VIII—BeyondEros: Friendship in thePhaedrus


  • Meeting of the Aristotelian Society held at Senate House, University of London, on 7 February 2011 at 4:15 p.m.


It is often held that Plato did not have a viable account of interpersonal love. The account of eros—roughly, desire—in the Symposium appears to fail, and, though the Lysis contains much suggestive material for an account of philia—roughly, friendship—this is an aporetic dialogue, which fails, ultimately, to provide an account of friendship. This paper argues that Plato's account of friendship is in the Phaedrus. This dialogue outlines three kinds of philia relationship, the highest of which compares favourably to the Aristotelian notion of love for another ‘for their own sake’. In contrast to the account of eros in the Symposium, this gives Plato an account of interpersonal love that meets some of the requirements laid down by Gregory Vlastos (1973) for a satisfactory account of interpersonal love.