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    Varieties of pleasure in Plato and Aristotle

    Price, Anthony W. (2017) Varieties of pleasure in Plato and Aristotle. In: Caston, V. (ed.) Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 52. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198805762.

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    It is well-known that Plato and Aristotle disagree about the nature of pleasure: Plato associates it especially with a process of restoration out of deprivation, whereas Aristotle distinguishes it from any process as a property or activity of a kind. Yet Aristotle draws on Plato when he offers a characterization of pleasure in Rhetoric I.11. And it is a tempting suggestion that they might better have disjoined their different accounts, thereby recognizing that pleasures are not of a single kind. Thus I have heard Myles Burnyeat remark that we need Plato to do justice to the pleasures of discovery, Aristotle to do justice to those of contemplation. And I have heard Dorothea Frede regret that a new focus (perhaps natural in the Ethics) upon pleasures ‘active’ rather than ‘passive’, identical to or supervening upon activities rather than experiences, neglects the pleasures (and pains) of the emotions. She suggested that, pressed upon the latter, Aristotle would have reason to find a place for the Platonic view entertained in the Rhetoric (cf. her 1997: 426-7). I wish rather to suggest that both philosophers accommodate a variety of pleasures, but Aristotle more successfully, his account, though flawed, being at once more inclusive, and more unified, than Plato’s.


    Item Type: Book Section
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Professor A. W. Price
    Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2018 13:36
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:26


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