Platonic love


  • Bonding
  • Courtship
  • Dating
  • Engagement
  • Mating
  • Meet market
  • Romance
  • Singles event
  • Wedding


  • Breakup
  • Separation
  • Annulment
  • Divorce
  • Widowhood

Emotions and feelings

  • Affinity
  • Attachment
  • Intimacy
  • Jealousy
  • Limerence
  • Love
  • Passion
  • Sexuality


  • Bride price
    • dower
    • dowry
    • service
  • Hypergamy
  • Infidelity
  • Sexual activity
  • Transgression
  • Repression


  • Child
  • Dating
  • Domestic
  • Elderly
  • Narcissistic parent
  • Power and control
  • v
  • t
  • e

Platonic love (often lower-cased as platonic[1]) is a term used for a type of love, or close relationship that is non-sexual. It is named after Plato, though the philosopher never used the term himself. Platonic love as devised by Plato concerns rising through levels of closeness to wisdom and true beauty from carnal attraction to individual bodies to attraction to souls, and eventually, union with the truth. This is the ancient, philosophical interpretation.[2] Platonic love is often contrasted with romantic love.


  • 1 Philosophical interpretation
    • 1.1 Eros
      • 1.1.1 Eros as a god
      • 1.1.2 Virtue
    • 1.2 Ladder of Love
      • 1.2.1 Tragedy and comedy
        • Tragedy
        • Comedy
  • 2 Evolution of platonic love
    • 2.1 Seven types of love
  • 3 Modern interpretation
    • 3.1 Definition of platonic love
    • 3.2 Complications of platonic love
  • 4 See also
  • 5 Notes
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Philosophical interpretation[edit]

Platonic love is examined in Plato’s dialogue, the Symposium, which has as its topic the subject of love or Eros generally. It explains the possibilities of how the feeling of love began and how it has evolved—both sexually and non-sexually. Of particular importance is the speech of Socrates, who attributes to the prophetess Diotima an idea of platonic love as a means of ascent to contemplation of the divine. The step of this ascent is known as the “Ladder of Love”. For Diotima, and for Plato generally, the most correct use of love of human beings is to direct one’s mind to love of divinity. Socrates defines love based on separate classifications of pregnancy (to bear offspring); pregnancy of the body, pregnancy of the soul, and direct connection to Being. Pregnancy of the body results in human children. Pregnancy of the soul, the next step in the process, produces “virtue” – which is the soul (truth) translating itself into material form.[3]

“[…] virtue for the Greeks means self-sameness […] in Plato’s terms, Being or idea.”(106) [3]


In short, with genuine platonic love, the beautiful or lovely other person inspires the mind and the soul and directs one’s attention to spiritual things. Pausanias, in Plato’s Symposium (181b–182a), explained two types of love or Eros—Vulgar Eros or earthly love and Divine Eros or divine love. Vulgar Eros is nothing but mere material attraction towards a beautiful body for physical pleasure and reproduction. Divine Eros begins the journey from physical attraction, i.e. attraction towards beautiful form or body but transcends gradually to love for Supreme Beauty. This concept of Divine Eros is later transformed into the term platonic love. Vulgar Eros and Divine Eros are both connected and part of the same continuous process of pursuing totality of being itself,[4] with the purpose of mending human nature, eventually reaching a point of unity where there is no longer an aspiration to change.[5]

“Eros is […] a moment of transcendence […] in so far as the other can never be possessed without being annihilated in its status as the other, at which point both desire and transcendence would cease […] (84) [5]

Eros as a god[edit]

In the Symposium, Eros is discussed as a Greek god – more specifically, the king of the gods, with each guest of the party giving a eulogy in praise of Eros.[4] This view of Eros is different from how a modern person would interpret it. Most modern people would think of Eros as a concept rather than a god. This is an example of cultural relativity, because the modern interpretation of the term is different from the ancient Greek interpretation.

“So this is how I assert that Eros is the oldest, most honorable, and most competent of the gods with regard to the acquisition of virtue and happiness by human beings both when living and dead.”[4] (180c, 8) – Plato’s quoting of Phaedrus’ eulogy on Eros


Virtue, according to Greek philosophy, is the concept of how closely reality and material form equates with the ideal, true essence of an idea, such as beauty. Virtue is the result of pregnancy of the soul.[3] This definition varies considerably from the modern English interpretation of the term, where virtue equates to that which is good, positive, or benevolent. This can be seen as a form of linguistic relativity.

Some modern authors perception of the terms “virtue” and “good” as they are translated into English from the Symposium are a good indicator of this misunderstanding. In the following quote, the author simplifies the idea of virtue as simply what is “good”.

“[…] what is good is beautiful, and what is beautiful is good […]”[6]

Ladder of Love[edit]

The Ladder of Love is named as such because it relates each step toward Being itself as consecutive rungs of a ladder. Each step closer to the truth further distances love from beauty of the body toward love that is more focused on wisdom and the essence of beauty.[3]

The ladder starts with carnal attraction of body for body, progressing to a love for body and soul. Eventually, in time, with consequent steps up the ladder, the idea of beauty is eventually no longer connected with a body, but entirely united with Being itself. [4]

“[…] decent human beings must be gratified, as well as those that are not as yet decent, so that they might become more decent; and the love of the decent must be preserved.” [4] (187d, 17) – Eryximachus’ “completion” of Pausanias’ speech on Eros

Tragedy and comedy[edit]

Plato’s Symposium defines two extremes in the process of platonic love; the entirely carnal and the entirely ethereal. These two extremes of love are seen by the Greeks in terms of tragedy and comedy. According to Diotima in her discussion with Socrates, for anyone to achieve the final rung in the Ladder of Love, they would essentially transcend the body and rise to immortality – gaining direct access to Being. Such a form of love is impossible for a mortal to achieve.[3]

What Plato describes as “pregnancy of the body” is entirely carnal and seeks pleasure and beauty in bodily form only. This is the type of love, that, according to Socrates, is practiced by animals.[4]

“Now, if both these portraits of love, the tragic and the comic, are exaggerations, then we could say that the genuine portrayal of Platonic love is the one that lies between them. The love described as the one practiced by those who are pregnant according to the soul, who partake of both the realm of beings and the realm of Being, who grasp Being indirectly, through the mediation of beings, would be a love that Socrates could practice.”[3]


Diotima considers the carnal limitation of human beings to the pregnancy of the body to be a form of tragedy, as it separates someone from the pursuit of truth. One would be forever limited to beauty of the body, never being able to access the true essence of beauty.[3]


Diotima considers the idea of a mortal having direct access to Being to be a comic situation simply because of the impossibility of it. The offspring of true virtue would essentially lead to a mortal achieving immortality.[6]

Evolution of platonic love[edit]

In the Middle Ages arose a new interest in Plato, his philosophy and his view of love. This was caused by Georgios Gemistos Plethon during the Councils of Ferrara and Firenze in 1438-1439. Later in 1469, Marsilio Ficino put forward a theory of neo-platonic love in which he defines love as a personal ability of an individual which guides their soul towards cosmic processes and lofty spiritual goals and heavenly ideas (De Amore, Les Belles Lettres, 2012). The first use of the modern sense of platonic love is taken as an invention of Ficino in one of his letters.

Though Plato’s discussions of love originally centered on relationships which were sexual between members of the same sex, scholar Todd Reeser studies how the meaning of platonic love in Plato’s original sense underwent a transformation during the Renaissance, leading to the contemporary sense of nonsexual heterosexual love.[7]

The English term dates back to William Davenant’s The Platonic Lovers (performed in 1635); a critique of the philosophy of platonic love which was popular at Charles I’s court. It is derived from the concept in Plato’s Symposium of the love of the idea of good which lies at the root of all virtue and truth. For a brief period, Platonic love was a fashionable subject at the English royal court, especially in the circle around Queen Henrietta Maria, the wife of King Charles I. Platonic love was the theme of some of the courtly masques performed in the Caroline era—though the fashion soon waned under pressures of social and political change.

Seven types of love[edit]

Throughout these era’s platonic love slowly was categorized into different subsections, which were: Eros, Philia, Storge, Agape, Ludus, Pragma, Philautia. Eros is a sexual or passionate love, or a modern perspective of romantic love. Philia is the type of love that is directed towards friendship or goodwill, often is met with mutual benefits that can also can be formed by companionship, dependability, and trust. Storge is the type of love that is found between parents and children, and this is often a unilateral love. Agape is the universal love, that can consist of the love for strangers, nature, or god. Ludus is a playful and uncommitted love, this is focused for fun and sometimes as a conquest with no strings attached. Pragma is the type of love that is founded on duty and reason, and one’s longer term interests. Philautia is self-love and this can be healthy or unhealthy; which can be unhealthy if you are hubris if placed ahead of gods, and it can be healthy if its used to build self esteem and confidence. These different forms of love can be mistaken as any of the listed different loves.  There is a type of porosity that allows love to filter through one type and into the next, although for plato love is to be of the beautiful and good things. This is due to the ownership of beautiful and good things equates into happiness. All beautiful and good things sit below truth and wisdom, for everyone looks to truthful and wise people as the truly beautiful for the effort of being considered beautifully good, and this is exactly why Plato suggests that love is not a god but rather a philosopher.[8]

Modern interpretation[edit]

Definition of platonic love[edit]

“Platonic love in its modern popular sense is an affectionate relationship into which the sexual element does not enter, especially in cases where one might easily assume otherwise.”[9] “Platonic lovers function to underscore a supportive role where the friend sees her or his duty as the provision of advice, encouragement, and comfort to the other person […] and do not entail exclusivity”[10]

Complications of platonic love[edit]

90% of our closest relationship will be of a platonic nature,[11] but when there is an insistence on labeling the relationship as platonic love the terminology itself may create discourse within one’s relationships. Notably romantic relationships where a bond of love has been established.

One of the complications of platonic love lies within the persistence of the use of the title itself “platonic love” versus the use of “friend”. It is the use of the word love that directs us towards a deeper relationship than the scope of a normal friendship.

Secondly, a study by Hause and Messman states: “The most popular reasons for retaining a platonic relationship of the opposite sex (or sex of attraction) was to safeguard a relationship, followed by not attracted, network disapproval, third party, risk aversion, and time out.” This points to the fact that the title of platonic love in most cases is actually a title-holder to avoid sexual interaction between knowing and consenting friends, with mutual or singular sexual interest and/or tension existing.

See also[edit]

Plato and his students

  • Attraction
  • Bromance
  • Casual dating
  • Childhood sweetheart
  • Emotional affair
  • Fraternization
  • Greek love
  • Heterosociality
  • Infatuation
  • Interpersonal attraction
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Intimate relationship
  • Puppy love
  • Relationship anarchy
  • Romantic friendship
  • Soulmate
  • Womance
  • Work spouse


  • ^ “8.60: When not to capitalize”. The Chicago Manual of Style (16th [electronic] ed.). Chicago University Press. 2010. 
  • ^ Mish, F (1993). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary: Tenth Edition. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. ISBN 08-7779-709-9. 
  • ^ a b c d e f g Rojcewicz, R. (1997). Platonic love: dasein’s urge toward being. Research in Phenomenology, 27(1), 103.
  • ^ a b c d e f Benardete, S. (1986). Plato’s Symposium. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-04275-8.
  • ^ a b Miller, P. A. (2013). Duras and platonic love: The erotics of substitution. Comparatist, 3783-104.
  • ^ a b Herrmann, F. (2013). Dynamics of vision in Plato’s thought. Helios, 40(1/2), 281-307.
  • ^ Reeser, T. (2015). Setting Plato Straight: Translating Platonic Sexuality in the Renaissance. Chicago. 
  • ^ “These Are the 7 Types of Love”. Psychology Today. Retrieved 2018-05-03. 
  • ^ “Platonic love”. ScienceDaily. Retrieved 2018-05-03. 
  • ^ Messman,, SJ (2000). “Motives to Remain Platonic, Equity, and the Use of Maintenance Strategies in Opposite-Sex Friendships”. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships,. 17: 67–94 – via 10.1177/0265407500171004. 
  • ^ “The Truth About Romantic and Platonic Love”. The Odyssey Online. 2015-12-14. Retrieved 2018-05-03. 
  • References[edit]

    • Dall’Orto, Giovanni (January 1989). “‘Socratic Love’ as a Disguise for Same-Sex Love in the Italian Renaissance”. Journal of Homosexuality. 16 (1-2): 33–66. doi:10.1300/J082v16n01_03. 
    • Gerard, Kent; Hekma, Gert (1989). The Pursuit of Sodomy: Male Homosexuality in Renaissance and Enlightenment Europe. New York: Harrington Park Press. ISBN 978-0-918393-49-4. 
    • K. Sharpe, Criticism and Compliment. Cambridge, 1987, ch. 2.
    • T. Reeser, Setting Plato Straight: Translating Platonic Sexuality in the Renaissance. Chicago, 2015.
    • Burton, N., MD (2016, June 25). These Are the 7 Types of Love. Psychology Today. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
    • Messman, S. J., Hause, D. J., & Hause, K. S. (2000). “Motives to Remain Platonic, Equity, and the Use of Maintenance Strategies in Opposite-Sex Friendships.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 17 (1), 67–94. doi:10.1177/0265407500171004
    • The Truth About Romantic and Platonic Love (2017, August 27). The Odyssey Online.
    • Platonic love (n.d.). Science Daily.
    • Mish, F. C. (Ed.). (1993). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary: Tenth Edition. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc. ISBN 08-7779-709-9.
    • Rojcewicz, R. (1997). “Platonic love: dasein’s urge toward being.” Research in Phenomenology, 27 (1), 103.
    • Miller, P. A. (2013). “Duras and platonic love: The erotics of substitution.” Comparatist, 37 83–104.
    • Benardete, S. (1986). Plato’s Symposium. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-04275-8.
    • Herrmann, F. (2013). “Dynamics of vision in Plato’s thought.” Helios, 40 (1/2), 281–307.

    External links[edit]

    • Plato on Friendship and Eros – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

    Allegories and metaphors

    • Atlantis
    • Ring of Gyges
    • The Cave
    • The Divided Line
    • The Sun
    • Ship of State
    • Myth of Er
    • The Chariot
    • Allegorical interpretations of Plato


    • Commentaries
    • The Academy in Athens
    • Socratic problem
    • Middle Platonism
    • Neoplatonism
      • and Christianity
    • Poitier Meets Plato
    • List of speakers in Plato’s dialogues
    • Plato’s Dream


    • Ariston of Athens (father)
    • Pyrilampes (stepfather)
    • Perictione (mother)
    • Adeimantus of Collytus (brother)
    • Glaucon (brother)
    • Potone (sister)
    • Speusippus (nephew)

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    Love Is Love

    Love Is Love may refer to:

    • Love Is Love (album), a 1994 album by Elkie Brooks
    • Love Is Love (film), a 1990 Hong Kong film
    • Love Is Love (comics), a 2016 comic book published by DC Comics and IDW Publishing to benefit victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting
    • Love Is Love/Return to Dust, a 2012 album by Code Orange
    • “Love Is Love”, a song by Culture Club from a soundtrack of Electric Dreams

    Love (disambiguation).

    Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment.

    Love or Loved may also refer to:


    • 1 In arts and entertainment
      • 1.1 In film and television
      • 1.2 In music
        • 1.2.1 Albums
        • 1.2.2 Songs
        • 1.2.3 Other
      • 1.3 In video games
      • 1.4 Other uses in arts and entertainment
    • 2 People
    • 3 Places
      • 3.1 In the United States
      • 3.2 Other places
    • 4 Other uses
    • 5 See also

    In arts and entertainment[edit]

    In film and television[edit]

    • Love (1919 film), starring Fatty Arbuckle
    • Love (1927 American film), an adaptation of Anna Karenina starring Greta Garbo
    • Love (1927 German film), a silent film directed by Paul Czinner
    • Love (1971 film), directed by Károly Makk
    • Love (1982 film), an anthology of six vignettes written, directed and produced by women, including three by Mai Zetterling
    • Love (1991 film), starring Salman Khan
    • Love (2004 film), a Kannada feature film directed by Rajendra Singh Babu
    • Love (2005 film), directed by Vladan Nikolic
    • Love (2008 Indonesian film), directed by Kabir Bhatia
    • Love (2008 Bengali film), by Indian director Riingo Bannerjee
    • Love, a 2008 short film starring Kristina Klebe
    • Love (2011 film), directed by William Eubank, with music by Angels & Airwaves
    • Love (2012 French film) or Amour, a French-language film directed by Michael Haneke
    • Love (2012 film), a film directed by Doze Niu
    • Love (2015 film), a 2015 French film directed by Gaspar Noé
    • Love (Bleach), an animated TV series and comics character from Bleach
    • “Love” (Death Note episode)
    • L-O-V-E (film), a 2009 Taiwanese anthology of four vignettes, featuring Wilson Chen
    • Love (TV series), a 2016 – 2018 Netflix original series
    • A Love (1999 film), starring Fabrizio Gifuni
    • A Love (2007 film), starring Joo Jin-mo
    • Loved (film), directed by Erin Dignam
    • Foxxy Love, an animated TV series character from Drawn Together
    • The Spirits of Love, or simply Love, a 2006-2008 Taiwanese Formosa TV drama

    In music[edit]


    • Love (Aaron Carter EP), 2017
    • Love (Aaron Carter album), 2018
    • Love (Angels & Airwaves album), 2010
    • Love (Arashi album), 2013
    • Love (Ayumi Hamasaki EP), 2012
    • Love (Aztec Camera album), 1987
    • Love (Beatles album), 2006
    • Love (The Cult album), or the title song, 1985
    • Love (DramaGods album), 2005
    • Love (Edyta Bartosiewicz album), or the title song, 1992
    • Love (Flipper album), 2009
    • Love (Foetus album), 2005
    • Love (Inhabited album), or the title song, 2008
    • Love (The Juliana Theory album), 2003
    • Love (K-Ci & JoJo album), 2008
    • Love (Love album), 1966
    • Love (Mika Nakashima album), 2003
    • Love (Rosemary Clooney album), 1963
    • Love (S.E.S. album), or the title song (see below), 1999
    • Love (Sesame Street album), or the title song, 1980
    • Love (Thalía album), or the title song, 1992
    • L.O.V.E (Terri Walker album), or the title song, 2005
    • L-O-V-E (album), by Nat King Cole, or the title song (see below), 1965
    • Love… The Album, by Cliff Richard, 2007
    • Love?, by Jennifer Lopez, or the title song (see below), 2011
    • Loved (Claire Kuo album), 2016
    • Love, by Kelly Chen, 2003
    • L.O.V.E. (Life of Valezka & Eko), by Valezka and Eko Fresh, or the title song, 2004


    • “Love” (Lana Del Rey song)
    • “Love” (Disney song), from the Disney film Robin Hood
    • “Love” (Inna song)
    • “Love” (Jana Kramer song)
    • “Love” (John Lennon song)
    • “Love” (Kendrick Lamar song)
    • “Love” (Keyshia Cole song)
    • “Love” (Musiq Soulchild song)
    • “Love” (S.E.S. song)
    • “Love” (Sasha Son song)
    • “Love” (Sonic Dream Collective song)
    • “Love?” (Donna and Joe song), by Karl Broderick
    • “Loved” (song), by Kim Wilde
    • “Love (Can Make You Happy)”, by Mercy
    • “Love”, by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin
    • “L-O-V-E”, by Nat King Cole
    • “L.O.V.E.” (Ashlee Simpson song)
    • “(What Is) Love?”, by Jennifer Lopez
    • “Love”, by Benzino on the album Redemption
    • “Love”, by Country Joe and the Fish on the album Electric Music for the Mind and Body
    • “Love”, by The Cult, the title track of the album Love
    • “Love”, by Def Leppard on the album Songs from the Sparkle Lounge
    • “Love”, by Destiny’s Child from Destiny Fulfilled
    • “Love”, by Gojira on the album Terra Incognita
    • “Love”, by Lostprophets on the single “A Town Called Hypocrisy”
    • “Love”, by Kylie Minogue on the album Golden
    • “Love”, by Matthew Sweet on the album Earth
    • “Love”, by Paul Simon on the album You’re the One
    • “Love”, by Petra on the album Beyond Belief
    • “Love”, by Robyn Hitchcock and The Egyptians on the album Black Snake Diamond Röle
    • “Love”, by The Smashing Pumpkins on the album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
    • “Love”, by Sonata Arctica on the album Pariah’s Child
    • “Love”, by Zoé on the album Rocanlover
    • “Love”, by Kid Cudi
    • “Love”, by Daughter
    • “Love?”, by Strapping Young Lad from the album Alien
    • “L.O.V.E.”, by VV Brown from the album Travelling Like the Light
    • “L.O.V.E.”, by Brown Eyed Girls from the mini album With Love


    • Love (band), a 1960s-70s American rock group
    • Love (Japanese band), a pop/R&B duo
    • Love Records, a Finnish label

    In video games[edit]

    • Love (2008 video game), a platform game
    • Love (2010 video game), a massively multiplayer online role-playing game
    • Loved (video game), a platform game

    Other uses in arts and entertainment[edit]

    • Love (Ai Otsuka), a character created by Ai Otsuka
    • Love (Cirque du Soleil), a theatrical production
    • Love (Carter novel), a 1971 novel by Angela Carter
    • LOVE (magazine), a bi-annual British style magazine
    • Love (Morrison novel), a 2003 novel by Toni Morrison
    • Love (sculpture), by Robert Indiana
    • Love Radio Network, Philippines
    • Love 97.2FM, a Singaporean radio station
    • LOVE FM 104 – see List of radio stations in Barbados
    • Love Momozono, a character from Fresh Pretty Cure!


    • Love (given name), a Swedish first name
    • Love (surname)
    • Love (footballer) (born 1979), Angolan footballer Arsénio Sebastião Cabúngula


    In the United States[edit]

    • Love, Arizona, a ghost town
    • Love Township, Vermilion County, Illinois
    • Love, Illinois, an unincorporated community
    • Love, Kentucky, an unincorporated community
    • Love, Mississippi, an unincorporated community
    • Love, Cass County, Texas, an unincorporated community
    • Love, Swisher County, Texas, an unincorporated community
    • Love, Virginia, an unincorporated community
    • Love County, Oklahoma
    • LOVE Park (JFK Plaza), Philadelphia
    • Dallas Love Field, an airport

    Other places[edit]

    • Love, Saskatchewan, Canada, a village
    • Lõve, Estonia, a village
    • Love River, Taiwan
    • Love (crater), on the far side of the Moon

    Other uses[edit]

    • Love, one of several names for the number 0 in English
      • Zero in the tennis scoring system
    • Linguistics of visual English, a version of manually coded English in use North America

    See also[edit]

    • All pages beginning with “Love”
    • All pages with a title containing Love
    • Love Canal, New York, an infamous site of toxic waste accumulation
    • Løve (disambiguation)
    • Löve (disambiguation)
    • Love Love (disambiguation)
    • Love Love Love (disambiguation)
    • Luv (disambiguation)
    • Erotas (TV series) (Greek for “Love”), a Greek soap opera


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