The Absolute Good and the Human Goods

Philosophical Inquiry 25 (3-4):117-126 (2003)
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Abstract
By the absolute Good, I understand the Idea of the Good; by the human goods, I understand pleasure and reason, which have been disqualified in Plato's "Republic" as candidates for the absolute Good (cf.R.505b-d). Concerning the Idea of the Good, we can distinguish a maximal and a minimal interpretation. After the minimal interpretation, the Idea of the Good is the absolute Good because there is no final cause beyond the Idea of the Good. After the maximal interpretation, the Idea of the Good is the One. The maximal and the minimal interpretation go beyond the textual evidence. I will defend two theses: (1) Since the platonic Socrates deliberately gives no more information, it seems wise to stop with Socrates and to give only a formal, not a substantive, interpretation: The absolute good is the third item between and above knowledge and the known. (2) To mediate between the absolute Good and the human goods, Plato’s Eleatic Stranger introduced in the "Politicus" and "Philebus" an intermediate principle: "the appropriate" (to metrion). For more information concerning "the appropriate" cf. Ferber, Rafael (2010). Plato's Side Suns: Beauty, Symmetry and Truth. Comments concerning semantic monism and pluralism of the "Good" in the Philebus (65A 1-5). Elenchos, 31, p. 51-76, esp. 64-67
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Archival date: 2016-11-21
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