The author likes to present some evidence for a hypothesis about Plato's conception of philosophy, and at the same time to illustrate one or two of the problems which face the would-be interpreter of the Platonic dialogue. These two goals are related by the fact that the difficulty in interpretation arises from what he take to be Plato's conception of philosophy. The first part of his hypothesis, then, is simple enough and would be accepted in principle by most students of Plato: the dramatic structure of the dialogues is an essential part of their philosophical meaning. According to the second part of his hypothesis, the poetic and mathematical aspects of philosophy are not mutually incompatible, but represent the two fundamental inflections of what Plato calls Eros. As the third part of his hypothesis, he argues that there is a specific relationship between the Symposium and the Republic which turns upon the role assigned in each to Eros.