Platos Symposium analysis Essay

This essay has a total of 3276 words and 10 pages.

Platos Symposium analysis

"Plato's Symposium"


Kaboom, that was the sound of Zeus's thunder crashing towards the Earth. During this time
period the people in Greece believed in these gods. Also happening at the same time period
was when the worlds most famous philosophers began to come out and teach. Most importantly
the philosophers did what they were suppose to, and that was to question the world around
them. One of the most famous philosophers in the Greek period around 416 B.C. was a man
named Socrates. Socrates was student of the Diotima which taught him things about love,
ignorance, wisdom and right opinion, which he rehearses to the people attending the dinner
of Agathon's.

We will first start by analyzing what Diotima has said about the four cognitive functions,
which are: wisdom, understanding, right opinion and ignorance. She asks Socrates "do you
think what is not wise, then it is ignorant?" and she continues with "Do you not perceive
that there is something between wisdom and ignorance?" In these first quotes Socrates only
believes that if something is not wise then it has to be ignorant and that there is no in
between. Diotima then points out that doesn't think see that there is an middle point
between wisdom and ignorance. Diotima then replies "To have right opinion without being
able to give a reason, is neither to understand (for how could an unreasoned thing be
understanding?) nor is it ignorance (for how can ignorance hit the truth?). Right opinion
is no doubt something between knowledge and ignorance." In the second quote what Diotima
tells Socrates is that right opinion is in between wisdom and ignorance. She explains this
by telling Socrates that being incapable of giving a reason something cannot be considered
knowledge, because how can knowledge be entirely lacking reason. She also points out that
it can't be considered ignorance because you can't obtain the truth from ignorance, but
then it is clearly something in between wisdom and ignorance which is called right
opinion.

Diotima explains the four cognitive functions more in depth a couple of paragraphs later
on starting with "The truth is this: no god seeks after wisdom or desires to become
wise—for wise he is already; nor does anyone else seek after wisdom, if he is wise
already. And again, the ignorant do not seek after wisdom nor desire to become wise; for
this is the worst of ignorance, that one who is neither beautiful and good nor intelligent
should think himself good enough, so he does not desire it, because he does not think he
is lacking in what he does not think he needs." What Diotima tells Socrates here is that
no god is in search or in want of being wise for the gods are already wise, nor does any
human who is already wise seek after wisdom. Neither do the ignorant search to be wise,
and that is the evil of ignorance, a person that is satisfied with himself and is not good
nor wise and is satisfied with himself, because he has no desire for that which he has no
want.

Socrates then ask Diotima "Who then are the Philosophers? If those who seek after wisdom
are neither wise nor the ignorant?" She answers with "They are between these two, as Love
is. You see, wisdom is one of the most beautiful things, and Love is a love for the
beautiful, so Love must necessarily be a philosopher, and, being a philosopher, he must be
between wise and ignorant. His birth is the cause of this for he comes of a wise and
resourceful father, but of a mother resource less and not wise." Diotima here explains to
Socrates that philosophers are in the center of wise and ignorant, and love is right in
there between the two. Because wisdom is a very beautiful thing, and Love is of the
beautiful; and therefore love is also a philosopher or another way of putting it a lover
of wisdom. And being a lover of wisdom it too is in the center of wisdom and ignorance.
This Love's birth was also the cause because dad was wealthy and wise, and his mom was
poor and foolish.

Now we go on to the model of the power of love. Socrates starts off asking Diotima what
power does love have? Diotima answers " To interpret and to ferry across to the gods
things given by men, and to men things from the gods, from men petitions and sacrifices,
from the gods commands and requitals in return; and being in the middle it completes them
and binds them all together into a whole. Through this intermediary moves all the art of
divination, and the art of priests, and all concerned with sacrifice and mysteries and
incantations, and all sorcery and witchcraft. For God mingles not with man, but through
this comes all the communion and conversation of gods with men and men with gods, both
awake and asleep; and he who is expert in this is a spiritual man, but the expert in
something other that this, such as common arts or crafts, is a vulgar man. These spirits
are many and of all sorts and kinds, and one of them is Love." After Socrates ask about
the powers that love has. Diotima explains to Socrates that Loves power includes
communication between the gods and man. To transport to the gods the sacrifices of men and
prayers, and to the men replies from the gods and commands. Love is a middle man that
connects the two worlds that divide the gods from men. And therefore in him all is
connected. Through love the doings of priest and prophets, such as sacrifices mysteries
and charms, and all prophecy and spells find their way. For God does not talk to man; but
through love all the talking and meddling with of a god is then transferred to a man,
whether sleeping or awake is going on. The wisdom which understands this is a spiritual;
all other wisdom such as arts and hand made things, is stingy and lacking refinement. Now
all these intermediate powers are a lot and very different, and one of them is love.

Now we go on to the myth of the origin of love. Socrates ask Diotima who was his father
and who was his mother? Diotima goes on to explain that it's a long story but she'll tell
him anyway. She starts by saying "When Aphrodite was born, the gods held a feast, among
them Plenty, The son of Neverataloss. When they had dined, Poverty came in begging, as
might be expected with all that good cheer, and hung about the doors. Plenty then got
drunk on the nectar—for there was no wine yet--and went into Zeus's park all heavy and
fell asleep. So Poverty because of her penury made a plan to have a child from Plenty, and
lay by his side and conceived Love. This is why Love has become follower and servant of
Aphrodite, having been begotten at her birthday party, and at the same time he is by
nature a lover busy with beauty because Aphrodite is beautiful. Then since Love is the son
of Plenty and Poverty he gets his fortunes from them. First, he is always poor; and for
from being tender and beautiful, as most people think, he is hard and rough and unshod and
homeless, lying always on the ground without bedding, sleeping by the doors and in the
streets in the open air, having his mother's nature, always dwelling with want. But from
his father again he has designs upon beautiful and good things, being brave and go-ahead
and high-strung, a mighty hunter, always weaving devices, and a successful coveter of
wisdom, a philosopher all his days, a great wizard and sorcerer and sophist. He was born
neither mortal nor immortal; but on the same say, sometimes he is blooming and alive, when
he has plenty, sometimes he is dying; then again he gets new life through his father's
nature; but trickles away, so that Love is not in want nor in wealth, and again he is
between wisdom and ignorance." The meaning of this little quote is simply that at birthday
of Aphrodite there was a feast of the gods. The god named Plenty was invited. Now after
the feast Plenty who loved nectar went into Zeus's garden and fell into a heavy sleep. And
there came Poverty plotted to have a child with Plenty, so she laid down and conceived
Love. And because Love is a natural lover of beauty, and because Aphrodite herself was
beautiful, and also because he was born on her birthday he is then her follower and
attendant. And just like his parents are so is he. He is most importantly poor, and
anything but tender and fair, as people imagine him; he is rough and filthy, and has no
shoes, nor a house to live in; on the earth he lies bare under the open heaven, in the
streets or at the doors of houses, taking his rest; and like his mom always in misfortune.
He is also like his father, always plotting against the fair and the good; he is bold and
strong like a mighty hunter, always weaving intrigue or other, sharp in pursuit of wisdom.
Continues for 5 more pages >>




  • What is Irony
    What is Irony Irony is a method of assertion used by authors in literature and poetry. Although many writers have employed this literary technique for centuries, the meaning of the word can be difficult to understand. This essay will help to describe the correct meaning of this diverse word and illustrate how it is used. The Canadian Intermediate Dictionary defines irony as “a method of expression in which the meaning intended is the opposite of that expressed” (613). This statement is true, alt
  • Socrates
    Socrates Socrates: A Great Philosopher Kimberly Whitaker Honors Survey of World History: HONR 1151 Dr. Veula J. Rhodes, Instructor Albany State University November 22, 1999 Foreword Thesis: Exploring Socrates and his philosophies give the seeker a new understanding of the life and society in which Socrates lived. With this new understanding, one can compare or contrast other views of the period. In doing this, the researcher is provided with a map of ideas and philosophies throughout history. Th
  • Philosophy questions
    philosophy questions SharaForman PHL 103 01 In looking at the development of Plato’s conception of knowledge through the mouthpiece of Socrates, one can see that philosophy is about questioning the limits of knowledge. The ever popular and reoccurring question that philosophers want to know is what is everything? The beliefs and ideas of Socrates were shared by all philosophers of their time. Ignorance was a major Socratic theme. Socrates was very concerned with definitions. He was always questi
  • Plato2
    plato2 Plato Throughout history there have been many philosophers that have made great impacts on the students for many years. One philosopher in particular that has made a tremendous impact on the youth of the world is a man named Plato. Plato is one of the world’s most famous writers, and is still being taught to this day. People ask why this man is so important and why he should be still studied today when he is something of the past; well I will help them see in my paper just why he is so im
  • Analysis of a Socratic Dialogue
    Analysis of a Socratic Dialogue Analysis of a Socratic Dialogue It is known that Socrates has many dialogues that involve a single thought or point of his. This early dialogue, Hippias Minor, is a great example of that. The dialogue goes along very detailed and methodically surrounding one point. It shows us, the readers, a different way to go about understanding Socrates’ thought process. Even though the dialogue may be somewhat short you can sort of figure out just what Socrates is thinking. B
  • Socratic Piety
    Socratic Piety Socratic Piety "You were on the point of doing so, but you turned away. If you had given that answer, I should now have acquired from you sufficient knowledge of the nature of piety."(Euthyphro 14c) To understand why Socrates was tormenting Euthyphro throughout this dialogue and why he considers himself to be "the god\'s gift to you"(Apology 30e), it is necessary to first examine what Socrates himself believes the nature of piety is. Through a careful analysis of Socrates\' own wo
  • THE MENO
    THE MENO The Meno asks the question “what is virtue and can it be taught?”. Meno’s conversation with Socrates is an attempt to know exactly what virtue means and how it can be defined to come to the decision of whether or not it can in fact be taught to others. But as Meno finds, contrary to his original perceptions as an ethical relativist, he does not know what virtue is, and in his new state of ethical absolutism, cannot therefore teach Socrates what virtue is, for how can one teach what one
  • The Paradox of Definition
    The Paradox of Definition The Paradox of Definition Witness before the gates of night and day, Parmenides represents humanity\'s introduction to the eternal truth of definition - Is. The beast of mankind stumbles confusedly through an inescapable labyrinth of ignorance, arrogantly determined that the appearance of knowledge, bestowed upon him through traditional belief, is truth. "Know Thy Self" is the advice posted at the birthmark of creation, the naval of earth, Delphi - the truth of being. H
  • Socrates
    socrates Jordan Chasnoff November 21, 2000 CORE 101 Socrates’ Method of Argument and Theories of Knowledge The methods of argument used by Socrates in the works of Plato focused on true knowledge. This method, known as the Socratic method is unconventional in that it is not a means of argument through persuasion or opinion, it is, rather, a means of argument through question and challenge. The method is a consideration of knowledge as being inherent to the human soul rather than a study of how t
  • None Provided12
    None Provided12 The historical Thomas More, the author of Utopia, was an extraordinarily complicated man who tied up all the threads of his life in his heroic death. The Utopia is the sort of complicated book that we should expect from so complicated a man. It is heavy with irony, but then irony was the experience of life in the Sixteenth Century. Everywhere--in church, government, society, and even scholarship--profession and practice stood separated by an abyss. The great difficulty of irony
  • Can Plato adequately respond to Thrasymachuss Immo
    Can Plato adequately respond to Thrasymachuss Immoralist view of justice In Book 1 of the ‘Republic’, Socrates, in answer to the question ‘What is Justice?’ is presented with a real and dangerous alternative to what he thinks to be the truth about Justice. Julia Annas believes Thrasymachus thinks Justice and Injustice do have a real existence that is independent of human institutions; and that Thrasymachus makes a decided commitment to Injustice. She calls this view ‘Immoralism’: “the immoralis
  • Plato and The Republic
    Plato and The Republic Life Plato was born around the year 428 BCE into an established Athenian household with a history of political connections -- including distant relations to both Solon and Pisistratus. Plato\'s parents were Ariston and Perictone, his older brothers were Adeimantus and Glaucon, and his younger sister was Potone. In keeping with his family heritage, Plato was destined for the political life. But the Peloponnesian War, which began a couple of years before he was born and con
  • Plato2
    plato2 Plato c. 429-347BC Biography Works Papers Discussion lists Images Other Plato sites Biography Plato was born in Athens of an aristocratic family. He recounts in the Seventh Letter, which, if genuine, is part of his autobiography, that the spectacle of the politics of his day brought him to the conclusion that only philosophers could be fit to rule. After the death of Socrates in 399, he travelled extensively. During this period he made his first trip to Sicily, with whose internal politi
  • Plato2
    plato2 Plato c. 429-347BC Biography Works Papers Discussion lists Images Other Plato sites Biography Plato was born in Athens of an aristocratic family. He recounts in the Seventh Letter, which, if genuine, is part of his autobiography, that the spectacle of the politics of his day brought him to the conclusion that only philosophers could be fit to rule. After the death of Socrates in 399, he travelled extensively. During this period he made his first trip to Sicily, with whose internal politi
  • Platos REpublic
    Platos REpublic 360 BC THE REPUBLIC by Plato translated by Benjamin Jowett 360 B.C. THE INTRODUCTION THE Republic of Plato is the longest of his works with the exception of the Laws, and is certainly the greatest of them. There are nearer approaches to modern metaphysics in the Philebus and in the Sophist; the Politicus or Statesman is more ideal; the form and institutions of the State are more clearly drawn out in the Laws; as works of art, the Symposium and the Protagoras are of higher excell
  • Platos REpublic
    Platos REpublic 360 BC THE REPUBLIC by Plato translated by Benjamin Jowett 360 B.C. THE INTRODUCTION THE Republic of Plato is the longest of his works with the exception of the Laws, and is certainly the greatest of them. There are nearer approaches to modern metaphysics in the Philebus and in the Sophist; the Politicus or Statesman is more ideal; the form and institutions of the State are more clearly drawn out in the Laws; as works of art, the Symposium and the Protagoras are of higher excell
  • Socrates8
    Socrates8 The Life of Socrates Essay written by: j_hegarty I. Socrates The most interesting and influential thinker in the fifth century was Socrates, whose dedication to careful reasoning transformed the entire enterprise. Since he sought genuine knowledge rather than mere victory over an opponent, He familiarized himself with the rhetoric and dialectics of the Sophists, the speculations of the Lonian philosophers, and the general culture of Periclean Athens. Socrates employed the same logical
  • The Happy Life
    The Happy Life Nina Monroe 16 April 2002 Philosophy: Ethics 6. What arguments are offered by Plato and Aristotle that the just life is happier that the unjust one? Do you find these convincing? Why or why not? The Happy Life So dont merely give us a theoretical argument that justice is stronger than injustice, but tell us what each itself does, because of its own powers, to someone who possesses it, and that makes injustice bad and justice good.1 In this quote from Platos Republic, Adeimant
  • The Republiic
    The Republiic Life Plato was born around the year 428 BCE into an established Athenian household with a history of political connections -- including distant relations to both Solon and Pisistratus. Plato\'s parents were Ariston and Perictone, his older brothers were Adeimantus and Glaucon, and his younger sister was Potone. In keeping with his family heritage, Plato was destined for the political life. But the Peloponnesian War, which began a couple of years before he was born and continued un
  • Platos socrate
    platos socrate Socrates and Properties By Characterizing himself -Socrates- as both ignorant and wise, he presents us with one of the most striking paradoxes. Like so many of the other philosophers, is provocative in that its apparent self-contradiction hides an important idea for us readers to discover. Though out this text Socrates ignorance results from his belief that he has no knowledge of moral idea, or moral properties, such as justice, virtue, piety, and beauty. He asserts that, if only
  • Socrates
    Socrates THE LIFE AND DEATH OF SOCRATES Philosophy was both serious and dangerous, Socrates chose to ignore both. Ignoring the first made him one of the most engaging of all philosophers, ignoring the second was to cost him his life. He was born in a middle class home in Athens, in 470 BCE. His parents were Phaenarete and Sophroniscus. His mother had a reputation for her patient and intuitive skill in delivering babies in and around the neighborhood. The latter, his father was a craftsman, stone
  • A life sketch of Plato and his works
    A life sketch of Plato and his works If Thales was the first of all the great Greek philosophers, Plato must remain the best known of all the Greeks. The original name of this Athenian aristocrat was Aristiclis, but in his school days he received the nickname Platon (meaning broad ) because of his broad shoulders. Plato was born in Athens, Greece to one of the oldest and most distinguished families in the city. He lived with his mother, Perictione, and his father, Ariston (Until Ariston died.) B
  • Socrates
    Socrates THE LIFE AND DEATH OF SOCRATES Philosophy was both serious and dangerous, Socrates chose to ignore both. Ignoring the first made him one of the most engaging of all philosophers, ignoring the second was to cost him his life. He was born in a middle class home in Athens, in 470 BCE. His parents were Phaenarete and Sophroniscus. His mother had a reputation for her patient and intuitive skill in delivering babies in and around the neighborhood. The latter, his father was a craftsman, stone
  • The Inherent Ignorance In Yout
    The Inherent Ignorance In Yout For over two thousand years, Socratic dialogues have had a deep effect on the progression of society. A key example of an effective Socratic dialogue is that of Plato\'s Euthyphro. Socrates demonstrates, among other things, the extent to which in our youth we are the most ignorant. In addition, he utilizes his conversation with Euthyphro to accomplish certain things that directly benefit only him. He uses this conversation to show that he is truly not as wise as ev
  • Socrates
    socrates Socrates Paper The duty between a citizen and the law and vice versa has been a challenging question that many individuals have been trying to answer for centuries. Throughout history many philosophers, historians, writers etc. have tried and to some extent in their best opinion come up with an answer. Plato, who through Socratic dialogues of the human soul provides a window for understanding the nature of the state, made one such attempt. In his famous dialogue, the Apology, which is a
  • Meno
    Meno There is not a great deal of context that is crucial to understanding the essential themes of the Meno, largely because the dialogue sits nearly at the beginning of western philosophy. Socrates and Plato are working not so much in the context of previous philosophies as in the context of the lack of them. Further, this is very probably one of Plato\'s earliest surviving dialogues, set in about 402 BCE (by extension, we might presume that it represents Socrates at a relatively early stage in
  • Goal
    goal The Goal in 885 Words Here are the principles behind the dramatic turnaround story in The Goal, in 885 words. Ready? Start counting now: The goal of a manufacturing organization is to make money. Jonah poses this as a question: What is the goal? and Rogo actually struggles with it for a day or two, but any manager or executive that can\'t answer that question without hesitation should be fired without hesitation. But then again, the goal isn\'t clear to everyone. One of the characters in th
  • Outline of socrates
    outline of socrates Socrates: 1. Sophists professional teachers... Socrates was the greatest of them all (469-399 B.C.E.) 2. Followed the Sophists\' lead in turning away from the study of the cosmos and concentrating on the case of the human. Unlike the way the Sophists discoursed about the human being, he wanted to base all argumentation on objectively valid definitions. 3. Socrates\' discourse moved in two directions A. Outward - to objective definitions B. Inward - to discover the inner perso
  • Nina Monroe
    Nina Monroe Nina Monroe 16 April 2002 Philosophy: Ethics 6. What arguments are offered by Plato and Aristotle that the just life is happier that the unjust one? Do you find these convincing? Why or why not? The Happy Life "So don\'t merely give us a theoretical argument that justice is stronger than injustice, but tell us what each itself does, because of its own powers, to someone who possesses it, and that makes injustice bad and justice good".1 In this quote from Plato\'s Republic, Adeimantus
  • The Life Of Socrates
    The Life Of Socrates I. Socrates The most interesting and influential thinker in the fifth century was Socrates, whose dedication to careful reasoning transformed the entire enterprise. Since he sought genuine knowledge rather than mere victory over an opponent, He familiarized himself with the rhetoric and dialectics of the Sophists, the speculations of the Lonian philosophers, and the general culture of Periclean Athens. Socrates employed the same logical tricks developed by the Sophists to a
  • Socrates
    Socrates THE LIFE AND DEATH OF SOCRATES Philosophy was both serious and dangerous, Socrates chose to ignore both. Ignoring the first made him one of the most engaging of all philosophers, ignoring the second was to cost him his life. He was born in a middle class home in Athens, in 470 BCE. His parents were Phaenarete and Sophroniscus. His mother had a reputation for her patient and intuitive skill in delivering babies in and around the neighborhood. The latter, his father was a craftsman, stone
  • Strategic Importance of Knowledge Management
    Strategic Importance of Knowledge Management Abstract Today the world has more and more of free flow of information leading to transfer of knowledge from a person or an organization to others. Whereas this invariably leads to faster development, it also impacts the competitive advantage held by the innovators of processes or technology. It has therefore become strategically important for one and all in business to understand the knowledge, processes and controls to effectively manage the system
  • Eric Satie's Socrate
    Eric Satie\'s Socrate Introduction Erik Satie began work on Socrate in 1918. Having been absorbing the scandal of Parade and becoming quite popular in the Salons of the high-society of Paris, he started planning new works. Perhaps Debussy\'s death in the spring of that year was the final liberation he needed in order to be able to express himself seriously, for sarcasm is frequently a mask for over-sensitiveness and insecurity. But that spring finally brought Satie great joy. He was invited ever
  • The Life of Socrates
    The Life of Socrates I. Socrates The most interesting and influential thinker in the fifth century was Socrates, whose dedication to careful reasoning transformed the entire enterprise. Since he sought genuine knowledge rather than mere victory over an opponent, He familiarized himself with the rhetoric and dialectics of the Sophists, the speculations of the Lonian philosophers, and the general culture of Periclean Athens. Socrates employed the same logical tricks developed by the Sophists to a