Commentary on Vallejo: the Ontology of False Pleasures in the Philebus

Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium of Ancient Philosophy 24:75-80 (2009)
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Abstract

In his rich and suggestive paper, Alvaro Vallejo argues for the novel thesis that Plato posits a form of pleasure in the Republic and the Philebus. Vallejo argues that the notion of a Platonic form of pleasure best explains other things that Plato says about pleasure. First, Plato draws a distinction between true pleasure and the appearance of pleasure. Second, Plato uses the same language to describe the relationship between forms and their inferior instantiations as he uses to describe the relationship between true and false pleasures. In these comments, I argue that we do not need to posit a form of pleasure to explain these features of the text. Moreover, I argue that on Vallejo’s account of the form of pleasure, the form could not do the job required of it, namely, it could not explain the problem with false pleasures.

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Rachel Singpurwalla
University of Maryland, College Park

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