The Criterion of Real Pleasures

J. C. B. Gosling and C. C. W. Taylor

in The Greeks On Pleasure

Published in print December 1982 | ISBN: 9780198246664
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681035 | DOI:
The Criterion of Real Pleasures

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As has been repeatedly observed in this study, both Plato and Aristotle emphasize the diversity of pleasures. An important part of Plato's treatment of pleasure is his discussion of false pleasures. While that discussion is intended to exclude many kinds of putative pleasures from the good life on the grounds that they are unreal or false, it does not appeal to the judgment of any particular sort of person as decisive in discriminating real/true from unreal/false pleasures. In Rep. IX, however (580d–583a), Plato makes such an appeal to establish that the philosophic life is pleasanter than the life of ambition and the life of bodily appetite, while Aristotle makes fairly frequent use of a similar criterion, especially in the Nicomachean Ethics. This chapter examines the use of this pattern of argument by Plato and Aristotle, considering, among other things, whose judgment is appealed to, what the judgment is supposed to establish, and whether either Plato or Aristotle is successful in his use of this pattern of argument.

Keywords: Plato; Aristotle; pleasure; Republic; judgment

Chapter.  10069 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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