A Forum for and the Background of the Mediation of Dialogue in Ancient and Modern Academies

Friday, 27 February 2015

APA Central Division and Divine Metaphysics of Pleasure at a Time of Arctic Winds

I found the APA Central Division in St. Louis quite good. Many ancient philosophy people, very competent papers and wonderful meetings with colleagues I had not seen for ages. Once again, we experienced, among other things, that and how Plato's writing raises a kind of "educational mirror" and motivates us to find ourselves and our own direction and take on our responsibility by following this direction to the end: I commented a friend's paper on the "disunity of pleasure" in the Philebus (Emily Fletcher), which I found very challenging regarding the unity of pleasure in this dialogue: so challenging that I had to take a step which I had not taken in my pure pleasure study and come up with a better common feature for all pleasures than the ones that have been attributed to the Platonic pleasures so far (pleasure as restoration of a disturbed natural equilibrium, or unlimited, or becoming). We agree with Emily that all these attempts fail to unify all pleasures, but draw different conclusions. I was happy I had the opportunity to highlight the divine and inventive undertaking of Platonic dialectic and metaphysics of pleasure: we listen to others’ views (how rare that is!) and do not classify existing kinds, nor reclassify bits and pieces of past dialogues. Instead, in the spirit of Plato himself, we inventively create new pleasures.

Genuine dialogue took place at the session, and much more of it followed. Very interesting and fruitful indeed.

Now that I am back in London, it's too cold. This cold hurts. Ella Fitzgerald is good for the season. A fantastic production in Toronto of Wagner's opera Die Walkuere made me feel at home on this continent. Finally good culture on this side! I almost erased from my memory that I had to put up with a two-hour delay (Greyhound bus services) afterwards. Thanks to Wagner and for a moment, I had thought I am in Germany. Nope.

                                          From the last scene of Wagner's "Die Walkuere".