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As an antidote to Plato I would suggest Damasio, Descartes' [sic] Error. 

Plato's epistemology is grounded in his politics. Implicit in all the
dialogues (and explicit in most) is the analogy between the person and the
state, and this analogy depends on a radical separation of thought and
action / brain (mind) and body. Deny this separation and the argument in
this dialogue is empty. 

Carrol


> -----Original Message-----
> From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
> Behalf Of Tom Colket
> Sent: Friday, August 23, 2013 2:30 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: FW: TWL as ground.
> 
> 
> In case anyone is interseted, I found a 2008 post of mine in the TSE
archives
> in which I explored the topic of Phlebas in more depth. I'm re-posting it
> below.
> 
> 
> -- Tom --
> 
> =======================================
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Subject: Re: Dans le Restaurant
> 
> 
> From: Tom Colket [log in to unmask]
> 
> 
> Reply-To: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.
> 
> 
> Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2008 11:43:49 -0400
> 
> 
> 10/9/08
> 
> In an essay on "Dans le Restaurant", William Arrowsmith asserts that the
> name "Phlebas" is a reference to one of the dialogues of Plato, namely,
> the "Philebus". It is interesting to note that the name "Philebus" means
> "youth lover".
> 
> I've read the dialogue, and it certainly contains lines that directly
> relate to some of the themes of the poem that we have been discussing.
> For example, the poetic reference to Phlebas as being 'handsome and
> tall' seems to come almost verbatim from passage 48d and 48e cited later
> in this email.
> 
> Before I get into specific passages, I'll note that I'm using the
> on-line translation from http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/. Search for
> "Philebus" to bring up the lines cited in this email.
> 
> The basic discussion in this Plato dialogue is between Philebus, who
> argues that pleasure is the greatest good, and Socrates, who argues that
> the greatest good is found in things like wisdom and knowledge and
> memory.
> 
> Here is a statement of the main issue of the dialogue:
> 
> --------------------
> [11b]
> Socrates
> Very well: Philebus says that to all living beings enjoyment and
> pleasure and gaiety and whatever accords with that sort of thing are a
> good; whereas our contention is that not these, but wisdom and thought
> and memory and their kindred, right opinion and true reasonings,
> [11c] are better and more excellent than pleasure for all who are
> capable of taking part in them, and that for all those now existing or
> to come who can partake of them they are the most advantageous of all
> things. Those are pretty nearly the two doctrines we maintain, are they
> not, Philebus?
> 
> Philebus
> Yes, Socrates, exactly.
> ------------------------------
> 
> I found it interesting that "memory" is a topic of the dialogue. In
> "Dans", the waiter is haunted by a childhood memory that lasted for only
> an "instant of power and delirium" but that he has remembered his entire
> adult life. Also, Plebas, in death, is noted as "forgetting" the
> adventure/money/sex that drove him during his lifetime.
> 
> Here is a passage about memory from "Philebus", where Socrates points
> out that the **memory** of pleasure is as important a component as the
> original pleasure itself:
> 
> ----------------------------
> [21c] Socrates
> And likewise, if you had no memory you could not even remember that you
> ever did enjoy pleasure, and no recollection whatever of present
> pleasure could remain with you; if you had no true opinion you could not
> think you were enjoying pleasure at the time when you were enjoying it,
> and if you were without power of calculation you would not be able to
> calculate that you would enjoy it in the future; your life would not be
> that of a man, but of a mollusc or some other shell-fish like the
> oyster.
> --------------------------------
> 
> 
> In this next passage, the point is made that 'desire' comes from a
> person's soul, not from the needs of the body:
> -------------------------------------
> [34e]
> Socrates
> We say of a thing on any particular occasion, "it's thirsty," do we not?
> 
> Protarchus
> Of course.
> 
> Socrates
> And that means being empt[35a] Socrates
> Of drink, or of being filled with drink?
> 
> Protarchus
> Of being filled, I suppose.
> 
> Socrates
> The man, then, who is empty desires, as it appears, the opposite of what
> he feels for, being empty, he longs to be filled.
> 
> Protarchus
> That is very plain.
> 
> Socrates
> Well then, is there any source from which a man who is empty at first
> can gain a comprehension, whether by perception or by memory, of
> fulness, a thing which he does not feel at the time and has never felt
> before?
> 
> Protarchus
> It cannot be done.
> 
> [35b] Socrates
> And yet he who desires, desires something, we say.
> 
> Protarchus
> Of course.
> 
> Socrates
> And he does not desire that which he feels; for he is thirsty, and that
> is emptiness, but he desires fulness.
> 
> Protarchus
> Yes.
> 
> Socrates
> Then somehow some part of him who is thirsty can apprehend fulness.
> 
> Protarchus
> Yes, obviously.
> 
> Socrates
> But it cannot be the body, for that is empty.
> 
> Protarchus
> True.
> 
> Socrates
> The only remaining possibility is that the soul apprehends it,
> [35c] which it must do by means of memory; for what other means could it
> employ?
> 
> Protarchus
> No other, I should say.
> 
> Socrates
> And do we understand the consequences of this argument?
> 
> Protarchus
> What are the consequences?
> 
> Socrates
> This argument declares that we have no bodily desire.
> 
> Protarchus
> How so?
> 
> Socrates
> Because it shows that the endeavor of every living being is always
> towards the opposite of the actual conditions of the body.
> 
> Protarchus
> Yes, certainly.
> 
> Socrates
> And the impulse which leads towards the opposite of those conditions
> shows that there is a memory of the opposite of the conditions.
> 
> Protarchus
> Certainly.
> 
> [35d] Socrates
> And the argument, by showing that memory is that which leads us towards
> the objects of desire, has proved that all the impulse, the desire, and
> the ruling principle in every living being are of the soul.
> ----------------------------------------------------------
> 
> 
> 
> 
> In this section, the point is made that people fool themselves with
> false ideas about money, their physical appearance, and their own
> virtue. This passage seems highly likely to be the intended allusion of
> Phlebas being 'handsome and tall'. In this passage, it is stated that
> people falsely regard themselves to be more handsome or taller than they
> really are:
> 
> -----------------------------------------------
> [48d].
> Socrates
> Must not all those who do not know themselves be affected by their
> condition in one of three ways?
> 
> Protarchus
> How is that?
> 
> Socrates
> First in regard to wealth; such a man thinks he is
> [48e]
>  richer than he is.
> 
> Protarchus
> Certainly a good many are affected in that way.
> 
> Socrates
> And there are still more who think they are taller and handsomer than
> they are and that they possess better physical qualities in general than
> is the case.
> 
> Protarchus
> Certainly.
> 
> [49a] Socrates
> But by far the greatest number, I fancy, err in the third way, about the
> qualities of, the soul, thinking that they excel in virtue when they do
> not.
> 
> Protarchus
> Yes, most decidedly.
> --------------------------------------
> 
> 
> Finally, near the end of the dialogue, Socrates sums up the points made
> about pleasure versus wisdom:
> 
> 
> -----------------------------
> [60a]
> Socrates
> Philebus says that pleasure is the true goal of every living being and
> that all ought to aim at it, and that therefore this is also the good
> for all, and the two designations "good" and "pleasant" are properly and
> essentially one; Socrates, however, says that they are not one,
> [60b]
> but two in fact as in name, that the good and the pleasant differ from
> one another in nature, and that wisdom's share in the good is greater
> than pleasure's. Is not and was not that what was said, Protarchus?
> 
> Protarchus
> Yes, certainly.
> ----------------------------------
> 
>  I hope these passages stimulate some interesting discussions.
> 
> -- Tom --
>