Plato on Pleasure and the Good Life

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Daniel Russell develops a fresh and original view of pleasure and its pivotal role in Plato's treatment of value, happiness, and human psychology. This is the first full-length discussion of the topic for fifty years, and Russell shows its relevance to contemporary debates in moral philosophy and philosophical psychology. Plato on Pleasure and the Good Life will make fascinating reading for ancient specialists and for a wide range of philosophers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Many scholars have characterized Plato as having been a hedonist for at least part of his philosophical career. Russell (Monash Univ., Melbourne) disagrees. Those who find hedonism in some of Plato's works, moreover, typically see its opposition in other works as a sign of a later move away from the Socratic influence more evident in Plato's early work. But Russell officially remains neutral on developmentalism generally, on the correct observation that many developmentalists actually share his view that none of Plato's dialogues are rightly construed as committed to hedonism. At any rate, Russell seeks to defend a Unitarian view only with respect to Plato's understanding of the role of pleasure in the good life for human beings. He elaborates and defends this view in seven chapters, followed by a substantial nine-and-a-half-page appendix on the Protagoras."—Choice

"Specialists in Plato's ethics will find dozens of passages to mull over and dispute and quite possibly be persuaded by. Other philosophers will find a masterful presentation of a coherent interpretation of Plato. Every reader ought to be impressed by the time and thought that so evidently went into this volume, to such good effect."—Nickolas Pappas, Ancient Philosophy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199282845
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 11/24/2005
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Russell is a research fellow in the School of Philosophy and Bioethics at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Pleasure and the good life
1. Goodnes and the good life: the Euthydemus
2. Pleasure, virtue, and happiness in the Gorgias
3. Pleasure as a conditional good in the Phaedo
4. Pleasure and moral psychology in Republic IV and IX
5. The Philebus I: virtue, value, and 'likeness to God'
6. The Philebus II: pleasure transformed
7. Pleasure, value, and moral psychology in the Republic, Laws, and Timaeus
Epilogue: Pleasure and happiness in Plato's Protagoras

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