Scaling the Ladder. Why the Final Step of the Lover’s Ascent is a Generalizing Step
The ‘Scala Amoris’ (210a-212b), or ‘Ladder of Love’, constitutes the philosophical and aesthetic centrepiece of Socrates’ encomium of Eros in Plato’s Symposium. Here Diotima describes how a lover ascending up the Ladder directs his erotic attention to a number of difference kinds of beautiful objects, first bodies, then souls, just institutions and knowledge, until he catches a glimpse of Beauty itself. In this paper I advance an ‘inclusive’ reading of the lover’s ascent – to use Price’s 1991 terminology – with a particular emphasis on justifying such a reading concerning the final step.