Erotic Wisdom: Philosophy and Intermediacy in Plato's by Gary Alan Scott

By Gary Alan Scott

Erotic knowledge offers a cautious studying of 1 of Plato's such a lot liked dialogues, the Symposium, which explores the character and scope of human hope (eros). Gary Alan Scott and William A. Welton interact all the dialogue's significant topics, devoting specific awareness to illuminating Plato's belief of philosophy. within the Symposium, Plato situates philosophy in an intermediate (metaxu) position--between want and source, lack of knowledge and knowledge--showing how the very loss of what one wishes can turn into a guiding kind of touch with the items of human wish. The authors study the idea that of intermediacy in relation either to Platonic metaphysics and to Plato's ethical psychology, arguing that philosophy, for Plato, is correctly understood as one of those "being in-between," because the love of knowledge (philosophia) instead of the ownership of it.

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Of course, there is no way to guarantee perfect assignments, and we are all uncomfortable with Aristotle’s notions that (a) someone else would know each of us so well that he could decide for another person, better than that person could decide for himself, what job would best suit his abilities and that (b) there will be some people of such puny abilities that slavery would provide them the best opportunity to fulfill their potential. But these are merely problems of application. Setting them aside, we can appreciate the principle that the ideal arrangement is that citizens and state be so well matched that the one could not be what it is without the other’s being what it is.

What is discomforting about seeing the state as aiming at some good is the thought that it might exclude certain pursuits and thereby limit autonomy. There are plenty of critics of the liberal state who would indeed do so. But it is precisely here that Aristotle stands to make the greatest contribution to contemporary political theory, that is, in teaching us how to have ends without their dictating choices. Aristotle’s ends are functional human 42 EDWARD C. HALPER communal ends that do not force us to accept a particular doctrine but to put our faculties to the greatest use.

One view is that public officials should conform to the same moral side constraints as everyone else. Hence, they may not use force against private citizens to collect revenues to finance state activities, on the grounds that taxation is on a par with forced labor (Nozick 1974, 169). An “ultraminimal” state, solely dependent on voluntary contributions would 26 FRED D. MILLER, JR. probably be too weak to press its claim to exclusive legitimacy and would likely sink into a functional equivalent to anarchy, leaving individuals to defend their own rights or rely on private protective associations.

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