Ruling oneself: Platonic hedonism and the quality of citizenship

Bentley, R.K. (2003) Ruling oneself: Platonic hedonism and the quality of citizenship. Polis, 20, (1-2), 85-107.


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In this paper, I examine how the idea of self-rule is dramatised and articulated in the Protagoras and the Gorgias with respect to the apparently different treatments of hedonism. Looking at the former dialogue, I describe how the hedonist premise develops from a dramatic image of disorder, specifically the absence of self-rule. I then consider whether the evidence from that dialogue has any bearing on the Gorgias' discussion of hedonism.

I conclude that the Socratic rejection of hedonism in that text is about the Calliclean abandonment of any concern for self-rule, an abandonment that actually masquerades as a commitment to self-rule. This analysis is used to present a more general account of what Socrates considers to be the capacities required for good citizenship.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0142-257X (print)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Social Sciences > Politics and International Relations
ePrint ID: 35171
Date Deposited: 19 May 2006
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:22

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