Pleasure, Knowledge, and Being: An Analysis of Plato's Philebus

Pleasure, Knowledge, and Being: An Analysis of Plato's Philebus

Pleasure, Knowledge, and Being: An Analysis of Plato's Philebus

Pleasure, Knowledge, and Being: An Analysis of Plato's Philebus

Synopsis

Hampton illumines the overall structure of the Philebus. Taking the interrelations of pleasure, knowledge, and being as the keys to understanding the unity of the dialogue, she focuses on the central point. The analysis of both pleasure and knowledge can be understood fully only if placed within the context of the more general and fundamental question of how human life fits into the overall structure of reality.

What guides the discussion of the good life throughout the dialogue is the conviction that we can only realize our human good by shaping our lives so that they are true to the universal Good which unites all things. It is around this crucial point that the dialogue is structured. Thus, according to Hampton's interpretation, the Philebus shows what it says: that if we delve deeply enough, we shall discover that behind the appearance of disorder lies beauty, proportion, and truth."

Excerpt

My work on the Philebus, in various forms and stages of development, has had a long gestation. Consequently, I have many people to thank. Under the direction of Richard Parry, I first wrote on this dialogue as part of my Agnes Scott College honors thesis on the Theory of Forms in the later dialogues. in graduate school at Northwestern, I decided to concentrate on the four kinds passage in the Philebus, and was supported by my dissertation committee composed of R. E. Allen, Kenneth Seeskin, and John McCumber. the transition from dissertation to conference papers and published articles was much aided by Martha Nussbaum, the members of her 1985 neh seminar in Greek ethics, Jonathan Barnes, Larry Jost, Lee Horvitz, and my colleagues in the philosophy department at Ohio University.

The writing of this book was facilitated by funds granted from the American Council of Learned Societies, and from Ohio University. in this connection, let me thank those (in addition to the ones already mentioned) who supported my application for the grants: Michael Morgan, William Prior, Bob Turnbull, and my Ohio University colleague in Classics, Steve Hays. My deepest gratitude goes to those who commented on my manuscript and enabled me to present it in its final form: Julius Moravcsik, Anthony Preus, Henry Teloh, Mitchell Miller, Kenneth Sayre, and the suny referee who has remained anonymous. Finally, I'd like to acknowledge those who helped with the mechanical labor: Alice Donohoe and Harriet Lang, who typed the first draft on disk before I was computer literate, and helped with subsequent corrections. Special thanks go to my assistants, Mark Graham and Bill Pagonis, who assumed the odious job of proofreading and editing the final copy. of course, any remaining errors of content or style are my own.

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