Past Meetup

The Art of Living: Love and Reason in Plato's Symposium

This Meetup is past

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Who shall I be? How do I become? What highest value(s) ought I aspire toward? What is the end and aim of life? The Art of Living refers to the project and the problem of our lives as characterized by these fundamental questions.

This month's discussion will explore Love and Reason in Plato's Symposium and in our lives. What is Plato saying about desire, love, knowledge, and reason? To what highest value does Plato urge us to aspire? What does Plato think the end and aim of our lives ought to be? What can we learn from Plato about addressing the problem and the project of our lives? What can Plato teach us about who to be and how to become? For you personally, what is the importance of desire, love, reason, and knowledge in your life? How do these values fit in your art of living?

Although reading the Symposium is pretty easy as far as philosophy tomes go, you may find the video lectures by the Stanford professors to be more accessible. The discussion will also more closely follow the content of these three 50 minute videos about the text and its relevance to The Art of Living:

• "Visions of Love" by Kenneth Taylor ( • "It is not Hard at all to Challenge Socrates" by Joshua Landy ( • "A Life of Reason? Socrates v. Alcibiades" by R. Lanier Anderson ( Read the text which is freely available on-line as either a Gutenberg eText for Plato's Symposium ( or a Librivox audiobook of ( Plato's Symposium (

This is the first discussion in a series inspired by an accessible, exquisite, free on-line course The Art of Living ( ), three Stanford professors discuss five great works to explore how philosophy and literature can help us practice the art of living. The three lecturers are Kenneth Taylor, Joshua Landy, and R. Lanier Anderson and the five works are Plato's "Symposium", Shakespeare's "Hamlet", Kierkegaard's "Fear and Trembling", Nietzsche's "The Gay Science", and Toni Morrison's "Song of Solomon". The course video lectures will guide our exploration of "The Art of Living" in a multidimensional way. For an overview of the topic, please watch the 50 minute video Introduction to The Art of Living (

These are links to the other meetups in The Art of Living series:

1. The Art of Living: Love and Reason in Plato's Symposium

2. The Art of Living: Authenticity, Defiance and Right Action in Hamlet (

3. The Art of Living: Faith in Kierkegaard (

4. The Art of Living: Art, Science, Uniqueness and Affirmation in Nietzsche (

5. The Art of Living: Self and Community in "Song of Solomon" (

6. The Art of Living: Engaging the Project of our Lives (