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Intro to Philosophy: Plato's, The Lysis

Gregory B. Sadler, Marist College

Introduction to Philosophy (class), Fall 2013, we begin our study bearing on topics of love, friendship, and desire by focusing specifically on one of Plato's early, aporetic dialogues, "the Lysis", in which the central theme is the nature of friendship.

We start by a bit of discussion of the structure, characters, and setting of the dialogue, and some pointers on how to "read between the lines" when approaching a Platonic dialogue. Then, we explore some of the various models of love or friendship set out in the course of the dialogue -- hitting on topics like love as infatuation, the love of a responsible caregiver, love for things one is passionate about, friendship or love as stemming from need and usefulness, friendship as mutual love or affection, friendship based on commonality or similarity, who can be friends with whom. . . and we finish by introducing the notion of the " congenial" (to oikeion) or "befitting".

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