Anything Fine Is Difficult: To Agathon and To Kalon in Plato's Early to Middle Period Value Theory Thomas Reilly Under the supervision of Dr. John Palmer Department of Philosophy, University of Florida Defended: 25 April 2018
! 1 Plato invokes the Greek proverb t hat "anything fine is difficult three times throughout the dialogues that we will concern ourselves with in this paper, each time to express the sense of difficulty and frustration that his interlocutors come up against: at Hippias Major 304e Socrates and Hippias have just tried and failed to define fineness itself, at Republic 435c Glaucon has no idea how to go about proving that the soul has three parts, and at Republic 497d Socrates is about to consider the difficult qu estion of how a city should engage in philosophy. However the Greeks used this proverb in their lives, one way in which the fine is difficult, at least for us moderns, is knowing how to even conceptualize it: the Greek notion of to kalon is at base a term of commendation, but it translates variously and confusingly as fineness, beauty, admirability, nobility, praiseworthiness, and honorability. One of the projects that Plato is engaged in throughout his corpus is to furnish definitions of important value co ncepts, like justice, piety, and moderation, but with something like to kalon we might think that this is impossible does it even reduce to a sing le sense ? Then, a further complication is that to kalon is closely related to, and perhaps even inseparable from, the Greek concept for goodness, to agathon and so, our task would then become to try to elucid at e these two concepts individually and as they relate to each other. Indeed, t his is the task that this paper takes up, at least in the context of Plato 's early to middle period value theor y. In order to do this, I first will examine the Hippias Major with its all too fitting question: what is to kalon ? The series of candidate definitions that Plato offers all fall flat, but the last two candidates that to kalon is the cause of benefit or the cause of aesthetic pleasure, still prove fruitful. What we can glean is this: we will have reason to believe even in this early dialogue that the production of benefit is an essential property of to kalon and that th e production of aesthetic pleasure is an accidental property. T he definition itself eludes us, but at
! 2 least we will know that, whatever to kalon turns out to be, it will likely have these properties. Then, I will turn to the Gorgias Here, Plato reprises t he idea that to kalon produces either benefit, pleasure, or both, but this time, he gives more solid reasons for believing that benefit is an essential property and pleasure accidental. Although we still will not arrive at an essential definition of to kal on Plato makes fabulous strides in defining our other value term, to agathon : he forthrightly defines it as order. Another major innovation that the Gorgias makes on the Hippias Major is its emphasis on objective value as embedded in the universe. We will see what this means in context, but suffice it to say here that this emphasis makes Plato's transition to the Republic natural: it is by considering value as it is in the universe and as it relates to the Forms that Plato comes to define to agathon as uni ty and to kalon as order, in contrast to his definition in the Gorgias In closing the section on the Republic I turn to some conceptual mapping: now that we can define our two value terms as unity and order, what is the relationship between these two? Ba sically, I argu e that it is one of appearance, where to kalon is an appearance of to agathon In a word, I take this paper to be making two contributions, one historical and one conceptual, to contemporary discussions. First, I aim to track a change acros s Plato's early to middle period value theory: at first he defines to agathon as order, but later, he comes to define it as unity and to kalon becomes order instead. Second, after I have established these definitions, I can attempt to map the relationship betwe en the two I take it that this mapping will be a contribution to the literature, since most work done on their relationship deals with them on a more notional level, analyzing concepts like goodness, admirability, and beauty as we would use them in o ur everyday language, without taking into account their definitions as unity and order.
! 3 I. Hippias Major In this section on the Hippias Major I aim to do three things. First I will lay out Socrates' requirements for a proper definition or essence, so that we can reference those requirements over the course of this paper. Second, I contend that from Socrates' argument on the beneficial we should suspect that the production of benefit, or simply being beneficial, is an essential property of to kalon Thi rd from his argument on auditory and visual pleasures we can conclude that the production of such pleasures is an accidental property of to kalon I close with some reflections and by signaling the problems that the Hippias Major leaves unanswered. 1 So cratic Requirements Now, let us turn to Plato's argument on the beneficial as a candidate for the essence of to kalon First, I will run through the four criteria that a candidate must fulfill in order to satisfy a Socratic definition 1 ; although I do not appeal to them in this section on the Hippias Major I establish them now for use in the rest of this paper. T hen I will run through the argument itself contending that d espite the argumen t's failure, there are indications that producing benefit is an e ssential property of to kalon In order to satisfy a Socratic definit ion, a candidate must meet four requirements, as laid out at Euthyphro 6d e, in the midst of Socrates' discussion with Euthyphro on piety: ( 1) Euthyphro 6d e Socrates: For now, try t o tell me more clearly what I was asking just now, for, my friend, you did not teach me adequately when I asked you what the pious was, but you told me that what you are doing now, in prosecuting your father for murder, is pious. Euthyphro: And I told the truth, Socrates. S: Perhaps. You agree, however, that there are many other pious actions. E: There are. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 I use "Socratic definition" here so as to avoid assigning any particular ontological weight to definitions in the Hippias Major as this dialogue predates the introduction of the Forms.
! 4 S: Bear in mind then that I did not bid you tell me one of two of the many pious actions but that form itself that makes all pious actions pious, fo r you agreed that all impious actions are impious and all pious actions pious through one form, or don't you remember? E: I do. S: Tell me then what this form itself is, so that I may look upon it and, using it as a model, say that any action of yours or another's that is of that kind is pious, and if it is not that it is not. From this passage we can glean four requirements that a Socratic definition must meet. First, there is the universality requirement: a definition must encompass all instances of pi ous things and in this way be universal. Euthyphro breaches this rule in citing the prosecution of his father as piety, when there are clearly more instances of the virtue. Second, closely related to universality is the univocality requirement: there must be only one sense in which we define piety or in other words, all things are pious in the same way That is, it cannot be the case that what piety is for me is different from what piety is for you, for my friend, for my parents, etc. We might think that u nivocality poses the greatest challenge to defining to kalon with its various senses as beauty, admirability, nobility, praiseworthiness, and so forth. Third, the definition must fulfill the paradigmatic requirement: we must be able to hold anything up to the definition and, using it as a paradigm, be able to determine whether that thing is in fact pious. Some of Plato's common locutions that pick out this requirement include "using it as a model" and "keeping the product in view". Fourth, there is the cau sal role requirement: the Socratic form is what makes all pious things pious, or in other words, all pious things are pious through piety. Yet another way to think of it is that piety is a necessary and sufficient condition for making things pious. Of cour se, these four rules apply to all Socrates definitions besides piety. 2. Benefit Next, Plato's argument on the beneficial runs thus, from 296e to 297c :
! 5 (1) The fine is the beneficial. (2) The beneficial is the cause of good. (3) T herefore, the fine is a cause of the good (4) A cause and an effect are essentially different things. (5 ) T herefore, the fine is not good, and the good is not fine. (6) But, to be fine is to be good. T he argument is reductio ad absurdum It star ts with the claim that Plato intends to prove or disprove, that the essence of to kalon is the beneficial. Premise (2) capitalizes on an accepted axiom in Greek society, that to ophelimon is basically identical with to agathon the argument's inevitable c irc ularity is already glaring. 2 From (1) and (2) follows (3), which Woodruff alternatively renders as "to be fine is to [essentially] be a pr oductive cause of something good," (72). His alternative rendering for premise (4) is also helpful: "If to be F is to be a productive cause of something G, then it is not the case that to be F is to be G," (73). In other words, what it is to be a cause is different from what it is to be an effec t. T ogether, (3) and (4) yield (5 ). Premise (6) is a tacit, common sense as sumption that Socrates evidently holds, since the ar gument would not run otherwise. (5) and (6) together furnish t he contradiction: t he conclusion that what it is to be to kalon is divorced from what it is to be to agathon and vice versa is intuitively abs urd and at any rate, the formal contradiction forces us to reject the argument However, we might still suspect that to kalon is intimately related to benefit in light of (6). In contrast to the other premises and conclusions which may or may not be que stionable !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2 Please note that I am not concerned with the difference between goodness and benefit in this paper and use them interchangeably, in light of their tight connection in Greek thought Certainly, there is a difference there: we might recognize something as good wi thout its being bene ficial for us specifically. But, to focus on who exactly or which specific agent derives benefit from some good thing is, in a way, to sabo tage Plato's project. H e is concerned with what goodness is in its most g eneral, all encompassing form, and t o focus unduly on the distinction between goodness and benefit would be, I think, to u nnecessarily entangle ourselves Let it suffice to say that insofar as something is good, it is beneficial in some sense, for some agent, for some object, etc
! 6 given that they occur within the context of a faulty argument, (6 ) is a tacit assumption and so obvious of an assump tion it must be to Socrates if he feels justified in tagging it onto the end of the argument without even articulating it And i ndeed, reflection upon what it should probably mean to be to kalon says as much: to kalon is a term of commendation laden with positive value in the same way the to agathon is, so at least in these early dialogues where Plato does not yet have the conceptu al framework to define let alone divorce them, we do not have reason to believe that there could truly be instances of to kalon sepearate from to agathon Even if the argument shows that we cannot identify the essence of to kalon as a cause of benefit, the re is nothing precluding us from think that producing benefit is a property or an effect 3 And indeed, if to kalon and to agathon or benefit are as closely related as (6) suggests, then this property would almost certainly be an essential one. There are t wo important points to draw from this. First, we can conclude that whatever to kalon ends up consisting in, it must relate to to agathon in some non trivial way. Admittedly, this was obvious from the start, but keeping in mind that the two essen ces must b e deeply related to and must fa ll out of each other will later help us to make sense of the definitions in the Republic Second, the relation between to kalon and to agathon cannot be circular, in the way that simply saying that to kalon is beneficial is, so that their essences remain conceptually different. This leaves us with an odd criterion to meet going forward: they must at once be intimately related to each other, yet we must also be able to define the one without referencing the other. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 3 Wood ruff's point here supports the claim that benefit is best cast as an effect or property of to kalon : "Although Socrates does not say outright in the Hippias Major that the fine is beneficial as pathos [some true statement] rather than ousia [essence], his believing su ch a thing would explain the tension between his rejection of the proposed definition and his treatment of the fine as beneficial in such contexts as 296cd," (184).
! 7 3 Aestheti c Pleasure Now, let us turn to auditory and visual pleasure 4 as a candidate for to kalon Without running through Plato's argument here, I will say just enough to establish that we must reject to kalon as aesthetic pleasure. I will then argue that produc ing such pleasures is instead an accidental property of to kalon Right away we can see that to kalon as aesthetic pleasure violates the univocality and the universality requirement s for a Socratic definition. That is, it clearly cannot be the case that pl easure is fine only insofar as it is both auditory and visual, since something like a fine piece of art does not make any sound, and you cannot see a fine piece of music. So, we would need to make the amendment that pleasure can be fine by being either aud itory or visual but this would be to, again, breach the univocality requirement This would also breach universality, insofar as some things would count as fine insofar as they are visually pleasing and others as pleasing to the ears not all fine things would fall under a single explanatory feature. That aesthetic pleasur e violates these two requirements leads to the conclusion that the production of such pleasure is an accidental property of to kalon That is it is the case that some fine things are v isually pleasing, some aurally pleasing, perhaps some things might be both, and then we can also expect some things to be neither. Socrates even offer s examples of fine things that cannot be said to properly produce either pleasure, such as f ine activities and laws (298b), not to mention that objects of thought will not produce any pleasure, at least not through our eyes or ears 5 Yet, we certainly want to say that good characters, qualities, ideas, and the like can be !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 I will use "aesthetic pleasures to refer to auditory and visual pleasures. 5 A gain, only objects sensible through sight and hearing can produce auditory and visual pleasures. Yet, Plato repeatedly rejects an understanding of to kalon based merely on sensible perception, and in fact, he has Socrates take great pains to dissuade Hippias of that notion: Hippias' first two attempts at defining to kalon (a beautiful girl and gold) fail, among other
! 8 admirable in the abstract. And so, in light of these counterexamples, we should expect that to kalon cannot produce aesthetic pleasure in any way other than accidentally. However, Socrates tries to salvage his two most promising candidates for to kalon benefit and aesthetic pleasure by sugge sting at 303e that it is their combination in beneficial pleasure that is f ine. This is important for two reasons. First, we now have something like a disjunctive conception of to kalon : whatever its essence turns out to be, it will have to do with benefit pleasure, or both. We will see this disjunction return in the Gorgias Second, thinking that to kalon might consist in or produce both benefit and pleasure tells us something about its nature: we think of things as fine not only because of any good thing s that they will bring (that is, not only because they are beneficial) but also because we want to say that there is something fine about them in themselves. That a definition of to kalon should be able to account for fine things being fine in themselves i s perhaps even why Plato introduces pleasure as a possibility. Consider Tarrant's take: "Any definition of the fine' as Socrates is well aware in the Gorgias must apply both to things that contribute to a good end and to things viewed as good in themselv es: to the fine kitchen tool, for instance, and to the fine looking girl. Awareness that the term beneficial' cannot cover things that are enjoyed purely for what they are, not for what they produce, ought now to lead to a definition that covers things en joyed for what they are What can such things be if not pleasure? What can they be valued for if not for the pleasure itself?" (Tarrant, 120) And so, going forward we should keep these two things in mind: despite the fact that the Hippias Major ends in a poria, we cannot toss out benefit or pleasure in our search for to kalon especially since each of these terms seems to contribute something different that fine things should be !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! reasons, because they pick out only the sense of to kalon referring to physical beauty, and when Hippias' answers finally do take the shape of propertie s, starting with the suggestion that that the fine is the appropriate, Socrates has to again distinguish for him the difference between "appropriate" as visually pleasing and "appropriate" as useful. Clearly, the latter is what Plato is after.
! 9 fine in themselves, in the way that we enjoy pleasure in itself, for example and they should bring us good things in the future. 4. Conclusion In this section, I argued that we have reason to believe that to kalon is essentially productive of benefit and accidentally productive of aesthetic pleasure. These claims are tenuous, however: my basis for claiming that benefit is essential was merely the tacit premise (6), which suggested that this was the case; and the basis for pleasure as accidental was recognizing some counterexamples of fine things that are not obviously pleasant. Whatever the relationship between to kalon benefit, and pleasure turns out to be, one point still holds: whether Plato recognized this or not, the production of benefit and/or pleasure is most certainly a property, not a statement of essence. And indee d, this rings true if we consider these terms conceptually: t hat is, benefit implies being beneficial for or to someone or something, and the same applies to pleasure, as we might say that something is pleasant to someone. We might also say that something brings us benefit or pleasure or that we derive them from something All of these locutions betray that b enefit and pleasure are relational and effects; they supervene upon some more fundamental condition that gives rise to them in the first place In virt ue of this, whatever to kalon turns out to be must carry with it these connotations of productivity, of creativity. With this in mind, Plato's arguments in the Hippias Major seem less like somewhat fruitless attempts to name the essence of to kalon and mor e like fruitful moves to get clearer on the sort of attributes that to kalon possesses and from these clues, to eventually get clearer on what to kalon itself is. Despite some progress, however, the Hippias Major leaves us with marked problems. First, t he fact remains that Plato does not provide an essential definition of to kalon at all, and
! 10 second, the information that he does provide is circular and largely unhelpful in exacting that definition we already know that benefit ( to agathon ) and to kalon are intimately related, while an accidental property, by the very fact that it is accidental, does not say much about the essence. Then, because we do not know what to kalon itself is, we do not yet have an account of the relationship between it and to aga thon which Plato will need to provide in order to fully flesh out his theory of value. Now, we turn to the Gorgias II. Gorgias In this section on the Gorgias I discuss three points. First, Plato takes the two most promising candidates for to kalon i n the Hippias Major and formally introduces them as a disjunction, where to kalon is productive of either benefit or pleasure or both. We can use Plato's statements on pleasure in this dial ogue to make better sense of that disjunction: the Gorgias lends fu rther support for pleasure as an accidental property of to kalon and benefit as essential. Second, Plato makes great strides in coming to define to agathon as order. From Plato's example of how order comes to be in the human soul, we can make more sense of this definition. Third, I make some remarks on what I take to be the Gorgias' major innovation on the Hippias Major as well as mark the issues that the Gorgias leaves us with going forward. 1 To Kalon Recall that in the Hippias Major the two most prom ising candidates for to kalon are benefit and aesthetic pleasure and that at 303e Plato also considers their combination in beneficial pleasure. This is tantamount to saying that to kalon is productive of benefit, aesthetic pleasure, or both, but in the Go rgias we get this disjunction explicitly:
! 11 (2 ) 474c 475a Socrates: So that you'll know, answer me as though this were my first question to you. Which do you think is worse, Polus, doing what's unjust or suffering it? Polus: I think suffering it is. S: You do? Which do you think is more shameful, doing what's unjust or suffering it? Tell me. P: Doing it. S: Now if doing it is in fact more shameful, isn't it also worse? P: No, not in the least. S: I see. Evidently you don't believe that admirable [ka lon] and good [agathon] are the same, or that bad and shameful are. P: No, I certainly don't. S: Well, what about this? When you call all admirable things admirable, bodies, for example, or colors, shapes and sounds, or practices, is it with nothing in v iew that you do so each time? Take admirable bodies first. Don't you call them admirable either in virtue of their usefulness, relative to whatever it is that each is useful for, or else in virtue of some pleasure, if it makes the people who look at them g et enjoyment from looking at them? In the case of the admirability of a body, can you mention anything other than these? P: No, I can't. S: Doesn't the same hold for all the other things? Don't you call shapes and colors admirable on account of either so me pleasure or benefit or both ? P: Yes, I do. S: Doesn't this also hold for sounds and all things musical? P: Yes. S: And certainly things that pertain to laws and practices the admirable ones, that is don't fall outside the limits of being either pleasant or beneficial, or both I take it. P: No, I don't think they do. S: Doesn't the same hold for the admirability of the fields of learning, too? P: Yes indeed, Yes, Socrates, your present definition of the admirable in terms of pleasure and good is an admirable one. S: And so is my definition of the shameful in terms of the opposite, pain and evil isn't it? P: Necessarily so. (3 ) 477c Socrates: Which of these states of corruption is the most shameful? Isn't it justice, and corruption of one's soul in general? Polus: Very much so. S: And if it's the most shameful, it's also the most evil. P: What do you mean Socrates? S: I mean this: What we agreed on earlier implies that what's most shameful is so always because it's the source 6 either of the greatest pain, or of harm, or of both. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Plato expl icitly uses the word "source" here. Note that this picks out what we saw earlier in the Hippias Major that we are not to identify to kalon with benefit or pleasure tout court but with something whose nature it is to produce, i.e. to be the source of, bene fit or pleasure or both.
! 12 Let us consider how the three possibilities (that to kalon is pleasant but not good, good but not pleasant, and/or both good and pleasant) might each count as fine through the use of examples. 7 In the case of the pleasant but not good, consider a poem by Cinesias, which might be pleasant to the ear but does not impart any morals to the listener. 8 It would seem that the only way in which something can be pleasant but not good is if it appeals only to either v ision or hearing 9 and in a way that is not beneficial to the agent. In this sensory context, we might translate to kalon as fine or beautiful. Next, in the case of the good but not pleasant, consider a courageous Greek soldier who dies painfully on the bat tlefield in order to protect his homeland. Surely, we would characterize him as a noble, admirable, and fine soldier, but although there is a certain beauty to his sacrifice, we probably would not use the word "beautiful" in this context. Finally, in the c ase of the both pleasant and good, consider a poem that is pleasant to the ear and that also imparts a moral. We could call this poem beautiful, fine, admirable, and perhaps noble as well, although "noble" is a less apt translation. So, we can see how each of the three terms in the disjunction might count as kala in some sense of the concept and that, at least at first blush, none of the three are outlandish. Yet, Plato leaves no doubt throughout the course of the Gorgias that to kalon cannot be merely ple asant without benefit without goodness In fact, he calls that possibility shameful: (4 ) 464d 465a Socrates: I call this [pastry baking] flattery, and I say that such a thing is shameful, Polus it's you I'm saying this to because it guesses at wh at's pleasant with no consideration for what's best. And I say that it isn't a craft, but a knack, because it has no account of the nature of whatever things it applies by which it applies them, so that it's unable to !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 7 Recall that I use goodness and benefit interchangeably. 8 See 501e for Plato's thoughts on Cinesias' innovations. 9 We know from the Hippias Major that Plato restricts pleasures capable of being fine to those from hearing and sig ht. (1) also speaks of specifically aesthetic pleasures.
! 13 state the cause of each thing So pas try baking, as I say, is the flattery that wears the mask of medicine. (5 ) 501e 502a Socrates: Let's look at fluteplaying first. Don't you think that it's one of this kind [i.e. a knack], Callicles? That is merely aims at giving us pleasure without giv ing thought to anything else? Callicles: Yes, I think so Socrates: But consider whether you don't think that all singing to the lyre and composing of dithyrambs has been invented for the sake of pleasure. (6 ) 503a Socrates: For if this matter [orat ory] really had two parts to it, then one part of it would be flattery, I suppose, and shameful public harangue, while the other that of getting the souls of the citizens to be as good as possible and of striving valiantly to say what is best, whether th e audience will find it more pleasant or more unpleasant is something admirable. Let us examine these quotations. Plato establishes the difference between knacks and crafts right from the start in his conversation with Gorgias, and then in his conversa tion with Polus where (4 ) occurs, he establishes the relation between them: knacks are shameful, and therefore inferior to crafts, insofar as they deal in pleasure without regard for the good. That is to say, whatever is pleasant but not good cannot be fin e. (5 ) is important insofar as it specifies that even auditory (and presumably visual) pleasures, which from the Hippias Major we might have thought enjoyed some special status, are shameful when divorced from the good. Then, as if the previous c itations w ere not conclusive, (6 ) positively states that striving for the good "whether the audience will find it more pleasant or more unpleasant" is admirable. This is just a reiteration of the other two terms in the disjunction ( to kalon as both beneficial and pl easant and/or as beneficial but not pleasant), so in short: to kalon is essentially productive of benefit, whereas it may or may not also produce pleasure, depending on the case. However, it is not enough to merely note that Plato rejects the pleasant but not beneficial, and we must ask: on what grounds, exactly, does he make this move? In other words,
! 1 4 why is pleasure problematic when divorced from benefit, especially since it is not outlandish to think that something like a p leasing but morally corrupting poem, as in our earlier example, is still fine? To answer these questions, we must examine the nature of pleasure, and in doing so, we can make two points in light of which it makes sense for Plato to preclude pleasure from being admirable. The first po int is that, for Plato, pleasure on its own is not inherently valuable. For, in order to possess any positive value it would need to link up to to agathon or benefit in some way, but it simply is the case that it does not for Plato. Whether a given pleasu re is a good pleasure depends on the context, not by virtue of being good in itself, and so, devoid of any inherent orientation to the good, it is all too easy for pleasure to lead to shamefulness and evil. That people, such as Callicles, do in fact think that pleasure tracks value makes it all the more suspect and even contemptible to Plato, since in disorienting and persuadi ng people to pursue it under a dis guise of goodness, it confuses value altogether. With this in mind, Plato's dogged insistence throu ghout the dialogue that to kalon and to agathon mu st not come apart, such as in (2 ) above, makes all the more sense. For, if we are to guard against such disorientation then we must discern and cling to all such markers of value as possible. (Consider this passage to see how pleasure does not always pick out value: "Doesn't it turn out that the bad man is both good and bad to the same degree as the good man, or even that he's better? Isn't this what follows, along with those earlier statements, if one holds that pleasant things are the same as good things? Isn't this necessarily the case, Callicles?" 499a b) 10 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 10 The literature widely supports this claim. Moss (2005, 141) recognizes the opposition between the good and pleasure and how to kalon must aways align with the former: "He [Socrates] wants to show t hat these two criteria, pleasure and the kalon yield conflicting judgements about what things are good: Polus, I shall argue, thinks injustice good because it is pleasant, but comes to see it as bad when he attends to the fact that it is shameful. Socrate s also wants to show, more
! 15 The second reason that Plato should reject the pleasant but not beneficial is that, even if pleasure did always track the good, we still have reason t o believe that it could only ever do so in a superficial sense. That is, pleasure is a sensation, and as such, it is inevitably ephemeral and instantaneous. But, the concepts that Plato associates with a good human life, eupraxia and eudaimonia are sig nif icantly more profound For, eupraxia literally means "good practice" or doing well throughout one's life, not just at any given instant, and eudaimonia etymologically speaking, means to have a beneficent spirit watching over you. These are clearly very pe netrating conceptions of what it means to live a good human life, and right away we can tell that pleasure, even if it did always tr ack what is truly good, is not substantial enough to be able to capture to kalon Another way to cast the difference would b e to say that pleasure is something that happens to us or supervenes upon something else, whereas virtue, eupraxia eudaimonia etc. are things that we can come to intimately possess for ourselves. (In this conclusion from the argument against Callicles' h edonism, Plato asserts straightforwardly that pleasure does not track eupraxia : "So, feeling enjoyment [pleasure] isn't the same as doing well [eupraxia], and being in pain isn't the same as doing badly, and the result is that what's pleasant turns out to be different from what's good." 497a) Yet, despite the fact that Plato harbors such clear reasons to reject the pleasant but not beneficial, it is not a trivial possibility, and we can certainly see why he includes aesthe tic !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! contentiously, that when these two criteria conflict, the second wins out: if we think something good because it is pleasant, but then come to see that it is shameful, w e can no longer think it good." Similarly, Barney (366) also holds that for Plato the good and the fine must not come apart: "So in at least some contexts, Plato's insistence that everything good is fine is intended to have revisionist ethical bite. His point is to press us to think more clearly about the beautiful and, rejecting shallow aestheticism or elitism, to recognize it wherever we find appropriate order and adaptation to purpose. At the same time, the point also has reverberations for out thinking about the good: whatever we cannot come to see as fine must not be deemed good either."
! 16 pleasure as a possibility in the first place. For, to kalon especially when translated as admirability or beauty, connotes a relation between some object and the admirer or beholder of that object in other words, there is an act of apprehension and the admiration or the aesthetic pleasure experienced in the presence of beautiful things is a response to that object's beauty One of the ways by which humans perform acts of apprehension is through our senses, especially sight and hearing, and since to kalon has very physical connotati ons, especially in its translation as "beautiful", it makes sense to think that auditory and visual pleasures are intimately present. That is to say, aesthetic pleasure is a natural candidate for to kalon and it should not be lost on us that Plato must ha ve had reasons, at least two that I can discern, for including it. The first reason is that, just as we or any other lay person would not think it outlandish to say that a pleasant but less than beneficial poem by Cinesias could still be beautiful, Plato must take into account the popular conception of to kalon in its entirety before he can make any changes to it. Such a doxastic approach is common in Plato and Aristotle, and indeed, we see a clear acknowledgement of such popular conception (and Plato's di sdain for it) here: (7 ) 473e 474a Polus: Don't you think you've been refuted already, Socrates, when you're saying things the likes of which no human being would maintain? Just ask any one of these people. Socrates: For I do know how to produce on e witness to whatever I'm saying, and that's the man I'm having a discussion with. The majority I disregard. And I do know how to call for a vote from one man, but I don't even discuss things with the majority. Indeed, there are many other examples: in th e Hippias Major Hippias clings to the demotic view that fineness is physical beauty; Gorgias is under the impression that sophists actually teach virtue; Polus swears that it is better to commit evil than to suffer it; and Callicles, the worst of them all, "explains" to Socrates that indulging one's appetites is far more admirable than engaging in philosophy. So, it is the case that throughout these dialogues there is a dichotomy
! 17 between the masses and the individual, and for Socrates' interlocutors to even be able to follow his dialectic, he must start at the basics. Indeed, his argument against Polus only runs if he allows that to kalon may be pleasant, beneficial, or both, since surely Polus would not let the argument even get off the ground if Socrates a sserted at the start that to kalon cannot be merely pleasant. The second reason is that, although the pleasant but not beneficial is certainly not to kalon that is not to say that pleasure does not play any role. Problems occur when people aim merely at producing pleasure without any regard for the good, but what are we to make of the cases where pleasure occurs with benefit? It seems too easy and even wrong to say that simply because to kalon produces pleasure only accidentally that when pleasure does su pervene it is unimportant or peripheral. Rather, we might suspect that in those cases where pleasure and benefit occur together, there is some relation between the two or some reason as to why they would occur at once. I reserve my thoughts on what this re lation might be until the section on the Republic but it is important to note now that pleasure is not trivial and that Plato's arguments against hedonism in the Gorgias merely show that value does not consist in just pleasure. Although not inherently val uable and at times even harmful, pleasure still plays a role. 2 To Agathon After Socrates introduces the disjunction with Polus and then considers pleasure with Callicles, he turns to benefit and the good in the dialogue's next section. Callicles havin g retreated, Socrates begins to answer his own questions and straightforwardly reveals his thoughts on the good, in a stretch of text that we might think of as something like a catechism. I rely on this catechism as the basis for my claim that Plato identi fies the good with order, and then I do some work fleshing out what Plato actually means by that notion: basi cally, order is the appropriate relation among an object's parts and between those parts and the object as a whole.
! 18 First, consider these passages to see that Plato identifies the good with order: (8 ) 503d 504a Socrates: Well then, won't the good man, the man who speaks with regard to what's best, say whatever he says not randomly but with a view to something, just like the other craftsmen, each of whom keeps his own product in view and so does not select and apply randomly what he applies, but so that he may give his product some shape? Take a look at painters for instance, if you would, or housebuilders or shipwrights or any of the other craftsm en you like, and see how each one places what he does into a certain organization, and compels one thing to be suited for another and to fit to it until the entire object is put together in an organized and orderly way. The other craftsmen, too, including the ones we were mentioning just lately, the ones concerned with the body, physical trainers and doctors, no doubt give order and organization to the body. Do we agree that this is so or not? Callicles: Let's take it that way. S: So if a house gets to be organized and orderly it would be a good one, and if it gets to be disorganized it would be a terrible one? C: I agree. (9 ) 504b d Socrates: What about the soul? Will it be a good one if it gets to be disorganized, or if it gets to have a certain organ ization and order? And which one [name] do we give to what comes into being in the soul as a result of organization and order? And the name for the states of organization and order of the soul is lawful' and law', which lead people to become law abid ing and orderly, and these are justice and self control. (10 ) 506d 507a Socrates: But surely we are good, both we and everything else that's good, when some excellence has come to be present in us? Yes, I think that's necessarily so, Callicles. But t he best way in which the excellence of each thing comes to be present in it, whether it's that of an artifact or of a body or a soul as well, or of any animal, is not just any old way, but is due to whatever organization, correctness, and craftsmanship is bestowed on each of them. Is that right? Yes, I agree. So it's due to organization that the excellence of each thing is something which is organized and has order? Yes, I'd say so. So it's when a certain order, the proper one for each thing, comes to b e present in it that it makes each of the things there are, good? Yes, I think so. So also a soul which has its own order is better than a disordered one? Necessarily so. But surely one that has order is an orderly one? Of course it is. And an orderl y soul is a self controlled one? Absolutely. So a self controlled soul is a good one. From (8 ) it should be clear that order and organization bring their object into its good condition, or are good making principles, whether that object be a painting, a house, a ship, the human body, etc. The various craftsmen bring their objects into order, and indeed into existence, by considering how they should be, what Plato term s "a view to something". From (9 ) it should be
! 19 clear that order and organization are gen eric, since there is also a specific goodness for each thing, depending on the thing that it is, that goes beyond the genus. "Law" is this species i n the case of the human soul. (10 ) provides further support. We can already see that order satisfies the re quirements of a Socratic definition from Euthyphro 6d e For, order brings the species of excellence into existence, or in other words, the specific excellence is a supervening state or condition that comes about after the appropriate order has been impose d on the parts in question ("And which one [name] do we give to what comes into being in the soul as a result of organization and order?"; "But the best way in which the excellence of each thing comes to be present in it is due to whatever organization, correctness, and craftsmanship is bestowed on each of them."). The implication from this is that the appropriate order is a necessary and sufficient condition for bringing about the specific excellence, where it is important that we need not appeal to anyt hing beyond order for an object to be good if we did, then we could not strictly identify the good with order. That order is a necessary and sufficient cause of good ness satisfies the causal role requirement, and we can quickly see that it fulfills the o ther three as well: order is general enough to encompass all instances of goodness (at least so far in Plato's metaphysics) and is therefore universal; order is not a multifaceted notion in the way that something like to kalon might be, so we can say that it also satisfies univocality; and finally, order plays a paradigmatic role, since whether an object possesses the appropriate order determines if it is good or not. Plato's references to "models" and craftsmen "keeping their product in view" pick out this paradigmatic role. Despite this headway, we might still ask: w hat exactly does Plato mean by order ? Although i t is a common enough notion, we can furnish a working, more precise definition by consider ing the example that Plato makes the most use of, orde r in the human soul. Basically,
! 20 order in this case consists in "law", or what Plato obscurely refers to as "the governing part of the soul" ruling over the appetites: (11 ) 491d e Callicles: What do you mean, rule himself? Socrates: Nothing very subtle. J ust what the many mean: being self controlled and master of oneself, ruling the pleasures and appetites within oneself. (12 ) 504d Socrates: And the name for the states of organization and order of the soul is "lawful" and "law", which lead people to beco me law abiding and orderly, and these are justice and self control. (13 ) 505b Socrates: As long as it's [the soul's] corrupt, in that it's foolish, undisciplined, unjust and impious, it should be kept away from its appetites and not be permitted to do an ything other than what will make it better. Do you agree or not? From these characterizations of order in the soul, we can make two assertions about the nature of order and ultimately come to a working definition. First, although it may sound obvious, it is worth noting that "order" implies that there are parts and some arrangement among those parts ; i n the case of the soul, there is the governing part and the appetitive part, and the former rules over the latter The second assertion is that "order" impl ies not just that there is a certain relation between the parts but also that there is a relation between those parts and the whole or in light of what is appropriate for that object as a whole In other words, there needs to be some regard for what the t hing is actually supposed to be, since we would not have any way of knowing how to arrange the parts in relation to each other without such knowledge a craftsman cannot create his product without "keeping that product in view" or referring to a "model". In the case of the soul, even if it is unclear what Plato takes it to be exactly, we can at least assert that as a whole it i s the principle of agency and that the parts need to be arranged in such a way to achieve this: the governing part must, in fact, g overn, since if the appetites ruled, we would be more like creatures responding to stimuli rather than agents, able to act on the basis
! 21 of considerations other than our appetites. Thus, with the two assertions from this paragraph in mind, we may offer a wo rking definition of order: order is the good relation of parts to each other and in light of what the object as a whole is supposed to be. Another way to think about this definition of order is as a functionalist account of goodness, i.e. an object's func tion determines what is good for it and therefore how exactly to order it In (8 ) above Socrates cites a painting, a house, a ship, and the body as examples of objects that, while their goodness will all consist in order generally, all possess different ki nds of order based on their characteristic task and function. 11 What is more interesting is that Plato evidently held this functionalist conception in the Hippias Major as well. In the following passage, we can see how the general notion of order (alternati vely expressed below as the construction of an object, its constitution, form, shape, and the arrangement of its parts) is implicit in his discussion, not of good things, but of fine things: (1 4 ) 288d e Socrates: If the pot should have been turned by a goo d potter, smooth and round and finely fired, like some of those fine two handled pots that hold six choes, very fine ones if he's asking about a pot like that, we have to agree it's fine. How could we say what is fine is not a fine thing? (15 ) 289d Socr ates: Do you still think that the fine itself by which everything else is adorned and seen to be fine when that form is added to it that that is a girl or a horse or a lyre? (16 ) 290b c Socrates: Then when I agree that Pheidias is a good workman, this person [Socrates' imaginary interlocutor] will say, Next, do you think Pheidias didn't know about this fine thing [gold] you mention?' What's the point?' I'll say. The point is,' he'll say, that Pheidias didn't make Athena's eyes out of gold, nor the r est of her face, nor her feet, nor her hands as he would have done if gold would really have made them be seen to be finest but he made them !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 11 Support for this point comes from Barney (365): "Something comes to be appropriately adapted to its function by possessing the right kind of order: health in the case of bodies, ethical virtue in the case of human souls, the right kind of shape and other physical properties in the case of fig wood soupspoons."
! 22 out of ivory. Apparently he went wrong through ignorance; he didn't know gold was what made everything fine, wh erever it is added.' What shall we ans wer when he says that, Hippias? Hippias: It's not hard. We'll say he made the statue r ight. Ivory's fine too, I think. (17 ) 295c d Socrates: And that's how we call the whole body fine, sometimes for running, sometime s for wrestling. And the same goes for all animals a fine horse, rooster, or quail and all utensil and means of transport on land and sea, boats and warship, and the tools of every skill, music and all the others; and if you want, activities and laws virtually all of these things are called fine in the same way. In each case we look at the nature it's got, i ts manufacture, its condition In (1 4 ) Socrates assert s that a pot is fine based on how the potter creates or constructs it. The potter must ma ke it "smooth and round and finely fired", or in other words, he must form the clay, or whatever other material into the proper shape. In (15 ), first we know that Plato is referring to the fine as a Socratic form, given the definite article preceding the adjective and the addition of "itself" after. He then says that it is by this universal that all else (the particulars that instantiate the universal, we might say) is beautified. The original Greek for "beautified" is kosmeitai which derives from the Gre ek word for order (Woodruff 55), and so, we see here that Plato does hold a connection between to kalon and kosmos even if we cannot fill that connection in any further. He even refers to the fine explicitly as "that form ", where I take "form" to be pick ing out the notion of order, constitution, etc. One caveat, however, is the phrase "seen to be fine". The entire passage occurs in the context of Hippias' suggestion that to kalon is a beautiful girl, and given the specifically visual seen to be fine", it may very well be that Socrates is referring to just one sense of to kalon that of perceptible beauty. That would certainly limit the range over which the connection between to kalon and order extends, but I do not concern myself with that here my aim i s only to suggest that such a connection is reasonable in the first place. In (16 ) Socrates provides in so many words that the statue of Athena is beautiful insofar as each part is made with the substance that is most beautiful in relation to the other par ts and to the whole of the statue (our definition of order from before); it is not the case that the sculptor should
! 23 consider each part independently and fashion it from a substance that one might think to be the most beautiful on its own, such as gold. Fi nally in (17 ), first it is worth noting that Plato lists a wide range of objects and then asserts that they are all fine "in the same way". That is, Plato aims for a unified definition of to kalon It is also interesting to note that many of the items on t his passage's list (boats, music, and laws) are the same items that Plato cites in the Gorgias as exhibiting order in citation (8 ) which he there identifies with to agathon. Furthermore, Plato says that we look to an object's nat ure, manufacture, and cond ition in order to determine whether it is fine or not. "Manufacture" especially recalls the potter from the first passage and the great craftsman Pheidias from the third. In both translations, these criteria for fineness all connote a certain order. So, w e can see that order, whether associated with to kalon in the Hippias Major or explicitly identified with to agathon in the Gorgias is a functionalist notion, but of course, the question arises: how can Plato associate it with both to kalon and to agathon ? My take is this: as we know, these two value terms are intimately related, and I take it that exploring benefit and pleasure as properties of to kalon in the Hippias Major was partly an attempt to not only define it but by extension to separate it out fr om to agathon The distinction between the two is very unclear in the earlier dialogues, and it would not be surprising if Plato held order to be a general term of value without distinguishing exactly how it relates individually to to kalon and to agathon or with which he saw more accurate to identify it. This back and forth, associating order with to kalon and then with to agathon will rear its head again in the Republic where order changes sides back to to kalon
! 24 3 The Gorgias' emphasis on objective value So far, we have examined this dialogue's treatment of to kalon and have found further support for the claim that the production of pleasure is accidental and the production of benefit is either essential or necessary. We have also found reason to believe that pleasure is not an insignificant value term, however, and that it may relate to to kalon in interesting ways when it occurs with benefit. Then, we established that Plato defines to agathon as order, where order means something like the good re lation of parts to each other and to the whole. Despite how fruitful the Gorgias has been so far, there is still one final and glaring point that we need to address in order to properly lay out its value theory: Plato peppers several very blunt, auth oritat ive statements on value throughout the dialogue (18 ) 458a Socrates: For I count being refuted a greater good, insofar as it is a greater good to be rid of the greatest evil from oneself than to rid someone else of it. I don't suppose that any evil for a man is as great as false belief about the things [what is just and unjust] we're discussing right now. (19 ) 469b Socrates: Yes, the one who puts someone to death unjustly is [miserable], my friend, and he's to be pitied besides, but the one who does so justly isn't to be envied. Polus: Surely the one who's put to death unjustly is the one who's both to be pitied and miserable. S: Less so than the one putting him to death, Polus, and less than the one who's justly put to death. P: How can that be, Socr ates? S: It's because doing what's unjust is actually the greatest of evils. (20 ) 477e Socrates: Injustice, then, lack of discipline and all other forms of corruption of soul are the greatest evil there is. (21 ) 479c d Socrates: Does it follow that in justice, and doing what is unjust, is the greatest evil? So, doing what's unjust is the second most serious evil. Not paying what's due when one has done what's unjust is by its nature the most serious and foremost evil of all.
! 25 There are two reasons wh y this string of value claims is puzzling. The first is that all four of them cite different things as the greatest evil: (18 ) says that false belief is the greatest evil, (19 ) cites doing what is unjust, (20 ) also cites injustice but as only one of vari ou s forms of corruption, and (21 ) demotes doing what is unjust to the second most serious evil and replaces it with not paying one's due. So, it seems as if there are four different greatest evils false belief, committing injustice, corruption more general ly, and not paying one's due. The thing to do to reconcile these four is to see if they actually all pick out and reduce to the same thing, and indeed, they might. Let us firs t consider false belief from (18 ), since that one seems the most different from the other three. We might also construe false belief as something like ignorance, a misunderstanding of value, or faulty judgment, but ultimately, all of these refer to an underlying absence of truth in the soul. Without truth as a guide and model, the sou l cannot distinguish the apparent from the actual good and will then inevitably act poorly, unjustly, impiously, foolishly, without courage, etc. In other words, from this underlying false belief, committing injustice and indeed all other forms of corrupti on follow (19) and (20) fall out from (18 ). Then, as for not paying one's due in (21 ), we can see how this might fall out from false belief as well: those who try to escape punishment, such as tyrants and criminals, only do so because they believe that t he pain of undergoing correction is a bad thing, when it is in fact good for them. So, avoiding one's due also turns out to be symptom atic of a misunderstanding of value, and we can cursorily say that what Socrates is really picking out when he makes such pointed value claims is false belief and that any other evils spawn from this. Conversely, the
! 26 greatest of human goods would be true belief, and self control and justice, which Plato cites at 504d, reduce to it. 12 The second way in which these value claims are puzzling is that, even if the human good does reduce to true belief after all, it is not clear how true belief would amount to a form of order. That is, it is clear to see how something like self control, for example, exhibits order, insofar as the ru ling part of the soul governs the appetites and imposes order in that way, but how are we supposed to construe true belief as some organizing principle? Truth, since it never changes, orders t he soul not merely by making us consistent with ourselves but al so by making us right In this way, truth or true belief picks out not just an internal order, where all of the parts are in some relation among themselves so to speak, but also a kind of external order, where those parts must be arranged with respect to t he thing that they are actually supposed to form this is the point we made earlier when we noted that a craftsman must "keep his product in view" and have a "model". There is a macrocosm microcosm relation there, an alignment between the objective value of the universe and that objective value as instantiated as wisdom, true belief, an understanding of value, etc. in the individual human soul. We can see this macrocosm microcosm relation especially clearly in this passage from the Phaedo : !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 12 Of course, there is the further question: if Socrates really thought that true belief, or simply wisdom, were the greatest good, then why even cite self control and justice? One reason may be that Socrates is catering to his audience Polus and Callicles. That is, since Polus' and Callicles' argument s specifically concern discipline committing versus suffering injustice, etc. it makes sense that S ocrates would try to refute them equally in terms of discipline, self control, law, justice, etc. Further, i t is likely that Polus and Callicles would not even be able to follow Socrates if he were to mak e the jump to wisdom, and so, the omission of wisdom also seems to be a practical and methodical decision on Socrates' part. Whatever the reason, Socrates does reference true and false belief in (18) above, as well as in these passages: "Everything [in a tyrant's soul] was warped as a result of deception and pretense, and no thing was straight, all because the soul ad been nurtured without truth," (525a), and "So I disregard the things held in honor by the majority of people, and by practicing truth I really try, to the best of my ability, to be and to live as a very good man " (526d).
! 27 (22 ) Phaedo 97c d Socrates: One day I heard someone reading, as he said, from a book of Anaxagoras, and saying that it is Mind that directs and is the cause of everything. I was delighted with this cause and it seemed to me good, in a way, that Mind should be the cause of all. I thought that if this were so, the directing Mind would direct everything and arrange each thing in the way that was best. If then on wished to know the cause of each thing, why it comes to be or perishes or is what it is, one had to find what was the best way for it to be, or to be acted upon, or to act. On these premises then it befitted a man to investigate only, about this and other things, what is best. The same man must inevitably also know what is worse, for that is part of the same knowledg e. Socrates comes to believe that we can understand why something is so if we consider what is best for it to be. Knowing what is best (and by necessity what is worse) amounts to knowledge of good and bad, or in other words, an understanding of value. Th us, Socrates comes to see that the same principles of value that govern the natural world should also govern the human soul. There is one last point that I would like to make concerning those authoritative value claims that I cited earlier. Indeed, the fo rce with which Plato asserts them seems slightly odd in comparison with the Hippias Major where every argument ends in aporia. Why should Plato be so confident about his claims now? Surely, he does have strong grounds for making them, as no one has ever b een able to refute him, and those claims survive his arguments against Gorgias, Polus, and Callicles. 13 That is, he achieves consistency, agreement, a freedom from contradiction, and harmony in his belief set: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 13 Irwin (124 125) notes this difference between the Gorgias and other dialogues as well as the strength of Socrates' arguments: "The Gorgias goes beyond asserting the supreme value of justice and gives some definite argument for Socrates' clai m. It addresses the sort of opponent who never appears in the shorter dialogues: an opponent who disagrees strongly with Socrates' central moral claims and in particular rejects his views about the value of the recognized virtues He defends the guiding p rinciples that underlie his use of the elenchus. In particular, he defends the claim that every virtue must be both fine and beneficial for the agent. Instead of assuming that we regard other regarding justice as a virtue, he takes on an interlocutor who r ejects other regarding justice, and he tries to explain why such an interlocutor must also reject rati onal prudence."
! 28 (23 ) 482b c Socrates: what philosophy says always stays the same, and she's saying things that now astound you [Callicles], although you were present when they were said. So, either refute her and show that doing what's unjust without paying what is due for it is not the ultimate of all evils, as I just now was saying it is, or else, if you leave this unrefuted, then by the Dog, the god of the Egyptians, Callicles will not agree with you, Callicles, but will be dissonant with you all your life long. And yet for my part, my good man, I think it's bet ter to have my lyre or a chorus that I might lead out of tune and dissonant, and have the vast majority of men disagree with me and contradict me, than to be out of harmony with myself, to contradict myself, though I'm only one person. (24 ) 487e Socrates : So, our mutual agreement will really lay hold of truth in the end. However, at the same time we see Plato recognizing that the epistemological grounds for his claims are not perfectly stable. Even if no one can refute him, he still "does not know how th ese things are": (25 ) 508e 509a Socrates: to commit any unjust act at all against me and my possessions is both more evil and more shameful for the one who does these unjust acts than it is for me, the one who suffers them. These conclusions, at whic h we arrived earlier in our previous discussions are, I'd say, held down and bound by arguments of iron and adamant, even it it's rather rude to say so. So it would seem, anyhow. And if you or someone more forceful than you won't undo them, then anyone who says anything other than what I'm now saying cannot be speaking well. And yet for my part, my account is ever the same: I don't know how these things are, but no one I've ever met, as in this case, can say anything else without being ridiculous. That is, the Socrates' elenchus is only able to achieve consistency, and this mere consistency is not enough for Plato, presumably since someone's views can all be consistent without actually being true. This need for certain epistemological and metaphysical groun ds for the claims that he is putting forward marks a shift: whereas in the Hippias Major the two major concepts on the table, benefit and pleasure, belong to a human context (i.e. what is beneficial to us and what we take pleasure in), in the Gorgias we sa w and in the Republic we will see a conception of goodness that applies to all things, transcending just the human context. The need for certain
! 29 epistemological and metaphysical grounds also makes Plato's next step to the Republic natural: it is there that he provides that certainty for the statements he makes in the Gorgias and where he seeks to tie down what he takes as truth once and for all, not by mere consistency but by appealing to objective, immutable, and eternal models the Forms. 4. Conclusion W e have seen that the Gorgias offers furthe r support for benefit as an essential property of to kalon and pleasure as accidental. Pleasure may not turn out to be an insignificant term, however, and we should reserve judgment until Plato's treatment of it in the Republic. In the end, however, we are still left without an essential definition of to kalon In contrast, Plato makes great strides in defining to agathon as order, which we can further define as the good relation among parts and between those par ts and the whole. From this falls a functionalist conception of order, where the order appropriate to an object and therefore what is good for it depend on its function. We returned to the Hippias Major to examine how this functionalist notion was present there as well, and in doing so, we made a note on the historical evolution of Plato's value theory: it would seem that in the earlier dialogues he held order to be a general value term, and he waffled as to whether it pertained more to to kalon or to agath on In light of this, we can cast these earlier dialogues as attempts to simply try to tease these two out from each other, which must be done before we can do any conceptual mapping. Finally, we saw another historical shift with Plato's greater emphasis o n objective value in the Gorgias T hat is not to say that the notion of objective value was absent in the Hippias Major but rather that there is a marked appeal to the universe and to a world order in the Gorgias Whereas the arguments of the Hippias Major all end in aporia, Plato makes confident claims in the Gorgias even if his epistemology and metaphysics remain unsettled.
! 30 III. Republic In this section on the Republic I aim to do four things. First, I will establish that Plato comes to identify to aga thon with unity, and second, order and organization with to kalon In the section on to kalon I will also consider what the Republic has to say about how exactly admirable things are supposed to produce benefit namely, I argue that they compel us to beco me good ourselves so that we can vindicate our earlier suspicions that benefit is in fact an essential property of to kalon I will also consider what the Republic has to say about cases where pleasure and benefit coincide and argue that pleasure, when a pplied correctly, is a useful tool for habituating young people to virtue. Third, I will speculate as to why Plato made the shift from order to unity in defining to agathon contending that the introduction of the Forms necessitated the change. Lastly, I w ill discuss the relationship between to agathon and to kalon now that we have essential definitions for the two. Basically, where as to agathon picks out the sort of perfect, absolute unity that only partless entities such as the Forms can possess, to kalon picks out the ordering and unification of parts. From this, it will follow that to kalon is an appearance of to agathon 1 To Agathon Plato organizes the entire dialogue around the city soul analogy, and indeed, the strongest evidence for the claim th at to agathon is unity comes in the midst of his discussions of what is good for a city. Please note that in this section my goal is merely to establish that Plato does define to agathon as unity; I reserve my work on making sense of this identification fo r the section where I discuss why Plato might have shifted his definition in the first place. Consider this succession of quotes:
! 31 (26 ) 351c 352a Socrates: Do you think that a city, an army, a band of robbers or thieves, or any other tribe with a common unjust purpose would be able to achieve it if they were unjust to each other? Thrasymachus: No, indeed. S: What if they weren't unjust to one another? Would they achieve more? T: Certainly. S: Injustice, Thrasymachus, causes civil war, hatred, and fig hting among themselves, while justice brings friendship and a sense of common purpose. Isn't that so? T: Let it be so, in order not to disagree with you. S: You're still doing well on that front. So tell me this: if the effect of injustice is to produce hatred wherever it occurs, then, whenever it arises, whether among free men or slaves, won't it cause them to hate one another, engage in civil war, and prevent them from achieving any common purpose? T: Certainly. S: What if it arises between two people ? Won't they be at odds, hate each other, and be enemies to one another and to just people? T: They will. S: Does injustice lose its power to cause dissension when it arises within a single individual, or will it preserve it intact? T: Let it preserve i t intact. S: Apparently, then, injustice has the power, first, to make whatever it arises in whether it is a city, a family, an army, or anything else incapable of achieving anything as a unit because of the civil wars and differences it creates, and second, it makes that unit an enemy to itself and to what is in every way its opposite, namely, justice. Isn't that so? T: Certainly. S: And even in a single individual, it has by its nature the very same effect. First, it makes him incapable of achiev ing anything, because he is in a state of civil war and not of one mind ; second, it makes him his own enemy, as well as the enemy of just people. Hasn't it that effect? T: Yes. (2 7 ) 462a Socrates: Is there any greater evil we can mention for a city than that which tears it apart and makes it many instead of one? Or any greater good than that which binds it together and makes it one? Glaucon: There isn't. (28 ) 423b d Socrates: Then this would also be the best limit for our guardians to put on the siz e of the city. And they should mark off enough land for a city that size and let the rest go. Adeimantuas: What limit is that? S: I suppose the following one. As long as it is willing to remain one city it may continue to grow, but it cannot grow beyon d that point. A: That is a good limit S: Then, we'll give our guardians this further order, namely, to guard in every way against the city's being either small or great in reputation instead of being sufficient in size and one in number
! 32 A: At any rate that order will be fairly easy for them to follow. S: And the one we mentioned earlier is even easier, when we said that, if an offspring of the guardians is inferior, he must be sent off to join the other citizens and that, if the others have an able o ffspring, he must join the guardians. This was meant to make clear that each of the other citizens is to be directed to what he is naturally suited for, so that, doing the one work that is his own, he will become not many but one, and the whole city will i tself be naturally one not many. (29 ) 608d 609a Socrates: Do you talk about good and bad? Glaucon: I do. S: And do you think about them the same way I do? G: What way is that? S: The bad is entirely coterminous with what destroys and corrupts, an d the good is what preserves and benefits. G: I do. S: And do you say that there is a good and a bad for everything? For example, ophthalmia for the eyes, sickness for the whole body, blight for grain, rot for wood, rust for iron or bronze. In other word s, is there, as I say, a natural badness and sickness for pretty well everything? G: There is. In (26 ), Plato is speaking of justice specifically, and in this context, civil war is what is bad for the city, while friendship and common purpose are what i s good. We might extrapolate from these assertions and from the specific context of the Republic where justice is the virtue in question and Plato often casts the conversation in terms of it, to say that what is bad in general is division and what is good is cohesion. No te Plato's choice of words in (26 ): injustice makes it impossible for a city to achieve anything "as a unit" and, moving from the city to the soul, for an individual to act "of one mind". These phrases directly cite unity as the goal of the city's and the individual's actions. (27 ) reiterates that cohesion is t he good and division the bad. (28 ) cites being one as the appropriate limit to a city. Adeimantus specifically refers to it as a "good limit", which is telling for two reasons: first, there is another direct mention of unity as the good, and second, we can see the relation between unity and limit. That is, being a single thing is a sort of demarcation, carving out and limiting something as a single entity rat her than many things. Lastly (29 ) comes much later in the dialogue in the context of Plato's argument for the soul's
! 33 immortality, and here, Plato offers properties of the bad and the good. Since he has already established that the bad is division, we can say that division destroys a nd corrupts, and indeed, this should be obvious in cases of, for example, civil war and faction in the state. Conversely, we should expect unity to preserve and benefit, and indeed, unity plays just this role throughout Plato's discussion of the ideal city In addition to such clear support for the claim that unity is the good and division the bad in the above quotes, at least for the city and the individual, we can also see that this is the case by examining Plato's description of the city's degeneration in Republic VIII. On the first change from the first best constitution to timocracy at 546e, Plato states that the cause is war and division: "The intermixing of iron with silver and bronze with gold that results will engender lack of likeness and unharmon ious inequality, and these always breed war and hostility wherever they arise. Civil war, we declare, is always and everywhere of this lineage'." On the change from timocracy to oligarchy at 551d, the cause is a division of the city from one to two: "Tha t of necessity, it isn't one city but two one of poor and one of the rich living in the same place and always plotting against one another." On the change to democracy at 558c, the cause is an "indefinite variety" that arises among the citizens, or in other words, a lack of limit : "Then these and others like them are the characteristics of democracy. And it would seem to be a pleasant constitution, which lacks rulers but not variety and which distributes a sort of equality to both equals and unequals al ike." There is also a sort of false or forced unity in the democracy as well, where the city treats equals and unequals as if they were equal to each other. Lastly, we can find explicit support for identifying the good with unity from Aristotle, who state s this identification so cle arly that I provide it without comment :
! 34 (30 ) Eudemian Ethics I.8.1218a16 26 But we should show the nature of the good per se in the opposite way to that now used. For now from what is not agreed to possess the good they demons trate the things admitted to be good, e.g. from numbers they demonstrate that justice and health are goods, for they are arrangements and numbers, and it is assumed that goodness is a property of numbers and units because unity is the good itself But they ought, from what are admitted to be goods, e.g. health, strength, and temperance, to demonstrate that beauty is present even more in the changeless; for all these things are order and rest; but if so, then the changeless is still more beautiful, for it ha s these attributes still more. And it is a bold way to demonstrate that unity is the good per se to say that numbers desire; for no one says distinctly how they desire, but the saying is altogether too unqualified. Certainly, the textual evidence is stro ng for the good as unity and for the bad as division, but these identifications also make sense if we consider the other stipulations that Plato makes in creating the ideal city and his project as a whole. For example, consider the city's social structure, where women and men serve equally as guardians and where there are to be no biological families, but rather, all of the parents are to think of all of the children as their own and vice versa. Plato makes these stipulations insofar as they unite the city, reducing divisions among the sexes and among bloodlines, so that the populace "will think of the same things as their own, aim at the same goal, and, as far as possible, feel pleasure and pain in unison," (464d). The principle of specialization too, which we might think actually counts against the unity of the city insofar as it divides the citizenry up, is in fact for the purpose of unifying: "This [the principle of specialization] was meant to make clear that each of the other citizens is to be directed to what he is naturally suited for, so that, doing the one work that is his own, he will become not many but one, and the whole city will itself be naturally one not many," (423d). That is, the city cannot be one if each of the citizens are many, engaged i n a variety of tasks instead of mastering the one that most suits them. 14 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 14 For what it is worth, those scholars who believe that Plato held certain "unwritten doctrines" also support the identification of to aga thon with unity, such as Gaiser (12): "The main features of Plato's doctrine of first principles preserved by the doxographers can be summarized as
! 35 2 To Kalon Now, I will argue for the claim that Plato comes to identify to kalon with order. I will also try to make sense of how we can say that order is productive of benefit: th at is, the act of admiration compels us to imitate and to make our own that which we admire, and since what we admire is invariably some goodness, these acts of admiration and imitation will end up benefitting us. Then turning to pleasure, I will take spec ial consideration of Plato's discussions of education. But first, consider these two passages where Plato reasserts what we saw in the Gorgias that order is the proper relation among an object's parts to each other and to the whole. Thi s time, however, he associates this order with beauty: (31 ) 420c d Socrates: Suppose, then, that someone came up to us while we were painting a statue and objected that, because we had painted the eyes (which are the most beautiful part) black rather than purple, we had n ot applied the most beautiful colors to the most beautiful parts of the statue. We'd think it reasonable to offer the following defense: "You mustn't expect us to paint the eyes so beautifully that they no longer appear to be eyes at all, and the same with the other parts. Rather you must look to see whether by dealing with each part appropriately, we are making the whole statue beautiful ." (32 ) 589a b Socrates: But, on the other hand, wouldn't someone who maintains that just things are profitable be say ing, first, that all our words and deeds should insure that the human being [the rational part of the soul] within this human being has the most control; second, that he should take care of the many headed beast as a farmer does his animals, feeding and do mesticating the gentle heads and preventing the savage ones from growing; and, third, that he should make the lion's nature [the spirited part of the soul] his ally, care for the community of all his parts, and bring them up in such a way that they will be friends with each other and with himself ? (31 ) offers a straightforward definition of order: we must "deal with each part appropriately" as well as "make the whole statue beautiful", which simply amounts to ensuring !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! follows. The goodness of a thing is shown by its permanence, beauty, and form. These qualities depend on ord er; that is, on a well proportioned arrangement of parts within the whole. The basis of order therefore is unity, and thence unity or one ness is the cause of all good, or good in itself. Since the world is not all order and goodness, one must reckon with an opposite cause: a cause of non unity, of indefinite plurality, and thence not good."
! 36 the proper relation between the parts to each other and to the whole. Importantly, this definition of order comes specifically in the context of beauty, and indeed, in the last sentence Plato straightforwardly identifies order as the beautiful making property. Additionally, there is a functio nal notion of beauty present, where what is appropriate for the statue has to do with the purpose and the function of a statue in the first place we want it to resemble a human being, so we would not paint the eyes so beautifully "that they no longer app ear to be eyes at all." Although it does not refer specifically to beauty, (32 ) helpfully reiterates our definition of order. Now, consider the synonyms that Plato provides for beauty and the places where he directly associates beauty with order: (33 ) 402 d 403a Socrates: Therefore, if someone's soul has a fine and beautiful character and his body matches it in beauty and is thus in harmony with it, so that both share in the same pattern wouldn't that be the most beautiful sight for anyone who has eyes to see? Glaucon: It certainly would. S: And isn't what is most beautiful also most loveable ? G: Of course. S: And a musical person would love such people most of all, but he wouldn't love anyone who lacked harmony ? G: No, he wouldn't, at least not if the defect was in the soul, but if it were only in the body, he'd put up with it and be willing to embrace the boy who had it. S: I gather that you love or have loved such a boy yourself, and I agree with you. Tell me this, however: is excessive pleasure compatible with moderation? G: How can it be, since it drives one mad just as much as pain does? S: What about with the rest of virtue? G: No. S: Well, then, is it compatible with violence and licentiousness? G: Very much so. S: Can you think of a gr eater or keener pleasure than sexual pleasure? G: I can't or a madder one either. S: But the right kind of love is by nature the love of order and beauty that has been moderated by education in music and poetry? G: That's right. (34 ) 411e 412a Soc rates: It seems, then, that a god has given music and physical training to human beings not, except incidentally, for the body and the soul but for the spirited and wisdom loving
! 37 parts of the soul itself, in order that these might be in harmony with one an other, each being stretched and relaxed to the appropriate degree. Glaucon: It seems so. S: Then the person who achieves the finest blend of music and physical training and impresses it on his soul in the most measured way is the one we'd most correctly call completely harmonious and trained in music, much more so than the one who merely harmonizes the strings of his instrument. (35 ) 589c Socrates: Should we say that this is the original basis for the conventions about what is fine and what is shameful ? Fine things are those that subordinate the beastlike parts of our nature to the human or better, perhaps, to the divine; shameful ones are those that enslave the gentle to the savage? (36 ) 400e 401a Socrates: Then fine words, harmony, grace, and rh ythm follow simplicity of character and I do not mean this in the sense in which we use "simplicity" as a euphemism for "simple mindedness" but I mean the sort of fine and good character that has developed in accordance with an intelligent plan. Glauc on: That's absolutely certain. S: And must not our young people everywhere aim at these, if they are to do their own work? G: They must, indeed. S: Now, surely painting is full of these qualities, as are all the crafts similar to it; weaving is full of them, and so are embroidery, architecture, and the crafts that produce all the other furnishings. Our bodily nature is full of them, as are the natures of all growing things, for in all of these there is grace and gracelessness. And gracelessness, bad rhyt hm, and disharmony are akin to bad words and bad character, while their opposites are akin to and are imitations of the opposite, a moderate and good character. First in (33 ), Plato refers to whatever makes the character and the body beautiful, i.e. the beautiful making feature, as a "pattern". Clearly, this word possesses connotations of order. Secondly, Plato says that whatever is most beautiful is also the most loveable and then that a musical person would not love anyone who lacked harmony; that is, w e can at least draw a similarity between beauty and harmony insofar as both are objects of love, if not a straightforward identifi cation. Finally at the end of (33 ), Plato cites order as another object of love and importantly mentions it in conjunction wit h beauty unless there are three different objects of love (beauty, harmony, and order), then we should take them to all pick out the same
! 38 thing (34 ) gives an account of harmony as the appropriate stretching and relaxing of parts, such as in the soul, wh ich we should see amounts to order. Indeed, "harmony" in the lay sense simply means agreement, and Plato's choice of the word "measured", lik e "pattern", connotes order. (35 ) states that fine things subordinate the inferior parts of the soul to the rationa l, or in other words, arrange the soul's parts into the proper order; we might extrapolate from fine things and the soul to say that to kalon in general br ings about order. Finally in (36 ), Plato offers yet more terms related to beauty, order, and harmony grace and rhythm. Although I do not take grace and rhythm to define to kalon as I do order and harmony, they are certainly related to the notion of order: we might say that grace is something like beauty specifically as it relates to "our bodily nature" (such as in our movements) and that rhythm is order in timing Importantly, at the end of (36 ), Plato says that grace rhythm and harmony are "akin to" good words and characters but not the same as them. This signals a distinction between to kalon and to agathon Now that we have grounds for the claim that the Republic comes to identify to kalon with order, let us see if it is still the case that to kalon must be productive of benefit so as to vindicate our claim that it was in the Hippias Major and the Gorgias and for the sake of continuity across all three dialogues Indeed, it should be clear to us that that it is, since Plato writes at length in the discussion of his educational regime about how the guardians must forbid poems, stories, and musical mo des that do not benefit the citizens, not insofar as they are still kala but merely undesirable, but insofar as they are in fact shameful. In other words, Plato continues to disqualify anything that is not beneficial from counting as fine, as in the follow ing passage where Socrates agrees to admit poetry back into the city only insofar as it proves "to be not only pleasan t but also beneficial". Compellingly Plato likens the situation to a lover who must force himself to stay away from his beloved insofar a s his passion is not beneficial:
! 39 (37 ) 607c 608a Socrates: Nonetheless, if the poetry that aims at pleasure and imitation has any argument to bring forward that proves it ought to have a place in a well governed city, we at least would be glad to admit it, for we are well aware of the charm it exercises. But, be that as it may, to betray what one believes to be the truth is impious. What about you, Glaucon, don't you feel the charm of the pleasure giving Muse, especially when you study her through the ey es of Homer? Glaucon: Very much so. S: Therefore, isn't it just that such poetry should return from exile when it has successfully defended itself, whether in lyric or any other meter? G: Certainly. S: Then, we'll allow its defenders, who aren't poets themselves but lovers of poetry, to speak in prose on its behalf and to show that it not only gives pleasure but is beneficial both to constitutions and to human life Indeed, we'll listen to them graciously, for we'd certainly profit if poetry were shown to be not only pleasant but also beneficial G: How could we fail to profit? S: However, if such a defense isn't made, we'll behave like people who have fallen in love with someone but who force themselves to stay away from him, because they realize th at their passion isn't beneficial. In the same way, because the love of this sort of poetry has been implanted in us by the upbringing we have received under our fine constitutions, we are well disposed to any proof that it is the best and truest thing. Bu t if it isn't able to produce such a defense, then, whenever we listen to it, we'll repeat the argument we have just now put forward like an incantation so as to preserve ourselves from slipping back into that childish passion for poetry which the majority of people have. And we'll go on chanting that such poetry is not to be taken seriously or treated as a serious undertaking with some kind of hold on the truth, but that anyone who is anxious about the constitution within him must be careful when he hears it and must continue to believe what we have said about it. In the Hippias Major and the Gorgias all we could say was that to kalon brings benefit, but now the Republic gives us the conceptual tools to map out how exactly fine things are supposed to bene fit us. Let us start with this passage, the f irst half of which we saw in (36 ): (38 ) 400e 402a Socrates: Then fine words, harmony, grace, and rhythm follow simplicity of character and I do not mean this in the sense in which we use "simplicity" as a euphemism for "simple mindedness" but I mean the sort of fine and good character that has developed in accordance with an intelligent plan. Glaucon: That's absolutely certain. S: And must not our young people everywhere aim at these, if they are to do their own work? G: They must, indeed. S: Now, surely painting is full of these qualities, as are all the crafts similar to it; weaving is full of them, and so are embroidery, architecture, and the crafts that produce all the other
! 40 furnishings. Our bodily nature is full of them, as are the natures of all growing things, for in all of these there is grace and gracelessness. And gracelessness, bad rhythm, and disharmony are akin to bad words and bad character, while their opposites are akin to and are imitat ions of the opposite, a moderate and good character. G: Absolutely. S: Is it, then, only poets we have to supervise, compelling them to make an image of a good character in their poems or else not to compose them among us? Or are we also to give orders t o other craftsmen, forbidding them to represent whether in pictures, buildings, or any other works a character that is vicious, unrestrained, slavish, and graceless? Are we to allow someone who cannot follow these instructions to work among us, so that our guardians will be brought up on images of evil, as if in a meadow of bad grass, where they crop and graze in many different places every day until, little by little, they unwittingly accumulate a large evil in their souls? Or must we rather seek out c raftsmen who are by nature able to pursue what is fine and graceful in their work, so that our young people will live in a healthy place and be benefited on all sides, and so that something of those fine works will strike their eyes and ears like a breeze that brings health from a good place, leading them unwittingly, from childhood on, to resemblance, friendship, and harmony with the beauty of reason? G: The latter would be by far the best education for them. S: Aren't these the reasons, Glaucon, that ed ucation in music and poetry is most important? First, because rhythm and harmony permeate the inner part of the soul more than anything else, affecting it most strongly and bringing it grace, so that if someone is properly educated in music and poetry, it makes him graceful, but if not, then the opposite. Second, because anyone who has been properly educated in music and poetry will sense it acutely when something has been omitted from a thing and when it hasn't been finely crafted or finely made by nature And since he has the right distastes, he'll praise fine things, be pleased by them, receive them into his soul, and being nurtured by them, become fine and good. He'll rightly object to what is shameful, hating it while he's still young and unable to gras p the reason, but, having been educated in this way, he will welcome the reason when it comes and recognize it easily because of its kinship with himself. Now, let us try to make sense of how to kalon or, more concretely, fine things themselves are suppo sed to produce benefit. The key to understanding this process is to recognize that, for Plato, the act of admiring something is not an uninvolved or disengaged experience. What I mean is that simply admiring and beholding some object, let alone contemplati ng it or trying to articulate why exactly we admire it 15 is often times enough to compel us to imitate that object in !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 15 Barney (373) lays out some of the ways in which we can admire something: "Admiration seems to seek intensified contact : but that contact might consist in emulation a nd a seeking of kin ship; or some kind of interactive exchange (writing a fan letter); or expressive activities (a fan club, cheerleading); or simply a contemplative prolongation of the admiring gaze itself. It may well lead to no detectable action at all; for admiration at its most intense takes the form of a
! 41 some way. We admire an object and then wish to pursue and to have for ourselves that which we admire about it, and certainly, the object o f admiration and of our desires is the good itself or at least what we believe is the good. This is the sense in which to kalon is beneficial: admirable things spur us to the good itself, and of course, pursuing the good will always be beneficial for us, so long as we get the good right. (38 ) above also helps us to fill in more of the picture, namely how the act of beholding alone, rather than some deep conscious effort or meditation, is somehow enough to benefit us. That is, Plato describes the process by which we imitate the models found in poems, stories, etc. as one of imprinting or absorption, where exposure to them alone is enough to bring us to imitate them. The process occurs "unwittingly" as "something of those fine works strikes our eyes and ear s like a breeze", and so given how easily it can take place, we can see why it is im perative that those works impart only fine images and portray only good characters, so as not to corrupt those who behold them. The works that are supposed to strike our ey es and ears, which seem to include any craft or aesthetic pursuit that displays order and harmony in some sense (such as painting, weaving, embroidery, or architecture, to cite Plato's examples) provide us with the models that we then go on to imitate and to emulate, whether that model is a character in a play or, more abstractly, the perfect order in a musical composition. In short, ordering and reordering ourselves to fit certain "patterns" supplied by those crafts is how we imitate and become fine oursel ves. 16 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! crush Callicles, we might say, has a crush on his superior man' and crushes are notoriously ineffectual. 16 Barney (376) helpfully describes the sense in which we want to come to possess but not merely to possess, fine and good things for ourselves: "First, possession is not sufficient for benefit: what will really contribute to our happiness is to use good things, and more specifically to use them well Second, it is not always clear what it is to possess and use some good. The good things that will contribute the most to our happiness justice and education, moral virtues
! 42 Just as to kalon must still produce benefit in the Republic it still only accidentally produces pleasure. Indeed, Plato refers to pleasure pejoratively as a "spell" and "magic" at 413b to 414a, and in the following citations, we see that often time s it is the less pleasurable poem, musical mode, etc. that is the more beneficial: (39 ) 390a Socrates: I don't think they ["headstrong words spoken in prose or poetry by private citizens against their rulers"] are suitable for young people to hear not, in any case, with a view to making them moderate. Though it isn't surprising that they are pleasing enough in other ways. (40 ) 397d (Only certain modes of music are allowed in the city, excluded from which is the "mixed mode".) Socrates: And yet, Adeiman tus, the mixed style is pleasant. Indeed, it is by far the most pleasing to children, their tutors, and the vast majority of people. Adeimantus: Yes, it is the most pleasing. S: But perhaps you don't think that it harmonizes with our constitution, becaus e no one in our city is two or more people simultaneously, since each does only one job. (41 ) 398b Socrates: But, for our own good, we ourselves should employ a more austere and less pleasure giving poet and storyteller, one who would imitate the speech of a decent person and who would tell his stories in accordance with the patterns we laid down when we first undertook the education of our soldiers. However, even if Plato advocates for benefit over pleasure, we can still expect the poems, stories, musi c, and the other aesthetic pursuits that he does allow into the city to be pleasurable at least to some extent. What can we say, then, about this earl y stage in educating the young future guardians where benefit and pleasure coincide? It seems that pleasu re is playing an important role here, particularly insofar as the poems and the stories are meant to educate the youth That is, young people have not yet come into rationality, and so, we can expect them to respond to !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and knowledge of the Forms are not chattels to be grabbed. They are not zero sum or exclusive, and do not passively await our manipulation. To acquire and use them is really to change oneself in various complicated ways, by a kind of communion that is less like ownership than friendship with another person. In the course of hanging out with my friends the Forms, I become like them: the order that makes them good and fine comes to characterize my soul as well, and I become able to impart it elsewhere in turn."
! 43 pleasure more rea dily than reason. By ensuring that pleasure and benefit coincide during these early stages, Plato can foster in them a sensibility to and an appreciation for beauty and the good through works that "strike their eyes and ears like a breeze" (notice the importance of the eyes a nd ears as investigative capacities at this early stage, where that the journey to the Form of the Good itself starts with audio visual pursuits), so that when they come into rationality they will have been habituated and disposed so as to eventually grasp beauty and goodness themselves (see 38 : "He'll rightly object to what is shameful, hating it while he's still young and unable to grasp the reason, but, having been educated in this way, he will welcome the reason when it comes and recognize it easily bec ause of its kinship with himself."). And so, Plato makes use of pleasure as a tool in his educational regime, weaning the citizens from it as they grow older and can handle more arduous and painful tasks, such as hard physical training and rigorous studies in mathematics. Even if pleasure is not inherently valuable on Plato's account, it certainly possesses great instrumental value, and besides, Plato's educational regime obviates the worries that we had about pleasure before: if you educate your soul prope rly from the beginning and eventually come into virtue, then it would not be possible for pleasure to lead you astray and away from the good as it could in the Gorgias The virtuous person takes pleasure only in what is good to begin with, and so, striking ly, pleasure would actually turn out to be a reliable indicator of the good. 17 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 17 It is not lost on me that Plato introduces a more sophisticated account of pleasure in Republic IX. Up to this point, the bipartite soul had designated pleasure as the object solely of the appetitive soul, and for this reason we know that the aesthetic pleasures of the Hippias Major and the Gorgias belonged to this part. But, with the tripartite soul, a different type of pleasure now corresponds to each of the three parts: pleasure from reason and learning corresponds to the rational soul, pleasure from honors and victory to the spirited, and pleasure from the appetites to the appetitive. This account certainly complicate s matters, since now we might expect there to be cases where pleasure will always, rather than accidentally, supervene on all instances of kala things. Namely, we might expect the philosopher to take rational pleasure in all cases of to kalon even if they do not take appetitive pleasure in some of them: for example, the philosopher could feel rational pleasure at a soldier dying courageously (which was our paradigm case of
! 44 3 The shift from to agathon as order to unity From here, I will address why Plato's value theory might have evolved from the Hippias Major and the Gorgias to the Republic I a rgue that Plato almost certainly made this change due to his introduction of the Forms: that is, his early definition of to agathon as order cannot account for the them, since as partless, immaterial entities, it would be a category mistake to say that the y are ordered except perhaps in a trivial sense After all, order is a property that he associates with composite objects like ships and the soul. Let us first examine Plato's thoughts on unity, not necessarily as it applies to the Forms, but mathematica lly: (42 ) 525d 526a Socrates: You know what those who are clever in these matters are like: If, in the course of the argument, someone tries to divide the one itself, they laugh and won't permit it. If you divide it, they multiply it, taking care that o ne thing can never be found to be many parts rather than one. Glaucon: That's very true. S: Then what do you think would happen, Glaucon, if someone were to ask them: "What kind of numbers are you talking about, in which the one is as you assume it to be each one equal to every other, without the least difference and containing no internal parts ? G: I think they'd answer that they are talking about those numbers that can be grasped only in thought and can't be dealt with in any other way. (42 ) establis hes that unity exists only as a concept in the intelligible realm ("can be grasped only in thought"), since we could conceivably divide any material "unit" into smaller and smaller parts. This suggests that Plato was aware of the category mistake that he w ould be committing in ascribing order to the Forms: unity is strictly intelligible, as are the Forms. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! something that is good but not pleasant), since we might think that a certain pleasu re supervenes upon all virtuous and noble actions, even if they still would not take appetitive pleasure in that. However, I merely add this as a note, and I do not intend to treat this more sophisticated account of pleasure any further. To be clear, my cl aim in this paper is that to kalon is accidentally productive of appetitive pleasure, rather than rational or spirited.
! 45 Just because unity is the right category does not necessarily mean that Plato thought it relevant to the Forms, but in the following passages we can see that he did in fact, insofar as his conception of a Form as a one over many is already present in the Republic : (43 ) 476a Socrates: And the same account is true of the just and the unjust, the god and the bad, and all the forms. Each of them is itself one but because they manifest themselves everywhere in association with actions, bodies, and one another, each of them appears to be many. (44 ) 507b Socrates: And what is the main thing, we speak of beauty itself and good itself, and so in the case of all the things that we then set down as many, we turn about and set down in accord with a single form of each, believing that there is but one, and call it "the being" of each. (45 ) 597c Socrates: Now, the god, either because he didn't want to or because it was necessary for him not to do so, didn't make more than one bed in nature, but only one, the very one that is the being of a bed. Two or more of these have not been made by the god and never will be. Glaucon: Why is that? S: Because, if he made only tw o, then again one would come to light whose form they in turn would both possess, and that would be the one that is the being of a bed and not the other two. G: That's right. S: The god knew this, I think, and wishing to be the real maker of the truly re ad bed and not just a maker of a bed, he made it to be one in nature Presumably, Plato came to change his conception of to agathon from order to unity not just to avoid a category mistake and to properly capture his conception of a Form as a one over m any but also because he came to see the sense behind identifying it with the good. To see this, let us first agree that the Form of the Good is the condition of existence and intelligibility of everything else: (46 ) 509b Socrates: Therefore, you should al so say that not only do the objects of knowledge owe their being known to the good [intelligibility], but their being is also due to it [existence], although the good is not being, but superior to it in rank and power. Now, let us consider how both the g ood and unity make sense as conditions of existence. First, if we conceive of the good as an end or a telos (as we can see Plato does when he says at
! 46 505e that "every soul pursues the good and does whatever it does for its sake."), then we can see how it w ould bring everything else, i.e. the means, into being. In Plato's universe, phenomena are not random, and everything from people's actions to why the Earth rotates as it does is the way it is only insofar as it serves some good. As for unity as a conditio n of existence, it is easy to see how this is the case: something must be a thing, a single thing, in order to exist at all. Second, let us consider how the good and unity make sense as conditions of intelligibility. To continue with the talk of means and ends, a means will not make sense or be intelligible without also knowing what the end is that necessitated it in the first place. In other words, why something is the way it is or why we do something will not be clear unless we also know what the good an d the point behind it all is. In other words, everything derives its use from the Good itself: (47 ) 505a Socrates: You've often heard it said that the form of the good is the most important thing to learn about and that it's by their relation to it that j ust things and the others become useful and beneficial. You know very well now that I am going to say this, and, besides, that we have no adequate knowledge of it. And you also know that, if we don't know it, even the fullest possible knowledge of other th ings is of no benefit to us, any more than if we acquire any possession without the good of it. Or do you think that it is any advantage to have every kind of possession without the good of it? Or to know everything except the good, thereby knowing nothing fine or good? I f to agathon is the condition of intelligibility, then unity should fulfill this condition as well, as its essential definition. It should not be too difficult to see that this is in fact the case, since the concept of a unit is the most b asic concept in mathematics and since the study of mathematics in turn is the basis of our coming to have any knowledge about the universe. Indeed, the philosophers in training must study mathematics before they engage in dialectic and come to apprehend th e Forms, for it is mathematics that initially raises their sights from the perceptible realm to the intelligible. Plato says as much here:
! 47 (48 ) 522e Socrates: That this [arithmetic] turns out to be one of the subjects we were looking for that naturally l ead to understanding. But no one uses it correctly, namely, as something that is really fitted in every way to draw one towards being. (49 ) 526d e Socrates: What we need to consider is whether the greater and more advanced part of it [geometry] tends to make it easier to see the form of the good. And we say that anything has that tendency if it compels the soul to turn itself around towards the region in which lies the happiest of the things that are, the one the soul must see at any cost. (50 ) 531c Soc rates: Yet it's [harmonics] useful in the search for the beautiful and the good. That is to say, mathematics is not separate from value but rather the means, in addition to dialectic, by which we investigate the universe and discover the value e mbedded in it. F or Plato mathematics is itself a study of value, so it rings true then that the most basic concept in mathematics, that of the unit, would serve equally as the most basic concept in value, as the good itself 18 This observation can also help us un der stand what Plato means in (47 ) when he says that knowledge of the good as unity is the most beneficial and useful thing for us. Preliminarily and as a general rule, we must know what our end, what our good, is if we are to have a proper understanding of ho w to act toward that end. Unity may be goodness in its most general form, but that is not to say that it is impersonal, limp, or unhelpful: we must always remember to fill in the content, to fill in what unity would actually look like for the object in que stion. For example, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 18 Cf. Burnyeat (8): "For Plato, by contrast [to us moderns, who tend to view the world as disenchanted' and devoid of embedded value] the most favoured science in his case, mathematics is precisely what enables us to understand goodness. The mathematical sciences are the ones that tell us how things are objectively speaking, and they are themselves sciences of value." As well as Burn yeat (76): "What is distinctive about Plato is his systematic exploitation of the fact that Greek value concepts like concord, proportion, and order are also central to contemporary mathematics. The fundamental concepts of mathematics are the fundamental c oncepts of ethics and aesthetics as well, so that to study mathematics is simultaneously to study, at a very abstract level, the principles of value."
! 48 in the case of the human soul, unity would consist in appetite and spirit following reason so that all three part together might speak in the same voice; knowing that this is what unity is supposed to look like in this specific context, Plato was able to flesh out an entire educational regime based around creating "a single, newly finished person" (425c). 4 The relation between to agathon as unity and to kalon as order Now that we have essential definitions for to agathon and to kalo n we can consider how those definitions might relate to each other : i f we think about them even in our everyday, informal uses of them, we can discern that to kalon is an appearance of to agathon and their formal essential definitions will confirm this. This should be clear especially if we r e nder to kalon as admirability or beauty, since both of these translations betray that an act of apprehension takes places as we have said before, an admirer admires some admirable object, and a beholder beholds som e beautiful object. If we accept that the reason why we see something as admirable or beautiful in the first place is because we also see it as good in some sense, then we can see the truth in saying that to agathon appears to us by means of to kalon Supp ort for this claim that to agathon is prior to and grounds to kalon comes here: (51 ) 452e Socrates: it's foolish to take seriously any standard of what is fine and beautiful other than the good. (52 ) 517b c Socrates: But this is how I see it: in the k nowable realm, the form of the good is the last thing to be seen, and it is reached only with difficulty. Once one has seen it, however, one must conclude that it is the cause of all that is correct and beautiful in anything, that it produces both light an d its source in the visible realm, and that in the intelligible realm it controls and provides truth and understanding, so that anyone who is to act sensibly in private or public must see it. In the same way, we should expect the appearance relation to h old for the essential definitions: order is an appearance of unity. That is, the kind of unity that we can achieve by
! 49 ordering parts is something like unification, as opposed to the perfect unity of a partless entity, and unification will always be one rem oved from, will always be an appearance of perfect unity. Indeed, in the same way that to kalon and all of the other Forms are subordinate to to agathon, unification is metaphysically inferior to perfect unity. However, that is not to say that this metaphy sical inferiority is pejorative: although Plato clearly refers to appearances pejoratively in other contexts in the Republic such as the imitative poet who deals in appearances rather than truth, in this case we are talking about the Form of to kalon itse lf, and we should keep in mind that it is, after all, one of the most important value terms for Plato, second only to to agathon 19 Another way to think of this appearance relation is as coextension. We already know that there is a coextension relation in composite particulars (fine things are good, and good things are fine ) from the Gorgias 20 This is unproblematic: since the good is what we admire in the first place, if something is good then it will be admirable, and if something is admirable then it must be good to merit th at admirability. Similarly, we might expect the coextension relation to hold f or to kalon and to agathon themselves : to kalon is good, and to agathon is fine. Specifically, I !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 19 Although lengthy, Kosman's vivid way of putting it is helpful (354): "It is because we are inclined to conceive of appearance as antithetical to being, or at least as independent and separate from it, that we are inclined to regard beauty as the cosmetic epiphenomenon of being. For we are then led to read appearance with what is at best a hermeneutics of in difference, as though appearance were equally likely to represent being with or without fidelity, as though it were an independent mask worn by being that may or may not resemble its true face. At worst, that hermeneutics becomes a hermeneutics of suspicio n, in which appearance spells in its nature the distortion and deformation of what is, as though appearance were essentially being's falsification. But for Plato, appearance is not something separate from being, but simply the presentation of what is to a subject: being, as we say, making its appearance. It is not therefore essentially deceptive; the phenomenological is not standardly the illusion of being. It becomes illusory only in the context of something going wrong, a failure of uptake. Standardly, ap pearance is being's presence to subjectivity: face not as faÂade, but as organic expression. The kalon in turn reveals the integrity of being and its proper appearance; it constitutes the virtue of proper and expressive appearance. Why this is the source o f pleasure is another topic, but it is. What appears well, we might say, appears in the mode of beauty." 20 Cf. 474d, 476b, 476e 477a, 521b c. See also Riegel 2011.
! 50 argue that to kalon is essentially good, whereas to agathon i s necessarily fine. To see what I mean here, we need to make one final distinction, a distinction between essential and necessary properties that Plato makes in the Phaedo in the course of a discussion between Socrates and his interlocutor Cebes: ( 53 ) Pha edo 103d e Socrates: Consider then whether you will agree to this further point. There is something you call hot and something you call cold. Cebes: There is. S: Are they the same as what you call snow and fire? C: By Zeus, no. S: So the hot is some thing other than fire, and the cold is something other than snow? C: Yes. S: You think, I believe, that being snow it will not admit the hot, as we said before, and remain what it was and be both snow and hot, but when the hot approaches it will either r etreat before it or be destroyed. C: Quite so. S: So fire, as the cold approaches, will either go away or be destroyed; it will never venture to admit coldness and remain what it was, fire and cold. C: What you say is true. S: It is true then about som e of these things that not only the Form itself deserves its own name for all time, but there is something else that is not the Form but has its character whenever it exists. In this passage the hot and the cold play the role of Forms, and fire and snow a re substances that instantiate those Forms. To take fire as an example, Socrates establishes that fire and the hot are not the same, but fire does have "the character of" hotness (or plainly, is hot) whenever it exists. The distinction that Socrates wants to make here is that fire is necessarily hot, that it cannot be fire without also being hot, but that fire is not essentially hot, that what it is to be fire is not to be hot. We might define fire as something like the oxidation of some matter in a combust ion reaction, and notice that we do not need to refer to heat in that definition. In other words, if you need to mention some property in order to give an account of what it is to be that object, then the property in question is an essential property; if y ou do not need to mention the property but the object still possesses it invariably, then the property is necessary.
! 51 With this distinction on the table, let us first consider how to kalon must essentially be good, how we cannot specify its essence without also appealing to goodness. We can see that this must be the case in two ways. First, unity is implicit in order, or in other words, we cannot speak of order without an understanding of unity. To see that this is the case, suppose that you have all of the parts to build a ship, but you did not know what the final product, what the unity of those parts into a whole, was supposed to be you would not be able to order them. No, you cannot order parts into a mess, into a glob you can only order parts into a unity, into the unity appropriate for the object in question. The second way in which we can see that goodness must be an essential property of to kalon itself is by considering to kalon as an appearance. To kalon is not appearance tout court however i t is not just any old appearance. Rather, to kalon is the appearance of goodness That is, we simply must specify what kind of appearance it is, and in doing so, we cannot avoid referencing to agathon Indeed, this should be obvious to us if we recall that as an appearance, to kalon is strictly derivative from, is parasitic on to agathon. Now, let us consider how to agathon is necessarily fine, how we can specify its essence without appealing to fineness. Again, there are two ways to see this. First, unity need not refer to order. Certainly, any sense of unity that composite entities come to exhibit will imply order, but that would be unity as unification; if we consider the perfect, absolute unity that partless enti ties such as the Forms possess then we c an see how we need not appeal to order at all to make sense of them. In fact, as we said earlier, it would be a category mistake to ascribe order to them in any way other than trivially (For example, we could say that since there are no parts to order in the first place, the Forms are supremely ordered, or something to that effect.) As for the second way in which we can speak of to agathon without referencing to kalon consider that we can speak of
! 52 being 21 without needing to speak of the appearance of that being. Of course, insofar as something is good we can expect that goodness to shine forth 22 and for it to be admirable, but we need not indicate that in an essential definition of what it is to be good. Because to agathon is the prior notion, we can concept ually separate it from to kalon in a way that we cannot do in the other direction. But it is important to note that even if the relation is lopsided in this way, I take it that we can still describe this relationship as one of coextension: in the end it is still the case that to agathon will always be fine and to kalon always good. 5. The human good In closing this section on the Republic I would like to make a note about what this appearance relation means f or ethics: namely, human beings with our com posite souls are in a posture of assimilation toward perfect unity, and the point of ordering ourselves is so that we might approach that perfect unity as nearly as possible. Consider these citations: (54 ) 431e 432a Socrates: Then, you see how right we were to divine that moderation resembles a kind of harmony? Glaucon: How so? S: Because, unlike courage and wisdom, each of which resides in one part, making the city brave and wise respectively, moderation spreads throughout the whole. It makes the wea kest, the strongest, and those in between whether in regard to reason, physical strength, numbers, wealth, or anything else all sing the same song together. And this unanimity, this agreement between the naturally worse and the naturally better as to w hich of the two is to rule both in the city and in each one, is rightly called moderation. (55 ) 443d Socrates: One who is just does not allow any part of himself to do the work of another part or allow the various classes within him to meddle with each other. He regulates well what is really his own and rules himself. He puts himself in order, is his own friend, and harmonizes the !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 21 Plato actually says that the Form of the Good is beyond being ( Rep. 509b), but my point st ill holds without having to enter that quagmire. 22 Kosman (355) similarly casts the relationship between being and appearance: "A thing's being kalon is not a cosmetic supplement, a surface that is painted on; it is the shining forth of the thing's nature.
! 53 three parts of himself like three limiting notes in a musical scale high, low, and middle. He binds together those parts an d any other there may be in between, and from having been many things he becomes entirely one, moderate and harmonious. (56 ) 500c Socrates: Instead, as he [the philosopher] looks at and studies things that are organized and always the same, that neither do injustice to one another nor suffer it, being all in a rational order, he imitates them and tries to become as like them as he can. Or do you think that someone can consort with things he admires without imitating them? Adeimantus: I do not. It's impo ssible. S: Then the philosopher, by consorting with what is ordered and divine and despite all the slanders around that say otherwise, himself becomes as divine and ordered as a human being can. In (54 ), Plato directly refers to virtue, specifically mode ration, as a unanimity of the soul, a unanimity that comes about only by ordering the soul's parts. In other words, organizing the soul, or making it beautiful and harmonious, gives rise to its good condition. (55) reiterates (54). As for (56 ), it is first interesting to note how it echoes the Gorgias that the Forms "neither do injustice to one another nor suffer it" recalls one of the Gorgias' main claims, that it is better to suffer injustice than to commit it. The rest of (56 ) confirms our intuition t hat the act of admiration compels us to imitate, to try to become like what we admire and to somehow make its goodness our own. In imitating admirable and ordered things, we become "as divine and ordered as a human being can", or in other words, we become good throu gh our imitations after all. (56 ), with its explicit use of "divine", especially recalls the Greek notion of homoiosis theoi or assimilation to the divine. 23 24 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 23 I do not seek to explain in this paper what exactly Plato takes the divine to be. Certainly, his notion of divinity relies on the Forms, but it is unclear in the Republic how exactly he conceives of divine beings themselves such as God or the Demiurge 24 Plato's appeals to homoiosis theoi are evident in these additional citations: 498e Socrates: That is to say, they've [the majority of people] never seen a man or a number of men who themselves rhymed with virtue, were assimilated to it as far as possib le, and ruled in a city of the same type. 501b
! 54 Indeed, Plato structures the philosophic life, i.e. the path that the philosopher kin gs must pursue throughout their lives, around this relationship between beauty and goodness, where they strive for goodness by pursuing beauty. First, to briefly run through the philosophic life, as a child the philosophers learn music and poetry and engag e in physical training, and as adults they move on to study mathematics and dialectic. They must then fulfill their obligation to rule, and it is around this time that they acquire a vision of the Good. From here, they descend back to human affairs in orde r to train their successors before eventually passing away. Now, if we examine the activities that Plato has the philosophers engage in, we will see that they are in fact supremely ordered and beautiful activities: music, poetry, and the arts all possess c lear aesthetic value, while bodily training gives rise to physical beauty. With this, the young philosophers gain an appreciation of and sensitivity to virtue and to the good in general, and when they are old enough for the transition to rationality, they begin to study mathematics, which we said earlier is itself a study of value, and dialectic for an understanding of the good as a whole. In this way, the activities Plato has the philosophers engage in deal especially with beauty. 25 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Socrates: And I suppose that, as they [the philosopher kings] work, they'd look often in each direction, towards the natures of justice, beauty, moderation, and the like, on the one hand, and towards those the y're trying to put into human beings, on the other. And in this way they'd mix and blend the various ways of life in the city until they produced a human image based on what Homer too called the divine form and image' when it occurred among human beings. 613a Socrates: The gods never neglect anyone who eagerly wishes to become just and who makes himself as much like a god as a human can by adopting a virtuous way of life. 25 Two important places where Plato speaks of beauty as it relates to our lives are as follows: Rep. 493e 494a: Can the majority in any way tolerate or accept the reality of the beautiful itself, as opposed to the many beautiful things, or the reality of each thing itself, as opposed to the corresponding many? Not in any way. Then the m ajority cannot be philosophic." This passage stipulates that one must recognize the forms in general, as opposed to just the particulars that participate in th em, in order to be philosophic, but on the passage's face Plato is literally saying that b eauty is necessary for the philosophic life. Rep. 444e:
! 55 6 Conclusion In the R epublic Plato finally arrives at essential definitions for his two most important value terms: to agathon as unity and to kalon as order. This, of course, marks an historical shift from the Gorgias identification of goodness with order, a shift that we s peculated was due to the introduction of the Forms. In our discussion of to kalon we reconsidered how it might essentially be productive of benefit, by using the arts and other beautiful pursuits to impart goodness unto us; and in our discussion of the re lationship between to kalon and to agathon we saw once and for all that to kalon is, in fact, essentially good and thus essentially beneficial, in some sense of benefit. Finally, we briefly touched on how pleasure and benefit might combine in the young gu ardians' education, although the production of pleasure has remained an accidental property. In the weightiest section, we tried to clarify the relationship between to kalon and to agathon and we established that in its most basic formulation, it is one of appearance. We might think that this would be the case from our everyday conceptions of what it would be to be admi rable and to be good anyway, and Plato's essential definitions also mirror ed these intuitions: metaphysically speaking the unity that we would achieve by ordering an object's parts (i.e. unification ) is one removed from is an appearance of the absolute unity that partless entities possess. Out of this appearance fell coextension: just as there is an element of lopsidedness in to kalon be ing an appearance and to agathon being the prior notion, so too was it the case that to agathon is only necessarily fine whereas to kalon must be essentially good. Finally, we saw that t he metaphysics behind to agathon and to kalon translate to ethics, so that as humans our task and the object of our striving is to order the parts of our souls as far as possible into a unified !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "And don't fine ways of living lead one to the possession of virtue shameful ones to vice ?" That is, beauty leads to goodness.
! 56 whole. That is, we can only become good by means of beauty, and indeed, the activities that make life meaningful music, ar t, care of the body, engaging of our reason through mathematics and of course, philosophy are the most beautiful of all. IV. Conclusion In the Hippias Major we saw the introduction of benefit and aesthetic pleasure as candidates for, or at least as intimat ely related to, to kalon Both of these possibilities, as well as their combination in beneficial pleasure, pick out effects or properties of to kalon, and as such, it is little wonder that they failed to capture its essence or that in virtue of which it produces benefit and/o r aesthetic pleasure Come the Gorgias we saw the disjunctive conception of to kalon return in Socrates' argument against Polus, but this time, Plato gave it more content: we learned that anything divorced from goodness cannot possib ly count as fine, including pleasure, confirming our intuitions that the production of pleasure is merely accidental and the production of benefit essential. Although we remained without a definition of to kalon Plato made an enormous claim in identifying to aga thon with order, or the appropriate arrangement of parts in relation to each other and to the whole. We returned briefly to the Hippias Major to see how there were hints in that dialogue of order being associated with to kalon ; this led us to specul ate that in the early stages of his value theory, Plato probably conceived of order as a general value term, common to both to agathon and to kalon and indeed, given how closely related the two are, this would make sense The picture we get then is one of Plato attempting to tease the two terms out from each other, and the arguments in the Hippias Major considering possible properties of to kalon and what those arguments might tell us about its essence would be in service of this attempt Indeed, it should not be lost on us that the disjunction of to kalon as either
! 57 beneficial, pleasant, or both is an attempt to encapsulate three major value terms into a single relation, and given that goodness and pleasure seem to be more concrete than something as Protean as to kalon this rel ation probably did help Plato in pin ning it down. Another major innovation that we saw in the Gorgias was its emphasis on object ive value and how human goodness ultimately hooks up to goodness in general, to the value embedded in the universe. This makes Plato's shift from thinking of goodness mostly in terms of benefit, which we really only use in a human context for how something might benefit me or you, in the Hippias Major to order in the Gorgias natural. We can surmise that Plato 's thoughts about value as it relates to the universe and ultimately to the Forms also explains his shift from to agathon as order to unity: we want to say that the Forms are good, but it would be a category mistake to ascribe order to partless entities. T his frees up order to become to kalon 's definition, and indeed, the shoe fits when we start to think about the relationship between these two value terms: in the same way that we might think that to kalon is an appearance of to agathon by ou r notional unde rstanding of these terms order is an appearance of unity. In other words, the kind of unity that composite entities can achieve by ordering their parts is one removed from perfect, partless unity. We also said that out of this appearance relation falls co extension: to kalon is essentially good and to agathon is necessarily fine, even if that coextension is a bit lopsided. Even though Plato wants to a draw a parallel between value as it exists in the cosmos and in the human soul, we should not think of his value theory as dry or impersonal, but rather, all the more profound and rich for it. With the picture that emerges from these dialogues, we can give shape to what a meaningful human life is supposed to look like: composite entities, such as our souls, ca n only become unified by ordering their pa rts, or in other words, to become good we must pursue beauty first. Plato sees this and enriches the guardians' lives with beauty from the
! 58 start, so that through imitation they can begin the work of or dering their souls. This striving is creative and productive: in the end we become better and happier people through our efforts made single and unified through education in beauty. However, it is not an easy task, and so finally, we are in a place to ful ly app reciate it when Plato lays bare that anything fine is difficult bidding us to get to work.
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