Which parts of Socrates's argument depend on a notion of the "usefulness" of a person? How do they relate?
For each of the following possible causes of friendship, explain why it is rejected: likeness, unlikeness, and goodness.
Discuss some moments in the dialogue at which intoxication, confusion, or poetic inspiration take over for rational dialogue. How do these moments function in the structure of the dialogue as a whole?
Suggested Essay Topics
How does the framing device of this dialogue (Socrates's interactions with Hippothales and Ctessipus) relate to its philosophical pursuits? Focus on Socrates's criticism of Hippothales's wooing technique.
Examine Socrates's apparent motives in starting the dialogue with Lysis. How do they differ from other Socratic dialogues? What is Plato's role in forming these motives?
Pick one or two of Socrates's arguments about love and friendship in the dialogue and relate them to the Greek ideal of man/boy (erastes/eromenos) love.
Identify some points (if any) in the dialogue where you think Socrates may be "dumbing down" his arguments for a younger audience, and explain why.
Explain the model of friendship as an interaction between the good, the neutral, and the evil. What are its advantages? What are its weaknesses?
What are some aspects of Plato's theory of identity ("likeness") as it is expressed in the Lysis? How does this theory interact with the analysis of desire?
How does Socrates as a narrator differ in this dialogue from Socrates as a speaking character? How do both of these differ from Plato as the author?
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