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The Symposium and Platonic Ethics: Plato, Vlastos, and a Misguided Debate

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Abstract Scholarship on the Symposium is dominated by a debate on interpersonal love started by Gregory Vlastos in his article, ‘The Individual as an Object of Love in Plato.’ This paper argues that this debate is a misguided one, because it is not reflective of the central concerns of this text. Attention needs to be turned to the broader ethical questions posed about the ends of life, the nature of human happiness, and contemplation. Failure to do so will mean that the Symposium continues to be eclipsed as a key resource in central debates in Platonic ethics.

Affiliations: 1: Christ’s College Cambridge CB2 3BU UK fccs2@cam.ac.uk

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