By Andrea Nightingale, David Sedley

How does god imagine? How, preferably, does a human brain functionality? needs to a niche stay among those paradigms of rationality? Such questions exercised the best historic philosophers, together with these featured during this booklet: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics and Plotinus. This quantity features a sequence of stories through best students, revisiting key moments of historical philosophy and highlighting the topic of human and divine rationality in either ethical and cognitive psychology. the amount is a tribute to A.A. lengthy, and displays a number of issues of his personal paintings.

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With regard to Gorgias b and to the Socratic dialogues in general, Vlastos writes as follows: Here desire for happiness is strictly self-referential: it is the agent’s desire for his own happiness and that of no one else. This is so deep-seated an assumption that it is simply taken for granted: no argument is ever given for it in the Platonic corpus. (Vlastos : , n. ” Does Plato assume this? Does the scholar herself make this assumption? A prior question will be, what justifies the inference from the prudential principle to the purported doctrine of Socratic egoism?

If the Socratic dialogues overwhelmingly offer a portrait of Socrates that is compellingly inconsistent with the doctrinal formulation of egoism, then perhaps we ought to reconsider the extent to which egoistic eudaimonism can truly be the platform of Socratic ethics. Both Irwin  and Vlastos  construe Socratic ethics along the lines of egoism insofar as each interprets Socrates as analyzing human motivation in terms of an entirely self-regarding form of agency. ” More recent interpretations, including those of Reshotko  and Penner and Rowe , explicitly make Socrates into an egoist.

As Kraut says, the deciding factor in determining whether or not a philosopher is an egoist is not necessarily that she recommends maximizing her own good. Rather, she must also assign this principle “a basic and not merely instrumental role” in her moral philosophy; self-regarding reasons are either the best or the only kind of reason there is (Kraut : ). It is not that the Socrates we find in these modern portraits is selfish. Rather, I would argue that if Socrates is interpreted in this way, he is not an egoist at all precisely because he does not think that the reasons for actions can best be captured in terms of whether or not they are primarily self-beneficial.

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