Eros, Hybris and Mania: Love and Desire in Plato's Laws and Beyond

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The themes of hybris, erôs and mania are interconnected in Plato’s final opus, the Laws, regarding his narrator’s construction of sexually accepted norms for his ‘second-best’, utopian society. This article examines this formulation, its psychological characteristics and philosophical underpinnings. The role and function of his social programme are considered in the context of the Laws and the hypothetical polis outlined therein. However, this particular formulation is not a new development in later Platonic thought. It is, rather, a logical extension of earlier Platonic ideas, expressed in a number of previous dialogues, and brought to bear in the peculiar circumstances of the ‘second-best’ polis. This can be especially observed in relation to the Symposium and Phaedrus. Instead of regarding the construction of sexuality in the Laws as a work in isolation, these earlier ideas are here considered intertextually as part of a broader Platonic continuum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-133
Number of pages21
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


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