Plato, Aristotle and Socrates all agree homosexual acts are disgraceful

Got this from another thread

Three philosophical writers untouched by Judeao-Christian tradition, who taught that homosexual conduct is not only intrinsically shameful but also inconsistent with a proper recognition of the equality of women with men in intrinsic worth and incompatible with society.

What do you say?

Also I know many liberal professors make them out to be defenders of homosexual acts. I’m wanting to see how this plays out. Did they really believe its disgraceful, if so why? This helps show not all so called homophobes are narrow minded bigots and that it can actually be derived by reason that homosexual activity is bad for society as a whole.

Homosexuality was actually relatively widespread (and accepted) in ancient Athens, along with pederasty.

I would say it doesn’t live up to its billing. The author doesn’t cite the words of Plato or Aristotle (Socrates, of course, didn’t leave any texts), but relies on secondary sources who claim that Plato, Aristotle and Socrates held such views. The author is willing to quote from the secondary sources, but not willing to quote from the primary sources. And it would be the actual words of Plato and Aristotle which would be convincing.

…Who cares anyway? :shrug: A very odd way of trying to prove that homosexuality is wrong. “These famous dead guys agreed with us too!”

Also, agree with Dale. The sources are as reliable as a cat promising to look after my pet mouse. I’m in the mood to make up strange metaphors.

Valid point. Could anyone offer direct quotes from these three?

Also this was t the main point of the article but was the first time I have came across this argument. This is why I posted because I wanted to see the replies that would come of it.

I think it would help in he fact that those who push gay marriage due so because of separation of church and state. If these guys who are alien to Judeao Christian philosophy have the same conclusion we do, that it is harmful to society.

They’re not alien to Judeo-Christian philosophy at all. Do some research about them.

Any suggestions?

Can you provide some quotes from antiquity please?

Dale, I beg to differ.

The author, John Finnis, is a devout Catholic and a famed contemporary champion of Natural Law. He is a former Rhodes Scholar and is Professor of Law at both Oxford in England and Notre Dame in the U.S.

The quoted article is a development of Natural Law philosophical reasoning that highlights the contradiction that is inherent in the establishment of anti-discrimination laws that de-criminalise private behaviour, that take private behaviour out of the sphere of government control, but which at the same time allows for and protects the championing of that private behaviour in the public sphere.

Finnis has articulated a classical Natural Law argument which demolishes the myth that homosexual acts have been as normal down through history. He cits Plato. In his ‘Laws’, specifically in Book VIII, Plato, through the character of the Athenian, denounces sexual profligacy and liscentiousness of all sorts, including fornication outside mariage and homosexuality. Of the latter he says -

In a State such as this, how will the young abstain from those desires which frequently plunge many into ruin

If we were to follow in nature’s steps and enact that law which held good before the days of Laïus, declaring that it is right to refrain from indulging in the same kind of intercourse with men and boys as with women, and adducing as evidence thereof the nature of wild beasts, and pointing out how male does not touch male for this purpose, since it is unnatural,

…shall we not plainly wish that the kind of love which belongs to virtue and desires the young to be as good as possible should exist within our State

That was precisely the reason why I stated that in reference to this law I know of a device for making a natural use of reproductive intercourse, – on the one hand, by abstaining from the male and not slaying of set purpose the human stock, nor sowing seed on rocks and stones where it can never take root and have fruitful increase;

I maintain that our regulation on this head must go forward and proclaim that our citizens must not be worse than fowls and many other animals which are produced in large broods, and which live chaste and celibate lives without sexual intercourse until they arrive at the age for breeding; and when they reach this age they pair off, as instinct moves them, male with female and female with male; and thereafter they live in a way that is holy and just, remaining constant to their first contracts of love: surely our citizens should at least be better than these animals.

The things I now mention are, perhaps, like the visionary ideals in a story; yet in very truth, if only they were realised, they would prove a great blessing in every State. Possibly, should God so grant, we might forcibly effect one of two things in this matter of sex-relations, – either that no one should venture to touch any of the noble and freeborn save his own wedded wife, nor sow any unholy and bastard seed in fornication, nor any unnatural and barren seed in sodomy, – or else we should entirely abolish love for males, and in regard to that for women, if we enact a law that any man who has intercourse with any women save those who have been brought to his house under the sanction of Heaven and holy marriage, whether purchased or otherwise acquired, if detected in such intercourse by any man or woman, shall be disqualified from any civic commendation, as being really an alien, – probably such a law would be approved as right. So let this law – whether we ought to call it one law or two – be laid down concerning sexual commerce and love affairs in general, as regards right and wrong conduct in our mutual intercourse due to these desires.Plato:Laws, Book VIII (835b - 842c)

In the first sentence quoted, Plato is decrying the sexual liberality which is too obvious in Greek society. He goes on to argue that there are unwritten rules, or laws, about what is sexually taboo, specifically incest and homosexuality, about which people have a natural revulsion. He then likens the concept of a natural revulsion for something to its operating as an unwritten law. However, the unwritten laws are often ignored and he wishes to give the unwritten law the full weight of written law. He concludes that the weight of popular opinion will see the Law enacted and enforced.

Space and time precludes me from including Aristotle’s actual quotes, but Finnis is correct in what he attributes to that philosopher. Aristotle wrote in the Nicomachean Ethics, at 1138b30 that homosexuality was ‘brutish’ and beyond the limits of vice.

One that Finnis hasn’t mentioned is the Greek playwrite Aristophanes, whose plays mercilessly portrayed the submissive patner in same sex acts as depraved, corrupted and decadent. His plays were written for public audiences and are thought to represent popular opinion.

Finnis is clearly articulating a Natrual Law argument against same sex marriage and for the special role of the heterosexual marriage in civil society. He is advancing an argument that is clearly predicated upon a Natural Law tradition that pre-dates Christianity and which reflects a universal distaste for overt homosexuality.

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**He is advancing an argument that is clearly predicated upon a Natural Law tradition that pre-dates Christianity and which reflects a universal distaste for overt homosexuality. **

Indeed, marital rites for incestuous partners and multiple partners now and then have been tolerated in various civilizations. However, one searches in vain for any civilization in the history of the world (until ours) that has championed the cause of same-sex marital rites.

Even though homosexuality was rife in ancient Persia, there is no record of men marrying other men or women marrying women.

That tells us something about the depths to which modern morals have sunk in a relatively godless world.


What do you make of the Romans?

It seems the emperor himself was involved in “gay” marriage. Not sure how much of the norm is was or wasn’t, but based on what this Catholic author says, it seems Pagan Rome participated and was okay with it.

Any thoughts?

Right. It was part of the general cultural degeneracy which they opposed.

Well, strictly speaking, I’m not sure any of them left texts. Most of Aristotle’s works were transcriptions by Nichomachus. At any rate I seem to recall Aristotle at one point comparing homosexual acts to eating dirt, though I may be conflating him with Aquinas.

One of the problems with these kinds of conversations is that their culture did not have a word for “homosexuality.” Actually no culture had a word for “homosexuality” until about 100 years ago. We invented it. It’s literally a social construct, by definition. What they talked about, instead, was “effeminacy.” Effeminacy includes sodomy but was not limited to it.

And it is clear from his writings that Aristotle viewed effeminacy as a very bad thing, as did most of the great Greek thinkers and historians whose works have come down to us through the ages. For instance, Plutarch in his *Lives *records Solon passing laws requiring certain shameful crimes to be punished by the board of censors normally reserved to the punishment of women, regardless of the sex of the offender.

Well, they’re three of the smartest guys who’ve ever lived, so it’s not bad company for Catholics to be in.

Elegabalus supposedly “married” other men, but never promoted such “marriages” as being legally normative.

Even if he did, it would be small comfort to think that America is at least no more madly degenerate than the Roman Empire at its worst!

Very interesting subject I look forward to more posts from those in the know. Thanks


The article you reference is interesting. But the wild bedroom antics of the Roman emperors are not to be taken as approved by Roman society in general. The emperors got away with many forms of madness that the people were powerless to oppose, but not obliged to endorse. So it is today, but worse. The mad antics have become endemic. It doesn’t mean they are any the less mad. The ruling class in America today is filled with mad and amoral people who are intent on destroying civilization according to the natural law.

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The most famous quote from Plato would be
“Homosexuality, is regarded as shameful by barbarians and by those who live under despotic governments just as philosophy is regarded as shameful by them, because it is apparently not in the interest of such rulers to have great ideas engendered in their subjects, or powerful friendships or passionate love-all of which homosexuality is particularly apt to produce.”

Disgraceful is a strange word. Is it more or less disgraceful for kids to get slaughtered at school, more or less disgraceful for folk to go hungry?


"Homosexuality, is regarded as shameful by barbarians and by those who live under despotic governments just as philosophy is regarded as shameful by them, because it is apparently not in the interest of such rulers to have great ideas engendered in their subjects, or powerful friendships or passionate love-all of which homosexuality is particularly apt to produce."

Please provide documentation for this quote as I have done below for mine. Thank you. :wink:

Laws 8.836c-e, in which Plato discusses what laws should regulate sexual conduct. It’s plain that Plato sees a historical decline in morals in Greece since the time of Laius.

“Suppose you follow nature’s rule and establish the law that was in force before the time of Laius. You’d argue that one may have sexual intercourse with women but not with men or boys. As evidence for your view, you’d point to the animal world, where (you’d argue) the males do not have sexual relations with each other, because such a thing is unnatural. But in Crete and Sparta your argument would not go down well, and you’d probably persuade nobody. However, another argument is that such practices are incompatible with what in our view should be the constant aim of the legislator - that is, we’re always asking, ‘which of our regulations encourages virtue, and which does not?’ Now then, suppose in the present case we agreed to pass a law that such practices are desirable, or not at all undesirable - what contribution would they make to virtue? Will the spirit of courage spring to life in the soul of the seduced person? Will the soul of the seducer learn habits of self-control? No one is going to be led astray by that sort of argument - quite the contrary. Everyone will censure the weakling who yields to temptation, and condemn his all-too-effeminate partner who plays the role of the woman. So who on earth will pass a law like that? Hardly anyone, at any rate if he knows what a genuine law really is.”

Plato, Laws [636c] “And whether one makes the observation in earnest or in jest, one certainly should not fail to observe that when male unites with female for procreation the pleasure experienced is held to be due to nature, but contrary to nature when male mates with male or female with female, and that those first guilty of such enormities were impelled by their slavery to pleasure.”

Nichomacean Ethics Book 7, Section 5:
“Some things are not naturally pleasant, but can become so through injury, habit or congenital depravity. And for each unnatural pleasure there is an abnormal state of character. There is the brutish character, as in those tribes around the Black Sea who eat human flesh. Also, morbid states, like nail-biting or homosexuality … may have been acquired by habit, for instance if someone has been sexually misused as a child.”

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Isaiah 5:20

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Sorry, but why?

Are you trying to claim that he never said that? :rolleyes:

It is, as I said, a very famous quote, from the Symposium, in lines spoken by Apollodorus.

**It is, as I said, a very famous quote, from the Symposium, in lines spoken by Apollodorus. **

Apollodorous was neither Socrates nor Plato. Thanks for citing your source, :thumbsup:

Appollodorus didn’t write that. Plato did. It is clearly his opinion. :rolleyes:

So to go back to the OP or the title of the thread, would you like to quote something writen by Socrates supporting the assertion that he thinks “homosexual acts are disgraceful”? Of course not. :shrug:

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