Abstract

abstract:

At Philebus 53c4–55a12, Plato's Socrates identifies pleasure as an ontologically inferior "becoming" (γένεσις) rather than a "being" (οὐσία) and then uses this information to infer that pleasure, somehow, lacks value. This paper argues that Plato's γένεσις argument is not about the goodness of individual, particular episodes of pleasure but instead targets the identification of pleasure as the good around which we ought to organize our lives. It also shows that the argument is made up of two subarguments—the argument from finality and the argument from a life not worth living—both of which conclude that, as a γένεσις, pleasure cannot be the good our life as a whole is aimed at reaching. Read in this way, the much maligned γένεσις argument turns out to be more cogent and more interesting than is usually thought.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 167-191
Launched on MUSE
2021-04-26
Open Access
No
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