But to us the distinction is unmeaning, andbelongs to a stage of philosophy which has passed away. And now, from the consideration of pleasure, we pass to that of knowledge.Let us reflect that there are two kinds of knowledge--the one creative orproductive, and the other educational and philosophical. which includes the lower and the higher kind of happiness, andis the aim of the noblest, as well as of the meanest of mankind?' Secondly, why is there no mention of the supreme mind? 'Yes, you must,if human life is to have any humanity.' The mean or measure is now made the first principleof good. He touches on the same difficulties and he gives no answer tothem. Not pleasure, then, ranks first in the scale of good, but measure, andeternal harmony. And the utilitarian system,like others, has yielded to the inevitable analysis. This, in the language of Kant, is the sphere of the metaphysic ofethics. Socrates and Protarchos agree that "the body of the universe had a soul, since that body has the same elements as ours, only in every way superior". Click here for the lowest price! Plato himselfseems to have suspected that the continuance or life of things is quite asmuch to be attributed to a principle of rest as of motion (compare Charm.Cratyl.). They may be corrected and enlarged by experience, they may bereasoned about, they may be brought home to us by the circumstances of ourlives, they may be intensified by imagination, by reflection, by a courseof action likely to confirm them. Other signs of relation to external life in the dialogue, orreferences to contemporary things and persons, with the single exception ofthe allusions to the anonymous enemies of pleasure, and the teachers of theflux, there are none. The desire to promote happiness is no mean preference of expediency toright, but one of the highest and noblest motives by which human nature canbe animated. and of comedy also? The knowledge which is at one timeclear and distinct, at another seems to fade away, just as the pleasure ofhealth after sickness, or of eating after hunger, soon passes into aneutral state of unconsciousness and indifference. This 'one in many' is arevelation of the order of the world, which some Prometheus first madeknown to our ancestors; and they, who were better men and nearer the godsthan we are, have handed it down to us. Accordingto the standard of accuracy which is here adopted, it is rightly placedlower in the scale than carpentering, because the latter is more capable ofbeing reduced to measure. Plato's Philebus presents a fascinating dialogue between the life of the mind and the life of pleasure. Such, forexample, is the excessive and more than human awe which Socrates expressesabout the names of the gods, which may be not unaptly compared with theimportance attached by mankind to theological terms in other ages; for thisalso may be comprehended under the satire of Socrates. II. In Philebus, you have Plato’s literary quality leading the charge. Philosophy had so deepened or intensified the nature of one or Being, bythe thoughts of successive generations, that the mind could no longerimagine 'Being' as in a state of change or division. if we assert mind to be the author of nature. That is now added; and sothe argument is complete, and may be compared to an incorporeal law, whichis to hold fair rule over a living body. For allowing that the happiness of others is reflected onourselves, and also that every man must live before he can do good toothers, still the last limitation is a very trifling exception, and thehappiness of another is very far from compensating for the loss of our own.According to Mr. Mill, he would best carry out the principle of utility whosacrificed his own pleasure most to that of his fellow-men. 9 translated by Harold N. Fowler. 4 - Parmenides, Theaetetus, Sophist, Statesman, Philebus Volume 4 (with 5 dialogues) of a 5 volume edition of Plato by the great English Victorian Greek scholar, Benjamin Jowett. For are not love and sorrow as well as anger 'sweeter than honey,'and also full of pain? Thisis the negative of measure or limit; the unthinkable, the unknowable; ofwhich nothing can be affirmed; the mixture or chaos which preceded distinctkinds in the creation of the world; the first vague impression of sense;the more or less which refuses to be reduced to rule, having certainaffinities with evil, with pleasure, with ignorance, and which in the scaleof being is farthest removed from the beautiful and good. And this brings us to speak of the most serious objection to theutilitarian system--its exclusiveness. The interlocutor Protarchus, the son of Callias, who has beena hearer of Gorgias, is supposed to begin as a disciple of the partisans ofpleasure, but is drawn over to the opposite side by the arguments ofSocrates. Republic 531e–534d; Sophist 253a–254b, 259d–e; Appendix D: Plato on Four Kinds, Elements, Divine Intellect. Andtruest of all in the estimation of every rational man is dialectic, or thescience of being, which will forget and disown us, if we forget and disownher. We have next to discoverwhat element of goodness is contained in this mixture. We can hardly estimate the influence which a simple principlesuch as 'Act so as to promote the happiness of mankind,' or 'Act so thatthe rule on which thou actest may be adopted as a law by all rationalbeings,' may exercise on the mind of an individual. But there are certain natural philosophers who will not admit a thirdstate. It is difficult toacquit Plato, to use his own language, of being a 'tyro in dialectics,'when he overlooks such a distinction. Philebus maintains that pleasure is the proper quest of all living creatures, and that all ought to aim at it; in fact he says that … No great effort of mind is required onour part; we learn morals, as we learn to talk, instinctively, fromconversing with others, in an enlightened age, in a civilized country, in agood home. There isan uncertainty about details,--whether, for example, under givencircumstances such and such a moral principle is to be enforced, or whetherin some cases there may not be a conflict of duties: these are theexceptions to the ordinary rules of morality, important, indeed, but notextending to the one thousandth or one ten-thousandth part of humanactions. To us, the notion of infinity issubsequent rather than prior to the finite, expressing not absolute vacancyor negation, but only the removal of limit or restraint, which we supposeto exist not before but after we have already set bounds to thought andmatter, and divided them after their kinds.
2020 philebus plato summary