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ἜΡΩΣ according to Socrates in Plato's symposium

McShera, Jennifer (2015) ἜΡΩΣ according to Socrates in Plato's symposium. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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In this dissertation, I offer an interpretation of Socrates’ conception of erotic love (ἔρως [erôs]) presented in Plato’s Symposium. In this dialogue, Socrates describes ἔρως as a desire for eternal possession of the good. I will suggest that for the philosopher, ἔρως is a desire for wisdom. I contend that Socrates conceives of wisdom as an understanding of the form of the good. I will argue that for Socrates, ἔρως is fundamental to philosophy, as it is the desire that impels philosophers to question and engage in rigorous discussion as they strive to procure understanding of the good. I relate Socrates’ dialectical approach to philosophy to his conception of ἔρως presented in the Symposium. I suggest that by questioning and uncovering the inconsistencies in his interlocutors’ false beliefs, Socrates’ intention is not to simply reduce his interlocutors to perplexity or to merely point out that they are mistaken. Rather, by showing his interlocutors that they lack understanding, Socrates’ intention is to incite in them a desire for understanding. Moreover, I will argue that in their pursuit of wisdom, philosophers remain in-between ignorance and understanding, remaining seekers of wisdom throughout their lives.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Arts
Supervisor(s): Ucnik, Lubica
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