Hermes as Eros in Plato's Lysis

History of the Human Sciences 26 (5):0952695113500799 (2013)

This article examines how Plato uses mythological symbolisms in the Lysis, specifically those of Hermes, to show how our experience of the good makes possible our capacity to love our friend as an individual, and in so doing overturns the static dualities usually associated with Plato’s ‘metaphysics’. Instead of appealing to allegedly impersonal ideas, Plato refigures Greek mythological understandings of Hermes to signal, first, that friendship is a movement of divine love in which human beings participate and to which they are reoriented so that they may behold their friend as an individual, as a person, and second, that this reorientation is needed to place the dialectical inquiry into friendship upon proper starting points. Instead of eclipsing the individual in the shadow of impersonal ideas, Plato appeals to Hermes, the most human, most creative and thus most political, of Olympians, whose name means windfall [hermaion], to show how we must open ourselves up to the divine in order fully to love our friend as an individual person
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DOI 10.1177/0952695113500799
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Oxford: Clarendon Press.C. J. Rowe - 1982 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 102:249.
Phaedrus. PLATO - 1956 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 1 (3):182-183.
The Iliad.M. S. Silk, Homer & M. Hammond - 1990 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 110:204-205.

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