Author Information

Kendra Tully


Plato’s Symposium strives to resolve the tension between physical and moral love. After characterizing this tension through an analysis of the speeches of Eryximachus (who advocates purely physical love) and Socrates (who advocates purely moral love), this essay argues that Plato offers an interpretation of love that bridges the physical/moral divide. Evidence for this claim is found in the content of the speech of Aristophanes, the timing of the arrival of Alcibiades, and the exchange between Alcibiades and Socrates. In taking seriously both the physical and moral aspects of love, Plato concludes that humans can live beautifully together only when they practice love of the mind, body, and soul. In making this argument, Plato purposefully departs from the teaching of his mentor, Socrates.

Note on the Author

Kendra Tully is a sophomore majoring in Economics and Political Science. She completed this research under the mentorship of Dr. Jordan Barkalow of the Political Science department for her Freshman Honors Colloquium.

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