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 Online Intensive - Plato on Love and Language

Agora Foundation Online Intensive -
Plato on Love and Language - Three Dialogues
Gorgias, Symposium, Phaedrus
Thursday Evenings - July 11 to September 12
5:30-7:00PM Pacific

revisd 8-10-23 Eric Stull.jpg

Eric Stull

Sessions will be facilitated by Eric Stull.

The English writer who has had the most to say on both subjects tells us, to cite only two examples, “I love to hear her speak, yet well I know / That music hath a far more pleasing sound” (sonnet 130) and “I think this tale would win my daughter too” (Othello, 1.3.170).  Of these should we say, this is love’s doing, or this is the words’ doing?  Either way is it not marvelous in our eyes? (cf. Psalm 118:23)  Speech – like its engraver, writing – captivates, encourages, bewitches, persuades, terrifies, enraptures, clarifies, infuriates, amuses – and does many other things besides.  So does writing, to judge by the evident immortality of the words quoted. What does the love of speeches have to do with love simply? Is there human love without language? Does the language of love breed the love of language, or vice versa? The ability to call forth love by way of words is a power. Is this power – the power to re-present things as they are, or by playing a game of mimetic manipulation to make them appear other than as they are – the origin of politics? And does it thus turn speech into action? Why does the city, the polis, in which politics comes to be, seem to bring forth both the sophist and the philosopher, and why do they look alike to the city? Plato’s Gorgias gives us a conversation between the two and raises a question about what they look like to the young one aspiring to life in the city. In the Symposium, some fashionable citizens drink to love by speaking about it, and we wonder whether love in fact makes an appearance, if only a cameo, and whether the conditions present in the conversation are ripest for its entrance.  Are love and language coming together or flying apart? In the Phaedrus, we go outside the walls of the city, to enact somehow, in a one-on-one conversation about love and writing, what the city seems to need within if it is truly to be one: friendship, upon the gentle ground of which love and speech may find a place to meet. Can rhetoric (child of the goddess Persuasion?) find a happy home in the city after all?


Online seminars in this series will take place on Thursday evenings, 5:30-7:00PM Pacific Time. Attendees will be mailed the texts. Sessions will be facilitated by Eric Stull. Groups will be limited to 16 participants and no prior knowledge is required. Teachers will be offered 2 CEU credits for participating. This ten-week series is $600. Community of Lifelong Learner subscribers receive a discount of $50 through a refund. Payment options are available. 

Make one $600 payment.  (subscribers receive a $500 refund)

Make three monthly payments
of $200 (subscribers receive a
$50 refund)


Plato on Love and Language
July 11 to September 12 - 5:30-7:00PM Pacific


1) Plato, Gorgias, translated by Joe Sachs
Focus Publishing, ISBN: 9781585102990 (also includes Aristotle’s Rhetoric)

2) Plato, Symposium and Phaedrus, translated by Joe Sachs
Paul Dry Books, ISBN: 9781589881778

Dates and Curriculum - Plato on Love and Language

1) Session One
Thursday, July 11

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Gorgias, 447a-486d


2) Session Two 
Thursday, July 18

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Gorgias, 486d-527e


3) Session Three
Thursday, July 25

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Gorgias, work as a whole

4) Session Four
Thursday, August 1

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Symposium, 172a-201c


5) Session Five
Thursday, August 8

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Symposium, 201d-223d

6) Session Six
Thursday, August 15

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Symposium, work as a whole

7) Session Seven
Thursday, August 22

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Phaedrus, 227a-257b

8) Session Eight
Thursday, August 29

5:30-7:00PM PST

Phaedrus, 257c-279c

9) Session Nine
Thursday, September 5

5:30-7:00PM PST

Phaedrus, work as a whole


10) Session Ten
Thursday, September 12

5:30-7:00PM PST

Discussion of series as a whole

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