Plato on Friendship and Eros
Plato discusses love (erôs) and friendship (philia) primarily in two dialogues, the Lysis and the Symposium, though the Phaedrus also adds significantly to his views. In each work, Socrates as the quintessential philosopher is in two ways center stage, first, as a lover of wisdom (sophia) and discussion (logos), and, second, as himself an inverter or disturber of erotic norms. Plato’s views on love are a meditation on Socrates and the power his philosophical conversations have to mesmerize, obsess, and educate.
In what follows, section 1 deals with the Lysis and Symposium. Sections 2–4 primarily with the Symposium alone. Section 5 deals with the Phaedrus. Section 6 with the closing section of the Symposium and with parts of the Ion, Protagoras, and Laws. Sections are not self-contained, however, and are intended to be read sequentially. Most scholars agree that the order of composition of the “erotic” dialogues is Lysis, Symposium, Phaedrus, though some put the Phaedrus earlier than the Symposium.