In Socrates' recounting of her speech, Diotima gives an account of what she considers being the best form of love. (Nye 137). The question “what is love?”, has troubled individuals often, but Plato, in the symposium, offers a solid understanding through Socrates, the philosopher. In identifying the means of pursuing love, Diotima defines Love as a craving for happiness. According to the Greeks, Happiness was regarded as an end of its own, with much of the Greek ethics centered on it. One may criticize the scope of the word “Love” as inflated in order to embrace all forms of desire which people would not consider as love under normal conditions.
The Greek term “eros” may imply both desire in a broader context and love in the narrow sense, thus the scope of the term “Love” is uncertain in it’s very nature (Nye 140). Nevertheless, Diotima is cautious in pin-pointing the difference between the commonly used term, Love, and the general desire for beauty and happiness. She states that even though Love goes beyond a general term in context, individuals usually use the word to infer some specific form of Love.
Diotima makes a perplexing substitution; “good” for “beautiful”. Although she reaches a consensus with Socrates, just like Agathon, that good things are beautiful; she does not agree that all beautiful items are good. They failed to agree on the co-extensiveness of the two classes: good things and beautiful things. Her substitution strikes individuals; leaving some questionable validity. Socrates tends to imply that the principle of beauty is practical goodness. That is the excellence or virtue, the correctness and beauty of something or creature relates to the purpose for which each was made or adapted. According to Socrates, beauty relates to ethical goodness under the human case, because a virtuous soul is always ordered to its appropriate activity. Furthermore, beauty exclusively parades itself to cognition and perception as a result of the intimate relation to the good. Putting these ideas together, it seems that beauty is cognizable, perceptible, attractive exciting, pleasant and an expression of goodness.
Nevertheless, it is barely probable that the Socrates has this erudite account of beauty in his mind when he and Agathon agree easily, without explanation, that all good things are beautiful. On the basis of the previous consensus that good things are beautiful, Diotima casually replaces ‘good with ‘beautiful’, an act that would be justified only if they had agreed that all beautiful things are good (Nye 143). She does not appeal to the previous agreement to validate her substitution, thus there is no reason to accuse her of acting recklessly; without considering logic. Her observation that Love is an interactive property is considered as a refinement on the claim that Love intercedes between contraries, integrating them. She revises the myth by Aristophanes suggesting that love is not focused on what is own by one, but rather directed by the good. Therefore, Diotima makes puts forth a strong account for the best form of love.
Nye, Andrea. "The subject of love: Diotima and her critics." The Journal of Value Inquiry 24.2 (1990): 135-153