In Book v of Plato's Laws, he defends that a virtuous life is better than a vicious one, based on the idea that the former involves more pleasure than the latter (733a-734e). The use of this kind of argumentation seems to contradict other passages of the Laws, in which it will be objected that pleasure can work as a criterion of election. This essay aims to show that this recourse does not presuppose any kind of hedonism. In order to prove this, I hold that in the Laws (i) education tries to integrate our natural tendencies in the good life; (ii) this integration is possible because some pleasures can be pursued for their own sake because they are harmless. Based on these principles, I argue that (iii) the argument of Book v appeals to the possibility of choosing pleasure if they are not involved in other criteria of election.
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- Criteria of election
- The Laws