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7 - Love and Myth

Symposium, Republic, and Phaedrus

from Part III - Introduction to Love, Myth, Erotikē Technē, and Generative Epistēmē

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 October 2023

Kevin Corrigan
Affiliation:
Emory University, Atlanta
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Summary

The nature of love and the role of myth in Plato’s dialogues are, to put it mildly, highly contested issues. Platonic love has been characterized in many ways: as the spiritual love of ideal forms, far removed from mundane concerns;1 as a kind of Freudian sublimation of physical drives;2 as a search for wholeness in our divided constitution, much as Aristophanes represents this in the Symposium;3 as characterized by Diotima-Socrates’ speech in the Symposium, particularly in terms of the “greater mysteries” or ladder of ascent;4 or, again, as represented by Socrates’ second speech in the Phaedrus, namely, the great myth of the soul that has captured the imaginations of so many different generations over nearly two and a half thousand years, or as represented in parts of that speech, love as divine madness, for instance;5 or, yet again, as manifesting something like Pausanias’ distinction between a heavenly and a vulgar love, according to which the heavenly lover strives for wisdom and virtue at all costs, an aspiration that seems to resemble the Platonic thirst for spiritual wisdom.6 I will return to this question and to the vocabulary of love after establishing some basis for understanding the logos-myth distinction.

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A Less Familiar Plato
From Phaedo to Philebus
, pp. 199 - 221
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Love and Myth
  • Kevin Corrigan, Emory University, Atlanta
  • Book: A Less Familiar Plato
  • Online publication: 26 October 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009324885.011
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  • Love and Myth
  • Kevin Corrigan, Emory University, Atlanta
  • Book: A Less Familiar Plato
  • Online publication: 26 October 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009324885.011
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Love and Myth
  • Kevin Corrigan, Emory University, Atlanta
  • Book: A Less Familiar Plato
  • Online publication: 26 October 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009324885.011
Available formats
×