Updated: Apr 20
In 2017 I read The Symposium by Plato for a philosphy class. Which of course I envitably had to write a paper for. This is that paper. Now, I won’t lie and tell you I remember the exact prompt, but the idea was that I break down Diotima‘s argument to Socrates. I encourage you to approach it with an open-mind and the intention to listen.
Diotima makes several arguments. The initial argument is based on the idea of correct belief and its place in comparison to ignorance and knowledge, the second is the wise and ignorant desire for wisdom or rather their lack thereof, and finally she wraps up with why love is the desire to only possess the good.
Diotima first states, in her conversation with Socrates, that the concept of correct belief is the place in between knowledge and ignorance because correct belief is the idea that something can be thought to be correct in the instance that it lacks reasoning as to why it is thought to be true. Since it is more than not knowing, but also less than having a complete and factual understanding, it implies that one would have enough understanding of knowledge and ignorance to know that their belief would not automatically be considered wise nor ignorant. Therefore, correct belief is something that would be understood, but not necessarily accepted.
Diotima then continues to argue that the wise and the ignorant cannot possibly love or desire wisdom because in order to love or desire something you would have to want it because it is more than yourself and you would have to be aware and accepting of the fact that you do not possess it. However, the wise will not do this because they do not lack wisdom and henceforth are wise enough to know they have obtained wisdom. While on the other hand the ignorant are too ignorant to realize they lack wisdom and can by no means want to possess something they do not realize they lack. Which implies that both the wise and ignorant are comfortable with the wisdom they assume they already possess.
Finally, Diotima argues that love is the desire to always possess the good. By that she implies that love in itself is always supposed to be good and love can only be love of good things, and human beings cannot desire bad things since the things we desire would also be the same things that we love and that would entitle them to only be capable of being good things. The terms of her argument in its entirety is this, if one decides to love, or begins to desire something it is only under the circumstance that it is something that we lack and if we don’t lack it there is no room for love or desire to live
I share all this to say that, The Symposium is a book a revisit quite a lot since that class and sharing this is paper sharing a large part in the way I think. I believe that while yes, this paper is just mind reputation potation of someone else’s argument it still sets a certain tone for who I am and the environment of my inner world.
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