Epoché as the Erotic Conversion of One into Two

In Giuseppe Veltri (ed.), Yearbook of the Maimonides Centre for Advanced Studies. Berlin, Germany: pp. 3-13 (2017)
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This essay interprets the epoché of ancient scepticism as the perpetual conversion of the love of one into the love of two. The process of one becoming two is represented in Plato’s Symposium by Diotima’s description of the second rung of ‘the ladder,’ by which one ascends to the highest form of philosophical devotion (Pl. Sym. 209e-210e). Diotima’s ladder offers a vision of philosophy as a total conversion of both the lover and the object of love (or philosopher and object of knowledge). I suggest that scepticism, however, is found in the frustration of Platonic ascension, which results in a partial conversion. Because the process of conversion (from the love of one to the love of One) remains suspended midway, the sceptic’s transformation is erotic—this is to say, driven by a desire that is characterised by a split (which may be identified between subject and object, between incompatible objects of desire or knowledge, or within the subject herself).
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