In liminal tension towards giving birth: Eros, the educator

History of the Human Sciences 26 (5):0952695113478242 (2013)

The discussion on the nature of eros (love as sexual desire) in Plato’s Symposium offers us special insights concerning the potential role played by love in social and political life. While about eros, the dialogue also claims to offer a true image of Socrates, generating a complex puzzle. This article offers a solution to this puzzle by reconstructing and interpreting Plato’s theatrical presentation of his argument, making use of the structure of the plays of Aristophanes, a protagonist in the dialogue. The new image of Socrates, it is argued, signals Plato’s move beyond the way he envisioned so far his master, best visible in his introducing Diotima, a prophetess who takes over the role of guide from Socrates; and by his presenting the truth about Socrates through Alcibiades, cast into the role of a boastful intruder, a central figure in Aristophanes’ comedies. Eros and Socrates are both ‘in-between’ or liminal figures, indicating that Socrates is still entrapped in the crisis of Athenian democracy. The way out, according to the new philosophy of Plato, lies in redirecting eros from the hunting of beautiful objects that are to be possessed, to elevating the soul to the essence of beauty as a primary means for further generating beauty, in particular through engendering and educating children, thus reasserting a harmonious coexistence with the order of the cosmos
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DOI 10.1177/0952695113478242
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Eros and Necessity in the Ascent From the Cave.Rachel Barney - 2008 - Ancient Philosophy 28 (2):357-72.
Paideia.R. G. A. & Werner Jaeger - 1935 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 55 (4):257.

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