Die Vernunft und das Problem des Bösen im Rahmen der Platonischen Ethik und Metaphysik [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 20 (3):542-542 (1967)
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A well-documented, thorough but not imaginative study of the Dialogues. The writer is trying to establish definite proofs for the classical thesis, namely that for Plato evil is the material and good is the rational. After a very short introduction we see most of the dialogues analyzed in chronological order. Three periods are distinguished in the development of Platonic views on reason and evil: Early dialogues : insistence on the opposition between pleasure and the affections on the one hand and reason and knowledge which help to develop the good in the soul, on the other hand; Middle period : explicit identification of the bodily with evil and negativity; Later period : generalization and deepening of the concept of evil which is now definitely located in the unruly and chaotic matter of the universe. There is nothing substantially new in the book, and in the long chapter on the Republic one finds detailed summaries of quite irrelevant passages. Yet the book is a useful one: a serious and comprehensive monograph on a central theme of Platonic thought.—M. J. V.



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