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Plato's Symposium
A Critical Guide


Part of Cambridge Critical Guides

Zina Giannopoulou, Jeremy Reid, Franco V. Trivigno, Suzanne Obdrzalek, David Sedley, Francisco Gonzalez, F. C. C. Sheffield, Andrea Nightingale, Christopher Shields, Anthony W. Price, Radcliffe Edmonds, Pierre Destrée, Richard Kraut
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  • Date Published: January 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107525696

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About the Authors
  • 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 At once a historical document, a philosophical drama that enacts abstract ideas in an often light-hearted way, and a literary masterpiece, it has exerted an influence that goes well beyond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 erōs 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 erōs
    • Presents contrasting yet complementary readings of some material, encouraging critical thinking and enabling new debates
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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107525696
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Narrative temporalities and models of desire Zina Giannopoulou
    2. Unfamiliar voices: harmonizing the non-Socratic speeches and Plato's psychology Jeremy Reid
    3. A doctor's folly: diagnosing the speech of Eryximachus Franco V. Trivigno
    4. Aristophanic tragedy Suzanne Obdrzalek
    5. Divinization David Sedley
    6. Why Agathon's beauty matters Francisco Gonzalez
    7. Erōs and the pursuit of form F. C. C. Sheffield
    8. The mortal soul and immortal happiness Andrea Nightingale
    9. A fetish for fixity? Christopher Shields
    10. Generating in beauty for the sake of immortality: personal love and the goals of the lover Anthony W. Price
    11. Alcibiades the profane: images of the mysteries Radcliffe Edmonds
    12. How does contemplation make you happy? An ethical reading of Diotima's speech Pierre Destrée
    13. Eudaimonism and Platonic erōs Richard Kraut.

  • Editors

    Pierre Destrée, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
    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).

    Zina Giannopoulou, University of California, Irvine
    Zina Giannopoulou is Associate Professor in Classics at the University of California, Irvine. Her publications include Plato's Theaetetus as a Second Apology (2013).


    Zina Giannopoulou, Jeremy Reid, Franco V. Trivigno, Suzanne Obdrzalek, David Sedley, Francisco Gonzalez, F. C. C. Sheffield, Andrea Nightingale, Christopher Shields, Anthony W. Price, Radcliffe Edmonds, Pierre Destrée, Richard Kraut

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