By Destrée, P. (ed.), Bobonich, Ch. (ed.), Christopher Bobonich, Pierre Destree
The thirteen contributions of this collective supply new and not easy methods of examining famous and extra overlooked texts on akrasia (lack of keep an eye on, or weak point of will) in Greek philosophy (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Plotinus).
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3. An Objection Considered At this point someone might object that if our view were correct, Socrates would have no reason to refer to moral knowledge as the metrêtikê technê, the craft of measurement. It is clear in the Protagoras that Socrates thinks that moral knowledge judges appearances. It objectively ‘measures’ each and it ‘saves’ us by preventing us from being taken in by the power of appearance. But, so the objection goes, according to our view, Socratic knowledge is incompatible with strong nonrational desire and yet it is strong nonrational desire that makes objects appear to be good when they are not.
4. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle As we have seen, Devereux argues that Socrates’ moral psychology is importantly different from that of either Plato or Aristotle. Socrates disagrees with his successors over the possibility that virtue can exist together with strong, nonrational desire. According to Devereux, Socrates thinks they are compatible; Plato and Aristotle did not. Although we disagree with Devereux about this particular aspect of Socrates’ moral psychology, we nonetheless agree with him that there is an important difference between Socrates’ view, on the one hand, and those of Plato and Aristotle, on the other.
This is, I suppose, what Thomas C. Brickhouse and Nicholas Smith (2002) have called—somewhat puzzlingly: see the second paragraph of this note—‘the traditional account of Socratic intellectualism’ (22). 11 Once properly understood (especially with the help of the Lysis), intellectualism is revealed as key to the proper appreciation of the argumentation of a range of dialogues that includes the Symposium (and indeed other traditional ‘middle’ dialogues). Yet in Book IV of the Republic Socrates seems specifically to reject intellectualism,12 and numerous other dialogues clearly imply its rejection.
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