Plato’s Pragmatism offers the first comprehensive defense of a pragmatist reading of Plato. According to Plato, the ultimate rational goal is not to accumulate knowledge and avoid falsehood but rather to live an excellent human life.
The book contends that a pragmatic outlook is present throughout the Platonic corpus. The authors argue that the successful pursuit of a good life requires cultivating certain ethical commitments, and that maintaining these commitments often requires violating epistemic norms. In the course of defending the pragmatist interpretation, the authors present a forceful Platonic argument for the conclusion that the value of truth has its limits, and that what matters most are one’s ethical commitments and the courage to live up to them. Their interpretation has far-reaching consequences in that it reshapes how we understand the relationship between Plato’s ethics and epistemology.
Plato’s Pragmatism will appeal to scholars and advanced students of Plato and ancient philosophy. It will also be of interest to those working on current controversies in ethics and epistemology
Virtue, Veracity, and Noble Lies 13
1 Beneficial Falsehoods in the Republic: The Priority of the Practical 15
2 Ethical Commitments and Persuasion in the Laws 40
3 The Ring of Gyges and the Nature of Ethical Commitments 67
Courage, Caution, and Faith 89
4 Charming Away the Fear of Death in the Phaedo 91
5 Better, Braver, and Less Idle: Faith and Inquiry in the Meno 110
6 Absurdity and Speciousness in the Protagoras and the Euthydemus 132
Commoners, Rulers, and Gods 155
7 Philosophers, Soul Parts, and False Beliefs in the Republic 157
8 Truthful Gods and the Limits of Divine Assimilation 177