a living creature, with its own proper body, so that it lacks neither a head nor feet. As Athenian women of the time were either wives (designated for bearing children) or slaves (designated for mindless sex), the focus on homoerotic love as a means for men to obtain education (from other men) is understandable within context. This topic is also addressed in Plato's  Symposium, but here Plato's concept of a tripartite soul is brought to bear on the problem. The soul is described through an analogy: the rational part of the soul is a charioteer trying to control two horses: the black horse (corresponding to the lustful/appetitive part of the soul) and the white horse (corresponding to the good/spirited part). In the palinode, Socrates explains that the best passionate lover will reign in his black horse (an argument against the physical aspect of a relationship) in favour of helping his beloved on the path to becoming a better man. The palinode also touches upon other topics, such as the superiority of dialectic over rhetorical speeches and indeed, over the written word. Paradoxically, it seems, Plato argues against writing by writing about it. Nevertheless, as Waterfield points out in the Introduction, Plato chose to present his written argument in the form of a dialogue, which is as close to dialectic conducted in the flesh between two people as one can get on the page. If you enjoy deep, aesthetically complex literary works, read Pheadrus. You don't have to be a scholar to appreciate it. Note regarding the Oxford World's Classics edition: most readers, no matter how (in)experienced in philosophy or Plato's works, will greatly benefit from Robin Waterfield's forty-page Introduction. It is divided into sections addressing the relevant topics: Erōs and Homoeroticism, First Speech, Second Speech, Third Speech (the Palinode), Rhetoric, Dialectic and the Weakness of Writing, The Unity of the Dialogue.

  17. 4 out of 5

    David Alexander

    Phaedrus is a beautiful dialogue of Plato. I confess, I listened to the whole thing while laying down mulch for hours with my earbuds. Librivox.org, man. Plato first sets the stage by narrating a scene of playful leisure to set the stage for layered, increasingly deeper contemplation. The dialogue offers valuable, time-tested insight and guidance in the life of the mind and itself embodies the insight. Perhaps we get the word philosophy from this dialogue. At least in it Socrates defines the typ Phaedrus is a beautiful dialogue of Plato. I confess, I listened to the whole thing while laying down mulch for hours with my earbuds. Librivox.org, man. Plato first sets the stage by narrating a scene of playful leisure to set the stage for layered, increasingly deeper contemplation. The dialogue offers valuable, time-tested insight and guidance in the life of the mind and itself embodies the insight. Perhaps we get the word philosophy from this dialogue. At least in it Socrates defines the types of persons who devote themselves to wisdom as "lovers of wisdom." He says they are not themselves wise, as wisdom, he caveats, is an attribute of God alone, but they love wisdom. There is much that is memorable, much that is strikingly relevant. Socrates recounts as an Egyptian tale of ancient wisdom how a bird invented writing and blithely assumed it would assist people's memories. His mythical interlocutor shrewdly responded by saying that often inventors are not the best judges of the effects of their inventions and that writing would in actuality have a deleterious effect on our memory because people would begin to rely on it rather than their memories. He was right. This strikes me as undyingly current, strikingly relevant today. As we continue to experience huge technological innovations such as the Internet, we ought not to be too sanguine and self-blinding in our enthusiasms and enjoyments. After the industrial revolution, etc., etc. we need to learn to dignify our discriminatory powers more so that every reserve about uses of technology is not treated as fanatical, obtuse, weird, a too cumbersome to think about issue. Plato also has brilliant, memorable sections where he likens human beings to two horses drawing a chariot, one strong and toward the upright and good, the other drawing down to the lower and more base. One section I remember vividly describes with this analogy a youth's sexual desire and the competing directions of the horses. Socialization of the sexual impulse. There is also a significance to the whole tone set at the beginning, as I alluded to earlier. It is out of a self permission and a permission among friends for leisure that this contemplative height arises. It is easier with friends. Certain capacities in the mind have to be valued enough by a society and the avant garde of the mind in that society for this to be accomplished. A too pressing 'practicality' does not give due honor to philosophy and doctrine and it ironically becomes the most impractical of all viewed from a distance, a distance it does not allow itself.

  18. 4 out of 5

    April Munday

    Phaedrus is about relationships between friends and lovers. It's also a case study in rhetoric. It even delves into the nature of philosophy. I suspect that there is no way of translating it so that it's easy to approach for the reader with little idea of what Plato was about. It's probably a difficult text to translate at all. The introduction to the translation I read certainly hints that this is the case. There are so many barriers between a modern-day reader and a text like this. Even someone Phaedrus is about relationships between friends and lovers. It's also a case study in rhetoric. It even delves into the nature of philosophy. I suspect that there is no way of translating it so that it's easy to approach for the reader with little idea of what Plato was about. It's probably a difficult text to translate at all. The introduction to the translation I read certainly hints that this is the case. There are so many barriers between a modern-day reader and a text like this. Even someone as familiar with it and its context as Christopher Rowe, translator of the Penguin version, can't understand all the allusions and idioms it contains and he doesn't have the space to explain all the ones he does. His notes can't tell us everything about living in Plato's time in Plato's city. He can't provide a complete background to the discussion in terms of the history of philosophy or what other philosophers were saying at the same time. Some of the plays and poems Plato references have been lost and a summary of the ones that are extant would probably be longer than the discussion between the two men. Even the book's setting of Socrates and Phaedrus meeting up and going for an early morning walk to discuss a speech written by someone else has meaning that's not obvious to a casual reader like me. My two stars say more about my inability to connect with the text than it does about the text itself. As a book, Phaedrus is very short, but it's a very dense, and difficult, read for the uninitiated.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rickeclectic

    Previously considered a lesser work by Plato, but more recently considered important because of Derrida. The text is about writing and oral communication and their role in telling the truth. The dialogue very cleverly intersperses the difference between true and false love with the difference between true and false rhetoric. In reading this, it helps to understand the opposition between Socrates and the sophists that pervades most of the other Platonic dialogues, but the Phaedrus can stand alone Previously considered a lesser work by Plato, but more recently considered important because of Derrida. The text is about writing and oral communication and their role in telling the truth. The dialogue very cleverly intersperses the difference between true and false love with the difference between true and false rhetoric. In reading this, it helps to understand the opposition between Socrates and the sophists that pervades most of the other Platonic dialogues, but the Phaedrus can stand alone. The Phaedrus highlights the irony of Plato having a written dialogue that criticizes whether writing can tell the truth. This irony appears to cut at the very core of the use of Plato's writings and the relationship between Socrates and the sophists.

  20. 4 out of 5

    John

    I read this dialogue over several months. I kept coming back to it. Parts of the dialogue I liked and in particular the sophistry of rhetoric. I also liked the dangers of the written word and reliance on it without analysis by the majority of people. The part I did not like was Phaedrus who gives meaning to the term yes man! Plato is trying I think to tell us question everything or take what we hear with a pinch of salt.

  21. 4 out of 5

    AZ (Saïd)

    Yeah this is the one where they talk about whether or not Achilles was a top. Also this is a notoriously difficult text to translate—even when having included contextual notes!—so I appreciated Rowe's effort. As he noted in the introduction there's academic disagreement about whether Φαίδρος is primarily concerned with love or with rhetoric. I think the work is primarily concerned with showcasing Plato's opinions. Yeah this is the one where they talk about whether or not Achilles was a top. Also this is a notoriously difficult text to translate—even when having included contextual notes!—so I appreciated Rowe's effort. As he noted in the introduction there's academic disagreement about whether Φαίδρος is primarily concerned with love or with rhetoric. I think the work is primarily concerned with showcasing Plato's opinions.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Zakaria Bziker

    Some thoughts herein are eternal. Ahead of its time maybe. I was more interested in how the dialogue flows, however not to say the least of the content. It is highly civilised how Socrates and Phaedrus conversed. All the world problems would be solved in an instance had everybody conversed like these two giants.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is a short dialogue and I read it quickly. It's the one with the argument against the invention of writing. Basically Socrates (the character) is suspicious of any attempt to replace a process that uses the whole of a human's abilities (like spoken discourse) with an automated process that's simpler and more rigid, like written language. A book can't talk back to you, can't explain the nuances; a book is dumber than a wise human. (Just like, in the Laws, Plato is skeptical of legal codes be This is a short dialogue and I read it quickly. It's the one with the argument against the invention of writing. Basically Socrates (the character) is suspicious of any attempt to replace a process that uses the whole of a human's abilities (like spoken discourse) with an automated process that's simpler and more rigid, like written language. A book can't talk back to you, can't explain the nuances; a book is dumber than a wise human. (Just like, in the Laws, Plato is skeptical of legal codes because a formally codified law is dumber than a wise human.) I think this is a valuable concern, especially in an age of automation.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    Plato at his most playful. First Socrates presents one argument about romantic love (in a nutshell--that it's dangerous and not to be messed with), then professes to have changed his mind and presents an extreme counter to his own argument, (that love is a reminder of our true spiritual form and should be sought above all else). He finally reveals that he's just been messing with Phaedrus in order to show him how unwieldy and unreliable the art of rhetoric can be. Plato at his most playful. First Socrates presents one argument about romantic love (in a nutshell--that it's dangerous and not to be messed with), then professes to have changed his mind and presents an extreme counter to his own argument, (that love is a reminder of our true spiritual form and should be sought above all else). He finally reveals that he's just been messing with Phaedrus in order to show him how unwieldy and unreliable the art of rhetoric can be.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Plato is RIDICULOUS. In all the best ways. I'm sort of inclined to agree with a friend who said that if you're trying to sort out the Socrates from the Plato, a pretty good indicator for the Socrates is the concentration of dirty jokes. The Phaedrus is rife with them. It actually opens with Lysias arguing for hookup culture. That makes the subtle little ways that Socrates pulls out the rug from under you all the more delicious.e Plato is RIDICULOUS. In all the best ways. I'm sort of inclined to agree with a friend who said that if you're trying to sort out the Socrates from the Plato, a pretty good indicator for the Socrates is the concentration of dirty jokes. The Phaedrus is rife with them. It actually opens with Lysias arguing for hookup culture. That makes the subtle little ways that Socrates pulls out the rug from under you all the more delicious.e

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cassandra Kay Silva

    Curious about what the great Socrates may have said about Love? Guess what! This is the dialogues for you! Also he covers what he terms the sciences (unfortunately his idea of science is mostly that of Rhetoric) and some other taunting between Socrates and Phaedrus. Always fun to read Plato I must say.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jana Light

    Maybe I shouldn't have finished Phaedrus at the airport at 10 o'clock at night while waiting for my delayed flight to arrive at the gate, but man. This was terrible, and a terrible example of the kind of philosophy available from 4th century BCE. I added a star because of its valuable place in the history of ideas and thought. I must be super cranky today. Maybe I shouldn't have finished Phaedrus at the airport at 10 o'clock at night while waiting for my delayed flight to arrive at the gate, but man. This was terrible, and a terrible example of the kind of philosophy available from 4th century BCE. I added a star because of its valuable place in the history of ideas and thought. I must be super cranky today.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I got tired of Lysias/Phaedrus’s know it all attitude about love and eros real quick and found Socrates arguments here fairly weak. If you are interested in ancient Greek attitudes on friendship, lovership and everything in between, then this is your jam, otherwise this is a long Plato read than can be skipped with little loss imo.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marts (Thinker)

    Written by Plato, this Socratic dialogue with Phaedrus, focuses on the topics of rhetoric (as in its correct use and practice) and that of erotic love.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Edel Malene

    wow socrates a gay icon i cant believe it, great book

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