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Plato's Symposium: A Critical Guide

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Plato's Symposium is an exceptionally multi-layered dialogue. At once a historical document, a philosophical drama that enacts abstract ideas in an often light-hearted way, and a literary masterpiece, it has exerted an influence that goes well beyond the confines of philosophy. The essays in this volume, by leading scholars, offer detailed analyses of all parts of the work, focusing on the central and much-debated theme of eros or 'human desire' - which can refer both to physical desire or desire for happiness. They reveal thematic continuities between the prologue and the various speeches as well as between the speeches themselves, and present a rich collection of contrasting yet complementary readings of Diotima's speech. The volume will be invaluable for classicists and philosophers alike, and for all who are interested in one of Plato's most fascinating and challenging dialogues.

Explores the Symposium in its constituent parts and as an integrated whole, offering new approaches to viewing this complex dialogue

Chapters by world-leading scholars address controversial subjects, particularly the concept of eros

Presents contrasting yet complementary readings of some material, encouraging critical thinking and enabling new debates

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Destree Pierre
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Pierre Destrée is Associate Research Professor in Philosophy at Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium. He has co-edited several volumes on ancient ethics, politics, and aesthetics, including The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle's Politics (Cambridge, 2013).

1. Narrative temporalities and models of desire Zina Giannopoulou

2. Unfamiliar voices: harmonizing the non-Socratic speeches and Plato's psychology Jeremy Reid
3. A doctor's folly: diagnosing the speech of Eryximachus Franco V. Trivigno
4. Aristophanic tragedy Suzanne Obdrzalek
5. Divinization David Sedley
6. Why Agathon's beauty matters Francisco Gonzalez
7. Erōs and the pursuit of form F. C. C. Sheffield
8. The mortal soul and immortal happiness Andrea Nightingale
9. A fetish for fixity? Christopher Shields
10. Generating in beauty for the sake of immortality: personal love and the goals of the lover Anthony W. Price
11. Alcibiades the profane: images of the mysteries Radcliffe Edmonds
12. How does contemplation make you happy? An ethical reading of Diotima's speech Pierre Destrée

13. Eudaimonism and Platonic erōs Richard Kraut.

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