• Publication Date: March 30, 2019
  • ISBN: 9781554813735 / 1554813735
  • 200 pages; 5½" x 8½"
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  • Publication Date: March 30, 2019
  • ISBN: 9781554813735 / 1554813735
  • 200 pages; 5½" x 8½"

The Philebus is the only Platonic dialogue that takes as its central theme the fundamental Socratic question of the good, understood as that which makes for the best or happiest life. This predominantly ethical theme not only involves an extended psychological and epistemological investigation of topics such as sensation, memory, desire, anticipation, the truth and falsity of pleasures, and types and gradations of knowledge, but also a methodological exposition of dialectic and a metaphysical schema, found nowhere else in the dialogues, that is intended to illuminate the nature of mixture. In its interweaving of ethical, metaphysical, and epistemological topics, the Philebus offers a unique opportunity to assess the relation of these topics in Plato’s mature thought and so to gain insight into his philosophical vision as a whole. An introduction that provides guidance in the reading of Platonic dialogues and of this dialogue in particular. Following the translation is an appendix of parallel passages from other Platonic dialogues as well as related material from Aristotle, the Stoics, and Epicurus.

Appendix 1: The Good as Pleasure or Wisdom

  1. Republic 505a-505d

Appendix 2: The Forms and the Good

  1. Republic 475e-480a
  2. Parmenides 130a-135c
  3. Republic 507a-509b

Appendix 3: Dialectic

  1. Republic 531e-534d
  2. Sophist 253a-254b, 259d-e

Appendix 4: Four kinds, Elements, Divine Intellect

  1. Timaeus 29d-30c, 46c-e, 47e-52d
  2. Phaedo 97b-99c

Appendix 5: Kinds of Pleasure, False and Impure Pleasures

  1. Republic 580d-587a
  2. Republic 558d-559d
  3. Protagoras 351b-358a
  4. Gorgias 491d-495c

Appendix 6: Aristotle on Pleasure

  1. Nicomachean Ethics X.2-5 (1172b9-1176a29)

Appendix 7: Aristotle on Metaphysics

  1. Metaphysics I.6 (987a29-988a17)

Appendix 8: Epicurus on Pleasure

  1. Excerpts from “Letter to Menoeceus”

Appendix 9: The Stoics on Physics and Metaphysics

  • From Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, VII.134-156

James Wood is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Xavier University.