Volume 72, Issue 3, March 2019
Gerald P. Boersma
The Egoism of Eros
The Challenge of Love in Diotima’s Speech
This article is an analysis of the Socratic account of love presented by Diotima in Symposium 210a–212a. The author explores and responds to two philosophic objections to this account of love: first, that it is self-absorbed and, second, that it is incapable of loving a particular person. He argues that this criticism misses the mark. Diotima’s account of eros is not so much egotistical as ordered to an objective good. Further, in the final analysis, eros is not grasping and acquisitive but generous and diffusive. Finally, the author argues that the Socratic account of love is, in fact, especially well equipped to love the particular.