Pleasure in ancient Greek philosophy /

"The Key Themes in Ancient Philosophy series provides concise books, written by major scholars and accessible to non-specialists, on important themes in ancient philosophy that remain of philosophical interest today. In this volume Professor Wolfsdorf undertakes the first exploration of ancient...

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Wolfsdorf, David, 1969-
Imprint:Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2013.
Description:xi, 299 p. ; 24 cm.
Language:English
Series:Key themes in ancient philosophy
Key themes in ancient philosophy.
Subject:Philosophy, Ancient.
PHILOSOPHY / History & Surveys / Ancient & Classical.
Philosophy, Ancient.
Format: Print Book
URL for this record:http://pi.lib.uchicago.edu/1001/cat/bib/9044475
Hidden Bibliographic Details
ISBN:9780521761307 (hardback)
0521761301 (hardback)
9780521149754 (paperback)
0521149754 (paperback)
Notes:Includes bibliographical references and index.
Summary:"The Key Themes in Ancient Philosophy series provides concise books, written by major scholars and accessible to non-specialists, on important themes in ancient philosophy that remain of philosophical interest today. In this volume Professor Wolfsdorf undertakes the first exploration of ancient Greek philosophical conceptions of pleasure in relation to contemporary conceptions. The book provides broad coverage of the ancient material, from pre-Platonic to Old Stoic treatments; and in the contemporary period, from World War II to the present. Examination of the nature of pleasure in ancient philosophy largely occurred within ethical contexts. In the contemporary period, the topic has, to a greater extent, been pursued within philosophy of mind and psychology. This divergence reflects the dominant philosophical preoccupations of the times. But Wolfsdorf argues that the various treatments are complementary. Indeed, the Greeks' examinations of pleasure were incisive, their debates vigorous and their results have enduring value for contemporary discussion"--
Review by Choice Review

Platonic scholars will like this book best, but it appeals to a range of scholars--from students wanting a summary of pre-Socratic, Aristotelian, Epicurean, or Stoic views on pleasure, to those interested in a broader context for the treatment of pleasure by 20th-century philosophers, such as Gilbert Ryle, Bernard Williams, and their critics. Wolfsdorf (Temple Univ.) shines in the two chapters devoted to Plato, which begin with portrayals of pleasure as restorative in book IX of the Republic and then skillfully collect evidence from other dialogues. Wolfsdorf teases out the mechanics of "somatic, extero-ceptive" pleasure from Timaeus without conflating that discussion with the Philebus's more ontological questions of true and false pleasures that hinge on a distinction between the core (what pleasure is) and the appearance (feeling) aspects of pleasure. Since pleasure is restorative, it cannot be good in itself, only instrumentally: a core Platonic principle, illuminated by Wolfsdorf's analysis. The concluding chapter compares the ancient tradition and more recent work. Wolfsdorf's book extends a genre exemplified by Julia Annas (Morality of Happiness, CH, Feb'94, 31-3189), pursuing an understanding of why the ancient arguments are at once compelling and alien to contemporary problems. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty. P. W. Wakefield Emory University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review