Love according to Plato

Hello little thinkers and welcome back to our monthly appointment with the philosophical thought. Are you curious to discover the topic of February and to know the philosopher who will accompany us during our reflections? Good. So let’s start.

What month are we in? February. And February is the month of… Yes, exactly. This is the month of love. But what is love? Can you define it?

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We will try to give a definition of it through the help of one of the most interesting philosophers of the past. He spoke about it extensively in two of his works the Phaedrus and the Symposium.

We are talking about Plato. Member of a noble family, he was born in Athens around 428 a.C. Interested in politics and how to educate every person so to have a good citizen, he founded a school, the Academy, where he dedicated himself to his political and philosophical studies. He writes many dialogues and the main character of almost his writings was Socrates, an extraordinary man and thinker that we will talk about in the future.

Plato deals with politics, knowledge, body and spiritual reality but also love. In the Symposium he ideally invites each of us to attend a banquet precisely in the company of Socrates, but also that of the playwright Aristophanes and the tragic poet Agathone to talk about this topic.

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Love is described as son of Penìa (poverty) and Pòros (richness). According to Plato, in fact, the man is “poor” because he misses something. That something is the Beauty that is far from us. To achieve it we are ready to overcome our limits and imperfections, approaching the true beauty and perfection that will allow us to “enrich ourselves”.

Love just does that: it helps us to lose our ugly sides and to become better and more beautiful. What do you think? How should love make each of us? And do you feel enriched or impoverished by it?

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Maria Domenica Depalo