Socrates and Alcibiades Essay

1257 Words 6 Pages
Philosophy and the Human Condition

Socrates and Alcibiades In Plato’s Symposium, he describes the party which Agathon had several famous people of his time over for dinner. Those in attendance include Phaedrus, Pausanias, Eryximachus, Aristophanes, and Socrates. The party begins by the members of the party eating dinner and then beginning to talk to about love. Each person gives a eulogy of love. After everyone has spoken, including Socrates, Alcibiades enters and gives a eulogy of Socrates. The two agree on the nature of love in some ways, and disagree in others. They both have very different viewpoints on the subject. Socrates takes a very philosophical and approach and Alcibiades takes a more simplistic approach. Socrates
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The next point they make is that the object of love is not beauty, but physical and mental preproduction. Diotima explains, “Procreation is as close as a mortal can get to being immortal and undying” (207a). Men can be pregnant in body and in mind. When a man is pregnant in body, he seeks women to have sex with and create a child with. When a man is pregnant in mind, he gives birth to wisdom and other virtues. They generally aren’t attracted to women though. “He’s particularly pleased if he comes across a mind which is attractive, upright, and gifted at the same time. This is a person he immediately finds he can talk fluently to about virtue and about what qualities and practices it takes for a man to be good. In short, he takes on this person’s education” (209b). This means that they seek men to have relationships with. Diotima says that “mind children” are better than actually children because ideas live longer than people. An example she gives is Homer, as his poems have lasted thousands of years.
The next subject Socrates and Diotima discuss is the “ladder of love.” A young boy begins by being attracted to one beautiful body. The next stage is moving on from this and loving all physical beauty. Diotima says, “The next stage is for him to value mental beauty so much more than physical beauty that even if someone is almost entirely lacking the bloom of youth, but still has an attractive mind, that’s enough to kindle his love and

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