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Title: Developing a defence of eros : the unity of Plato's Symposium
Author: Krinks, Philip
ISNI:       0000 0004 2746 6804
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2011
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The consensus, that Plato's Symposium is only loosely unified, with the early speeches of little interest and the speech of Alcibiades an appendix, is to be rejected. Instead, the dialogue fonns a complex, unified reflection on what it is for a human being to progress and on the kind of completion to be found in human life. The call to praise eros unifies the first six speeches: in the context of contemporary attacks, eros stands in need of defence. These speeches demonstrate the availability of defences, individually coherent, but mutually inconsistent, each expressing a view of the human condition. Each speech also reflects on methodology, progressively modifying encomiastic convention. Phaedrus commits to showing eros causes virtue, but a further principle is found necessary by each symposiast: specificity, completeness, understanding power, and praising characteristics directly, respectively. Socrates finds truth also necessary, but lacking in that apparently progressive sequence of defences. He follows the others' principles but in reverse order, turning things literally back to front. Socrates shows how eros leads to acts which yield a reputation for virtue in the eyes of others, and so immortality. But he then says that such virtue is a false semblance, unless someone experiences a progressive development in her own life, fonning a conception of absolute beauty. How such a person looks in the eyes of others is not said. Alcibiades' praise of .Socrates is no less a defence, since Socrates was no less under attack. A1cibiades unwittingly answers the question how Socrates looked in the eyes of others. His method, images for the sake of truth, creates a partial defence of Socrates. Alcibiades competes with Plato's whole creation, revealed as a competing set of images for the sake of a di fferent truth, about Socrates and about eros.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available