Erôs, Song and Philosophy in Plato raises critical issues regarding how Plato treats song and philosophy in erotic contexts in his attempt to rewrite, to some degree, the cultural tradition. A question that seems to be repeatedly raised throughout the Platonic dialogues is why it is precisely song that needs to be put aside before we can start doing philosophy – as a more serious and perfect kind of song. This book highlights the importance of this key thematic cluster of beauty, erôs, and song. Chara Kokkiou argues that there is a constant interplay among erotic, musical-poetic and spatial motifs and the way those are incorporated into the very essence of philosophical dialectic is indicative of the unique nature of Plato’s philosophy. Her analysis centers on paiderastia and mousikos erôs, which, if thoroughly purified, contribute significantly to the composition of Socrates’ portrait as mousikos philosophos. The Socratic philosophical logos displays reformed erotic and song-authorized patterns, such as inspiration and healing. Through a close reading of certain Platonic passages and detailed attention to both choral and mythical motifs in the eschatological myths of Republic and Phaedo, and to the descriptions of locus amoenus in Phaedrus and Laws, Kokkiou demonstrates that Plato, through his painstakingly purged philosophical model, delineates the route towards the creation of a cultural and intellectual ideal. In this way, he establishes a dominant philosophical authority.
Chara Kokkiou is an instructor of philosophy at Tulane University.
Chapter 1: Paths to Wisdom
Chapter 2: Erotic Madness and Inappropriate Praise
Chapter 3: Speaking Versus Singing. Philosophy as a Performing Art
Chapter 4: Philosophy as an Exercise in Cultural Memory
Chapter 5: Envisaging Plato’s Fragmented Muse of Philosophy
Chapter 6: Encore! Instead of a Conclusion