Plato on Pure Pleasure and the Best Life

Phronesis 59 (2):113-142 (2014)
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Abstract

In the Philebus, Socrates maintains two theses about the relationship between pleasure and the good life: the mixed life of pleasure and intelligence is better than the unmixed life of intelligence, and: the unmixed life of intelligence is the most divine. Taken together, these two claims lead to the paradoxical conclusion that the best human life is better than the life of a god. A popular strategy for avoiding this conclusion is to distinguish human from divine goods; on such a reading, pleasure has merely instrumental value, and it benefits human beings only as a result of their imperfect nature. I argue that certain ‘pure’ pleasures are full-fledged, intrinsic goods in the Philebus, which are even worthy of the gods . This positive evaluation of pure pleasure results from a detailed examination of pleasure, which reveals that different types of pleasures have fundamentally different natures

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Emily Fletcher
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Citations of this work

Bodily Desire and Imprisonment in the Phaedo.Travis Butler - 2017 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 20 (1):82-102.
Pleasure, Judgment and the Function of the Painter-Scribe Analogy.Emily Fletcher - 2022 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 104 (2):199-238.
Socrates, Vlastos, Scanlon and the Principle of the Sovereignty of Virtue.Daniel Simão Nascimento - 2020 - Archai: Revista de Estudos Sobre as Origens Do Pensamento Ocidental 30:e03009.

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