By Walter Bröcker
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Seeing an individual as the source of all value and the centre of our happiness is, perhaps, a rather limited view to take of the rich possibilities for human happiness, and a heavy burden for any individual person to carry. Socrates, like many of his predecessors, is exploring a variety of good things on which our happiness can depend, such as honour or contemplation. In achieving the end that he advocates, individual persons are a source of wonder and reflection; for contemplation of Beauty is to be had by reflecting broadly upon the nature of value, and the kinds of things that make bodies and souls into beautiful instances of their kind (210c).
323Death of Alexander the Great of Macedon, taken as marking the end of the classical period of ancient Greece. Further reading Background information on the institution of the Greek symposium and pederasty is available in several important essays in O. Murray, Sympotika: A Symposium on the Symposium (Oxford, 1990). Of particular interest for understanding pederastic relationships in Greek culture are J. M. Bremmer, ‘Adolescents, symposion, pederasty’, in the Murray collection. Also of interest here are K.
How could a discussion of interpersonal love be so spectacularly dehumanised by Socrates? 29 Part of the difficulty here arises when the term eros is construed as ‘love’, which seems to carry with it a strong association with persons. Reflecting on the substance of the speeches we can now appreciate better that what is under consideration in this work is the nature and aims of human desire more broadly, and the role that loving relationships might play in shaping those desires towards beneficial ends.
Aristoteles by Walter Bröcker