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Durham e-Theses
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“Plato's theory of desire in the symposium and the Republic''

Fierro, Maria Angelica (2003) “Plato's theory of desire in the symposium and the Republic''. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



One of the main purposes of the Symposium is to describe the best and truest expression of Eros|epwg {the godSaiuwv and at the same time the affective disposition): Eros is an intermediary Saijucou between our mortal condition and what is divine and immortal. As such he malces us spontaneously feel attracted to beauty and through our procreating in it helps us to attain in this life 'a sort of immmortality by leaving behind our productions and, together with it, a certain ownership of the good, which is universally desired. Most people only attain a second grade of vicarious immortality, either through biological procreation or, in the best case, through cultural procreation. However, those who are able to follow a philosophical way of life might be able to contemplate Beauty itself and by procreating in it produce authentic virtue, in this way attaining ownership of the good as far as is possible for a human being in this life. But at the same time, it is hinted that a more permanent, god-lilce, existence might be available for the philosopher after death. In the light of the Republic some issues which remain unclear in the Symposium find an articulate explanation: a) The tripartite theory of the soul explains why, although everybody desires the good, different individuals focus their love and desire in different ways (even in a destructive way as is the case of the tyrant or of Alcibiades in the Symposium), b) The programme of earlier and higher education malces clear what the levels of the erotic ascent consist in. c) The nature of the Good helps us to understand the status of Beauty itself d) The myth of Er describes what a 'god-like', post mortem existence for the philosopher would be like, while also simultaneously, allowing for a different sort of 'immortality', along the lines suggested by the Symposium. [brace not closed]

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2003
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:01 Aug 2012 11:38

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