Faith and Philosophy 26 (2):134-153 (2009)

This paper explores the place of evil in Plato’s thought through the lens of the Philebus. I show that the concept of evil in this dialogue is in broad agreement with the classic Christian position which accents metaphysically its privative and derivative character and morally its rebellious and self-oriented character. The entryway into the issue is 29d9–e1, where a “power of dissolution” is proposed in addition and opposition to the power of generation and mixture, and then quickly rejected. Such a power would be both metaphysically and ethically subversive, or in short, evil. Plato appears to suppress the possibility of evil, but in fact, he relocates the power of dissolution within the unlimited genos in order to show its necessary subordination to and dependence on the limiting and causal principles within generated beings. Evil, on a metaphysical level, is subject to good. On an ethical level, however, the possibility of subversion remains and is exemplified in the dialogue in the radical hedonism of Philebus. After showing how hedonism manifests the power of dissolution in human life, I conclude by remarking the ultimate practical proof towards which this dialogue, and others, points in defense of its claims.
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  Philosophy and Religion
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ISBN(s) 0739-7046
DOI faithphil200926223
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The Disorderly Motion in the Timaios.Gregory Vlastos - 1939 - Classical Quarterly 33 (02):71-.
Interpreting the Philebus.Oliver Letwin - 1981 - Phronesis 26 (3):187 - 206.

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