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What is PLATONIC love according to Plato

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What is platonic love according to Plato

Do you want to know what platonic love is according to Plato? In unProfesor we are going to travel to Ancient Greece to study one of the most interesting questions in the philosophy of Plato (327-347 BC) C.), the platonic love. A philosophical conception of love which is defined as a love that is separated from the sexual element, is based on virtue, is pure and leads the individual to know the beauty.

This concept of love is captured by Plato in his work The Banquet or The Symposium (385 BC C). Work that takes us into a philosophical dialogue starring seven wise men (Socrates, Aristophanes, Alcibiades, Pausanias, Eryximaco, Agathon and Phaedrus) and in which they discuss What is itEros/Lover.

If you want to know more about platonic love according to Plato, pay attention because in a PROFESOR we explain everything to you in detail. Let's start!

You may also like: Platonic idealism: main characteristics


  1. Plato's political and social context
  2. Plato's banquet: conception of platonic love
  3. Discourses on love in Plato's Banquet
  4. instagram story viewer
  5. What is platonic love: brief definition
  6. The ladder of love and platonic love

Political and social context of Plato.

To understand the concept of platonic love of Plato(387-347 BC) C.), we must first know who Plato is and in what context our protagonist develops his philosophical thought. In this way, we know that Plato was born in Athens around the year 427 a. C., within an aristocratic family and related to the politician solon (Seven Sages of Greece).

From a very young age he was attracted to philosophy and soon began to frequent the environment of Socrates, becoming one of his foremost disciples. However, after the death sentence imposed on his teacher, he was forced to leave Athens and would not return until 387 BC. c. Moment in which he founded the Academy, which became one of the most important centers of knowledge until it was closed in 86 BC. c. (Justinian).

Also, we have to locate ourselves in the final period of classical greece. A moment that was characterized by a first spartan hegemony on the Greek sphere, the political decline of Athens after her defeat in the Peloponnesian War, a second hegemony stars in the city of Thebes (371 a. C.) after several conflicts with Sparta, the general crisis of the city-states, the disintegration of the population and the incipient rise of Macedonia and Hellenism.

All this had very important political consequences in the sense that the democracy of Athens was seenthreatened and defeated by aristocratic system of Sparta. Therefore, it is not just the defeat of one city by another, but the defeat of a political system in the hands of another =Aristocracy beats Democracy.

Plato's banquet: conception of platonic love.

The banquetof Plato stands as the first Western work to tells us about love, specifically it is a praise/praise to love through the speeches of seven guests at a symposium.

“…I think, therefore, that each of us should make a speech, from left to right, as beautiful as he can in praise of Eros and let Phaedrus begin first, since he is also placed first and is, at the same time, the father of the idea…”

Also, it can be included in the philosophy of the tragicomedy and within what is known as the platonic dialogues or set of works (dialogues) that were grouped in the canon “Corpus Platonicum. which is ordered in tetralogies and is divided into two blocks depending on its historical evolution:

  • ancient canon: Attributed to trasilo in the S.I d. c. and in which each dialogue is cataloged by themes. In this case, the banquet is located under the theme of love.
  • modern editions: Made in 1513 by the Aldine printing press. Later, this was modified by John Burnet in 1907 and grouped into 5 volumes (following the order of Trásilo's tetralogy).

Lastly, it should also be borne in mind that this work is structure in three large parts or blocks:

  • Introduction. Where it is explained that the guests go to the banquet organized by Agathon.
  • Seven speeches (central part). Each diner delivers his speech in the following order: Phaedrus, Pausanias, Eriximaco, Aristophanes, Agathon, Socrates, and Alcibiades.
  • conclusion. By way of closing, Plato tells us that everyone fell asleep, except Socrates.
What is platonic love according to Plato - Plato's banquet: conception of platonic love

Discourses on love in Plato's Banquet.

the seven speeches pronounced by the protagonists of The banquet They give us the idea of ​​Plato's love. Especially highlighting the speech of Socrates, since it is where the concept of platonic love is collected.

Let us study the seven discourses on love that help us understand platonic love according to Plato:

  1. Phaedrus speech: It stands as the speech that serves as an introduction to the reader, since it tells us about who he is Eros as deity: his origin, his greatness and his nature. Thus, Phaedrus tells us that he is the most venerable god of all and that he is the one who leads the individual to do beautiful things such as sacrifice for the loved one.
  2. Pausanias speech: Pausanias rebukes Phaedrus and goes on to speak of Eros as a god who has a double nature (there are two Eros): Eros Pandemus/Aphrodite (physical, vulgar and perishable love = the impulsive love typical of young people and women) and Eros Uranium (love of the soul, pure, virtuous, immortal and of wisdom = the love of philosophy and typical of adult men).
  3. Eryximachus speech: Continuing with the theory of the double nature of love, he tells us that both types of love must reach a Balance or consonance and tells us about love from a biological and medical perspective: the love of what is healthy/beautiful and the love of what is sick/embarrassing.
  4. Aristophanes speech: It alludes to the fact that the Greeks are not aware of the power of Eros and that he is a little revered god. In addition, it mentions the myth of what human nature was like at the beginning of time: There were three sexes (male/descendant of the sun, feminine/descendant of the earth and androgynous/descendant of the moon=disappeared), of which, masculine and feminine that possessed two bodies, They were separated into two halves and condemned to search for their other half, therefore, love is the search for that half to complete you as a being. human.
  5. Agathon's speech: The speech of this diner does not add anything new, rather, it serves to enumerate and summarize the topics exposed so far to move on to the main speech, that of Socrates.
  6. Socrates' speech (platonic love): He begins praising the speeches of his companions and through the dialogue, typical of this philosopher, he begins to give a lesson on what is Eros. In this way, he tells us that the one who taught him what Eros is was the wise diotima and he goes on to reproduce the conversation he had with her, establishing that Eros is a devil who communicates God with men and who is the son of Penia (Poverty) and Poros (Resource), from whom he has inherited various characteristics; On the one hand it is hard, dry and poor. But on the other hand, he is beautiful, good, wise and brave. Also, it is not mortal or immortal, it is the desire of possess the good, the procreation of beauty both in the body and in the soul and The virtue. It is Eros Uranium.
  7. Alcibaidaes speech: This last speech speaks of the virtues of Eros and focuses on highlighting the discourse of Socrates. In addition, it serves to end the discussion about love, since, after this speech, everyone falls asleep except Socrates.
What is platonic love according to Plato - The discourses on love in Plato's Banquet

What is platonic love: brief definition.

Once we have studied the seven discourses on love, in a PROFESOR we explain the concept of platonic love.

In this way, Plato's platonic love is a philosophical conception of love where it is separated from the sexual element, it is devoid of passions, is based on the virtue, it is a love that is pure/perfect, it is the one that leads the individual to meet the beauty spiritual or beauty itself and away from bodily love.

“… He must consider the beauty of the souls more valuable than that of the body, so that if someone is virtuous of the soul, even if he has little splendor, be enough to love him, care for him, beget and seek reasoning such that they make the young better (...) And that lead to recognize that everything beautiful is related to itself, and thus consider the beauty of the body as something insignificant…"

Likewise, Plato shows us a conception of love from the dual perspective: physical love and spiritual love. Being the latter, defined as platonic love. The one that distances itself from sexual love, that goes beyond love, that is an intelligent/transcendental love and the one that leads the individual to seek what is good, beautiful and just.

Finally, we must also take into account that today the concept of platonic love has become blurred and has nothing to do with the original concept of Plato. Now, when we talk about platonic love, we mean a idealized, distant and unrequited love.

What is platonic love according to Plato - What is platonic love: brief definition

The ladder of love and platonic love.

The ladder of love is a allegory that Plato puts in the mouth of Socrates, through which our protagonist explains that love arises from the desire that exists in the individual in find and admire the beauty. Therefore, this search is a process that the human being carries out throughout his life through different phases or steps, which go from physical beauty to spiritual beauty:

  1. First step / The love of the beauty of bodies. It is the love for a body that is beautiful and that leads to admiring the overall beauty.
  2. Second step / Love to the beauty of the soulabout the beauty of bodies. It leads to love for laws, customs and activities, but above all it is the phase in which the individual begins to look inside (the soul) of the person and in which love is separated from the physical.
  3. Third step / Love of knowledge and wisdom (philosophy). It leads to the purest form of beauty and virtue. Is he love of knowledge and that goes beyond the earthly love that is felt towards the loved one.
  4. Fourth step / Love and beauty itself. This phase is the peak and represents the supreme love, the greatest and most perfect of all.

If you want to read more articles similar to What is platonic love according to Plato, we recommend that you enter our category of Philosophy.


  • Plato. (2017). dialogues. Translation and editing by Antonio Alegre Gorri. Gredos.
  • Barcelo, P. (2001).Brief history of Greece and Rome.Alliance.
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