Plato’s attitude towards drunkenness (µέθη) is surprisingly positive in the Laws, especially as compared to his negative treatment of intoxication in the Republic. In the Republic, Plato maintains that intoxication causes cowardice and intemperance (3.398e–399e, 3.403e, and 9.571c–573b), while in the Laws, Plato holds that it can produce courage and temperance (1.635b, 1.645d–650a, and 2.665c–672d). This raises the question: Did Plato change his mind, and if he did, why? Ultimately, this paper answers affirmatively and argues that this marks a substantive shift in Plato’s attitude towards anti-rational desires. More precisely, this paper argues that in the Republic, Plato holds that anti-rational desires are always detrimental to health and virtue, while in the Laws, Plato maintains that anti-rational desires can be instrumental to health and virtue.
History of Philosophy and Logical Analysis – Brill
Published: Apr 5, 2017