Erosophia. Or: the Love/Lack of Wisdom

Belmonte, N. (2017). Erosophia. Or: the Love/Lack of Wisdom. PhaenEx, 12(1), 1-17.

Excerpt: We are told by the Ancients that a philosopher is a “friend” (philos) of wisdom. One’s philoi are those dear to you. In Homer, philos can also mean “proper,” “very own”—as in my very own hand or my own dear heart (Iliad, H130; E155). So wisdom would seem to belong to the philosopher, and s/he to it, like family, or a precious possession. The two are made of the same stuff. But Plato himself seemed convinced that the pursuit of wisdom begins not with belonging but attraction. In book six of the Republic, mid-way, at the climax of the dialogue, after convincing his interlocutors that the beautiful city (kalipolis) must be governed by lovers of wisdom (philosophoi), Socrates is asked how it is that some people become philosophers. Socrates’ answer is love. The thing about “philosophic natures” (philosophon physeon) is that they are always “in love” (erosin) with learning (mathematos) that “might reveal” (deloi) to them “the things that always are” (tes ousias tes aei ousias). It is the intervention of a god (Eros). This is not a matter of a single metaphor. His Symposium and Phaedrus address this erotic intervention, describing it while performing it. Philosophoi it seems identify themselves not by what they have, but what they desire; they are first and foremost erosophoi.

So why philo-sophia? “Philos” is the word that holds Plato’s metaphysics. In the Republic, the soul’s love of eternal things is made possible by sameness. The soul can contemplate the Ideas because it is “akin” to them; it is immortal; it is drawn to its own. It is an ontological claim hidden in an argument from analogy.2 In the Republic, the love of wisdom that begins in desire is consummated on the basis of ontological kinship. The soul is a friend (philos) of wisdom because it belongs to the same family (oikeios).

Read the article: Belmonte, N. (2017). Erosophia. Or: the Love/Lack of Wisdom. PhaenEx, 12(1), 1-17.

(Something interesting I found)Posted:May 01 2017, 12:00 AM by jlmatelski
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