Plato on the Psychology of Pleasure and Pain

Phoenix 65 (2011)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Plato’s account of pleasure in Republic IX has been treated as an ill-conceived and deeply flawed account that Plato thankfully retracted and replaced in the Philebus. I am convinced, however, that this received view of the Republic’s account is false. In this paper, I will not concern myself with whether, or in what way, Plato’s account of pleasure in the Republic falls short of what we find in the Philebus, but will rather focus on the merits of the former. My concern will be further narrowed down to the first half of the third proof: the proof involves two criteria for the evaluation of pleasures, the criteria of purity and of truth, both of which yield the result that the philosopher’s pleasures are the most pleasant (because it turns out that only those pleasures are pure and only they are true). I will be addressing the criterion of purity, which is based on a psychological/phenomenological account of pleasure and pain. This account has been harshly criticized as full of ambiguity and confusion, as I explain in detail below. I believe, however, that these criticisms result from misunderstanding, and failing to appreciate the complexity of, Plato’s account. In this paper, I will offer an interpretation of Plato’s psychological account of pleasure and pain in Republic IX, showing that this account is, contrary to its detractors, both interesting and persuasive on many points.



External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Pleasures in "Republic" Ix.Mehmet Metin Erginel - 2004 - Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin
The general account of pleasure in Plato's Philebus.Thomas M. Tuozzo - 1996 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 34 (4):495-513.
Plato on Pleasure and Our Final End.Daniel Charles Russell - 2000 - Dissertation, The University of Arizona
Plato en aristoteles twee paradigma's Van genot.Gerd Van Riel - 2001 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 63 (3):493-516.
An analysis of pleasure vis-a-vis pain.Murat Aydede - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (3):537-570.
Inconsistency and Ambiguity in Republic IX.Mehmet M. Erginel - 2011 - Classical Quarterly 61 (2):493-520.
The Penumbral Theory of Masochistic Pleasure.Colin Klein - 2014 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (1):41-55.
Plato on a Mistake about Pleasure.Mehmet M. Erginel - 2006 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 44 (3):447-468.
Pleasure, Desire, and Oppositeness.Justin Klocksiem - 2010 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (2):1-7.


Added to PP

162 (#99,863)

6 months
89 (#27,804)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Mehmet M. Erginel
Eastern Mediterranean University

Citations of this work

Add more citations

References found in this work

The Methods of Ethics.Henry Sidgwick - 1874 - Bristol, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Emily Elizabeth Constance Jones.
Plato on pleasure and the good life.Daniel C. Russell - 2005 - New York: Oxford University Press.

View all 6 references / Add more references