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Suzanne Obdrzalek
Claremont McKenna College
  1. Why Eros?Suzanne Obdrzalek - forthcoming - In D. Ebrey and R. Kraut (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Plato.
    One of the ways in which Plato has captured the popular imagination is with the claim that the philosopher can feel erôs, passionate love, for the objects of knowledge. Why should Plato make this claim? In this chapter, I explore Plato’s treatment of philosophical erôs along three dimensions. First, I consider the source of philosophical erôs. I argue that it is grounded in our mortality and imperfection, which give rise to a desire for immortality and the immortal. Second, I turn (...)
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  2. "Platonic Dualism Reconsidered".Suzanne Obdrzalek - 2024 - Phronesis 69 (1):31-62.
    I argue that in the Phaedo, Plato maintains that the soul is located in space and is capable of locomotion and of interacting with the body through contact. Numerous interpreters have dismissed these claims as merely metaphorical, since they assume that as an incorporeal substance, the soul cannot possess spatial attributes. But careful examination of how Plato conceives of the body throughout his corpus reveals that he does not distinguish it from the soul in terms of spatiality. Furthermore, assigning spatial (...)
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  3. From Skepticism to Paralysis.Suzanne Obdrzalek - 2012 - Ancient Philosophy 32 (2):369-392.
    This paper analyzes the apraxia argument in Cicero’s Academica. It proposes that the argument assumes two modes: the evidential mode maintains that skepticism is false, while the pragmatic claims that it is disadvantageous. The paper then develops a tension between the two modes, and concludes by exploring some differences between ancient and contemporary skepticism.
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  4. Moral Transformation and the Love of Beauty in Plato’s Symposium.Suzanne Obdrzalek - 2010 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (4):415-444.
    This paper defends an intellectualist interpretation of Diotima’s speech in Plato’s Symposium. I argue that Diotima’s purpose, in discussing the lower lovers, is to critique their erōs as aimed at a goal it can never secure, immortality, and as focused on an inferior object, themselves. By contrast, in loving the form of beauty, the philosopher gains a mortal sort of completion; in turning outside of himself, he also ceases to be preoccupied by his own incompleteness.
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  5. Moral Transformation and the Love of Beauty in Plato’s Symposium.Suzanne Obdrzalek - 2010 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (4):415-44.
    This paper offers an intellectualist interpretation of Diotima’s speech in Plato’s Symposium. Diotima’s purpose, in discussing the lower lovers, is to critique their erōs as aimed at a goal it can never secure, immortality, and as focused on an inferior object, themselves. By contrast, in loving beauty, the philosopher gains a mortal sort of completion; in turning outside of himself, he also ceases to be preoccupied by his own incompleteness.
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  6. Socrates on love.Suzanne Obdrzalek - 2013 - In John Bussanich & Nicholas D. Smith (eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Socrates. Continuum. pp. 210-32.
    In this chapter, I offer an overview of current scholarly debates on Plato's Lysis. I also argue for my own interpretation of the dialogue. In the Lysis, Socrates argues that all love is motivated by the desire for one’s own good. This conclusion has struck many interpreters as unattractive, so much so that some attempt to reinterpret the dialogue, such that it either does not offer an account of interpersonal love, or that it offers an account on which love is, (...)
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  7. Aristophanic Tragedy.Suzanne Obdrzalek - 2017 - In Z. Giannopoulou & P. Destrée (eds.), The Cambridge Critical Guide to Plato’s Symposium. Cambridge University Press. pp. 70-87.
    In this paper, I offer a new interpretation of Aristophanes’ speech in Plato’s Symposium. Though Plato deliberately draws attention to the significance of Aristophanes’ speech in relation to Diotima’s (205d-206a, 211d), it has received relatively little philosophical attention. Critics who discuss it typically treat it as a comic fable, of little philosophical merit (e.g. Guthrie 1975, Rowe 1998), or uncover in it an appealing and even romantic treatment of love that emphasizes the significance of human individuals as love-objects to be (...)
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  8. Socrates on Love--revised for second edition.Suzanne Obdrzalek - forthcoming - In N. D. Smith, Ravi Sharma & Jones Rusty (eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Plato, second edition.
    In this chapter, I offer an overview of current scholarly debates on Plato's Lysis. I also argue for my own interpretation of the dialogue. In the Lysis, Socrates argues that all love is motivated by the desire for one’s own good. This conclusion has struck many interpreters as unattractive, so much so that some attempt to reinterpret the dialogue, such that it either does not offer an account of interpersonal love, or that it offers an account on which love is, (...)
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  9. Next to Godliness: Pleasure and Assimilation in God in the Philebus.Suzanne Obdrzalek - 2012 - Apeiron 45 (1):1-31.
    According to Plato's successors, assimilation to god (homoiosis theoi) was the end (telos) of the Platonic system. There is ample evidence to support this claim in dialogues ranging from the Symposium through the Timaeus. However, the Philebus poses a puzzle for this conception of the Platonic telos. On the one hand, Plato states that the gods are beings beyond pleasure while, on the other hand, he argues that the best human life necessarily involves pleasure. In this paper, I argue that (...)
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  10. Evaluative Illusion in Plato's Protagoras.Suzanne Obdrzalek - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy.
    In the Protagoras, Socrates argues that what appears to be akrasia is, in fact, the result of a hedonic illusion: proximate pleasures appear greater than distant ones. On the face of it, his account is puzzling: why should proximate pleasures appear greater than distant ones? Certain interpreters argue that Socrates must be assuming the existence of non-rational desires that cause proximate pleasures to appear inflated. In this paper, I argue that positing non-rational desires fails to explain the hedonic error. However, (...)
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  11. The philosopher’s Reward: Contemplation and Immortality in Plato’s Dialogues.Suzanne Obdrzalek - forthcoming - In Alex Long (ed.), Immortality in Ancient Philosophy.
    In dialogues ranging from the Symposium to the Timaeus, Plato appears to propose that the philosopher’s grasp of the forms may confer immortality upon him. Whatever can Plato mean in making such a claim? What does he take immortality to consist in, such that it could constitute a reward for philosophical enlightenment? And how is this proposal compatible with Plato’s insistence throughout his corpus that all soul, not just philosophical soul, is immortal? In this chapter, I pursue these questions by (...)
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  12. Contemplation and self-mastery in Plato's Phaedrus.Suzanne Obdrzalek - 2012 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 42:77-107.
    This chapter examines Plato's moral psychology in the Phaedrus. It argues against interpreters such as Burnyeat and Nussbaum that Plato's treatment of the soul is increasingly pessimistic: reason's desire to contemplate is at odds with its obligation to rule the soul, and psychic harmony can only be secured by violently suppressing the lower parts of the soul.
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  13. Erōs Tyrannos: Philosophical Passion and Psychic Ordering in the Republic.Suzanne Obdrzalek - 2012 - In Noburo Notomi & Luc Brisson (eds.), Dialogues on Plato's Politeia (Republic): Selected Papers from the IX Symposium Platonicum. pp. 188-193.
    In this paper, I explore parallels between philosophical and tyrannical eros in Plato's Republic. I argue that in arguing that reason experiences eros for the forms, Plato introduces significant tensions into his moral psychology.
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  14. Fleeing the Divine: Plato's Rejection of the Ahedonic Ideal in the Philebus.Suzanne Obdrzalek - 2010 - In John Dillon & Brisson Luc (eds.), Plato's Philebus: Selected Papers From the Eighth Symposium Platonicum. pp. 209-214.
    Note: "Next to Godliness" (Apeiron) is an expanded version of this paper. -/- According to Plato's successors, assimilation to god (homoiosis theoi) was the end (telos) of the Platonic system. There is ample evidence to support this claim in dialogues ranging from the Symposium through the Timaeus. However, the Philebus poses a puzzle for this conception of the Platonic telos. On the one hand, Plato states that the gods are beings beyond pleasure while, on the other hand, he argues that (...)
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  15. The Sceptics - Thorsrud Ancient Scepticism. Pp. xvi + 248. Stocksfield: Acumen, 2009. Paper, £14.99 . ISBN: 978-1-84465-131-3. [REVIEW]Suzanne Obdrzalek - 2010 - The Classical Review 60 (2):376-378.
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  16. Sheffield (F.C.C.) Plato's Symposium: the Ethics of Desire. Pp. x + 252. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Cased, £50. ISBN: 978-0-19-928677-. [REVIEW]Suzanne Obdrzalek - 2008 - The Classical Review 58 (1):62-64.
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