Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 173.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
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Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 06:08:03 +0100
Subject: re 17.170 nesting and linear narratives
I had a much more long-winded way of asking this question in my "draft"
folder. I would argue that the more logical purpose for the framing
structure is rhetorical rather than satirical or ironic. That is, although I
agree the text itself is suspect, the "gist" of the story is, in fact,
legitimized for a number of reasons, including:
1) Plato can "otherize" the message so to remove the appearance of
self-interest from the subject -- a typical "Platonic/Socratic" methodology of
making something sound more truthful.
2) Diotima's philosophy comes to the reader "prepackaged" as influential (ie.
the story has already intrigued two people enough to pass it on before it
comes to the reader).
3) The reader can see not only the content of the "love" philosophy, but also
its practise by Socrates and its impact on others (ie Alcibiades).
Now you could credit Plato with some sneakiness here, but that is not the same
as suggesting he would purposely undercut his own philosophy -- especially
since he appears to take parallel subjects so seriously in his other
dialogues, and especially since the ironic force in the Symposium is already
amply supplied through Aristophanes.
Just my suggestions.
Ryan. . .
>===== Original Message From "Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard
McCarty <firstname.lastname@example.org>)" <email@example.com>
> Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 170.
> Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
> Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2003 06:13:28 +0100
> From: email@example.com
>And why would Plato do this ?
>"I've always felt that the contextualizing parts (the nested narrative) of
>Plato's dialogues subvert the "truth" these dialogues are ostentatiusly
>after, among others (the S. extremely so!) by foregrounding the
>unreliability of the report of the discussion (of which the written version
>is again a report, tainted - a Plato asserts elsewhere by the fact of being
>written). It's one of the functions of nested narratives in general, but of
>course noteworthy in the case of a philosphy of truth. "
MLIS/MPA Candidate -- Faculty of Management, Dalhousie University
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