By Christopher Bobonich, Pierre Destrée (eds.)
The thirteen contributions of this collective supply new and hard methods of interpreting recognized and extra ignored texts on akrasia (lack of keep watch over, or weak point of will) in Greek philosophy (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Plotinus).
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Extra resources for Akrasia in Greek Philosophy. From Socrates to Plotinus (Philosophia Antiqua 106)
Just as spatial proximity alters the appearance of the size of an object, Socrates thinks, so temporal proximity alters the appearance of the amount of pleasure (or pain) an object will yield. A pleasurable object that provides immediate gratification always appears greater than does the same object when it can only be enjoyed in the future. The same of course applies, mutatis mutandis, to pain. Accordingly, a pleasurable object that can be enjoyed only in the future and that is judged not to be worth the resulting pain may—because it appears sufficiently large—be judged worth the pain when the object provides immediate gratification.
Were that the case, Socrates’ position would be indistinguishable from that of the many, who think that people often act from nonrational desire, contrary to what they think best. But if a nonrational desire for the pleasure of C explains why the pleasure of C appears to be greater that it did at t1 we can see how it explains why P would form the judgment that pursuing C is a good after all, and thereupon for a rational desire to pursue T. It is important to notice that nothing about the introduction of a nonrational desire into the explanation of the phenomenon most people call akrasia conflicts with Socrates’ commitment to eudaimonism.
1 to Introduction. Fine refers back, for a defence of the traditional view, to Gregory Vlastos, Socrates, Ironist and Moral Philosopher (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY [also Cambridge University Press, Cambridge], 1991, chapters 2 and 3; but these two chapters are mostly concerned with a different proposal (‘that through a “Socrates” in Plato we can come to know the thought of the Socrates of history’: Vlastos, op. , p. 81), and presupposes the traditional division of Plato’s works rather than defending it.