Plato’s Pragmatism : Rethinking the Relationship between Ethics and Epistemology book cover
1st Edition

Plato’s Pragmatism
Rethinking the Relationship between Ethics and Epistemology

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after December 28, 2020
ISBN 9780367445423
December 28, 2020 Forthcoming by Routledge
240 Pages

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Book Description

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

Table of Contents


Part I: Virtue, Veracity, and Noble Lies

1. Beneficial Falsehoods in the Republic: The Priority of the Practical

2. Ethical Commitments and Persuasion in the Laws

3. The Ring of Gyges and the Nature of Ethical Commitments

Part II: Courage, Caution, and Faith

4. Charming Away the Fear of Death in the Phaedo

5. Better, Braver, and Less Idle: Faith and Inquiry in the Meno

6. Absurdity and Speciousness in the Protagoras and the Euthydemus

Part III: Commoners, Rulers, and Gods

7. Philosophers, Soul Parts, and False Beliefs in the Republic

8. Truthful Gods and the Limits of Divine Assimilation


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Nicholas Baima is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, Florida Atlantic University, USA. He specializes in ancient philosophy and ethical theory. His work in ancient philosophy has appeared in journals such as Apeiron, Ancient Philosophy, Ancient Philosophy Today, Phronesis, and Journal of the History of Philosophy. He has also published on moral philosophy in journals such as Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Journal of Value Inquiry, and Neuroethics.

Tyler Paytas is Research Fellow in the Dianoia Institute of Philosophy at Australian Catholic University. He was previously a VolkswagenStiftung Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Stuttgart. He specializes in the history of ethics, with articles in journals such as Kantian Review, Phronesis, Utilitas, Faith and Philosophy, and Journal of the History of Philosophy. He is the co-editor, with Tim Henning, of Kantian and Sidgwickian Ethics: The Cosmos of Duty Above and the Moral Law Within (Routledge, 2020).