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Plato's Lysis, on Friendship: "Can Bad be a friend?"

The Lysis begins with Socrates encountering a youth on his way to the Lyceum, who has been singing ridiculous songs and writing poems for a boy, Lysis, with whom he is madly in love.  The youth asks Socrates the important question: “‘What advice can you give so that Lysis will like him?’”

Lysis is a dialogue about friendship - philia - but it also explores the the eros ("erotic") for which Plato is famous. As usual in the shorter dialogues, Socrates asks a question - what is friendship? - and gets a series of dissatisfying answers. Then he begins, step-by-step, outlining some of Plato's heaviest claims about what really matters in life.

It will be useful to read the dialogue in advance - we won't do it on-site - but the basic ideas are simple and challenging and we can expect a conversational free-for-all.

"I should greatly prefer a real friend to all the gold of Darius, or even to Darius himself."

 

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  • Brian

    really liked it

    April 20, 2013

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