The hybris of Socrates: A Platonic 'revaluation of values' in the Symposium

Desmond, William (2005) The hybris of Socrates: A Platonic 'revaluation of values' in the Symposium. Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society2005. pp. 43-63.

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In the final speech of Plato's Symposium, the young, aristocratic Alcibiades accuses Socrates of being characteristically hybristu. This is a startling claim that requires explanation, in relation both to the rest of the Symposium and to Plato's broader ethical and metaphysical concerns. Previous interpretations of the meaning and purpose of Alcibiades' speech miss the main point: namely, the notion of a philosphical or Socratic hybris complements the discussion by Socrates-Diotima of the ideal nature of eros. Just as all desire in fact aims at eternal ends, so the Platonic philosopher acts 'hybristically', by typically asserting his own activity and insights vis-a-vis temporal, contingent values. Therefore, Alcibiades' speech should be understood in the context of a more general Platonic 'revaluation of values' that reorients traditional words and concepts towards ideal ends.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: hybris; socrates; platonic; symposium;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > Ancient Classics
Item ID: 930
Depositing User: Dr William Desmond
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2008
Journal or Publication Title: Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society2005
Publisher: Irish Philosophical Society
Refereed: Yes

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