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Plato's SymposiumThe Ethics of Desire$
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Frisbee Sheffield

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199286775

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199286775.001.0001

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‘Nothing to do with Human Affairs?’: Alcibiades' Response to Socrates

‘Nothing to do with Human Affairs?’: Alcibiades' Response to Socrates

(p.183) 6 ‘Nothing to do with Human Affairs?’: Alcibiades' Response to Socrates
Plato's Symposium

Frisbee C. C. Sheffield (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores a further issue that arises from Socrates' account of how our desire for happiness is best satisfied: to what extent is it a human life that he advocates? It argues that Alcibaides, who arrives late to Agathon's symposium, provides the answer to this question in the final speech of the dialogue. This speech explores Socrates' apparently hubristic disdain of the world of human affairs, but Alcibiades' ‘satyric drama’, as Socrates calls it, does not undermine the account of philosophical eros and virtue, as it is sometimes held. Although Alcibiades shows that ways in which philosophical eros is misunderstood — to much comic effect — he also shows that the philosopher is deeply engaged in the world of human affairs.

Keywords:   satyrs, satyric drama, Socrates'hubris, comedy, tragedy

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