Neutral, Natural and Hedonic State in Plato

Mnemosyne 4 (72):525-549 (2019)
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Abstract

This paper aims to clarify Plato’s notions of the natural and the neutral state in relation to hedonic properties. Contra two extreme trends among scholars—people either conflate one state with the other, or keep them apart as to establish an unsurmount- able gap between both states, I argue that neither view accurately reflects Plato’s position because the natural state is real and can coincide with the neutral state in part, whereas the latter, as an umbrella term, can also be realized in a non-natural condition. The clarification of the relation between the two states will shed light on the degree to which Plato admits and constrains the hedonic value for a good human life; further, this will call attention to some (not well explored) parallel thoughts in the medical tradition to which Plato is indebted.

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Wei Cheng
Peking University

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