In the Philebus, Socrates argues that pleasure, like judgment, can be “false”. Most scholars who discuss this claim restrict their interpretation to Socrates’ first argument that pleasure can be “false”, where Socrates uses pseudēs as a synonym of “incorrect”. As a result, scholars have failed to recognize that in the next argument Socrates uses pseudēs to pick out a different problem with pleasure: in certain circumstances, a pleasure can deceptively appear to a subject to be larger or smaller than it really is. As Socrates explicitly distinguishes between these two problems with pleasure, he is guilty of neither confusion nor intentional equivocation in his application of the predicate pseudēs. The distinction also resolves many longstanding interpretive puzzles, including the relationship between mixed and “false” pleasures and why Socrates describes the pleasures of sight, hearing, smell and learning as both pure and “true”.
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DOI 10.1515/agph-2018-4001
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