A Symposium

John R. Rachal, University of Southern Mississippi


In Plato's Symposium, Socrates and friends gather for a dinner and drinking party at the home of Agathon of Athens to discuss love in all its degrees. Similarly, but without the boundaries of time and space, several historical figures gather here to discuss whether acquiring knowledge is possible and if so, what might constitute it as well as the best means by which it can be conveyed and acquired. They also arrive at some consensus that the three greatest of history's teachers (who happen to be among them) directed their teaching to adults. Not being time-bound, they freely discuss, usually congenially, their own often divergent views from their own time and works but are aware of and sometimes address each other's works and related issues of the present day. They (as well as the recorder of their dialogue) ask that the reader indulge them in this suspension of disbelief.