In Socrates’ footsteps: The deep entanglement of love and wisdom

Author: Laura Candiotto (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Senior Research Fellow at the Free University of Berlin.)

Socrates the Sylenus, Socrates the gadfly, Socrates the doctor of the soul, Socrates the babbling sophist, Socrates the master, Socrates the corrupter of the youth… We could add many other epithets to this list about the great philosopher who lived in 5th century BC Athens. Indeed, Plato and the other Socratics provided extraordinary snapshots of this man whose thought and style of life have so much influenced our cultural history. And these pictures are very often diverse and in contrast one another; one of the hot topics in the literature has been to understand who Socrates really was, also identifying the different strategies for building the memory of Socrates. But my aim here is not so much the one of focusing on the so-called Socratic problem. On the contrary, I want to highlight the power of one of these images, the one of Socrates as a lover, focusing on the effects produced by this picture in our understanding of what philosophy should be.

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