A Unified Interpretation of the Varieties of False Pleasure in Plato's Philebeus

Abstract

Most commentators think that Plato's account of the varieties of false pleasure is disjointed and that various types of false pleasure he identifies are false in different ways. It really doesn't look that way to me: I think that the discussion is unified, and that Plato starts with less difficult cases to build up to a point about more important but less clear cases. In this paper, I do my best to show how this might work. I don't think I will ever work on this again: the experience of writing this paper and dealing with frustrating refereeing practices has led me to pretty much switch to aesthetics. I'm much happier. But here are the fruits of my labor. I know there are a few details I got wrong (in particular a place or two where I should have scrutinized Frede's translation more closely), but I still think that I'm on the right track. I hope it's useful to someone.

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Matthew Strohl
University of Montana

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References found in this work

Plato and the Meaning of Pain.Matthew Evans - 2007 - Apeiron 40 (1):71 - 93.
Plato on the Possibility of Hedonic Mistakes.Matthew Evans - 2008 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 35:89-124.
False Pleasures : Philebus 35c-41 b.J. Gosling - 1959 - Phronesis 4 (1):44 - 53.
Imagination, Self-Awareness, and Modal Thought at Philebus 39-40.Karel Thein - 2012 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 42:109-149.

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