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

References found in this work

Plato: Complete Works.J. M. Cooper (ed.) - 1997 - Hackett.
The Greeks on pleasure.Justin Cyril Bertrand Gosling & Christopher Charles Whiston Taylor - 1982 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by C. C. W. Taylor.
Pleasure in Ancient Greek Philosophy.David Wolfsdorf - 2012 - Cambridge University Press.
Plato's Utopia Recast.Christopher Bobonich - 2004 - Philosophical Quarterly 54 (217):619-622.

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