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Socrates argues that we should attempt to ascend Diotima’s “ladder of love.” The central task of this essay is
to critically evaluate this argument. To carry out this task well, you need to do each of the following:
(1) Explain Socrates’ account of love.
(2) Carefully describe the ladder of love (i.e., the ascent to the Beautiful) and what role(s) love is
playing in this ascent.
(3) Explain Socrates’ argument for why we should attempt to make this ascent. (If you think that
there are multiple arguments, choose one on which to focus.)
(4) What do you think is the most serious objection to Socrates’ argument? Once you have
explained this objection, explain whether, and why, you find this objection persuasive or not.1
As you complete these tasks2
, please make sure that you are familiar with the required Nussbaum
reading. Her paper, along with the lecture videos, will help you to understand the finer points of Plato’s
text. You should also feel free to mention Alcibiades or Aristophanes when criticizing Socrates’
argument.

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