The Pleasures of Reason in Plato, Aristotle, and the Hellenistic Hedonists. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. xii + 234 p. $95.00. isbn 9781107025448 (hbk).Most major ancient Greek philosophical schools maintained that the intellectual life is the most pleasant life. James Warren’s clear, careful, and engaging book focuses on the way that Plato, Aristotle, and the Hellenistic hedonists championed the pleasures of the life of reason over the lives of mindless animals and the profligate. Warren settles on a set of skills that mark humans off from other animals, at least by degree if not always by kind: learning, exercise of knowledge, memory, and anticipation. Warren twice traces the dialectic between the focal set of philosophers, each time chronologically. First, he addresses the pleasures of learning and knowing. He then turns to the pleasures of anticipating and remembering. The book is primarily exegetical in nature and does not substantively weigh in on who has the best account or whether the central shared commitment is itself argumentatively sustainable.Warren’s first discussion of Plato centers on two puzzles – whether learning is purely pleasant and whether using and reflecting on one’s knowledge is distinctively pleasant. Warren points out a tension in the views
Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought – Brill
Published: Apr 4, 2017
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