The Symposium: Culture as Daimonic Conversation

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The present essay focuses on the relation between conversation and culture. Through a reading of Plato's "Symposium," it highlights a conversation which reflects on culture while in its midst, combining critique with erotic ritual. Eros, the selected topic of the Symposium, is described by Socrates as a Daimon, a being between God and mortal, whose intermediary state reflects back on conversation itself as daimonic, and on culture as daimonic conversation. This notion of conversation serves as a basis for a cultural critique, on the one hand, of an anthropology that limits itself to an observation of culture as closed and defined forms and, on the other hand, of demonic rather than daimonic notions of conversation.

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