Love, Friendship, Beauty, and the Good: Plato, Aristotle, and the Later Tradition

Love, Friendship, Beauty, and the Good: Plato, Aristotle, and the Later Tradition

by Kevin Corrigan

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Overview

This book tells a compelling story about love, friendship, and the Divine that took over a thousand years to unfold. It argues that mind and feeling are intrinsically connected in the thought of Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus; that Aristotle developed his theology and physics primarily from Plato's Symposium (from the ""Greater"" and ""Lesser Mysteries"" of Diotima-Socrates' speech); and that the Beautiful and the Good are not coincident classes, but irreducible Forms, and the loving ascent of the Symposium must be interpreted in the light of the Republic, as the later tradition up to Ficino saw. Against the view that Platonism is an escape from the ambiguities of ordinary experience or opposed to loving individuals for their own sakes, this book argues that Plato dramatizes the ambiguities of ordinary experience, confronts the possibility of failure, and bequeaths erotic models for the loving of individuals to later thought. Finally, it examines the Platonic-Aristotelian heritage on the Divine to discover whether God can love us back, and situates the dramatic development of this legacy in Plotinus, Iamblichus, Proclus, and Dionysius the Areopagite.

""Love, Friendship, Beauty, and the Good debunks the academic myth which has encased ancient philosophy and its later pagan and Christian permutations in a curio box, available for a sterile analytical examination, but devoid of relevance to the nitty-gritty psychology of our daily life. It takes a lifetime of experience and expertise to reexamine the relationship between being and thinking in the most Cartesian of ways. Corrigan does just this with reason and passion.""
--Svetla Slaveva-Griffin, Florida State University

""In this small volume, Corrigan shows convincingly that . . . Plato and his successors held that such experiences as love, pleasure, and desire are entirely compatible with divine transcendence, without which there can be no real immanence and no real love of individuals without the vertical dimension that makes this possible.""
--John D. Turner, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

""Kevin Corrigan, noted authority on both Plato himself and the later Platonist tradition, particularly Plotinus, has here produced a remarkable study of the role of love in both stages of that tradition.""
--John Dillon, Trinity College Dublin

""In this multifaceted gem of a book, Corrigan expertly guides us to understand more deeply and anew the perennial themes of love and friendship both in Platonism and in our own lives. . . . This is a valuable book and a model of concision.""
--Arthur Versluis, author of Platonic Mysticism

""[A]n arresting revisionist essay. . . . This book should be required reading for students of ancient philosophy and early Christian theology.""
--John Peter Kenney, Saint Michael's College

Kevin Corrigan is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Interdisciplinary Humanities, Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies, Emory University, Atlanta. He is the author of Gregory and Evagrius: Mind, Soul and Body in the 4th Century (2009); Reason, Faith and Otherness in Neoplatonic and Early Christian Thought (2017); Plotinus, Ennead VI 8: On the Voluntary and on the Free Will of the One (2017, with John D. Turner).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781532645495
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 08/03/2018
Series: Veritas , #26
Pages: 170
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.34(d)

About the Author

Kevin Corrigan is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Interdisciplinary Humanities, Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies, Emory University, Atlanta. He is the author of Gregory and Evagrius: Mind, Soul and Body in the 4th Century (2009); Reason, Faith and Otherness in Neoplatonic and Early Christian Thought (2017); Plotinus, Ennead VI 8: On the Voluntary and on the Free Will of the One (2017, with John D. Turner).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii

Abbreviations viii

Introduction ix

1 Desire, Love, and Ascent through the Beautiful to the Good 1

1.1 Love and desire 4

1.2 Intellect and desire 9

1.3 Ascent to the beautiful and the good: Aristotle, Metaphysics 12.7 12

1.4 Ascent to the beautiful and the good: Plato, the Symposium and Republic 23

1.5 Plato and Aristotle 27

1.6 Alcinous 31

1.7 Plotinus (and Porphyry) 32

1.8 Proclus 37

1.9 Marsilio Ficino 44

1.10 Conclusions 45

2 Friendship and Love of the Individual 50

2.1 Friendship in the Platonic tradition: The Lysis, Alcibiades I, and Symposium 53

2.2 Loving individuals 59

2.3 The ambiguities of ordinary experience 60

2.4 The Symposium and Pausanias speech 62

2.5 Different models of erotic friendship in the Symposium, Phaedrus, and later Platonism 65

2.6 Plotinus: lateral attachment and reflexivity 67

2.7 Proclus: Pausanias' speech in light of the Phaedrus 69

2.8 Marsilio Ficino: Pausanias' speech and the Symposium as a whole 71

2.9 Conclusions 75

3 The Problem of Divine Love 82

3.1 Pleasure, pre-inclusion, joy, and vulnerability 82

3.2 Self-relatedness, inclusion, pre-inclusion? 83

3.3 Pleasure and indivisible wholeness 86

3.4 Plotinus: the joy of existence 96

3.5 Implicate and explicate orders in Plotinus: Divine love? 102

3.6 Later Neoplatonism: Iamblichus and Proclus 105

3.7 Dionysius and Divine loving 111

Conclusion 114

Select Bibliography 127

Index Locorum 135

Index of Subjects and Names 145

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