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Encyclopedia > Rival Lovers
This article is part of the series:
The Dialogues of Plato
Early dialogues:
Apology - Charmides - Crito
Euthyphro - First Alcibiades
Hippias Major - Hippias Minor
Ion - Laches - Lysis
Early/middle dialogues:
Euthydemus - Gorgias
Menexenus - Meno
Protagoras
Middle dialogues:
Cratylus - Phaedo - Phaedrus
The Republic - Symposium
Later middle dialogues:
Parmenides - Theaetetus
Late dialogues:
The SophistThe Statesman
Timaeus - Critias
Philebus - Laws
Of doubtful authenticity:
ClitophonEpinomis
Epistles - Hipparchus
Minos - Rival Lovers
Second Alcibiades - Theages

Rival Lovers (Greek: Ἐρασταί) is a Socratic dialogue included in the traditional corpus of Plato's works, though its authenticity has been doubted. Image File history File links Plato-raphael. ... (The) Apology (of Socrates) is Platos version of the speech given by Socrates as he defends himself against the charges of being a man who corrupted the young, did not believe in the gods, and created new deities. Apology here has its earlier meaning (now usually expressed by the... The Charmides (Greek: ) is a dialogue of Plato, discussing the nature and utility of temperance. ... The Crito (IPA [kriːtɔːn]; in English usually [ˈkɹiːtɘʊː]) is a short but important dialogue by the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato. ... Euthyphro is one of Platos known early dialogues. ... The First Alcibiades or Alcibiades I is a dialogue featuring Alcibiades in conversation with Socrates, ascribed to Plato, but his authorship is doubtful, though probably written by someone within a century or two of Platos other works. ... Hippias Major (or What is Beauty) is one of the dialogues of Plato. ... Hippias Minor (or On Lying) is one of Platos early dialogues, written while the author was still young, although the exact date has not been established. ... Platos Ion aims to give an account of poetry in dialogue form. ... Laches, also known as Courage, is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato, and concerns the topic of courage. ... Lysis is one of the socratic dialogues written by Plato and discusses the nature of friendship. ... Euthydemus (Euthydemos), written 380 BCE, is dialogue by Plato which satirizes the logical fallacies of the Sophists. ... Gorgias refers to the last dialogue that Plato wrote before leaving Athens. ... The Menexenus is a Socratic dialogue of Plato, traditionally included in the seventh tetralogy along with the Greater and Lesser Hippias and the Ion. ... Meno is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato. ... Protagoras is the title of one of Platos dialogues. ... Cratylus (Κρατυλος) is the name of a dialogue by Plato, written in approximately 360 BC. In the dialogue, Socrates is asked by two men, Cratylus and Hermogenes, to advise them whether names are conventional or natural, that is, whether language is a system of arbitrary signs or whether words have an... It has been suggested that Phaidon be merged into this article or section. ... Platos Phaedrus is a dialogue between Socrates and Phaedrus. ... The Republic (Greek: ) is an influential work of philosophy and political theory by the Greek philosopher Plato, written in approximately 360 BC. It is written in the format of a Socratic dialogue. ... The Symposium is a philosophical dialogue of Plato, written sometime after 385 BCE. It is a gathering of intellectually diverse, and apparently wise men who are of one mind about love, that the best kind is between an older man, the erastes, and his beloved boy, the eromenos. ... Parmenides is one of the dialogues of Plato. ... The Theætetus (Θεαιτητος) is one of Platos great dialogues. ... The Sophist (Greek: Σοφιστής) is one of the late Dialogues of Plato, which was written much more lately than the Parmenides and the Theaetetus, probably in 360 BC.After he criticized his own Theory of Forms in the Parmenides, Plato proceeds in the Sophist with a new conception of the Forms... The Statesman, or Politikos in Greek and Politicus in Latin, is a four part dialogue contained within the work of Plato. ... Timaeus is a theoretical treatise of Plato in the form of a Socratic dialogue, written circa 360 BC The work puts forward speculation on the nature of the physical world. ... Critias, a dialogue of Platos, speaks about a variety of subjects. ... Philebus is among the last of the late Socratic dialogues of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. ... The Laws is Platos last and longest dialogue. ... The Clitophon, a dialogue generally ascribed to Plato, is significant for focusing on Socrates role as an exhorter of other people to engage in philosophic inquiry. ... The Epinomis is a dialogue in the style of Plato, but today considered spurious by most scholars. ... The Epistles of Plato are a series of thirteen letters traditionally included in the Platonic corpus. ... The Hipparchus is a dialogue attributed to the classical Greek philosopher and writer Plato. ... Minos is one of the dialogues of Plato, featuring Socrates and a Companion. ... The Second Alcibiades or Alcibiades II is a dialogue ascribed to Plato, featring Alcibiades conversing with Socrates, but there is a general consensus amongst scholars that this text is spurious, though again probably written by someone within a century or two of Platos other works. ... Theages is one of the dialogues of Plato, featuring Demodocus, Socrates and Theages. ... Socratic dialogue (Greek Σωκρατικός λόγος or Σωκρατικός διάλογος), is a prose literary form developed in Greece at the turn of the fourth century BCE, preserved today in the dialogues of Plato and the Socratic works of Xenophon - either dramatic or narrative - in which characters discuss moral and philosophical problems. ... For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ...

Contents

Title

The Greek title Erastai is the plural form of the term erastēs, which refers to the older and active partner in a pederastic relationship. Since such a relationship consists of an erastēs and an erōmenos, the title Lovers, sometimes used for this dialogue, makes sense only if understood in the technical sense of "lover" versus "beloved" but is misleading if taken to refer to two people in a love relationship. An ancient variant of the title, possibly original, was Anterastai (Ἀντερασταί), which specifically means "Rival erastai." This term, used in the dialogue itself (132c5, 133b3), in Plato's Republic (521b5), and in earlier Greek literature (Aristophanes, Knights 733), is mentioned as the dialogue's title (together with a subtitle, On Philosophy) in Diogenes Laertius' listing of the Thrasyllan tetralogies (3.59). The Latin translations Amatores and Rivales have also been used as the dialogue's title. In the pederastic tradition of Classical Athens, the eromenos (Greek ἐρόμενος, pl. ... Pederastic courtship scene Athenian black-figure amphora, 5th c. ... In the pederastic tradition of Classical Athens, the eromenos (Greek ἐρόμενος, pl. ... The Republic (Greek: ) is an influential work of philosophy and political theory by the Greek philosopher Plato, written in approximately 360 BC. It is written in the format of a Socratic dialogue. ... Sketch of Aristophanes Aristophanes (Greek: , c. ... Aristophanes play The Knights is an unbridled criticism of Cleon, one of the most powerful men in ancient Athens. ... Diogenes Laërtius, the biographer of the Greek philosophers, is supposed by some to have received his surname from the town of Laerte in Cilicia, and by others from the Roman family of the Laërtii. ... Thrasyllus of Mendes was an Egyptian astrologer, astronomer and mathematician who lived during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius, whom he served. ... For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ...


Synopsis

The rival erastai of the title are a devotee of wrestling and athletics, who disparages philosophy as shameful nonsense, and a young man who cultivates mousikē (a term embracing music, poetry, and philosophy). As the dialogue opens, they are quarrelling, at a grammarian's school in the presence of the boy they love and of other boys and young men, over the question whether philosophizing is noble and admirable (kalon).


Socrates inserts himself into the quarrel. When he begins by questioning the musical rival's claim to know what philosophizing is, he gets the answer that philosophy is polymathy. With the help of the athletic rival, who knows that the good of exercise depends on being done in the right amount (not the maximum amount), Socrates points out that the same is true of most good things, and turns to asking what kind of things the one who philosophizes (loves wisdom) ought to learn, if the object is not simply to know all or many things (135a). The musical rival suggests that the philosopher, while not needing to bother himself with the hands-on practicalities (cheirourgia, 135b), should aspire to a level of understanding in all the arts (technai) such that he is second only to the expert in that particular field—still a kind of polymathy. Socrates challenges this suggestion by forcing the would-be philosopher to admit that, in any conceivable particular circumstance, the philosopher would be useless in comparison to a true expert on the matter (e.g., a physician or a ship's pilot). Socrates (Greek: , invariably anglicized as , SÇ’cratÄ“s; circa 470–399 BCE) was an ancient Greek philosopher who is widely credited for laying the foundation for Western philosophy. ... Leonardo da Vinci is seen as an epitome of the Renaissance man or polymath. ...


Accordingly, Socrates develops an alternative account of the philosopher's proper interest, based on the premise that goodness (which the interlocutors have agreed in ascribing to philosophy) depends critically on the knowledge how to make good and to tell good from bad, which is also the knowledge needed to deal out punishments. This knowledge, the musical rival agrees, is the knowledge of the one who serves as judge (hē dikastikē epistēmē, 137d). Socrates goes on to argue that this knowledge can be identified with justice, self-control, and self-knowledge, and with the arts practiced by the statesman, the king (or tyrant), and the head of a household (or master). The conclusion is that these are all in fact just one art (138c), one of paramount importance, in which the philosopher must be supreme.


When Socrates first met the rival lovers, he put little hope in conversation with the athletics enthusiast, who professed experience "in deeds (erga) and not in words (logoi)" (132d). But at the end he wins the crowd's applause by having shut up the "wiser" young man, so that it is the athletic rival who agrees with Socrates' conclusions (139a).


The entire story of the discussion is told in the first person by Socrates, without any interruption or indication what audience he addresses. At just over seven Stephanus pages, Rival Lovers is one of the shortest dialogues in the Thrasyllan canon of Plato's works (about the same length as Hipparchus, with only Clitophon being shorter). First-person narrative is a literary technique in which the story is narrated by one or more of the characters, who explicitly refers to him or herself in the first person, that is, I. The narrator is thus directly or indirectly involved in the story being told. ... Stephanus pagination is the system of reference and organisation used in the works of Plato. ... The Hipparchus is a dialogue attributed to the classical Greek philosopher and writer Plato. ... The Clitophon, a dialogue generally ascribed to Plato, is significant for focusing on Socrates role as an exhorter of other people to engage in philosophic inquiry. ...


Criticism

Question of authenticity

It is generally agreed that the dialogue was written in the second half of the fourth century BC and expresses the philosophical views, if not of Plato, then at least of an Academic writer of this period. (5th century BC - 4th century BC - 3rd century BC - other centuries) (2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC - 1st millennium AD) Events Invasion of the Celts into Ireland Kingdom of Macedon conquers Persian empire Romans build first aqueduct Chinese use bellows The Scythians are beginning to be absorbed into the Sarmatian... An academy is an institution for the study of higher learning. ...


Stallbaum's verdict is typical of a long-held scholarly consensus: the language and style are irreproachable and worthy of Plato or Xenophon, but the material is not developed in a way worthy of Plato's philosophical mind.[1] If the dialogue is post-Platonic, then perhaps it argues against Aristotle's insistence that the kinds of authority wielded by a king, a politician, and a master are multiple and essentially separate from each other.[2] (On the other hand, it is possible that Aristotle refers in his works to Rival Lovers.[3]) Johann Gottfried Stallbaum (September 25, 1793 - January 24, 1861), German classical scholar, was born at Zaasch, near Delitzsch in Saxony. ... Xenophon, Greek historian Xenophon (In Greek , c. ... Aristotle (Greek: Aristotélēs) (384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ...


Rehabilitation

In a 1985 article, Julia Annas made a notable defense of the dialogue's possible value as an authentically Platonic production. Annas disagrees that the burden of proof need be on the proponent of the work's authenticity and proceeds from the premise that Rival Lovers "contain[s] no decisive indications either for or against authenticity" and that the most any investigation can accomplish is to "make it plausible that the Lovers is an early work by Plato."[4] Her several arguments that this is plausible center on the claim that, if Rival Lovers and First Alcibiades are genuine, they provide an otherwise missing background in Plato's thinking against which to understand his treatment of self-knowledge in Charmides. 1985 (MCMLXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Julia Annas (Ph. ... The First Alcibiades or Alcibiades I is a dialogue featuring Alcibiades in conversation with Socrates, ascribed to Plato, but his authorship is doubtful, though probably written by someone within a century or two of Platos other works. ... The Charmides (Greek: ) is a dialogue of Plato, discussing the nature and utility of temperance. ...


Notes

  1. ^ Stallbaum, p. 265. For recent objections in this vein, see Annas, p. 112 n. 4, with references.
  2. ^ Hutchinson, p. 618.
  3. ^ Annas, p. 117 n. 23.
  4. ^ Annas, pp. 111-112.

References

  • Julia Annas, "Self-knowledge in Early Plato." In Platonic Investigations, ed. Dominic J. O'Meara, pp. 111-138. Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1985.
  • D.S. Hutchinson, introduction to Rival Lovers. In Plato: Complete Works, ed. John M. Cooper, pp. 618-619. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1997.
  • Gottfried Stallbaum, "Prolegomena in Rivales." In Platonis opera omnia, vol. 6, sect. 2, pp. 265-267. Gotha and Erfurt: Hennings, 1836.

External links


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