Nietzsche's Scala Amoris: Nietzsche and Diotima on Eros and Philosophy


Nietzsche’s conception of eros and its role in the development of philosophers is similar to the conception of those same topics espoused by Diotima in Plato’s Symposium. Nietzsche and Diotima agree that eros is an insatiable desire to possess the beautiful, that eros aims at immortality through reproduction, and that philosophy requires an ascent beyond sexual desire to “higher” forms of eros, which nevertheless are still modeled on heterosexual reproduction. Understanding these facets of Nietzsche’s view leads to an apparent contradiction in that Nietzsche thinks of philosophy on the model of reproduction and ascribes to the philosopher both the female and the male roles in heterosexual reproduction. I argue that this ambivalence reflects Nietzsche’s view that practicing philosophy requires balancing two conflicting philosophical tendencies: on the one hand, pursuit of truth, which involves dissatisfaction with oneself; on the other hand, creation, which involves acknowledgment of one’s own capacity and value.



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Paul R. Murphy
Georgia State University

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Freud and Nietzsche on sublimation.Ken Gemes - 2009 - Journal of Nietzsche Studies 38 (1):38-59.
Leo Strauss and Nietzsche.Laurence Lampert - 1996 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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