The memory of virtue: Achieving immortality in Plato's symposium

Classical Quarterly 63 (2):543-557 (2013)

Authors
Anthony Hooper
Durham University
Abstract
The prospect of human immortality is manifest in many of Plato's writings, appearing as early as the Apology and the Crito , and as late as Book 12 of the Laws . But nowhere is immortality given so much attention, nor as central a place in Plato's philosophical projects, as in what have traditionally been referred to as his Middle Period works, so it is hardly surprising that we find an extensive treatment of the subject of immortality in Socrates’ own encomium in the Symposium . Eros, Socrates tells us, is not merely a desire to possess the good, but one that pushes us towards possessing the good forever and, because of this, eros is necessarily a desire for immortality . However, it is evident that Socrates’ presentation of immortality in the Symposium is fundamentally different from those found in other dialogues. This is not merely because in this work alone Socrates attributes the desire for immortality to eros; rather it is also because the nature of the immortality that Socrates recommends here, and the means by which he suggests it is achieved, are wholly unique to this work. Whereas in other dialogues Plato casts his discussions in terms of the persistence of the soul in some super-sensible realm, here he offers a picture of lovers achieving human immortality by creating memorials that will outlast them
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DOI 10.1017/s0009838813000086
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References found in this work BETA

A History of Greek Philosophy.W. K. C. Guthrie - 1969 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 38 (3):431-433.
Permanent Beauty and Becoming Happy in Plato's Symposium.Gabriel Richardson Lear - 2006 - In J. H. Lesher, Debra Nails & Frisbee C. C. Sheffield (eds.), Plato's Symposium: Issues in Interpretation and Reception. Harvard University Press. pp. 96.
Philosophy, Myth and Plato's Two-Worlds View.Eugenio Benitez - 2007 - The European Legacy 12 (2):225-242.

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Platonic Personal Immortality.Doug Reed - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly (3):812-836.

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