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This is the first full-length study of the Symposium to be published in English, and one of the first English works on Plato to take its bearings by the dramatic form of the Platonic dialogue, a thesis that was regarded as heterodox at the time but which today is widely accepted by scholars of the most diverse standpoint. Rosen was also one of the first to study in detail the philosophical significance of the phenomenon of concrete human sexuality, as it is presented by Plato in the diverse characters of the main speakers in the dialogue. His analysis of the theoretical significance of pederasty in the dialogue was highly controversial at the time, but is today accepted as central to Plato's dramatic phenomenology of human existence.
Rosen discusses a variety of topics that had previously been neglected in the secondary literature, including the problem of the hybristic nature of the philosopher, the poetical dimension of Plato's conception of philosophy, and the theoretical implication of the difference between Platonic writing and Socratic conversation.
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