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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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Shadow Lovers: The Symposiasts and Socrates

Shadow Lovers: The Symposiasts and Socrates

(p.207) 7 Shadow Lovers: The Symposiasts and Socrates
Plato's Symposium

Frisbee C. C. Sheffield (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the relationship between Socrates and his predecessors, and gives a significant philosophical role to all the speeches of the dialogue. It argues that Socrates' speech is continuous with his predecessors, and completes and resolves some of the issues raised in the previous speeches. In this way, the previous speeches can be compared to Aristotelian endoxa. The contrast between Socrates and his predecessors also exemplifies the contrast between the two sorts of lovers described in the lower and higher mysteries of Socrates' speech. Reading the speeches in light of this contrast provides a further reason to think that the previous speeches are for the sake of our philosophical education, in much the same way as the lower mysteries were taught to Socrates for the sake of the higher. The philosophy of the Symposium, in other words, is extended throughout the dialogue and is not limited to Socrates'speech.

Keywords:   the dialogue, endoxa, lower mysteries, Agathon, Phaedrus, Pausanias, Eryximachus, Aristophanes

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