Episode 100: Plato’s Symposium Live Celebration!

Plato at 100 episodesMark, Seth, Wes, Dylan, and Philosophy Bro walk a live audience through Plato's dialogue about love, sex, self-improvement, and ancient Greek pederasty. You can also choose to watch this on video.

Is love just a feeling, or does it make the world go 'round? Does love make you better, or make you weak? What's the difference between good love and bad love (and is any love bad)? Plato gives us a whole panel of related but conflicting opinions through the mouths of his characters here, including not only Socrates and his predictable "when you love in the right way, you're really loving the good itself," but comedic playwright Aristophanes (love completes us, literally!), mooning Athenian statesman Alcibiades, and a bunch of other historical figures who are to varying degrees fixated on teenage boys.

The big show, recorded 7/20/14 in Middleton, WI, in front of an audience of PEL fans who traveled in to see us, starts off with a tune from Mark Lint featuring Rei Tangko, followed by Philosophy Bro doing his magic thing to give you background on Plato's "Apology" (which you should recall from our first episode), then the main event, followed by some Q&A from audience members and Daniel Horne reading webcam viewer comments. Read more about the topic and get the book.

The Mark Lint tunes here are "Nothing in This World But You," then (bumped to the end of this recording), "Feeling Time," "Find You Out," "Adds Up to Nothing," "Granted," and a brand new one, "I Demand It."

This picture of Plato is by Genevieve Arnold for PEL.

Video by Glenn Loos-Austin. Watch on YouTube. Jump to Symposium part of the video.


  1. Nathan says

    On the dynamism undercutting overly-philosophical dichotomies, I noticed you all jumped past Hegel. Obviously Kierkegaard takes a more individualistic approach (which helps the philosopher make it all about his or herself) — but several times some of you (and one audience member) suggested how this “third term” dynamism could play out metaphysically or ontologically besides in Heraclitus… and this is my long-winded way of saying “Hegel.” — Right? But like for love: “Love is about neither being the Lover nor possessing the Beloved, but Loving,” or something like that in cryptic German.

    Anyways, really cool and really, really engaging episode. Probably the best; video really made it.

  2. james says

    In that kind of a venue, and with a live audience, it seems like you guys lose some of the intimacy and explorativeness of the normal podcast, but it’s cool that you observed the occasion! It really is such a fantastic podcast. Philosophy can seem pretty walled off in academia and certain kinds of formal journalism, at least in mainstream US culture if there is such a thing… as though it’s something regular folks aren’t supposed to touch in quite the same ways we’re allowed to do with literature or politics or history, or even science… which is what makes it so exciting and nourishing to “sit in” with a group of such smart and thoughtful folks, who are outside of the standard channels, but still really digging into the stuff for themselves. Anyway, you guys are great, and I hope you do 100 more shows!

  3. Rachael W says

    Did I hear Mark say, “Love is like a liquid puppy”? I would really like that to be a Valentine’s Day card. Or else a song (maybe for the episode on ugliness/disgust??).

  4. Alexis says

    That was so much fun to have a video. After listening for close to 5 years I loved having a whole person to go with the voice. Thank you for all 100 episodes!

  5. says

    OK, in parts it was hilarious, especially the send-up of Alcibiades, nevertheless I do feel that the infantile flippancy with which you treated the topic of pederasty in the ancient Greek world was too much even for comic effect. As you acknowledged in the previous episode, the more distant the work in time and place, the more you may need secondary literature to elucidate it. In this case, Foucault’s Usage des Plaisirs would have gotten you a long way. I also feel that the absence of eroticization of male-female love in the dialogue needs to be problematized and that, were one to do so, this would lead into a deep critique of the patriarchal bias in all historical culture. Talking of which, isn’t it about time to engage with some feminist thought on the show?


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