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Other-Centred Love: Diotima’s lesson to Socrates


Jan van der Crabben
by Colin A. Redmond
published on 21 November 2011
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In this thesis I set out to determine the possible motivations in response to which Diotima agreed to teach Socrates the arts of love. In the process I develop a broader understanding of Diotima and her natural, feminine complexity. This understanding of Diotima suggests an interpretation of her teaching to show that, for all that can be said of love it is, importantly a re-orientation from self-centred interest to other-centred interest and it is this re-orientation which impacted on Socrates and by which he was persuaded.

Such an impact and its explanation offers a clear rationale for the changes which are observed in the way Socrates engages with his correspondents in the dialogues which we read in Plato‟s work.

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The coherence between the motivations, the teaching and the result of the impact on Socrates suggests that Diotima was of singular importance in Socrates‟ life. Moreover, rather than a fictional creation, the complexity and integrity of her character supports the argument that she is drawn from life.

Editorial Review This article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication.

Written by Colin A. Redmond, linked by Jan van der Crabben, published 21 November 2011. Source URL:

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Cite This Work

APA Style

Redmond, C. A. (2011, November 21). Other-Centred Love: Diotima’s lesson to Socrates. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Redmond, Colin A.. "Other-Centred Love: Diotima’s lesson to Socrates." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified November 21, 2011.

MLA Style

Redmond, Colin A.. "Other-Centred Love: Diotima’s lesson to Socrates." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 21 Nov 2011. Web. 16 May 2021.