Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book
Rate this book
"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

144 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 371

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author


4,400 books6,813 followers
427 BC-347 BC

The Republic , the best known of these many dialogues with Socrates, mentor, as the central character, expounds idealism of noted Greek philosopher Plato and describes a hypothetical utopian state that thinkers rule; he taught and wrote for much his life at the Academy, which he founded near Athens around 386 BC. Platonism, the philosophy of Plato, especially asserts the phenomena of the world as an imperfect and transitory reflection of ideal forms, an absolute and eternal reality.

Aristotle began as a pupil of Plato. Plotinus and his successors at Alexandria in the 3rd century developed Neoplatonism, a philosophical system, based on Platonism with elements of mysticism and some Judaic and Christian concepts. Philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinascombined Neoplatonism with the doctrines of Aristotle within a context of Christian thought.

This classical mathematician and student started the first institution of higher learning in the western world. Alongside his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the western science.

Plato of the most important western exerted influence on virtually every figure and authored the first comprehensive work on politics. Plato also contributed to ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology. Aristotle, his extremely influential student, also tutored Alexander the Great of Macedonia.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
3,207 (34%)
4 stars
3,191 (34%)
3 stars
2,196 (23%)
2 stars
537 (5%)
1 star
117 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 512 reviews
Profile Image for Riku Sayuj.
653 reviews7,023 followers
March 6, 2015

“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


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.”
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 29 books13.7k followers
July 22, 2014
[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.


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.


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.
Profile Image for Yann.
1,407 reviews334 followers
May 3, 2016

Ce texte a été écrit par Platon il y a vingt-cinq siècles. C'est un dialogue, sans doute imaginaire, entre Socrate, qui fut l'un de ses maîtres dans sa jeunesse, et qu'il fait largement intervenir dans ses œuvres, et Phèdre, un jeune homme de la noblesse Athénienne qui le fréquente. Le prétexte de cette causerie, c'est une promenade en dehors de la ville, où Phèdre entraine Socrate après l'avoir appâté par son enthousiasme à l'idée de lui faire entendre un discours qui l'a enchanté. Ce discours, composé par Lysias, est la plaidoirie d'un homme à celui dont il voudrait être l'éraste, pour en faire son éromène, pour la raison plutôt paradoxale que n'étant pas amoureux de lui, il se conduira mieux que s'il l'était, et que la chose tournera à leur avantage réciproque s'il se montre complaisant. Socrate reçoit ce discours assez froidement, et ne partage pas les transports de Phèdre. Mais pressé par ce dernier il accepte de traiter le sujet à son tour. Par contre, il se borne à traiter des écarts de conduite de celui sous l'emprise d'un amour débridé, et se garde bien de faire l'éloge de celui qui n'aime point.

Alors qu'il s'apprête à quitter le lieu, Socrate feint ou non de ressentir l'appel de son "démon", qui lui indique qu'il a commis une faute envers la divinité par son discours impie, et qu'il ne pourra expier que par une palinodie. D'abord, Phèdre n'aurait-il pas honte de tenir un discours pareil à deux amoureux honnêtes ? Ne le jugeraient il pas très défavorablement ? Socrate reprend donc son discours, non plus d'un point de vue purement logique, mais en faisant appel à un mythe pour faire sentir de manière plus complète la nature de l'amour comme l'un des états de l'âme où elle est, hors de son état normal, sous l'emprise d'une passion érotique - comme l'inspiration mantique ou poétique - qui peut être décomposée en plusieurs parties: D'une part un désir qui prend sa source dans une douleur, un manque, et qui est donc considéré comme aliénant et avilissant. D'autre part, un désir plus pur qui ne provient d'aucun manque, mais simplement du plaisir de contempler la beauté et la bonté (deux notions presque indissociables pour les grecs). Ces deux désirs de nature différente sont représentés dans le mythes par des chevaux dont un cocher essaie tant bien que mal de discipliner l'élan et la fougue. Mais d'où vient que l'âme puisse "inconsciemment" reconnaître la beauté et la bonté, alors que "consciemment", la chose semble bien difficile?

Socrate lève cette difficulté en supposant la métempsychose, l'âme ayant été antérieurement à la naissance amenée à suivre au delà des cieux le cortège circulaire des étoiles, suivant l'un des douze dieux (l'une des constellation), s'étant imprégné du dieu correspondant (cf l'astrologie), et ayant contemplé la perfection incarnée par Zeus, qui préside au centre de l'univers ( univers = une chose qui tourne en latin). Ce dernier discours enthousiasme Lysias, qui revient complètement du plaisir que lui avait causé celui de Lysias. Il a l'avantage de ne pas infirmer la part de vérité du discours précédent, mais en le complétant, de le corriger des fausses conséquences qu'il insinuait. Sur la forme, il est certes très joli, mais quel crédit un lecteur moderne peut-il lui accorder, surtout avec toutes ces fables extravagantes ? Et surtout, qu'en pensent réellement Socrate et Platon ?

A mon avis, la réponse à cette question se trouve dans un échange préalable ayant lieu entre Socrate et Phèdre, alors qu'ils cherchent encore un endroit pour s'installer confortablement dans la nature. Comme ils sont près d'un ruisseau qui coule près de la ville, ils en viennent à évoquer une légende relative à l'enlèvement de la nymphe Orithe par Borée. Or Phèdre, en faisant allusion aux interprétations physique du mythe, demande à Socrate s'il y croit, ce à quoi il répond de manière nette que son problème n'est pas tant de démêler la vérité sur une question douteuse de cette nature, mais bien plutôt de viser à sa propre édification morale:

σκοπῶ οὐ ταῦτα ἀλλ΄ἐμαυτόν
Ce ne sont pas ces fables que j'examine, c'est moi-même.

Pour les explications, il lui suffit donc de prendre celle qui est communément acceptée. Si le mythe est ce qui plaira le plus au grand nombre, alors c'est une forme adéquate, mais il ne méprise pas pour autant les interprétations plus rationnelles. C'est une manière de subordonner et la physique et la métaphysique, à la question morale et éthique. A mon avis, ce choix avisé vient d'une volonté de ne pas diviser sur une question aussi difficile et clivante que la nature de l'âme, et donc de prendre une forme neutre - celle du mythe - qui puisse être acceptée par tous, lorsqu'il s'agit de traiter d'une question morale. Les fables d’Ésope ne sont elles pas elles aussi, des vecteurs d'édification estimés ? Une autre raison qui me pousse à cette interprétation, c'est le discours de Socrate rapporté par Xénophon au jeune sceptique, auquel il explique qu'il est honteux de faire appel aux dieux pour les questions que la logique peut résoudre, mais non pas pour ceux où elle est inopérante (il s'agissait de mantique).

Mais comment donner son assentiment à la signification morale de tel ou tel mythe ? Car c'est là, finalement, la question. Il n'y a, à mon avis, pas d'autre moyen que de rentrer dans soi-même, et puiser dans sa propre expérience la manière dont le mythe s'accorde ou non avec la vie intérieure. C'est-ce qu'il me semble, dans ce sens qu'il faut interpréter la suite du récit, en particulier le mythe égyptien de Teuth.

Le dieu Toth

Le revirement causé par ce discours est en effet l'occasion de rebondir sur le cas plus général de la manière d'employer les discours, que ce soit pour enseigner la vérité, ou pour persuader. De la même manière que pour l'amour, toute question peut être traitée de manière complète ou partielle ( et donc partiale). Socrate nous donne un critère pour identifier les discours philosophiques, cherchant la vérité plutôt que la simple persuasion, qui n'est finalement pas très loin de la méthode de Descartes(*): il s'agit, lorsqu'on traite une question de poser des définitions, de procéder par une analyse à une décomposition en éléments plus simple, et enfin de vérifier par une synthèse qu'on a bien épuisé la question dans son ensemble. A la fin, chaque élément doit être à sa place, en harmonie (qui en grec, signifie ajustement). Et surtout, le plus important, chacun des point doit être divisé jusqu'au point de nous paraître évidemment vraie, comme si nous la savions déjà. Pour les discours visant à convaincre, l'important n'est donc pas tant de lister toutes les ficelles dont l'usage a montré l'efficacité que de savoir devant qui, dans quelles circonstances et dans quel but il faut les employer: omettre ces points, ce n'est pas traiter la question à fond.

Finalement, le texte finit par la prière que Socrate fait à Phèdre de prévenir Lysias qu'il ne mérite pas le nom de sage, tandis qu'il fait un éloge d'Isocrates. Le choix de ces deux personnages n'a pour moi rien d'anodin, et comporte une signification politique. Lysias était un avocat, versé à fond dans la rhétorique, et les quelques textes qui nous sont parvenus nous font voir l'habileté de ses plaidoiries, ainsi que son engagement à défendre les démocrates suite aux abus de la tyrannie des trente, malgré les promesses de paix. Au contraire, Isocrate avait des sentiments aristocratiques, et a plutôt écrit des exhortations morales, des lettres édifiantes à des princes et des tyrans, et a toute sa vie travaillé au "grand dessein": la fin des luttes intestines qui divisaient la Grèce, et l'unité contre les barbares. Platon laisse ici éclater de manière transparente ses opinions politiques, en fustigeant une démocratie abimée par la démagogie, et en louant les dirigeants ayant avant tout le souci de l'éthique et de la morale. Un regret quand même, c'est que les anciens n'aient pas pu ou voulu envisager la question de l'éducation.

L'interprétation du texte est difficile, comme en témoigne la masse des écrits sur le sujet, parfois divergeant, et dont la fin de l'ouvrage brosse un synoptique. Je n'ai aucune prétention sur le fait que la mienne l'emporte particulièrement sur les autres. Elle est en grande partie influencée par la lecture de Plutarque. Il existe des écrits antiques spécifiquement dédiés à l'étude du Phèdre, comme les notes par Hermias d'Alexandrie lors des cours de Syrianus. Cet ouvrage est malheureusement introuvable en français. Il y a aussi les Ennéades de Plotin, mais depuis qu'on m'a dit qu'il était plus froid qu'Aristote, j'hésite à entamer leur lecture.

(*) La Méthode de Descartes en quatre points:
- ne recevoir jamais aucune chose pour vraie que je ne la connusse évidemment être telle : c'est-à-dire d'éviter soigneusement la précipitation et la prévention ; et de ne comprendre rien de plus en mes jugements, que ce qui se présenterait si clairement et si distinctement que je n'eusse aucune occasion de la mettre en doute.
-diviser chacune des difficultés que j'examinerai en autant de parcelles qu'il se pourra et qu'il sera requis pour mieux les résoudre.
-conduire par ordre mes pensées en commençant par les objets les plus simples et les plus aisés à connaître, pour monter peu à peu comme par degrés jusqu'à la connaissance des plus composés. Et supposant même de l'ordre entre ceux qui ne se précèdent point naturellement les uns des autres.
-faire partout des dénombrements si entiers, et des revues si générales que je fusse assuré de ne rien omettre.

On dirait furieusement celle de Socrate dans le Phèdre...!
Profile Image for Ian "Marvin" Graye.
861 reviews2,189 followers
September 2, 2013
A Twist in Your Toga

As they say in the classics, I’m glad I reviewed "The Symposium" before "Phaedrus".


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 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...


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?


Frankie Goes to Hollywood - "The Power of Love" [Extended Version]


Frankie Goes to Hollywood - "The Power of Love" [Official Version]


ABC - "All of My Heart" [From the album "The Lexicon of Love"]


ABC - "The Look of Love" [From "The Lexicon of Love"]


Nick Cave - "Babe, You Turn Me On" [Live at the Brixton Academy London, 2004]


Nick Cave - "Nobody's Baby Now"


"...these are my many letters
Torn to pieces by her long-fingered hands."
Profile Image for Steve.
442 reviews478 followers
October 8, 2013
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


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.
Profile Image for فؤاد.
72 reviews17 followers
April 25, 2023
دعك من مفهوم الحب عند أفلاطون، لقد لخّصه الرجل في كلمة واحدة هي الإلهام
حينما تجد في نفسك ذاك الفيض الإيجابي الذي يلمس الأشياء فيضيف إليها معنى
ولتكن الأشياء هي الكلمات التي نصافح بها قلوب الآخرين وعقولهم
دعك من هذا المفهوم الذي يمكن لفيلسوف مثل أفلاطون أن يعبر عنه بعبارات يسيرة،
ولتكن رؤيتك متوجهة إلى الشكل
الأستاذ سقراط وصاحبه فايدروس الذي يتعلّم منه مثلما يتعلم من الآخرين يسيران إلى النهر
يتحدثان عن آخر ما ظهر في أيامهما من أفكار
هاهو ذا لوسياس ينتقد المفهوم السائ�� للحب ويعارضه بأسلوب جدلي
ويبدأ التلميذ في تحفيز أستاذه ليرد على لوسياس،
ويتصاعد الجدل من التأييد التام إلى دحض فكرة لوسياس عن لا جدوى الحب
ويعرض سقراط فكرته
ثم يضع تصوّره لبلاغة العرض التي لابد أن تتوافر للكاتب كي تتجلى أفكاره بوضوح
هذا النص الدرامي الذي أنطق فيه أفلاطون أستاذه سقراط ليستمر الحوار بصدد المفاهيم التي تمنح الإنسان طاقة الإبداع
يمكن النظر إليه بوصفه رواية حوارية، أو فلنقل مسرواية كما كان توفيق الحكيم يقول
أي ذاك الشكل الذي يجمع السرد والحوار معا
إن السرد هنا ضمني، داخل الحوار، ينطق به سقراط حينا وينطق به فايدروس حينا
والحوار يمضي منطلقا في صياغة السرديات الفلسفية التي لم تمنح البشر طاقات تجدد إدراكهم فقط بل منحتهم طرائق للتعبير
ستظل تلهم الإنسانية، فالفلسفة هي محبة الحكمة، أي الرافد المدادي الذهني
الذي يروي مناطق إبداعية في نفوس البشر
والفيلسوف ملهم لأنه محب للحكمة
مثلما هو محب للناس
ومحب لفنون البيان
التي يتجلى فيها جمال إعمال العقل الإنساني
Profile Image for John Hatley.
1,182 reviews195 followers
January 31, 2023
When Phaedrus recites to Socrates a speech by Lysias on the topic of love, the two enter into a dialogue in which Socrates makes a speech of his own on the topic and they expand the conversation to include a discussion of rhetoric and the value of knowing the truth.
Plato, student of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle, enjoys a unique place in literature and philosophy.
Profile Image for StefanP.
163 reviews75 followers
August 25, 2019

Ono bezbojno i bezoblično biće, koje stvarno postoji, može da ugleda samo kormilar duše, a to je um.

Fedar ili o ljepoti je svojevrstan nastavak Gozbe. Ovdje Platon malo diskutabilnije i podrobnije sagledava ljubav. Unosi određene prepreke prisutne kod ljubavnika. Naime, kod Platona ljubavnik nastoji da ima nadmoćnost nad ljubljenikom. Da bi to postigao on najviše želi da mu je ljubljenik lišen najdraže imovine. Pa s toga i da se ljubljenik liši najmilijih, oca, majke i srodnih mu prijatelja. Jer ako ljubljenik ima ovu imovinu, to za ljubavnika predstavlja saobraćajnu smetnju da dopre do njega to jest da ga ima samo za sebe. Ljubavnik nastoji da se što duže sladi požudom, i da on ljubljeniku predstavlja sve, da mu je on ta najdraža imovina. Platon se ovdje dotiče duše i objašnjava njenu pojavu. Kako je duša nerođena i besmrtna te nema početak i kraj, tako ona prebiva u vasioni i teži da se učauri u svemu onome što nema dušu, za neko čvrsto tijelo. I taj spoj tijela i duše mi zovemo živo biće. Sporedno se zove smrtno, a besmrtno se naziva jer time zamišljamo boga, kao besmrtno biće, čije je tijelo i duša zajedno sraslo, za vječna vremena. Sve to zajedno čini ljepotu.
Profile Image for Homo Sentimentalis.
56 reviews49 followers
May 3, 2020
"Fedar" je filozofsko i umjetničko remek-djelo. Oduvijek mi je to bio Platonov omiljeni dijalog, a primjećujem da mi se sa svakim novim čitanjem čini sve bolji i bolji, baš kao i Platon u cjelini.
Dijalog prvo kudi, zatim slavi boga Erosa, a paralelno sa tim tumači besjedničku vještinu. Meni se više dopao prvi dio napisan u velikom nadahnuću, posebno slikoviti prikaz ljudske duše kroz alegoriju sa kočijama. (jedan od najtoplijih filozofskih odlomaka!) Tu se Platon obilato služio mitologijom genijalno prikazavši stepenasto uzdizanje duše - od tjelesne žudnje, preko prijateljstva i istinske ljubavi, do ideje o praljepoti. Slično je to uspinjanje prikazano i u "Gozbi", samo što je ovdje u smislu umjetničke izražajnosti na mene ostavilo jači utisak.
U drugom dijelu se "Plećati" od bogom nadahnutog umjetnika transformiše u hladnog teoretičara. Tu on pravi oštru distinkciju između retorike kao tehničke i manipulatorske vještine, i dijalektike, jedine istinske filozofije. U skladu sa tim se daje prednost živoj riječi u odnosu na pisanu. Iako nisam pobornik sofističke retorike, ipak sam više na strani filozofiranja čekićem, tako da mi je drugi dio dijaloga malo pokvario utisak. Ipak, moram dati petaka zbog kočija!
Sve pohvale neprevaziđenom Đuriću na vrhunskim prevodima i opširnim napomenama. Ovih šest dijaloga u Deretinom izdanju su mi baš prirasli srcu, šteta samo što se, kao i većina Deretinih knjiga, brzo počinju raspadati.
Profile Image for blondie.
236 reviews
February 28, 2018
Ο Πλάτων σκιαγραφεί μια κλίμακα ερωτικής ανάβασης που διαδοχικά καλύπτει την έλξη προς ένα ωραίο σώμα, την έλξη προς τις ωραίες ψυχές, την έλξη προς τις ωραίες δημιουργίες και μαθήσεις, για να καταλήξει στην αποκάλυψη ότι το πραγματικό κίνητρο του έρωτα είναι η ταύτισή του με το ιδεατό ωραίο, με την ιδέα της ωραιότητας. Ο Πλατωνικός έρωτας δεν είναι ένας έρωτας ανεκπλήρωτος. Είναι ο έρωτας στην πλήρη μορφή του. Εκεί που οι ερωτευμένοι μετά τη σωματική έλξη και την ψυχική ένωση καταλήγουν σε κάτι ανώτερο.

Στο δεύτερο μέρος αναλύουν τη ρητορική και την αισθητική του λόγου. Με το μύθο που παραθέτει καταλήγει ότι τα γραπτά είναι ένα εργαλείο που βοηθά τη μνήμη . Στον αντίποδα ο προφορικός λόγος χαρακτηρίζεται έμψυχος γιατί στηρίζεται στη βαθύτερη επικοινωνία δύο ψυχών. Κυρίαρχη είναι η αξία που δίνεται στη διαπροσωπική επαφή, την οποία κανένα γραπτό κείμενο δεν θα μπορούσε να υ��οκαταστήσει.

#readathon18 8/13 Ένα βιβλίο με όνομα στον τίτλο
Άνδρες/Γυναίκες 5/3
Profile Image for Ahmed Oraby.
942 reviews3,312 followers
December 3, 2017
قرأتها في مكتبة الجامعة. محاورة سيئة إلى حد كبير، وإن كنت متفق مع جزئية كون المحب غير مالك زمام عقله، وأن اللا - محب يكون أكثر قبولًا. لكن المشكلة أن اللا- محب يعيش حياته في الغالب مثل جماد. ليس هذا هو الحل بالتأكيد. لم لا يوجد حبًا عقلانيًا؟ كالحب ال��ي اقترحه فروم مثلًا؟
يصور أفلاطون الحب أنه قوة تتنازعها سلطتين، العقل واللذة، أو حسب مجازه: عربة يجرها حصانين، وإن زادت سلطة أحدهم على الآخر تنقلب العربة، وبأن الحب علاقة يحكمها الكون والفساد أو مبدأ الحب والكره الذي لا أذكر من قال به. عموما هي محاورة سيئة ويغلب عليها التشتت وعدم الوضوح والتطرف الشديد.

مثال حب الغلمان كان مجرد مثل، لا كما فهمت مسبقًا من كتب التاريخ والفلسفة والجمال
Profile Image for Trevor.
1,294 reviews21.7k followers
May 26, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Peter.
Author 6 books22 followers
February 6, 2013
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.
Profile Image for saïd.
6,190 reviews725 followers
April 7, 2023
Homer doesn’t actually have much to say on the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus, apart from the fact that they are very close. Later, but still ancient, Greek scholars speculated on the exact nature of the relationship, with opinions ranging from Xenophon’s (brothers in arms) to Aeschylus’s (lovers). And Plato, who takes a hardline stance: they were lovers, sexually and romantically.

Plato’s Φαίδρος is a dialogue between Socrates and the eponymous Phaidros (a wealthy and handsome young Athenian), as much concerned with the structure and formatting of a proper speech as it is with the putative topic of homoerotic love. Plato, through the mouthpiece of Socrates, says that a proper speech should be “put together like a living creature, with its own proper body, so that it lacks neither a head nor feet” (i.e., an abstract and a conclusion). Amidst the discussion of love etc., Plato also has his characters debate the merits of dialectic and rhetorical speeches, and the superiority of spoken word over the written. (Waterfield notes, dryly, in the introduction that Plato immortalised his argument against the written word via writing it down—although he did present it through the format of dialogue, essentially the closest possible comparison to speech.) The actual action taking place during the dialogue, which is composed of three speeches, is deceptively simple: the two men go for a walk, then rest in the shade of a tree. The three speeches improve upon one another, with the first’s being spoken by Phaidros, quoting a different speech by Lysias; the second’s being spoken by Socrates with the intention of correcting and improving Lysias’s/Phaidros’s speech on a logical and structural basis; and the third’s being spoken as well by Socrates, continuing with his critique of the first speech, but this time challenging the premise of the original.

Phaidros’s argument, quoting from Lysias, is that a level-headed and practical lover is preferable to one “mad with love.” The first speech in response by Socrates, which does not attempt to refute this premise, is merely feedback on the speech itself, not its message; the second of Socrates’s speeches, a palinodic rebuttal of Phaidros’s premise, presents the argument that a passion similar to madness is necessary for love to reach its full potential. The focus on homosocial or homosexual relationships is understandable, given the context, which Waterfield himself explains further: Athenian women at the time were shunted into two categories, either given the purpose of providing children or given the purpose of providing sexual fulfillment, meaning that a heterosexual relationship could never be considered on the same “educational” level that a partnership between two men could provide. The ideal relationship, as described by Plato (via Socrates), is didactic, playing into the established roles of pederastic relationships and power dynamics; this is, at its core, deeply misogynistic both for the implication that women have nothing of value to teach men and that for men to teach women would be ineffectual. This misogynistic viewpoint was a large part of the driving force behind ancient Greek homosexual relationships between men, and is inextricable from the supposed “acceptance” of actual homosexuality in that society. Of course, things were not universally negative—in his Symposium, Plato similarly discusses the topics of love, sex, romance, gender, and dynamics between all sorts of relationships, taking a bizarre but ultimately positive stance on relationships of all types. Within the context of this particular text, Plato has Socrates speak to the concept of a trichotomous soul, described in an allegory of a charioteer (the rational part) attempting to control a white horse (the good, spirited part) and a black horse (the lustful, appetitive part). In the context of a romantic or sexual relationship, the black horse represents the physical aspect of the relationship, while the white horse represents the intellectual part. (No word on how Katy Perry fits into this equation.)

As for Waterfield’s translation, it is excellent. Waterfield includes an introduction covering over 40 pages, and his translation is clean, crisp, and as accessible as a text notoriously difficult to translate could ever hope to be. He doesn’t tack on his own ending where Socrates and Phaidros make out, though, which is a shame... it was clearly headed in that direction.
Profile Image for Oscar Walsh.
21 reviews18 followers
August 21, 2020
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
Profile Image for Phil.
103 reviews58 followers
January 22, 2023
There is a kind of philosopher I encounter more often than I’d like who seems to think that nothing written before 2010 or so is worth reading. My view, with a few exceptions and qualifications, is the exact opposite. Even if you disagree, though, it is hard to deny the value of studying the history of ideas. Among other things, doing this sensitizes us to the assumptions that underlie our own thinking. That is, in fact, one of my main problems with the philosophers in question: more often than not, they are not even aware of the assumptions that shape their views. Of course, this includes their thinking about love and sex.

This is one of the central topics of Plato’s Phaedrus. The question is whether it is beneficial to enter into a relationship of eros, usually translated as erotic or sexual love, but perhaps better rendered simply as desire. Given Plato’s endorsement of platonic love in the Republic and the Symposium, one might expect him to answer in the negative. Once the lover’s desire has passed, he will break his promise and abandon the beloved, thus harming him in the process. And yet Plato defends the opposite view. Eros, he says, is the highest and most beneficial relationship.

This surprising verdict relies on Plato’s allegory of the chariot. According to him, the soul is like a chariot driven by a charioteer (reason) and led by a good horse (the noble emotions) and a bad horse (desire). While the good horse obeys the charioteer’s commands, the bad horse throws them off-course, putting the chariot in danger of falling to earth. In a well-ordered soul, reason will tame desire. The moral of the story is that desire, eros, is beneficial when it has been tamed by reason to pursue only what is highest and most beautiful.

And this is where Plato forces us to revise our assumptions. We tend to equate platonic love with friendship (philia) or mere affection (storge), but platonic love in its original sense is unquestionably a desire (eros). It is an attraction or longing for another’s beauty or virtue. And while we tend to think of the fulfilled life as one in which our desires are satisfied, the platonic ideal locates it in its sublimation of desire in the pursuit of nobler ends. This ideal has become so alien to us that many today would likely see it as neurotic or dysfunctional. Yet I suspect that Plato is a lot closer to the truth than we like to admit.
Profile Image for Jonfaith.
1,858 reviews1,370 followers
May 31, 2016
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.
Profile Image for Roy Lotz.
Author 1 book8,180 followers
May 11, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Y.N..
35 reviews4 followers
February 1, 2022
Es ist ein Dialog zwischen Platon der Älteren und Phaidros der Jüngeren. Sie reden über die Liebe. Die Kunst der Rede, das Wissen und es nicht zu Kennen... Ein sehr tief philosophische Bedeutung/Interpretation. Lässt sich aber dennoch leicht zu lesen. Nur das sich beiden in vielem Wissen und in dem Buch nicht zu erklären bekommt.
Profile Image for Jacob Aitken.
1,582 reviews266 followers
January 26, 2016
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)


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.”
Profile Image for E..
Author 1 book22 followers
December 8, 2011
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.
Profile Image for Ferda Nihat Koksoy.
442 reviews12 followers
August 29, 2020
Bir hitabet ustası olan Lysias'ın aşağıdaki aşık olmayanları savunan konuşmasına karşı, Sokrates'in hem aşık olmayanlar hem aşık olanlar lehine yaptığı savunmaları ve bunların da yanlışlanmasını içeren, düşünme/konuşma ustalığında zirvelere varan bir metin.
2400 yıldan daha eski olan bu zihinsel egzersizleri okuyunca, ister istemez insanın aklına bugünün insanın neden bu kadar basit ve sığ kaldığı sorusu geliyor.

"Sana âşık olmadığım için teklifimi geri çevirmemeni bekliyorum, çünkü âşık olanlar tutkuları söndüğü zaman yaptıkları iyiliklerden pişman olurlar, oysa âşık olmayanlar pişman olmazlar. Onlar yaptıkları iyilikleri tutkularının zorlamasıyla değil, ihtiyaçlarına en iyi hizmet edecek şekilde güçleri yettiğince kendi iradeleriyle yaparlar. Aynı zamanda âşık olanlar aşkları yüzünden uğradıkları zararları, sevdiklerine yaptıkları iyilikleri ve bu uğurda çektikleri sıkıntıları da düşünerek sevdiklerine sevgilerinin karşılığını yeterince verdiklerine inanırlar. Ama âşık olmayanlar ne aşkları yüzünden kendi sorunlarını ihmal ettikleri bahanesini kullanabilir, ne bu yüzden çektikleri sıkıntıları hesaplayabilir, ne de akrabalarıyla olan anlaşmazlıklarını buna yorabilirler."

Sadece Sokrates'in konuşmaya başlamadan önce ortaya koyduğu yöntemden birkaç unsur sunmakla kalacağım:
1) Bir konu hakkında doğru düşünmek isteyenler, NEYİN üzerine düşüneceklerini İYİ bilmelidirler, yoksa her zaman hata yaparlar.
2) Hepimizin içinde bizi yönlendiren iki ilke vardır: Biri HAZLARA karşı duyduğumuz DOĞAL ilgi, diğeri ise SONRADAN edinilmiş en İYİYE yönelme düşüncesi.
3) Bu iki ilke bazen uyum içindedir; bazen de çatışırlar ve ya mantıkla iyiyi hedefleyen SAĞDUYU gerçekleşir ya da mantık dışı dürtülerle HİBRİS.
4) Hibris, çok yönlü, çok bileşenli olup değişik isimler alır: Yemeğe yönelince OBURLUK, içkiye yönelince AYYAŞLIK, güzellikten keyif almaya; bedenden cinsel arzulara (açlığa) yönelince AŞK.
Profile Image for David Haines.
Author 10 books76 followers
August 18, 2020
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.
Profile Image for Naopako dete .
118 reviews43 followers
November 23, 2016
''Bezumna požuda, koja je savladala misao i njenu težnju za onim što je pravo i
pohitala za uživanjem naslade što je daje lepota, pa je opet od njoj srodnih požuda
dovedena telesnoj lepoti, te je tako na svom pobedničkom hodu ojačala do najživljeg
razvitka snage, dobila je ime po toj istoj snazi i nazvana je ljubavlju.''

Mnogo lepo Platon piše o lepoti i zanesenosti, o duši i istini, o ljubavi... Ali, njegova predstava je toliko idealistička da sam u jednom trenutku stekao utisak da će se tekst ispred mene rasparnuti u hiljadu komadića, kao kad bi neko maljem udario o ogledalo. A, možda je to i zbog toga što sam knjigu čitao u pdf-u.
Profile Image for Joan Sebastián Araujo Arenas.
287 reviews41 followers
June 23, 2020
Entre los diálogos platónicos existe uno que es curioso por dos razones a resaltar: la cantidad de interlocutores es mínima, por un lado, y, por el otro, la variedad de los temas que desarrolla es tal que no puede clasificarse ninguno de los mismos como el predominante.

Es decir que, en primer lugar, quienes conversan son dos personajes solamente: Sócrates y Fedro (lo cual se podría considerar como una rareza al comparar las distintas obras platónicas). Y, en segundo lugar, al continuar la costumbre de disponer subtítulos indicativos del eje central a las obras, en este caso particular sería tarea complicada. Por eso algunos traductores han optado por una solución arbitraria, y le pusieron «Fedro o...» del amor (en la edición de Gabriel Silva Rincón), de lo bello y lo ético (en la traducción de García Bacca). Mientras que otros, quizá por no querer añadir nada al original, sólo toman en cuenta el título (en la edición de Gredos).

Pero el punto sigue siendo el mismo: si nos preguntaran sobre qué se habla en el Fedro no podríamos decir «sobre esto», sino que, por rigor, habría que aclarar «sobre esto, aquello y lo otro». O, en otras palabras, sobre el amor aparente y el verdadero, las distintas locuras que aquejan al hombre, la trascendencia del alma, la oralidad y la escritura y los tipos retórica detrás de ambas.

1. Primer discurso de Lisias

Fedro, como entusiasta de los discursos, queda gratamente sorprendido y admirado por el que le transmitió Lisias, sobre la conveniencia de entregarse al hombre desapasionado. En el mismo se presentan distintas razones por las cuales el hombre enamorado sólo provoca perjuicios al amado. Secuencialmente son éstas:

a) «los enamorados se arrepienten luego de verse satisfechos» (231a)
b) «pueden sacrificar sus antiguos amores por los nuevos» (231c)
c) «tienen espíritu enfermo y falta de buen sentido» (231d)
d) «cualquier cosa les enoja y creen que todo se hace para perjudicarlos» (232c)
e) «alejan a todos de su amado, dejándoles sin amigos» (232d)
f) «se enamoran del cuerpo antes que del alma, y no puede asegurarse si su amistad debe sobrevivir a la satisfacción de su deseo» (232e)
g) «el amor se debe compadecer, no envidiar» (233b)
h) «en vez de dañarnos, ayudarnos mutuamente» (234c)

Lisias, pues, parte de una descripción del amor que se da efectivamente entre la mayoría de los hombres, aunque no lo reconozca ni lo anuncie así él mismo. De modo que, las razones (de la «a» hasta la «h») aducidas para mostrar las consecuencias contraproducentes para el amado y el propio amante, son una enumeración relacionada única y exclusivamente con el amor aparente, es decir, aquél que se muestra como tal pero que no necesariamente es tal.

Aquél «amor» egoísta, que busca meramente la satisfacción de los propios deseos (232e), a los cuales permanece esclavo, dominado totalmente por los mismos. Aquél «amor» que se enoja por cualquier cosa, por trivial que sea, y que ve enemigos por todas partes (232c); hasta el punto de aislarse de todos y de todo (232d), dejando al amante y al amado encerrados en sí mismos como en la peor cárcel, queriendo abandonarse mutuamente pero sin poder hacerlo, por la mutua dependencia ya establecida. Aquél «amor» profundamente enfermo, que le desgarra el buen sentido al hombre (231d), hasta el punto en que no valora a nadie realmente, pudiendo sacrificar a todos sus antiguos amados por sólo alabar el capricho del más reciente (231c). Aquél «amor» tiránico por naturaleza (al ser esclavo del deseo) y por finalidad (corromper al amado para tenerle controlado), que lo quiere todo a cualquier costo, incluso si le despoja al hombre de lo mejor que tiene... Porque, en fin, dicho «amor» sólo vela por el cuerpo (del amante que quiere satisfacerse y del amado que puede dar placer), y no aprecia el alma (de ninguno de los dos), de modo que es tan inestable que no se puede asegurar que pueda darse amistad alguna luego de que el deseo haya sido apaciguado (232e). Un amor que, más que envidia, sólo debe compadecerse (233b), pues provoca la degradación absoluta de quienes se involucran en el mismo.

Ese no es el amor que merecemos, nos dice Lisias, precediendo incluso a Sócrates, que en otros términos y de forma más extensa, llegará al mismo punto. No debemos entregarnos, pues, a un amor tiránico donde sólo nos hacemos daño, sino a uno donde nos ayudemos mutuamente (234c). Pero sobre éste otro, cuál es y cuáles son sus características, Lisias guarda silencio.

2. Primer discurso de Sócrates

Valga aclarar desde el comienzo que, el primer monólogo de Sócrates, sólo es un re-planteamiento de lo ya dicho por Lisias en su escrito (236b). De modo que no representa su postura al respecto (el amor) ni mucho menos.

La cuestión es que, apenas terminó Fedro de leer en voz alta el discurso de Lisias, le planteó Sócrates...

El resto del escrito se encuentra en mi blog: https://jsaaopinionpersonal.wordpress...
Profile Image for Alex.
479 reviews104 followers
February 24, 2020
Spre deosebire de alte incercari filozofice (cum ar fi Sartre cu a lui "Fiinta si neant" din care citeam si nu intelegeam nimic), aici textul curge si este clar. Stau in fata laptop-ului si ma gandesc ce naiba sa scriu. Cum sa scriu un review la un asemenea text???

- dragostea ca dorinta, trupul ca sclav al dorintei sexuale (desfrau vs cumpatare)
- indragostitul vs omul rational. Omul manat de dorinta vs ratiune
- dragostea ca nebunie. Forme de nebunie (pricinuita de bolile omenesti si nebunia produsa de parasirea vietii obisnuite ca urmare a unui indemn divin)
- fiinta, calatoria sufletelor (cei doi cai, sufletele calatorind impreuna cu zeii...povestea este foarte frumoasa)
- arta oratoriei (arta calauzirii sufletelor cu ajutorul cuvintelor), arta manipularii prin limbaj
- ce este adevarul? "A convinge nu are nici o legatura cu a spune adevarul". Nu trebuie sa spui adevarul, ci sa spui ceva asemanator adevarului (verosimil) si sa il spui atat de bine incat sa poata convinge (devious!!!!). Pentru a putea convinge, trebuie sa stii cui te adresezi si sa iti organizezi discursul in functie de "sufletele" celor care asculta (stil concis, vehement, induiosator).
- caracteristicile discursului. Puterea lui sta in calauzirea sufletului (psychagogie)
"Nu este foarte lesne sa formulezi lucrul in cuvinte" - aici a trebuit sa ma gandesc la Wittgenstein
- scrisul. Cand e bine sa scrii? Cand ai de spus ceva care pentru tine este adevarat, cand iti poti apara propriile idei atunci cand sunt contestate. "Odata ce a fost scris, colindul pastreaza aceeasi infatisare si pentru cei care il inteleg, si pentru cei care nu"

Asta iarasi mi-a placut: "Nu suntem noi in dezacord unii cu altii, ba chiar si cu noi insine?"

Mi-ar placea sa iau fiecare paragraf in parte si sa il analizez. Voi face si asta. Calatoria alaturi de Platon abia a inceput.

Personal, partea a doua, despre arta oratoriei, a discursului, m-a fascinat mai mult decat dialogurile despre iubire.
Profile Image for saïd.
6,190 reviews725 followers
March 9, 2022
Cet avis est sur la traduction de Paul Vicaire.

Dans le « Phèdre » de Platon, Socrate raconta l'histoire du roi égyptien Thamous et du dieu Theuth, lui qui le premier inventa la science des nombres, le calcul, la géométrie, l’astronomie, le trictrac, les dés, et enfin l’écriture, et beaucoup de choses :
Le roi Thamous régnait alors sur toute la contrée ; il habitait la grande ville de la Haute-Égypte que les Grecs appellent Thèbes l’égyptienne, comme ils nomment Ammon le dieu-roi Thamous. Theuth vint donc trouver ce roi pour lui montrer les arts qu’il avait inventés, et il lui dit qu’il fallait les répandre parmi les Égyptiens. Le roi lui demanda de quelle utilité serait chacun des arts. Le dieu le renseigna ; et, selon qu’il les jugeait être un bien ou un mal, le roi approuvait ou blâmait. On dit que Thamous fit à Theuth beaucoup d’observations pour et contre chaque art. Il serait trop long de les exposer.
Alors que Theuth racontait à Thamous toutes les choses qu'il eut inventées, Thamous exprima son approbation ou sa désapprobation. Mais, quand on en vint à l’écriture, en ce qui concerne l'invention de l'écriture, qui, selon Theuth, améliorerait à la fois la mémoire et la sagesse, Thamous ne fut pas d'accord quand Theuth déclara :
« Roi, cette science rendra les Égyptiens plus savants et facilitera l’art de se souvenir, car j’ai trouvé un remède pour soulager la science et la mémoire. »
Le roi Thamous répondit :
« Très ingénieux Theuth, tel homme est capable de créer les arts, et tel autre est à même de juger quel lot d’utilité ou de nocivité ils conféreront à ceux qui en feront usage. Et c’est ainsi que toi, père de l’écriture, tu lui attribues, par bienveillance, tout le contraire de ce qu’elle peut apporter. Elle ne peut produire dans les âmes, en effet, que l’oubli de ce qu’elles savent en leur faisant négliger la mémoire. Parce qu’ils auront foi dans l’écriture, c’est par le dehors, par des empreintes étrangères, et non plus du dedans et du fond d’eux-mêmes, que les hommes chercheront à se ressouvenir. Tu as trouvé le moyen, non point d’enrichir la mémoire, mais de conserver les souvenirs qu’elle a. Tu donnes à tes disciples la présomption qu’ils ont la science, non la science elle-même. Quand ils auront, en effet, beaucoup appris sans maître, ils s’imagineront devenus très savants, et ils ne seront pour la plupart que des ignorants de commerce incommode, des savants imaginaires au lieu de vrais savants. »
Mais bien sûr, le Socrate de Platon avait fait dire cela par écrit.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 512 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.