Desire’s Hunger and Plato the Regulator

Kathy L. Gaca

in The Making of Fornication

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780520235991
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929463 | DOI:
Desire’s Hunger and Plato the Regulator

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This chapter addresses the features of human sexuality that Plato aims to regulate more closely. It focuses on Plato's sexual regulations, the conception of genital and reproductive urges that informs them, and the broader nexus of customs he would establish to control those urges. The chapter is also concerned with Plato's middle and later works, such as the Republic and Laws. Plato claims that the appetites for the pleasures of sexual activity, food, and drink are irrational. In the Republic and Laws, he insists that procreative relations elicit the benevolent involvement of the gods through the use of religious ceremonies. Plato also leaves the sexual behaviour of the citizens and guardians unmonitored after they complete their reproductive service to the city. Additionally, he does not present one fixed plan to rein in sexual desire, but suggests that it be controlled by managing the reproductive urge in a variety of ways.

Keywords: human sexuality; Plato; sexual regulations; Republic; Laws; sexual activity; sexual desire

Chapter.  19068 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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