Reason and Value in Plato

Philosophy and Literature 36 (2):378-390 (2012)
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Abstract

I begin with a puzzle. According to some scholars, Plato’s view that the forms possess value as objects of desire gives rise to a problem in his metaphysics: how can forms of injustice and ugliness be considered desirable? To resolve this puzzle, I focus on Plato’s views on eros and argue that the philosopher’s love of forms is best understood as a kind of rational compulsion. Approaching the puzzle from this direction gives us an idea of how Plato’s forms might be viewed as value laden. It also suggests an understanding of his metaphysics that’s less otherworldly than is often thought

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Tushar Irani
Wesleyan University

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