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Eros and the City

Eros and the City

(p.163) Chapter 8 Eros and the City
Encounters & Reflections
University of Chicago Press

This chapter is a conversation among three students—Michael, Ronna, and Robert—and their professor Seth Benardete at the University of Chicago. In the chapter, Benardete talks about the human shape and what it meant for Plato or for Homer. The conversation focuses on the human shape in Socrates' myth in the Phaedrus and being human defined by having had some vision of the beings. In Aristophanes' speech in the Symposium, the human shape means law, whereas in Phaedrus it turns out to mean speech. The whole teleological problem is contained within the notion of the human shape. The fact that men choose to be animals in the Phaedrus—they can choose whatever they want although they come back to men ultimately—means that they do not know that there is a connection between their aspirations and their humanity.

Keywords:   Seth Benardete, human shape, Plato, Homer, Phaedrus, Symposium

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