B.3. The Platonic sage in love

  • John Dillon Trinity College Dublin, School of Classics
Keywords: Plato, Greek philosophy, love, erotic


This article explores the nature of the erotic impulse set forth in Diotima's speech in Plato's Symposium, and in the myth of the Phaedrus, with a view to deciding how far Plato intends it to be a purely selfish process. After all, in the 'ladder of ascent' to the Beautiful Itself in Symp. 210-12, the individual beloved seems to be left behind, and even disdained, and Plato has been criticised for this, by such authorities as Gregory Vlastos. I argue that this cannot really have been Plato's intention, and adduce the later Platonist discussion about the proper form that a philosophic love-affair should take.


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