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Afternoon Tea with Plato's "Lysis"

All Stanford students are invited to join Zephyr for this afternoon tea and discussion of Plato's charming dialogue about friendship.

Afternoon Tea with Plato's "Lysis"
Afternoon Tea with Plato's "Lysis"

Time & Location

Mar 08, 2024, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Palo Alto, 2345 Dartmouth St, Palo Alto, CA 94306, USA

About the Event

All Stanford students are invited to join Rupert Sparling (PhD Candidate, Philosophy) on Friday, the 8th of March for a discussion of Plato's dialogue Lysis over afternoon tea.

The Lysis one of Plato’s most charming dialogues—and goes down especially well with a pot of tea.  The dialogue is primarily about Friendship. Socrates comes upon two young men in a wrestling school: Lysis and his friend Menexenus. The latter is somewhat infatuated with the former. As a means of getting the former to see this fact about the latter, Socrates sets up a conversation about friendship and personal affection. The discussion starts with fairly practical questions about what a friend might be but also surveys some deep valleys in philosophical ethics.

This will be a chance to read through segments of the dialogue and discuss the questions which arise over cake and fine tea. These questions include:

  1. (207-210) What is it to like another person? Does it really come down to utility as Plato appears to suggest?
  2. (214-216) Do you have friends because they are similar to you, or because they are dissimilar to you?
  3. (217-218) Is friendship borne of some imperfection in ourselves or the friend or the world at large? If the world were perfect, would we even need friends?
  4. (219-221) Friendship seems concerned with a sort of intrinsic care. We value our friend for their own sake. What could this amount do and why should it matter from an ethical perspective? Does Plato articulate an important philosophical distinction here?

Greek is not required. No philosophical background is required. All that is required is some version of the Lysis. (Stanley Lombardo's translation can be found here.) Bringing friends is encouraged but not required.

Inquiries concerning this event should be directed to Landon Hobbs.

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