Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 14, Issue 1, Fall 2009

Robert Metcalf
Pages 39-55

The Trial of Socrates in Plato’s Symposium

While many scholarly interpretations of Plato’s Symposium express skepticism toward the content of Alcibiades’ speech, this essay argues Alcibiades’ portrait of Socrates is credible on the whole, is consistent with the portrayal of Socrates elsewhere, and is of great significance for our understanding of philosophical eros as exemplified in Socrates’ philosophical activity. Furthermore, by putting Socrates on trial for hybris, Alcibiades’ speech raises important philosophical questions as to whether the contempt with which he treated Alcibiades is not part and parcel of the wholesale contemning of human particularity implicit in Diotima’s teaching about eros.