Finding the Good Life in Symposium Essay

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Finding the Good Life in Symposium There are many different interpretations of what the good life truly is. Individualists believe that the good life is pleasing oneself, while utilitarians believe that the good life is acting for the good of the rest of society. Philosophers, too, have their own interpretation. Plato alludes to the philosopher's good life when he uses the phrase "my greatest pleasure." The inherent subjectivity of the word "my" tells the reader that philosophical conversation may not necessarily be everyone's greatest pleasure. "After all, my greatest pleasure comes from philosophical conversation, even if I'm only a listener, whether or not I think it will be to my advantage. All other talk, especially the talk…show more content…
Plato could have used the word "the," but he chose not to, because he realized not all people believe that their good life is the same as the philosopher's good life. The diversity of opinions is evident throughout the symposium, as each philosopher has a very different speech that is based on his/her own experiences and/or profession. Next in the passage comes the term "philosophical conversation." This is not simply "conversation," as if it were two friends discussing the weather or the latest gossip, but it is a more intellectual type of conversation. This conversation is much like the Symposium held in Plato's work. Though most of the speeches given in Symposium were in lecture form--that is, not taking into account what others said--Socrates' speech was much like this philosophical conversation. In his questioning Agathon and giving a speech that was a synthesis of the previous speakers' best ideas, he created a more conversational atmosphere. Plato is suggesting throughout Symposium, by having Socrates synthesize the ideas and refute previous ones, and by having Alcibiades enter abruptly, that it is conversation which will lead to more pleasure than simply a one-sided speech. One must not only espouse one's own ideas; one must be open-minded, listen to others, and make judgments based upon rational thought. The second half of the first sentence, "even if I'm only a listener,
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