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 At once a historical document, a philosophical drama that enacts abstract ideas in an often light-hearted way, and a literary masterpiece, it has exerted an influence that goes well beyond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
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 Giannopoulou2. Unfamiliar voices: harmonizing the non-Socratic speeches and Plato's psychology Jeremy Reid
13. Eudaimonism and Platonic erōs Richard Kraut.