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Plato on Beauty Symposium. Plato (427-347) Aristocles, son of Ariston –Playwright –Politician Socrates and philosophy The Academy (387 B.C.-529 C.E. =

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Presentation on theme: "Plato on Beauty Symposium. Plato (427-347) Aristocles, son of Ariston –Playwright –Politician Socrates and philosophy The Academy (387 B.C.-529 C.E. ="— Presentation transcript:

1 Plato on Beauty Symposium

2 Plato ( ) Aristocles, son of Ariston –Playwright –Politician Socrates and philosophy The Academy (387 B.C.-529 C.E. = 916 years)

3 Platos works The oral tradition -> Plotinus Writings: Early: Socratic dialogues –Apology, Gorgias, Meno Mature: The Theory of Ideas –Republic, Symposium, Phaidon Old age: Criticism of the Theory of Ideas –Parmenides, Timeus, Laws

4 The Theory of Ideas A three-dimensional theory: –about reality (metaphysical) Ideas are the only truly existing reality –about knowledge (epistemological) True knowledge is knowledge of Ideas –about what to do (ethical) We ought to acquire knowledge of Ideas

5 Belief and knowledge The ideal >Knowledge –Ideas –Mathematics The visible>Belief –Sensible things –Images and shadows

6 Main concepts Idea (Frummynd) –Is the true reality Imitation (Eftirmynd) –Sensible things are imitations or copies of Ideas Participation (Hlutdeild) –Relation between Ideas and things

7 Symposium A series of speeches, Deal with Eros, the god of love Socrates speech is first a conversation with Agathon, then the story of his conversation with an old woman Diotima from Mantinea

8 Eros Desires what he does not have Is love of the beautiful and the good Is really desire for immortality

9 The stages 1.One beautiful body (– > beautiful ideas) 2.Many beautiful bodies – beauty of appearance (relative beauty) 3.Beautiful souls – > morally improving ideas 4.Beautiful morals and habits 5.Beautiful science – beauty of knowledge and wisdom 6.The Idea of the beautiful itself (absolute beauty)

10 Absolute Beauty This, my dear Socrates, said the stranger of Mantineia, is that life above all others which man should live, in the contemplation of beauty absolute; a beauty which if you once beheld, you would see not to be after the measure of gold, and garments, and fair boys and youths, whose presence now entrances you; and you and many a one would be content to live seeing them only and conversing with them without meat or drink, if that were possible you only want to look at them and to be with them. But what if man had eyes to see the true beauty the divine beauty, I mean, pure and dear and unalloyed, not clogged with the pollutions of mortality and all the colours and vanities of human life thither looking, and holding converse with the true beauty simple and divine? Remember how in that communion only, beholding beauty with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not images of beauty, but realities (for he has hold not of an image but of a reality), and bringing forth and nourishing true virtue to become the friend of God and be immortal, if mortal man may. Would that be an ignoble life?

11 Beauty itself –Eternal –Is, does not become nor vanish –Neither grows nor diminishes –Neither relative nor changing –Not physical –Not a branch of science –Does not appear in anything that participates in it –Appears itself in its own form

12 What is he describing The nature of beauty –Can appear in all things but is really an independent force Its effect –A desire to contemplate, stay and enjoy Its value –Directs the soul upwards to the higher natures

13 Beauty and will Beauty is something you –Perceive –Excites Beauty is not –A matter of arbitrary decision –Subject to the will of the one who contemplates Appears as the quality of what is perceived

14 In a nutshell The Idea of the Beautiful (invisible reality) Distinct beautiful things, visible as well as understandable They are beautiful because of their participation in the Idea of the Beautiful, but they themselves are changing and relative The Idea of the beautiful is Beauty itself

15 Beauty and Unity If beauty, then unity (and or harmony) –If not unity (and or harmony), –then not beauty This means that unity (and or harmony) is a condition of beauty


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