This independent study is divided into four chapters. The first chapter focuses on defining Love through the examination of four main theories on the subject. The four theories that are examined are known as love as union, love as robust concern, love as an appraisal of value, and love as an emotion proper. Each of these examine the subject and present those aspects which they believe to be the central feature/features of love. Following the examination of these ideas, I conclude that I view love as being an emotion proper. I argue that this theory is the strongest of the three because it describes love as being directly connected to the lives of humans.

The second chapter of my independent study takes the idea that love is an emotion and focuses on defining emotion in an effort the better understand love. To do so I analyze three theories on emotion. Those theories are emotion as feelings, emotions as motivation, and emotions as evaluations. Similar to chapter one, I break down each of these theories and determine which one I believe to be the strongest. In doing so, I establish that the theory of emotions as evaluations should be regarded as the strongest of the three because it is the only one that asserts that there is a direct connection between emotions and one’s perceptions.

In my third chapter I give an account of and examine a variety of speeches presented in Plato’s Symposium. I choose to focus on the speeches given by Phaedrus, Aristophanes, Agathon, and Socrates. Following my examination, I choose to regard the speech presented by Socrates to give the truest account of love and go on to discuss how it further develops the ideas on the subject that are presented in chapters one and two.

Taking the information that I’ve established as true I move on to my fourth and final chapter where I examine Plato’s Phaedrus. In this text there are three main speeches about love that are presented. I give an account of and examine each of these and decide which account of love I regard as being the most truthful. The third speech given, Socrates’ Palinode, is in my opinion the strongest of three for a variety of reasons, but the main reason being that it views love as being related to the ‘good’. This speech further supports the ideas on love that I presented in chapters one and two.


Schiltz, Elizabeth






Philosophy Love Plato Phaedrus Symposium

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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