Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

Schools and Centres

Philosophy and Theology

First Supervisor

Dr G Naimo


In this thesis I set out to determine the possible motivations in response to which Diotima agreed to teach Socrates the arts of love. In the process I develop a broader understanding of Diotima and her natural, feminine complexity. This understanding of Diotima suggests an interpretation of her teaching to show that, for all that can be said of love it is, importantly a re-orientation from self-centred interest to other-centred interest and it is this re-orientation which impacted on Socrates and by which he was persuaded.

Such an impact and its explanation offers a clear rationale for the changes which are observed in the way Socrates engages with his correspondents in the dialogues which we read in Plato‟s work.

The coherence between the motivations, the teaching and the result of the impact on Socrates suggests that Diotima was of singular importance in Socrates‟ life. Moreover, rather than a fictional creation, the complexity and integrity of her character supports the argument that she is drawn from life.

A thesis submitted by Colin A Redmond, BA (Phil), BA Hons (Religious Studies) in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master in Philosophy.

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