The Asceticism of the Phaedo: Pleasure, Purification, and the Soul’s Proper Activity

Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 99 (1):1-30 (2017)
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Abstract

I argue that according to Socrates in the Phaedo we should not merely evaluate bodily pleasures and desires as worthless or bad, but actively avoid them. We need to avoid them because they change our values and make us believe falsehoods. This change in values and acceptance of falsehoods undermines the soul’s proper activity, making virtue and happiness impossible for us. I situate this account of why we should avoid bodily pleasures within Plato’s project in the Phaedo of providing Pythagorean and Orphic ideas with clearer meanings and better justifications.

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David Ebrey
Universitat de Barcelona

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