David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Res Cogitans (2010)
In Plato’s Symposium, the priestess Diotima, whom Socrates introduces as an expert in love, describes how the lover who would advance rightly in erotics would ascend from loving a particular beautiful body and individual to loving Beauty itself. This hierarchy is conventionally referred to as Plato’s scala amoris or ‘ladder of love’, for the reason that the uppermost form of love cannot be reached without having initially stepped on the first rung of the ladder, which is the physical attraction to a beautiful body or individual. A popular interpretation of Plato’s or Diotima’s description of this ascent is that the lover is supposed to give up or abandon all the previous objects or individuals as he moves upward. In other words, previous individuals are merely the first rung of the ladder; and when the lover has climbed to higher stages of the ladder, he should kick the earlier rung, and them, away. I would like to try to argue that this popular interpretation is mistaken; that Plato does not believe that each previous stage in the ascent is left behind as the lover moves to a higher stage. Far from it, in fact; not only do I not believe that Plato wants the lover to abandon the individuals he loves, but I suggest that what his ascent does is move the lover to love previous individuals in a richer, fuller and more appropriate sense. I approach this in two parts, the second of which I hope can be seen to exemplify the first. In part one I concern myself with a close analysis of the relevant bits of text, while in part two, I move on to examine Plato’s love of Socrates. Here I hope to try to show that Plato, while going on – having presumably ascended up past the lower rungs of the ladder – to produce great works of virtue and beauty, never left the individual Socrates behind.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Ruby Blondell (2006). Where is Socrates on the "Ladder of Love"? In J. H. Lesher, Debra Nails & Frisbee C. C. Sheffield (eds.), Plato's Symposium: Issues in Interpretation and Reception. Distributed by Harvard University Press. 147--178.
Gabriel Richardson Lear (2006). Permanent Beauty and Becoming Happy in Plato's Symposium. In J. H. Lesher, Debra Nails & Frisbee C. C. Sheffield (eds.), Plato's Symposium: Issues in Interpretation and Reception. Distributed by Harvard University Press. 96.
Denis OBrien (2010). Why is Socrates Absurd Question Absurd? (Plato, Symposium 199 C 6-D 7). International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 4 (1):4-26.
Mary P. Nichols (2009). Socrates on Friendship and Community: Reflections on Plato's Symposium, Phaedrus, and Lysis. Cambridge University Press.
Ulrika Carlsson (2010). Love as a Problem of Knowledge in Kierkegaard's Either/Or and Plato's Symposium. Inquiry 53 (1):41-67.
Ralph Wedgwood (2009). Diotima's Eudaemonism: Intrinsic Value and Rational Motivation in Plato's Symposium. Phronesis 54 (4):297-325.
Luce Irigaray & Eleanor H. Kuykendall (1989). Sorcerer Love: A Reading of Plato's Symposium, Diotima's Speech. Hypatia 3 (3):32 - 44.
Elizabeth S. Belfiore (2012). Socrates' Daimonic Art: Love for Wisdom in Four Platonic Dialogues. Cambridge University Press.
Mary P. Nichols (2004). Socrates' Contest with the Poets in Plato's Symposium. Political Theory 32 (2):186-206.
John M. Armstrong (2009). Review of Frisbee C. C. Sheffield, Plato’s Symposium: The Ethics of Desire (Oxford University Press, 2006). [REVIEW] Ancient Philosophy 29 (1):208–212.
Plato (1986). The Dialogues of Plato. Bantam Books.
Added to index2011-06-18
Total downloads58 ( #26,415 of 1,101,125 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #34,441 of 1,101,125 )
How can I increase my downloads?