Chapter

Sapphic and Platonic Erotics

Linnell Secomb

in Philosophy and Love

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780748623679
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671854 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623679.003.0002
Sapphic and Platonic Erotics

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This chapter reviews the aspects of Plato and Sappho's reflections on love, pointing to similarities and differences between their visions of Eros. Love is a lacking and a reaching for more that mediates and moves between opposites. Diotima's love is a mediation moving between opposite terms but never reaching a static conclusion and always in a process of becoming. Alcibiades provides his own account of love. His speech is generally regarded as light comic relief following the more profound and serious Socratic image of philosophy as love of knowledge. Plato's Phaedrus like the Symposium speaks of love — though in the form of a conversation between two friends, Phaedrus and Socrates. Alcibiades' simultaneous passion for Socrates and for his wisdom, and the games of seduction and obstruction that Alcibiades and Socrates both employ indicate that seeking knowledge is not antithetical to, but rather facilitated by, erotic passions.

Keywords: love; Plato; Sappho; Eros; Alcibiades; Phaedrus; Symposium; Socrates; erotic passions

Chapter.  5985 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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