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The Symposium

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  22,192 ratings  ·  632 reviews
In the course of a lively drinking party, a group of Athenian intellectuals exchange views on eros, or desire. From their conversation emerges a series of subtle reflections on gender roles, sex in society, and the sublimation of basic human instincts. The discussion culminates in a radical challenge to conventional views by Plato's mentor, Socrates, who advocates transcen ...more
Paperback, 131 pages
Published April 29th 2003 by Penguin Classics (first published -385)
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The Republic by PlatoThus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich NietzscheBeing and Time by Martin HeideggerCritique of Pure Reason by Immanuel KantPhenomenology of Spirit by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 2* of five, all for Aristophanes's way trippy remix of the Book of Genesis

While perusing a review of Death in Venice (dreadful tale, yet another fag-must-die-rather-than-love piece of normative propaganda) written by my good friend Stephen, he expressed a desire to read The Symposium before he eventually re-reads this crapulous homophobic maundering deathless work of art. As I have read The Symposium with less than stellar results, I warned him off. Well, see below for what happened next
Jul 28, 2014 Manny rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People confused by Love
OPRAH: Good evening and welcome to What's the Most Spiritual Book of All Time? For people who missed last week's exciting semi-final round, The Sermon on the Mount beat The Bhagavad Gita 4-1 while Jonathan Livingston Seagull unexpectedly lost 3-2 to outsider The Symposium. Let's all welcome our finalists!

[Applause. Enter JESUS CHRIST and SOCRATES, both wearing tuxedos. They shake hands. More applause.]

OPRAH: And now let me introduce our jury. I'm thrilled to have with us living legend Paul McCar
Riku Sayuj

“It’s been less than three years that I’ve been Socrates’ companion and made it my job to know exactly what he says and does each day. Before that, I simply drifted aimlessly. Of course, I used to think that what I was doing was important, but in fact I was the most worthless man on earth—as bad as you are this very moment: I used to think philosophy was the last thing a man should do.”

In Praise of Love: An Encore

This is a dialogue about the human aspiration towards happiness, and how that
Ian Agadada-Davida
I Never Met a Physician Who Wasn’t Descended from a Greek

This might just be the work that put the "meta-" (at least the "metafiction") in "metaphysics".

Plato’s name is attached to it, but its principal focus is Socrates. And guess what? Socrates doesn’t so much elaborate on his own views as (1) recount the views of others (especially those of the female philosopher Diotima) and (2) indirectly reveal his views by his conduct and his responses to the views of others (especially the taunts of Alcib
After a night at a drinking party (a symposium), the participants challenge each other to focus on one subject for sober It is agreed that love may begin with feelings for only one other person. Cuddled with the beloved, one learns to define the associated feelings, benefits, and additions to one's self-esteem.

Progression may continue to include love of one's city, state and country. As the circle enlarges from the core relationship to other loyalties and preferences, the ape
David Sarkies
Aug 30, 2015 David Sarkies rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody
Recommended to David by: My Classics Lecturer
Shelves: philosophy
The life of the party
26 August 2015

You've really got to love the way Plato writes philosophy. Whereas everybody else simply writes what is in effect a work of non-fiction explaining some ideas, Plato seems to have the habit of inserting them into a story. Okay, he may not be the only philosopher that uses a story to convey his philosophical ideas, but he certainly stands out from his contemporaries, who simply wrote treatises. I've read a few of his works, and he always seems to structure it in
HEADLINE: This is priceless!

When I was a young man, I and my friends certainly had some strange conversations, possibly aided by some substances of questionable legality in certain countries, but we never quite managed to attain the heights of strangeness reached at this banquet/drinking party(*) held in 416 BCE when Socrates was approximately 53 years old, once again the principal figure in this "dialogue" written by Plato between 12 and 15 years after Socrates' death by poisoning in 399 BCE. P
And Agathon said, It is probable, Socrates, that I knew nothing of what I had said.
And yet spoke you beautifully, Agathon, he said.

Back in the late 1990s a cowpunk band named The Meat Purveyors had a song, Why Does There Have To Be A Morning After? It detailed stumbling around in the cruel light of day, sipping on backwash beer from the night before and attempting to reconstruct what at best remains a blur.

The event depicted here is a hungover quest for certainty. The old hands in Athens have b
Jul 07, 2007 Trevor rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: philosophy
In this book Socrates argues that it is not always a good idea to have sex with boys and Aristophanes explains we were once co-joined creatures of three sexes - either male/female, male/male or female/female and were shaped like balls. How could anyone not find this a book worth reading?
The nature of eros is discussed in this famous dialogue by Plato. Symposium literally means "drinking party" in ancient Greek and this was one well-attended party with the likes of Alcibiades, Aristophanes, Agathon, Pausanias, Eryximachus and Socrates. A variety of views are put forward by the participants during the witty dialog that befits a drinking party. Some believe that eros is a somewhat shadowy thing, neither beautiful nor ugly, good nor bad. The most famous view is Aristophanes myth of ...more
Sam Quixote
I'm not a philosophy or ancient history student, I picked up Plato's "Symposium" to challenge myself and see if I could understand it. The "Symposium" is a gathering of Greek thinkers who sit around and give speeches about love.

Phaedrus talks about the greatness of love and how those who have it achieve great things. Pausanias talks of the merits of boy/man love where the boy pleasures the man while the man passes on his wisdom to the boy and that this is the best kind of love, not the lesser l
Elham 8
چهار پنج سالی از خوندن این کتاب میگذره. یادمه وقتی خوندمش اونقدر خوب بود که گفتم همۀ کتابهای دیگۀ افلاطون رو میخونم. و حتی چندتاییشون رو هم خریدم. ولی خب، وقت نشده هنوز اما سر تصمیمم هستم!
این کتاب واقعاً اندیشه بخش و تأمل برانگیزه. دوست داشتم توی اون ضیافت می بودم و افلاطون رو موقع ادای اون جملات میدیدم و حتی خودم هم سؤالهایی میپرسیدم... به نظرم بهترین ایده ها رو درمورد مسائلی مثل عشق که به اندازۀ عمر بشر موضوع بحث قرار گرفته ن، ارائه میده
Milad soor
کتاب برای من سبک جالبی داشت . همه ی افراد حاضر در مهمانی نظرات خود را درباره ی عشق و خدای عشق ،اروس، بیان می کنند . ولی تعریفات آخر آلکیبیادس که از سقراط می کند کمی اضافه بود .
Azar Hoseininejad

ما وجود یک موجود زنده ای را از کودکی تا پیری همیشه به یک نام می خوانیم و آن ها را همانند یکدیگر می شماریم.
در حالی که او هرگز همان نیست که پیش از آن بوده است. بلکه مدام در حال تغییر و دگرسانی است. یعنی مو گوشت و استخوان و خون و خلاصه همه ی اعضای بدنش دائماً در حال تغییر و دگرگونی است و این تغییر و دگرسانی، نه تنها در بدن، بلکه در روان ما نیز جاری و ساری است.
یعنی در بدن ما مدام کار فرسودگی و رویش دوباره ادامه دارد و همچنین در جان و روان ما.
در همه ی وجود ما حتی اخلاق و آرزوها و پندارها و شادی ها و
Angel Vanstark
I am outraged after reading this. First, the approach that was taken (multiple layers of theory of mind) opposed the main topic, love. How the fuck do you expect to talk about love if you don't even have the balls to honor it enough at a close degree. Why the hell am I, as the reader, supposed to believe what comes from the grapevine; Plato and his crew were sketchy mother fuckers. The second and third issue I had with this piece of literature are more pertinent to culture and how the academic w ...more
I love Plato—platonically, of course.

Plato could have staked his reputation on being an enormously talented writer, and he would have secured immortal fame. But no, he had to add brilliance to style.

What Plato had that almost all of his successors lacked was a genuine love for the pursuit of knowledge, irrespective of the possibility of its attainment.The Symposium is a perfect monument to this idea. The guests all have different ideas, different styles, and different sensibilities, and all work
Ahmad Sharabiani
Symposium, Plato , 1935
پس زمین و عشق بودند که جانشین هرج و مرج و بی شکلی آغازین هستی شدند

عنوان: ضیافت، یا، سخن در خصوص عشق؛ اثر: افلاطون؛ ترجمه و پیشگفتار: محمدعلی فروغی؛ ویراستار و پی نوشت: محمدابراهیم امینی فرد؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، جامی، 1385، در 160 ص، از مجموعه افلاطون، شابک: 9642575000؛ کتاب با عنوان «ضیافت: درس عشق از زبان افلاطون» با ترجمه «محمود صناعی» توسط انتشارات جامی در سال 1381 نیز منتشر شده است، چاپ دوم 1386، چاپ سوم 1389؛ موضوع: عشق، سقراط (469 تا 399 قبل از میلاد)فلسفه یونان

این رس
Clif Hostetler
I suppose one should read some Plato to be considered an educated person. I really want to be an educated person, but this is an example of a book I would never get around to reading if I weren't pushed by some situation outside of myself. In this case the push came from a book group of which I am co-organizer. I am fortunate that the group has attracted participants with knowledge of the classics that exceeds my own. Therefore, my rough impressions from reading the material have a chance to be ...more
Naile Berna
It's quite an experience to read the myths of thousands of years, (such as one's other half by Aristophanes) from the person who told them. I've learned that the setting and sequence of the dialogue also carries utmost importance. We haven't changed much I see.. The thoughts about spritiual love we've come to conclude among friends were recited by Socrates thousands of years ago, a revelation
'What then is Love?' I asked; 'Is he mortal?' 'No.' 'What then?' 'As in the former instance, he is neither mortal nor immortal, but in a mean between the two.' 'What is he, Diotima?' 'He is a great spirit (daimon), and like all spirits he is intermediate between the divine and the mortal.' 'And what,' I said, 'is his power?' 'He interprets,' she replied, 'between gods and men, conveying and taking across to the gods the prayers and sacrifices of men, and to men the commands and replies of the go ...more
I didn't expect to like this cute little book so much. I admit I didn't quite get the very last part of it, but otherwise I enjoyed exploring the topic of love thought the perspective of respected ancient Greek dignities gather together to discuss it.
Jan 25, 2010 Dusty rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dusty by: Elizabeth Richmond-Garza
A curious coincidence: It's 2010, and the debate over Proposition 8, which disallows state recognition of same-sex unions, has invited court testimony on the "nature" of homosexuals -- as politically unimportant, as sexually deviant, as likely sexual predators. That's in California. Here in Texas, for my graduate course on critical theory, we've just read Plato's "Symposium", which Edith Hamilton (the translator of my edition) says is one of the man's two best dialogues. Its chief topic is love ...more
Nathan Jerpe
Well now, if that wasn't just a beautiful kick to the side of the head.
I think I'm just not into ancient Greek sausage fests. And in 2015, there are better texts about love without the pedophilia and women hating.
Amirtha Shri
The Platonic concept of love has always been a topic of appeal to me. Why not then read what Plato actually has to say about love, I thought. Symposium is composed of the discussion about love among Athenian philosophers such as Socrates, Phaedrus, Agathon and such. It touches various aspects of love- such as divinity, immortality, homosexuality- with tales, conjectures, allusion to proverbs and myths. Plato's concept of love that goes beyond the physique and character of a man (both which have ...more
Eliana Rivero
Lo único que he leído de Platón y me ha gustado. No sé si este libro-ensayo fundó los preceptos sobre el amor y todas las artes de los enamorados, pero es un texto muy hermoso donde se muestra el deseo/amor por alguien. Diferente a las concepciones actuales del amor (creo yo), en el libro se plantea el amor a la excelencia, a lo bueno, a lo bello. La belleza no es sólo física, sino trascendente, del alma (no sé si espiritual). Puede alguien ser muy feo, pero si por dentro es más de lo que uno es ...more
Sidharth Vardhan
Normaly Socrates takes the other people on a ride of constant questioning - Socratic method, but the subject of discourse is always some abstract word which he overloads with multiple meamings rather reducing their value. Unlike Aristotle he don't seem interested in giving definations - he says he can't and rather destroys definations others offer. This is not the case here as he didn't get speak till the end.

The dialogue is full of a diverse variety of myths offered by different people which, g
Ken Moten
The Symposium is one of the most famous of Plato's [Socratic] love dialogues. It is one of the introductions to the concept of "Platonic love" and it has influenced many writers in the way of its setting.

I won't spend time recounting the whole thing in detail since it is not very elaborate and very simple. The premises is a party for the Greek playwright Agathon is attended by a group of friends that include such people as Phaedrus, Aristophanes and, of course, Socrates. They decide to speak abo
Matthew Gallaway
The Symposium itself is a short series of after-dinner speeches (as written by Plato) on the topic of Eros, given by a group of ancient Greeks, including (most memorably) Socrates and Aristophanes. You probably knew that already! I recommend this edition for Allan Bloom's long, thought-provoking essay, which offers much insight into the complexities and flaws of the speeches; Aristophanes is the most romantic -- he describes the myth in which humans are filled with longing because we are always ...more
Jody Mena
The Symposium was like a very filling snack - small, but potent. The Socratic method is always a treat when put into play, and I was fascinated by the way stories went into fourth- and fifth-hand accounts, rather a direct presentation - it added another dimension to the tale. I think anyone looking to read, and more, to understand the Symposium would need to know a little something about the history and society it's set in, as the topics the party-goers discuss, such as pederasty or the baseness ...more
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  • Poetics
  • Four Texts on Socrates: Euthyphro/Apology/Crito/Aristophanes' Clouds
  • An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
  • The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura
  • Early Greek Philosophy
  • Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Texts in the History of Philosophy)
  • Fragments
  • Discourse on Metaphysics & Other Essays
  • The Greek Philosophers from Thales to Aristotle
  • Conversations of Socrates
  • The First Philosophers: The Presocratics and Sophists
  • Philoctetes
  • The Nature of the Gods
  • Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy
  • Fear and Trembling
  • Pensées
  • The Enneads
  • The Consolation of Philosophy
(Greek: Πλάτων) (Arabic: أفلاطون)
Plato is a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science.

Plato is one of the most
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“According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.” 758 likes
“...and when one of them meets the other half, the actual half of himself, whether he be a lover of youth or a lover of another sort, the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy and one will not be out of the other's sight, as I may say, even for a moment...” 396 likes
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