In the Symposium, one of Plato’s most popular texts; Agathon, a Greek poet, gathers a group of men together in celebration. As the drinking party, or the symposium draws on the subject of love , it’s meaning and it’s state soon comes up. Agathon decides that each man in attendance is required to deliver an encomium, or speech on the topic. Each man gives his own he recount of what he believes is the true nature of love. The last man to speak before Socrates is the host himself, Agathon. He decides that love is a young god, a dainty god that shuns anything old and loves only what is young and beautiful. The next speaker is Socrates, who decides to make a speech not on the nature of love, but simply refuting all that Agathon has said about love. In order to do this, Socrates recalls a conversation he had with a woman by the name of Diotima of Mantinea, of whom he had sought wisdom. Her own chronicle of love is very different from all that has been said at the symposium thus far.
Diotima’s Description of Why Eros is Not a God
Diotima first probes Socrates on the nature of gods. Socrates agrees that all gods are beautiful and happy, and Eros, the god of love, loves all that is beautiful and happy. Diotima refutes this by dictating that it is of this very reason that Eros cannot be a god. It is justified to Socrates by Diotima, and later to Agaton by Scorates, what it really means to ’love’. It is agreed that love is the love of an object, a love than can also be described as a desire for this particular object. And as one can not desire something that they already have, love must be a desire of something one does not possess. If Eros, the god of Love, love all things that are beautiful and happy, that means Eros must not posses either beauty of happiness. Since all good things are beautiful, Eros must lack all that is good, and without goodness, how can Eros be a god?
Diotima’s Description as to Why Love is a Philosoper
Now convinced that the god of love...
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