Chapter

Pleasure: Aristotle's Response to Plato

C. C. W. Taylor

in Pleasure, Mind, and Soul

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780199226399
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191710209 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226399.003.0014
 Pleasure: Aristotle's Response to Plato

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This chapter examines Aristotle's response to Plato's treatment of pleasure. In opposition to Plato's account of pleasure as the making good of a natural deficiency, Aristotle proposes a theory of pleasure as the unimpeded exercise of natural capacity. This presents the problem of whether it is an account of enjoyment, or of what is enjoyed, and also of the nature of the exercise. Various questions are discussed a) whether Aristotle reduces all human pleasures to pleasures in thought and perception; and b) if so, whether that reductive account is an account of what enjoyment is, or of what is enjoyed. It is suggested that Aristotle's suggestion in Nicomachean Ethics X that pleasure is a sort of perfection supervening on activity may be an attempt to capture the idea that enjoyment is a kind of awareness of activity, distinct but inseparable from the activity which is enjoyed.

Keywords: deficiency; replenishment; remedial account; capacity; exercise; unimpeded; enjoyment; process; kinēsis; actualization

Chapter.  11400 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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