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The Plato Thread
#1
The Plato Thread
Any Plato fans in the house? Or detractors?

I'm creating this thread because the Aquinas thread was drifting into discussions about Plato. So this thread is for analyzing texts you may be reading (or have read), or for just anything Plato-related you may want to discuss. Neo-Platonism is up for discussion too.

As many of you know, I'm a huge Plato fan. I think his best books are Republic, Symposium, and Apology.

I think the key to understanding Plato (especially when contemplating his early/middle works) is that he's not trying to fill your head with ideas. He's trying to get you to think about things... to shake you out of your learned perspective on things... and offer a new perspective for consideration.

Have you read anything by Plato that you find particularly interesting? If so, what book? And what interested you about it?
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#2
RE: The Plato Thread
Hey vulc, invitation accepted Wink

As you know, so far I've read Meno, Apology, Crito, Phaedo, and am partway through book 4 of Republic... but I need a bit of a refresher because I've been in Aristotle mode for the last few days, so this thread will at least give me an excuse to switch between them Wink

As you've said elsewhere, there's a lot to disagree with on the face of it in Republic, with their conception of the ideal State, but to be honest I didn't really think I was in a position to make those sorts of judgments until I'd read the whole thing... in other words I was waiting for the punchline. But yeah, if we're just taking it at face value, where I'm up to so far I agree it's made me shake my head a few times... for instance, the level of censorship is extraordinary, right down to the level of not producing certain instruments (or parts of instruments) because of the sort of music they might be able to make.

As I said though, I'm a bit out of the loop at the moment, so I've forgotten the finer points, but as I'm understanding it so far, all of this in aid of basically teaching... or in this case indoctrinating/forcing... moderation in all things... basically Virtue, and with this State aiming to personify Justice.

So the sorts of questions it seems to be asking are to what extent is Virtue teachable... as clearly they do not believe it to be innate, where I take Virtue really to mean, the wisdom/experience to tread that 'Golden Mean/Golden Middle Way' between deficiency and excess... but where arguably if the only reason you've been able to tread that line is through censorship and prohibitions, have you really learnt anything? Ie if the only reason you don't get pissed every night is because the pubs are closed Wink, is that really Temperance? Granted I know in one sense, all this in The Republic is aimed at teaching the young... ie the young are generally excessive by nature, as well as impressionable, so censorship/prohibition makes more sense for them, just as it does in the modern world, but there's another example which doesn't appear to be about teaching the young specifically, and that is to do with a profession; ie how will the potter's art, be affected by either poverty or wealth, the answer to both being negatively, so in attempting to prevent either extreme, that would appear to me censorship/prohibition of the general populace, not just the young. As I said, I'm only up to book 4 so far, and it's not fresh in my mind either right now, so I'm sure there's plenty more nuance to get out of it, including as I said, the punchline... or big picture, but since you put me on the spot Wink, those are my thoughts at the moment.
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#3
RE: The Plato Thread
You spelled Play Doh wrong.
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#4
RE: The Plato Thread
I love Plato! He's one of my favorite characters!

[Image: Pluto.PNG]
[Image: Fenrir-sign.jpg]
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#5
RE: The Plato Thread
[Image: 2abbb04c7838e056c096506500e384ebd531395a...8e27_1.jpg]

[Image: Plato-Vs-Socrates_o_136283.jpg]
“The sun from far gives life. But get close to it and it burns anything down to ashes”

[Image: flag-ukraine_1f1fa-1f1e6.png]  Heart [Image: canada-google.png]        

 “No matter what men think, abortion is a fact of life. Women have always had them; they always have and they always will. Are they going to have good ones or bad ones? Will the good ones be reserved for the rich, while the poor women go to quacks?”
–SHIRLEY CHISHOLM


      
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#6
RE: The Plato Thread
(November 6, 2021 at 6:00 am)vulcanlogician Wrote: Any Plato fans in the house? Or detractors?

I'm creating this thread because the Aquinas thread was drifting into discussions about Plato. So this thread is for analyzing texts you may be reading (or have read), or for just anything Plato-related you may want to discuss. Neo-Platonism is up for discussion too.

As many of you know, I'm a huge Plato fan. I think his best books are Republic, Symposium, and Apology.

I think the key to understanding Plato (especially when contemplating his early/middle works) is that he's not trying to fill your head with ideas. He's trying to get you to think about things... to shake you out of your learned perspective on things... and offer a new perspective for consideration.

Have you read anything by Plato that you find particularly interesting? If so, what book? And what interested you about it?

I was a huge Plato fan too, but Dawkins managed to knock him down a couple of pegs for me in his preface in "The Greatest Show On Earth". In it Dawkins blames Plato for humanity's chase for perfection which he claims infected politics and religion because of Plato's idea of "essence". "Essence" to Plato according to Dawkins was the idea that if you just thought about something long enough you could find that perfect thing, or idea. 

I still like Plato's Apology and Allegory Of The Cave. But I do agree with Dawkins that Plato unwittingly infected humans with more tribalism and division because his "essence" idea became popular.
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#7
RE: The Plato Thread
(November 6, 2021 at 8:55 am)emjay Wrote: As you've said elsewhere, there's a lot to disagree with on the face of it in Republic, with their conception of the ideal State, but to be honest I didn't really think I was in a position to make those sorts of judgments until I'd read the whole thing... in other words I was waiting for the punchline.

I do not endorse this way of reading Plato. Don't wait for the punchline. There really is no keystone to the arch that makes it all better. Plato's vision is problematic in many ways. And I think even Plato realized this.

I recommend disagreeing with Plato (ie. "Socrates") whenever an idea is presented that you don't like. Whenever an interlocutor says "Quite true, Socrates" you should say to yourself, "Is that really true?" And if you disagree, think about WHY you disagree, and follow your own thinking on the matter. Anyway, that's how *I* like to read Plato.

Quote:but I need a bit of a refresher because I've been in Aristotle mode for the last few days

Here's a sketch of ideas/analysis for Book 4:


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#8
RE: The Plato Thread
More partial to Plotinus myself but still curious to see where the discussion leads.
<insert profound quote here>
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#9
RE: The Plato Thread
(November 6, 2021 at 10:39 am)vulcanlogician Wrote:
(November 6, 2021 at 8:55 am)emjay Wrote: As you've said elsewhere, there's a lot to disagree with on the face of it in Republic, with their conception of the ideal State, but to be honest I didn't really think I was in a position to make those sorts of judgments until I'd read the whole thing... in other words I was waiting for the punchline.

I do not endorse this way of reading Plato. Don't wait for the punchline. There really is no keystone to the arch that makes it all better. Plato's vision is problematic in many ways. And I think even Plato realized this.

I recommend disagreeing with Plato (ie. "Socrates") whenever an idea is presented that you don't like. Whenever an interlocutor says "Quite true, Socrates" you should say to yourself, "Is that really true?" And if you disagree, think about WHY you disagree, and follow your own thinking on the matter. Anyway, that's how *I* like to read Plato.

It's more the fact that I'm a relative newbie to all this... still learning the ropes and the vernacular... so I feel more comfortable trying to get the gist of things first - with a full read-through, before delving in and taking issue with things without knowing how relevant they are. That's just how I generally do things but fair enough it's probably not the best idea, at least all the time, since for instance a single gist-getting read-through of Aristotle looks like it could take me months Wink  

Quote:
Quote:but I need a bit of a refresher because I've been in Aristotle mode for the last few days

Here's a sketch of ideas/analysis for Book 4:



Thanks for the low down... it is a bit ahead of me, but I don't mind the 'spoilers' Wink Though I haven't got to it in my reading yet, I think what you're talking about re the three parts of the soul was covered in one of the videos I watched in that playlist, which basically said, similar to what you're saying, that you have the logical part, that like you say can't speak to your appetites directly, but it does 'speak the same language' as your emotions, to some extent, in that you can use pure reason to work out what might be good for you or whatever, but you can also use reason for instance to talk yourself down as it were, if you get overly emotional, or talk yourself out of things that are not good for you or whatever - if you're mindful/self-aware enough. So inasmuch as general life is emotional... ie even the purely rational person cannot avoid emotions, nor even tries to... then as I understand it, that's basically the staging ground for Virtue... ie it's about the decisions you make while in the thick of it, living life. So to the extent that he's basically saying (or maybe this is Aristotle later on in his Virtue Ethics) you can train and habituate good decision-making in the thick of it, I think that is a pretty cool idea. I could certainly do with being a bit more mindful in the thick of it, as the size of my waistline attests Wink (not huge, but, could be better)

But as to how he reaches the conclusion of how all parts can be happy through logic alone, I'm interested to see, and for that I do think I'll need to read the whole thing.
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#10
RE: The Plato Thread
I'm very new to Plato - about halfway through Republic at the moment. Not a fan of the "Let's restrict what the playwrights and poets can say in our city" concept, or the idea that people should only work at one particular occupation and not dabble in others. Even if it's allegory, there's something rather creepy about it.
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