Philosophy’s Workmate: Erōs and the Erōtica in Plato’s Symposium

Apeiron 55 (3):329-357 (2022)
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Abstract

Diotima’s speech claims that philosophy ranks among the erōtica. The standard reading of this holds that erōs manifests in philosophical activity. This is puzzling. Eros has a reputation for overpowering the psyche, making reasoning impossible. The major interpretive discussion of this puzzle suggests that Diotima must therefore accept either non-rationalist philosophizing or rationalist erōs. This paper argues for an alternative. The “ancillary activities view” posits that the erōtica do not manifest erōs but are activities undertaken to achieve its telos. On this view, love’s relationship to philosophy is as un-mysterious as wanting something and doing what it takes to get it.

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Edith Gwendolyn Nally
University of Missouri, Kansas City

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