Socrates' Daimonic Art: Love for Wisdom in Four Platonic Dialogues

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 8, 2012 - Philosophy - 304 pages
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Despite increasing interest in the figure of Socrates and in love in ancient Greece, no recent monograph studies these topics in all four of Plato's dialogues on love and friendship. This book provides important new insights into these subjects by examining Plato's characterization of Socrates in Symposium, Phaedrus, Lysis and the often neglected Alcibiades I. It focuses on the specific ways in which the philosopher searches for wisdom together with his young interlocutors, using an art that is 'erotic', not in a narrowly sexual sense, but because it shares characteristics attributed to the daimon Eros in Symposium. In all four dialogues, Socrates' art enables him, like Eros, to search for the beauty and wisdom he recognizes that he lacks and to help others seek these same objects of erôs. Belfiore examines the dialogues as both philosophical and dramatic works, and considers many connections with Greek culture, including poetry and theater.

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overview of the erotic dialogues
Part I Socrates and Two Young Men
Part II Erôs and Hybris in the Symposium
Part III Love and Friendship in the Phaedrus
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About the author (2012)

Elizabeth S. Belfiore is Professor Emerita of Classics at the University of Minnesota, where she taught from 1980 to 2010. She is the author of two books, Tragic Pleasures: Aristotle on Plot and Emotion (1992) and Murder among Friends: Violation of Philia in Greek Tragedy (2000). Her numerous articles and book chapters on a wide range of topics in Greek literature and ancient philosophy include many influential studies of Plato's views on poetry.

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