'Platos theory of Eros' - 'SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences' - NotaBene.ru
Journal Menu
> Issues > Rubrics > About journal > Authors > About the Journal > Requirements for publication > Council of Editors > Peer-review process > Article retraction > Ethics > Online First Pre-Publication > Copyright & Licensing Policy > Digital archiving policy > Open Access Policy > Open access publishing costs > Article Identification Policy > Plagiarism check policy > Publication Terms
Journals in science databases
About the Journal
MAIN PAGE > Back to contents
SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

Platos theory of Eros

Litvyakova Larisa Aleksandrovna

Postgraduate student, the department of Philosophy and Methodology of Science, Irkutsk State University

664056, Russia, Irkutskaya oblast', g. Irkutsk, ul. Karla Marksa, 1




Review date:


Publish date:


Abstract: This article gives a remarkable interpretation of the concept of “Eros” proposed by ancient philosophy. Special attention is turned to Plato’s theory of Eros. The author reviews the theoretical aspect of Eros within the system of the general world order from the perspective of philosophical teachings. The mythology of Eros is being traced. Plato’s writings “Feast", "Liquide", "Phaedrus” are subjected to analysis. The article reveals the ambivalence of Eros as lyrics and epos as cosmos, as well as understanding of the creative Eros. The essence of Eros is presented as the foundation of comprehension of life, an indispensable attribute of human existence and its nature. The research employs general philosophical methods, such as the historical and analytical, which allow giving a broader perspective on the topic. The uniqueness of this study consists in disclosure of the concept of Eros as it is viewed by ancient philosophy, and namely by Plato, as the founder of the concept of Eros. The article provides the most comprehensive definition of Eros as a way to understand being and the fundamentals of human existence.

Keywords: eternity, truth, beauty, being, good, ancient philosophy, ethics, Eros, mind, morality

Plato became one of the first philosophers who happened to be at the origins of erotic philosophy. Thanks to a detailed study of Eros, Plato made a very important theoretical contribution to the General idea of the philosophical concept of love. Reflecting on love, Plato parallel to the considered categories such as mind, cognition and the human being.

Eros as the highest Good, as a way of learning and achieving perfection, is an important characteristic of Plato's teaching. Eros in Plato's philosophy is interpreted from different conflicting positions. And as a bodily fusion, and as a metaphysical attraction on the path of knowledge. The latter inspired Plato to build an ideal ladder of knowledge, at each stage of which a person learns what love and beauty are, strives to achieve the Good and beautiful.

In General, the idea of love occupied the minds of many ancient Greek philosophers. However, Plato most of all managed to bring in the concept of love and Eros the most complete interpretation, considering Eros as an intermediate state between the lower and higher state of being.

First, it should be noted that in ancient Greece the idea of Eros was identified with a deity, an all-powerful world force or an all-powerful cosmic principle. The basis of his image was the power of love and the power of the world elements. Olympic mythology regarded Eros as the son of Aphrodite and Ares. Hellenistic poetry portrayed Eros in the form of God, gives a person crazy. Symbols of Eros were tender passion and love madness, burning mind. Eros meant unbridled passion, cunning and frivolity.

Curiously, the concept of love was used by ancient Greek philosophers to explain the order and structure of the cosmos and its origin. Love was perceived in the ancient Greek period as an impersonal force having an Autonomous existence.

For the first time at the stage of natural philosophy, the theory of love was proposed by Empedocles in the poem "On nature". He believed that the cosmos is in a state of peace, because there is love in it. Gradually, love is replaced by enmity, leading the world to chaos and disorder. But the power of love again leads to a state of harmony in the world. Thus, the struggle of love and enmity lasts forever, which is the picture of the world. Love Empedocles sees as a universal cosmic force, meaning the mutual attraction of all elements to each other. Love keeps the world and serves as a source of friendliness, connecting both heaven and earth, and people.

The Epicureans placed sensual pleasures at the center of human existence. The Stoics, on the contrary, rejected these pleasures and called for abstinence. Despite this, both Stoics and Epicureans morally interpreted love, which was perceived as evil that should be avoided or sought to temper it [7].

Hesiod represents Eros as one kind of original force. Under the influence of Eros copulation of the Gods, which leads to the continuation of the chain of creations. Eros Hesiod descended from Chaos, and he organizes the world. Eros is a blind force that does not give itself any account and darkens the mind of both gods and people and frees them from worries.

Orphism considers Eros as intelligent and bright deity. It was born through the appearance of the eggs of the world of darkness, which is then split and gave rise to Eros, from which came all the people. Thus, Eros became a source of light.

It is obvious, proceeding from the above, that in ancient Greek philosophy there were two concepts of Eros – Eros of lyrics and individual attraction and Eros of space, as well as Eros of creativity, opposed to each other as individual and cosmic, contemplative-mood and creatively-effective [4, p.34-36].

Now let us turn directly to the teaching of Plato about Eros, which is the task of our article. First question on friendship Plato raises in his essay "Liside". Already in other works, such as "PIR", "Fedr", "Gorgias" and "State" he continues to work on this problem. The significance of Plato's friendship lies in the restoration of a destroyed society by a narrow circle of like-minded people. Friendship, in his opinion, is the main form of natural, spiritual and moral human communication. From this it follows that friendship was perceived as a means to solve the problems of the state.

In the "Fox" friendship is considered as the original of love. The principle of the original, according to Plato, acts as a source of friendly relations between people. On the basis of the original, people love all that they love individually, what they strive to achieve and implement in the process of communicating with people. Therefore, this principle contributes to a meaningful and purposeful human interaction. Moreover, Plato notes that true human communication is impossible with those people who lead a robber lifestyle. Conversely, communication becomes possible only with righteous people. At the heart of the original love is such a Supreme value as good. Consequently, the norm and law of the highest good inherent in the soul contribute to the unification of people and the maintenance of the Universe as a single world order. Human community according to Plato is the highest symmetry, which means that all things correspond to a single measure.

In the "Feast" Plato laid the Foundation for solving the problem of Eros. It is known that in Ancient Greece feasts were the most stable forms of communication between teachers and pupils. The main idea in the "Feast" connection of Eros and Paideia – the connection of two souls in the world of beauty, making Eros immortal through moral liberation.

In the "Feast" depicts the idea of Eros as a demon because Eros is the son of Poros and Singing, the gods of abundance and poverty. Therefore, Eros combines both extremes. Plato's myth of Eros, therefore, contains the dialectical idea of a combination of poverty and wealth, wisdom and ignorance, rudeness and the pursuit of beauty, mortality and immortality.

Plato says that people do not know true love at all, because if they knew it, they would not have erected the greatest temples and altars for it. In the "Fedra" Eros acts as a negative phenomenon, passionate and unbridled desire for pleasure, conquering and belittling to the position of a slave, destroying what it is aimed at.

The duality of Eros is that there is a well-known Eros, embodying vulgar, unassuming instincts. Such Eros must be condemned. The other Eros is of divine origin and serves the true Good and perfection of the object of love. This Eros has an educational power, keeping the lover from low actions and helping the friend in the development of his personality. In this understanding of Eros lies the combination of sensual attraction with ideal motives.

The main position of Plato's ethics is that a person cannot wish for something that he does not consider good for himself. Eros, according to Plato, is a certain kind of creativity, a symbol of man's love for the Good. Eros seeks the true realization of human nature and education. Eros in the understanding of Plato's philosophy – is the desire to form a true man in man. It is a desire to achieve the realization of one's own nature. The creation of one's own kind is the only possibility for immortality. Therefore, Eros contributes to the self-preservation of the physical nature of man. Spiritual Eros perpetuates a person in a feat and a favorite thing, which then live in the memory of people and have a living impact on them. This is most characteristic of the creators and creators of the state and family community.

Plato creates a certain picture of the mystery – a system of steps, which rises mastering Eros. The ascent of the steps takes place either on one's own impulse or under someone's guidance. According to Plato, this spiritual ascent is called pedagogy. Eros, in this case, is a kind of motivating force, becoming a teacher for the most loving, and leading up the stairs. Ascending the steps, the development begins from the earliest youth, beginning with the admiration of the physical beauty of the individual, encouraging the lover to pronounce noble speeches. After this, a true disciple of Eros shows a similarity of beauty of one body with another. Love for this beauty leads to the understanding that this beauty is the same for everyone. As a result, attachment to one person begins to weaken. Thus, a sense of beauty is formed in a person. A person begins to appreciate the beauty of the soul more than the beauty of the body. At this stage, Eros becomes a teacher for another and generates speeches that contribute to the improvement of man. Now, a person can appreciate the beauty of actions and laws, sees the kinship of all that is beautiful.

The process of raising ends with the knowledge of the beauty of all Sciences. At the highest level, the lover is freed from the chains of love that bind him to an individual or activity. Having passed all the stages of knowledge, a person begins to see the divine beauty in its pure form, liberated from everything.

According to Plato, all Sciences have their own special beauty, their meaning and meaning. Despite this, the knowledge of specific people and objects in the end should end with the knowledge of the essence of beauty. Plato argues that only by constant contemplation of beauty can we say that a person lives a true life. The teaching of beauty is the ultimate goal of wandering in the Kingdom of science. This corresponds to the idea of the Good and its dominant position. The doctrine of beauty, as Plato says, is "the most important knowledge." The beautiful and the Good are linked and are aspects of the same reality. In the beautiful and benevolent is the highest principle of all human desires and actions, the motive power, due to the internal need, serving as a kind of impulse of development of nature. Thus, Plato considers the inner harmony between the moral and physical cosmos.

Bovdunov A.L. Politika i erotizm: ot Gosudarstva Platona k Velikomu manipulyatoru Dzh. Bruno. Vypusk 3. M.: Evraziiskoe dvizhenie, 2012. S.65 76.
Verner Ieger. Paideiya. Vospitanie antichnogo grekha. Tom 2. Greko-latinskii kabinet Yu.A. Shichalina. 1997.-393 s.
Demidov A.B. Fenomeny chelovecheskogo bytiya. Minsk: ZAO Izdatel'skii tsentr Ekonompress, 1999.-180 s.
Losev A.F. Bytie imya kosmos. M.: Mysl', 1993.-958 s.
Rebeshchenkova I.G. Eros, razum, poznanie v filosofii Platona / Al'manakh Akademiya. Materialy i issledovaniya po istorii Platonizma. Vypusk 1. Spb., 1997.-S.73-83.
Tolstenko A.M. Eros v filosofii Platona / A.M. Tolstenko. Vestnik russkoi khristianskoi gumanitarnoi akademii.-4. 2010.-S.82-85.
Shestakov V.P. Eros i kul'tura: Filosofiya lyubvi i evropeiskoe iskusstvo. M.: Respublika, TERRA Knizhnyi klub, 1999. 464 s.
Link to this article

You can simply select and copy link from below text field.

Other our sites:
Official Website of NOTA BENE / Aurora Group s.r.o.
"History Illustrated" Website