Dr Tom Kerns
North Seattle Community College


An outline

Eros in the Third Speech

of The Phaedrus

(check out these few good books about erotic love)
Eros is a madness/sickness/addiction (as argued in the first two speechesBut there are some good forms of "madness." For example:
  • prophecy
  • poesis (& inspiration)
  • healing
  • And eros
There are three realms or planes of Being and three human faculties for knowing them:

 Realms of Being

 Faculty for knowing

 3. Spiritual realm, essences, pure being

3. Divine madness

2. Intellectual realm, numbers, concepts, thoughts

2. Mind/intellect/Nous

1. Physical/sensory realm

1. Physical senses

Eros can take us to the heavenly/spiritual realms, or to the hells; to the beautiful or the destructive

And whichever it is going to be will depend on the state of your soul.

A soul (if it is in good order) has the nature of wing:

it lifts the earthbound into the heavens (See also The Phaedrus and The Eternal)

What is a soul?

A soul, says Plato, is like a chariot with two horses and driver

The chariot represents (for Plato) the body

The ugly, misshapen black horse on the left represents (for Plato) all the appetites

The white, beautiful and noble horse on the right represents (for Plato) our hot-blooded and high spirited element

The charioteer represents (for Plato) the mind

The Driver (Mind) must

1.) be in control2.) know and understand the system3.) have a vision/meaning (Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning)


  1. self-knowledge ("the unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates)
  2. listening (L. "ob-audire") to the gods
Only then will eros be a madness that can be healthy and beneficial to the soul

Souls without eros are (for Plato) flatfooted, earthbound and spiritually trivial (see Phaedrus pp 501-503)

(A few good books about erotic love)