The Ockham Society (Week 5, MT22)

Ockham Society

I argue that Diotima’s engagement with Aristophanes in the Symposium should not be understood as an outright dismissal, but as a reappraisal of his central concept of the oikeion (what ‘belongs’ or ‘is proper` to us). Desire for the good for Plato always aims at what most properly belongs to us. Aristophanes confuses the dependence relation between oikeion and agathon when he suggests that his object of desire is good for us because it belongs to us. Yet his claim that erōs leads us to the oikeion and restores our original nature (archaia phusis) unwittingly expresses a deep Platonic truth about the nature of desire.