Fragments from the Notebooks
Notes on the Phaedrus of Plato
What did Plato set out to accomplish when he wrote the dialogue we know as the Phaedrus? There, in the myths of both Socrates and ____, we find erotic dreams of an allegorical nature about our relation to the world and the nature of that world. It is these myths that hold the key to one facet of Plato's metaphysics -- a metaphysics that links us with the world and the surrounding universe. Can that metaphysics be connected with or reconciled to that of Aristotle? What place or role does objectivity play in it? Perhaps this excursion into the dialogue and beyond will show us the way toward objectivity and being.
The demonstration of existence in the dialogues of Plato, particularly the Phaedrus, can be seen if we consider briefly the typical situation presented in many of the dialogues. This is where there are one or more interlocutors engaged in a discussion of a particular philosophical topic by Socrates. This is the case in the Phaedrus where we find Phaedrus and walking outside the city of Athens. . . .
What does man's quest for perfection consist of when, as Plato writes in the Phaedrus, only god can have the necessary wisdom (to understand perfection)? Socrates, in reply to Phaedrus' question gives us an answer concerning man's quest:
To call him wise, Phaedrus, would, I think be going to far; the epithet is proper only to a god. A name that would fit him better, and have more seemliness, would be "lover of wisdom". (Phaedrus, 278d)
Man to seek perfection must be a lover of wisdom, or philosopher. It is the philosopher who will come closest to knowledge and thus to the idea, god (or the Good). Man must continually exert an effort to combat his ignorance and strive for the achievement of this ideal. This point, in particular, emphasizes the importance of Plato's conception of god for his belief in the dichotomy between body and soul. . . .