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Chapter 6 - Philebus and Statesman

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 July 2023

Lloyd P. Gerson
Affiliation:
University of Toronto
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Summary

Moral realism in Philebus and Statesman are explored in this chapter. Plato’s later dialogues focus on this-worldly issues within a larger metaphysical framework (Section 6.1). Integrated unity according to kind is explained in relation to the good life. In Philebus Plato provides us with a criterion for the presence of manifestations of the Good: the complex unity of truth, beauty, and symmetry. The Good can be understood to be manifested in the sensible world. In Statesman, the ideal statesman turns out to be different from the philosopher (Section 6.3). The ideal for anything is integrative unity according to kind. As Plato says in Republic, the virtuous person “becomes one out of many” (Section 6.2). Plato also outlines a type of hylomorphic composition according to which the Good can be a this-worldly Demiurge instantiating goodness in the polis and in its inhabitants. The skill thus displayed is now seen to be different from that of the philosopher (Section 6.3).

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Plato's Moral Realism , pp. 171 - 189
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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