THE PARTS AND THE WHOLE: THE INSUFFICIENCY OF THE PRE-SOCRATIC SPEECHES IN PLATO'S SYMPOSIUM
In this article we will analyze the analogy of use of the names erōs-poiēsis developed by Diotima in her dialogue with the young Socrates (205a-206a) in Plato’s Symposium. In this analogy, Diotima analyzes the use of the name erōs as both a particular kind of ‘desire’, as well as the general genre that involves all the particular species of ‘desire’. This study aims to understand the consequences of reading this passage in relation to the speeches of the first five symposiasts, considering them as at the same time speeches about what is and about what is not, that is, simultaneously true speeches, as they speak about Erōs features within a particular genre, and false, for taking the part (species) for the whole (genus). At this moment in the dialogue (205a-206a) there would be a discursive level shift made by the character Diotima, whose methodological goal with aiming at the more general leads her to guide the young Socrates towards ever more general formulations in the discourse, instead of the particularizations carried out so far in the dialogue by the other symposiasts. These speeches led to contradictory opinions not supported by an adequate discourse, thus being particular and insufficient aspects to the apprehension of the object sought by the dialectical activity. To illustrate this interpretation, we will seek to highlight how the moments in Diotima’s speech after the erōs-poiēsis analogy could be read as the identification of the insufficiencies of the preceding speeches, so as to deny them by means of sublation, namely, negations that methodologically maintain elements to be re-signified in a more generalizing discourse whose purpose is seeking the truth.
KEYWORDS: Diotima, speeches, dialectics, Symposium