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Plato's SymposiumThe Ethics of Desire$
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Frisbee Sheffield

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199286775

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199286775.001.0001

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Socrates' Speech: The Nature of Erōs

Socrates' Speech: The Nature of Erōs

(p.40) 2 Socrates' Speech: The Nature of Erōs
Plato's Symposium

Frisbee C. C. Sheffield (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with Socrates' account of the nature of eros. The first part of the chapter explores Socrates' account of eros as an intermediate psychological state. The desire for beautiful and good things confronts us with something beautiful and good that our mortal natures lack (an experience of aporia), and yet we awaken a more than human ability to transcend that nature and to strive towards a divine state of possession (euporia). The second part of the chapter explores Socrates' claim that we desire the good and beautiful things we lack in more detail. Socrates singles out wisdom as one of the most beautiful things, and goes on to sketch an account of how eros' nature manifests itself in the pursuit of wisdom. The chapter concludes by arguing that eros' intermediate nature, as manifested in the pursuit of wisdom in particular, is exemplified in the behaviour of Socrates and his alter ego Diotima at this symposium.

Keywords:   philosophy, aporia, euporia, Diotima

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