Chapter

The <i>Philebus</i>, Part 2: Pleasure Transformed, or How the Necessity of Pleasure for Happiness is Consistent with the Sufficiency of Virtue for Happiness

Daniel Russell

in Plato on Pleasure and the Good Life

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780199282845
Published online October 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602931 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199282846.003.0007
 						The Philebus, Part 2: Pleasure Transformed, or How the Necessity of Pleasure for Happiness is Consistent with the Sufficiency of Virtue for Happiness

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In Philebus, Plato makes clear his view that pleasure is actually part of the agent's own goodness, because her goodness consists in, among other things, the sorts of attitudes she has and perspectives she adopts in the various dimensions of her life, and her pleasure is itself just such a crucial attitude and perspective. When Plato says that pleasure is necessary for happiness, he does not mean that good character could never be enough for happiness without pleasure. Rather, as the dialogue unfolds he reveals that pleasure is actually a part of good character as a whole, the product of reason's transforming all dimensions of the self. Since good character, or virtue, is this sort of whole, pleasure is necessary for happiness, because virtue is sufficient for happiness. Thus, the key to understanding Plato's position can be found in his analysis of the nature of pleasure and how it functions in a person's life. This chapter argues that in Plato's Philebus the pleasure of a virtuous character is necessary and important for happiness because it is a necessary and important part of that character, which, in turn, is what determines happiness.

Keywords: Plato; pleasure; happiness; virtue; virtuous character

Chapter.  23748 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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