Date of Thesis



This thesis provides a comparison of the ideas of caring and love as they appear in the works of Plato and Frankfurt. Frankfurt, a contemporary philosopher, maintains that an individual arrives at the most meaningful life through understanding what it is that heor she cares about the most. Interestingly, the instances of eros in Plato's Symposium and Phaedrus resonate with this idea. We see throughout these erotic dialogues similarities to Frankfurt's notions of care and love.Throughout his many works, Frankfurt provides us with several distinct features of care and love. This thesis offers an in depth discussion of each of these features andalso provides commentary from other contemporary philosophers who are familiar with Frankfurt's work. In addition, this thesis applies these features of care and love to Plato's erotic dialogues, and emphasizes areas in which Plato and Frankfurt agree and those inwhich they disagree. In essence, it becomes apparent that while there are many similarities between the ideas of these two prominent thinkers, Plato and Frankfurt do not agree about what constitutes the best human life. Plato maintains that the best life is onespent dedicated to philosophy and in pursuit of the 'good'. Frankfurt, on the other hand,imposes no such limitations on what we should consider the best life because people are likely to have different life experiences that lead them to care about and love different things. Instead he suggests that the best or most meaningful human life is one in which a person spends his or her life caring about the things he or she does, indeed, care aboutand loving those things he or she does, indeed, love.


Plato, Frankfurt, Care, Love

Access Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)



First Advisor

Jeffrey S. Turner