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Chapter 4 - Socratic versus Platonic Ethics?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 July 2023

Lloyd P. Gerson
Affiliation:
University of Toronto
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Summary

The widespread view that so-called Socratic ethics is fundamentally different from Platonic ethics is examined. The so-called Socratic paradoxes are discussed (Section 4.1). The idea of Socratic ethics as independent of any metaphysical assumptions is critically examined (Section 4.2). The so-called Socratic intellectualism is examined and the claim that in Protagoras Socrates rejects the idea of incontinence is criticized (Section 4.3). The account in Protagoras of “being overcome by pleasure” and the possibility of incontinence are examined as a possible key to differentiating Socratic and Platonic ethics (Section 4.3). The connection between virtue and happiness in the “Socratic” dialogues and in the “Platonic” dialogues is explored. What is the connection between happiness and the Idea of the Good (Section 4.4)?

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Plato's Moral Realism , pp. 116 - 146
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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