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Back to Unedited Philosophy Quotes and Ramblings about Intequinism.

PLATO, 1989, Edited by Sir Kenneth Dover. Symposium. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, c1980. - A


PLATO, 1951, Translated by Walter Hamilton, c1951. The Symposium. London, England: Penguin. - B


Reader: Mr MD Pienaar


28 December 2011


A - Page 6




“ In life we encounter many things, people and events. Each of these 'particulars' is limited in time and space: it comes into being, it exists here or there, it changes, it ceases to be. Since we do not encounter anything which is wholly unlike everything else [own italics], we can form and use 'universal' concepts, generalising, exemplifying, defining, deducing and predicting. In the light of experience, and in accordance with our needs in trying to understand and affect our environment, we correct our generalisations, modify our definitions, replace our axioms. To many people this situation is wholly acceptable. Others, of whom Plato was one, believe that there is something more, something which 'really exists', unchanging, independent of our indefinitely adjustable generalisations and pragmatic definitions. Whether this believe happens to be right, happens to be wrong, or is [s printer higher than the i] insufficiently meaningful to be called either, it is at any rate not dictated by reasoned reflection on experience [own italics]; it is engendered by a kind of craving, which may itself be an operation of divine grace, a psychopathological symptom, the product of an intellectual failure to disentangle words from things, or an element of good or bad luck in the temperament which heredity and experience combine to produce in the individual. Whatever it is, Plato yielded to it, but not to it alone; a second craving made him a philosopher (rather than the kind of visionary who claims portentously to understand the 'meaning of life'), for he believed that the human soul is able to attain firm and certain knowledge of real unchanging entities (εϊδη, ίδέαι 'ideas' or 'forms') by systematic and communicable reasoning. This knowledge is έπιστημη; propositions founded upon experience, and therefore ultimately on sensory perceptions, are δοξαι 'opinions'. The eye can perceive an object of the kind we call 'beautiful', but the idea of beauty – 'Beauty', 'the beautiful' (το καλόν), 'the beautiful (by) itself (αύτό τό καλόν) is perceived only by 'the eye of the soul' (cf. 211e-212a). Plato freely uses generalisations [causal induction?] based upon sensory experience (e.g. 207ab) in corroborations or refutation of hypotheses about the ideas, and how particulars, perceptible by our senses and having dimensions in time and space, reflect or 'participate in' the ideas is never explained; indeed, in Phaedo 100d Plato makes his ignorance of the mechanism explicit. “


B - Page 13


“ Even Plato, who in the Republic proposes that men and women shall receive exactly the same education and be equally capable of discharging all the duties of a citizen, at the same time expressly prohibits for the men and women of his ruling class anything beyond temporary sexual relations for the purpose of breeding. It is true that both there and in the Laws he forbids also sexual intercourse between men, and condemns it as being unnatural, but this is probably due more to a puritanical aversion from the physical aspect of sex in any form than to a disapproval of homosexuality as such, and he certainly seems to have held that a homosexual relationship is alone capable of being transformed into a lifelong partnership, and that homosexual love, like heterosexual love with us, has a range which extends from the crudest physical passion to a marriage of noble minds with no physical manifestation at all. “




It does not make sense to me to say Plato thought that homosexuality is the only manner to have a lifelong partnership and that he forbids it. It could be argued that Plato thought then that lifelong partnership is not acceptable or he changed his opinion during his lifetime.


B - Page 20


“ . . , just as a man who has true opinions without being able to give a rational account of them is half-way between wisdom and ignorance. This comparison is of supreme importance for the understanding of the dialogue. It presupposes the whole of Plato's Theory of Ideas and Forms, which, reduced to its barest elements, is that the manifold and ever-changing phenomena of the world of sense are imitations or copies of eternal and absolute Forms, which alone have true reality, and to 'participation' in which the sensible world owes such partial reality as it possesses. The impulse to this theory was originally given by the search of the historical Socrates for universal definitions of moral concepts, but the mature system goes far beyond anything that Socrates can be supposed to have contemplated; apparently for almost every class of things, whether material or abstract, which can be embraced under a common name, there exists a Form in the eternal world. “




Beauty played an important role in Plato's theory of Forms. The essence of something of a class (“ material or abstract ”) it seems to me is the Form that Plato wrote about. It seems it is the essence of a adjective sometimes. At the moment Forms means to me that there is a most beautiful form for a class for example horses. The Aus horses in Namibia originated from different breeds but with natural selection they are currently about 80% Arab. An Arab horse has the most beautiful form of all horses I have seen and it seems that Plato's or rather Socrates' theory is proven right because, the reality of the Aus horses' procreation over a lengthy period, confirmed my view of beauty. The Arab, most beautiful, horse genes, have with natural selection, under harsh desert conditions, replaced the impact humans had on the horse breeds, by replacing the most beautiful horse genes back to a majority of the genes, of each individual horse at Aus. When the horses settled at Aus, possibly there were horses who had less than 80% Arab genes.


29 December 2011


B – Page 42


“ Hesiod tells us that Chaos first came into existence,


'but next Broad-breasted Earth, on whose foundation firm Creation stands, and Love.'


Acusiles (5) agrees with Hesiod in saying that after Chaos these two, Earth and Love, came into being. And Parmenides in speaking of creation says


'First among all the gods she invented Love.' “ (6)


(5) “ Acusilaus of Argos was the author of a prose work called Genealogies on the origins of gods and men, which covered much the same ground as Hesiod's Theogony. “

(6) “ Parmenides (early 5th century B.C.), in obedience to what he believed to be strict logic, rejected the possibility of all plurality and change, and the line which is here quoted belongs to the fragmentary second part of his poem, in which he appears, in spite of his convictions, to have constructed a cosmogony of more or less traditional type. The context of the line is unknown. “


B – Page 43


“ If then one could contrive that a state or an army should entirely consist of lovers and loved, (7) it would be impossible for it to have a better organization than that which it would then enjoy through their avoidance of all dishonour and their mutual emulation; moreover, a handful of such men, fighting side by side, would defeat practically the whole world. ”




“ lovers and loved ” means older and younger homosexual men whereby the older have benefit of sexual “favours” and the younger men benefit of knowledge to be learned from the older men. “ Avoidance of all dishonour ” is the opposite of pride as a deadly sin in Roman Catholisism.


(7) “ It is possible that there is an illusion here to the famous Sacred Band of Thebes, which has organized on this principle. It is first heard of under Epaminondas at Leuctra in 371 B.C., but may have been in existence somewhat before that date.




Theuth and Ammon (Amen?) was also from Thebes. See notes about Phaedrus of Plato. Is there a relation between the name Theuth and the description in Greek for gods, theos. It sounds almost the same. See notes about  The Band of Thebes.


31 December 2011




The partygoers give speeches about what love is.


Agathon's says in his speech love is beauty. Socrates then says that they agree that love is a want of something and that the something is beauty and that therefor love cannot be beauty because how can beauty want beauty. Only something that is not beautiful will want beauty. Because love is not beauty it must be ugly. Socrates then tells what Diotima taught him about love. She said that if something is not beautiful it does not mean it is ugly. There is something between beautiful and ugly and that is where love is. Diotima then goes on and explains about love and procreation. She then explains another love of something more that beauty. A something that is constant, an idea, which is wider than beauty, which includes all things for example institutions. Love is used as a noun and a verb. Love loves something and Love is a god.


The last speech is a speech which praises Socrates and blames him partly because he does not partake in homosexuality. Socrates is not affected by alcohol when he drinks much of it.




It seems that at the time love was something they were trying to explain. Everyone had different opinions. I read somewhere that Greek philosophy influenced the young people in Israel at the time of Jesus and that the old Israelites did not like it. The word used for love in the New Testament was Greek and The Symposium was written in Greek. In the New Testament love is used as a verb. The definition of love is still something which is not defined constantly. According to my own experience resistance against alcohol depends on how used a body is to it. It works the same as cigarettes. The more one use it, the smaller effect it has per unit.