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Describe the views on pleasure in Aristotle's Ethics and Plato's Phaedo.  Original...

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thashika | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 14, 2011 at 1:28 AM via web

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Describe the views on pleasure in Aristotle's Ethics and Plato's Phaedo.


Original question: how would you explain aristotle views on pleasure with reference to the ethics and plato's view on pleasure with reference to the phaedo

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 5, 2012 at 4:39 AM (Answer #1)

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Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and Plato's Phaedo both distinguish between hedone (pleasure) and eudaimonia (well-being or happiness), and both value the former more highly than the latter. Pleasure is a form of immediate gratification of the senses, and includes such things as getting drunk, eating good-tasting foods, sexual activity, and other forms of sensual gratification. The problem with these is that they are not productive of long-term well-being for the individual or society. For both authors, happiness consists in the care of the soul. For both Aristotle and Plato, the ultimate happy life is the philosophical, or contemplative one. They differ in that Plato emphasizes a transcendent ideal of the separation of the soul from body and pure contemplation of the forms, and considers external circumstances irrelevant, whereas Aristotle allows that external goods contribute to happiness. Plato`s ethical views are concerned with individual striving for the absolute good, while Aristotle argues that the good life is only possible within a good polis, and therefore emphasizes civic responsibility to a slightly greater degree, although still viewing it as a means to the end of eudaimonia rather than as an end in itself.


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