Attitudinal Pleasure in Plato’s Philebus

In: Phronesis
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  • 1 University of British Columbia, Department of Philosophy, 1866 Main Mall, Buchanan E370, Vancouver, BC, Canada

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This paper addresses two interpretive puzzles in Plato’s Philebus. The first concerns the claim, endorsed by both interlocutors, that the most godlike of lives is a pleasureless life of pure thinking. This appears to run afoul of the verdict of the earlier so-called ‘Choice of Lives’ argument that a mixed life is superior to either of its ‘pure’ rivals. A second concerns Socrates’ discussion of false pleasure, in which he appears to be guilty of rank equivocation. I argue that we can solve both puzzles by attributing to Plato an account of pleasure as a species of intentional attitude.

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