The Symposium - with John Vervaeke & Jacob Howland

Jonathan PageauSymbolic World Icon
September 21, 2023

I sit down with John Vervaeke and Jacob Howland to discuss The Symposium, one of the great dialogues of Plato.

Professor Jacob Howland is Director of University of Austin, Texas' Intellectual Foundations program. Previously, Howland served as McFarlin Professor of Philosophy at the University of Tulsa and Senior Fellow at the Tikvah Fund. He is the author of five books and one edited book, including two on Plato’s Republic as well as studies of Kierkegaard and the Talmud. Howland’s articles have appeared in The New Criterion, City Journal, and The Nation, among others.

John Vervaeke: Jacob Howland:

  • Jacob's book, Plato and the Talmud:
  • John Vervaeke's YouTube series, After Socrates:
  • Event in Chino, California in May, titled, 'The Quest for a Spiritual Home':

  • Plato's Dialogues, including The Symposium, are included in our The Symbolic World reading list. See here for more:

Timestamps: 00:00:00 - Coming up next 00:00:33 - Intro music 00:00:59 - Important announcement 00:02:23 - Introduction 00:03:35 - Aggression and sexuality - Aristophanes 00:06:41 - The Symposium 00:09:39 - Alcibiades 00:12:27 - Great accomplishment of Socrates 00:13:26 - Eros and the Christian ascetics 00:19:31 - Return to The Symposium: ascent and tragedy 00:23:41 - What makes the difference? 00:25:41 - Asceticism and seduction 00:29:08 - The longing of Alcibiades 00:33:44 - The Aristophanes myth 00:37:06 - Organic unity VS the Tower of Babel 00:40:04 - Natural polarity 00:42:58 - Custom 00:47:41 - The lover of wisdom 00:50:22 - The gift from God and the gadfly 00:54:35 - The ground of intelligibility 00:57:06 - The secret of asceticism 00:58:55 - The ladder of ascent 01:01:49 - Babel 01:05:18 - Engaged detachment 01:08:50 - Tragedy and comedy 01:12:46 - Where does this drive come from? 01:23:47 - The key difference 01:30:44 - The source 01:40:01 - Final remarks 01:41:50 - Event

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Our website designers: My intro was arranged and recorded by Matthew Wilkinson.

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