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Pursuing the GoodEthics and Metaphysics in Plato's Republic$
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Douglas Cairns and Fritz-Gregor Herrmann

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748628117

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748628117.001.0001

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The Good, Advantage, Happiness and the form of the Good: How Continuous with Socratic Ethics is Platonic Ethics?

The Good, Advantage, Happiness and the form of the Good: How Continuous with Socratic Ethics is Platonic Ethics?

Chapter:
(p.93) 5 The Good, Advantage, Happiness and the form of the Good: How Continuous with Socratic Ethics is Platonic Ethics?
Source:
Pursuing the Good
Author(s):

Terry Penner

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748628117.003.0006

In earlier investigations of the ‘longer road’ in Books IV and VI–VII of the Republic, the author concluded that the good which the Form of the Good is the Form of is benefit or advantage pure and simple. It is not some moral good, or some ‘intrinsic good’, or some mystical good. This, in spite of the fact that moral, ‘intrinsic’, utilitarian, impersonal or mystical goods are nowadays almost universally supposed to exhaust the possibilities as to what the Form of the Good is all about. The Form of the Good is, quite simply, the Form of Advantage. This identity suggests two important possibilities. First, suppose we could show that the greater advantage of the just human being is that human being's greater happiness. Then we might be able to show that the announced main question of the Republic – ‘Is the just individual happier than the successfully unjust individual?’ – actually is the main question of the Republic. A second possibility is this: we might be able to bring the ethical theory of the Republic into rather closer relation to the ethics of the Socratic dialogues than would usually be allowed. On the other hand, neither of these possibilities would be realized if it proves that the surplus metaphysical value of the Form of Advantage (over benefit or advantage pure and simple) brings, all by itself, metaphysical, theological, moral, or mystical overtones to benefit or advantage of a sort which, according to Aristotle, are not to be found in Socrates. This chapter deals with this difficulty for the author's view.

Keywords:   Republic, Form of Good, Socratic dialogues, ethics, Form of Advantage

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