The Ockham Society (Wednesday - Week 6, TT21)
In the intricate later Platonic dialogue Philebus, anticipatory pleasure is defined separately from bodily pleasure, which has been established as “restoration of the nature of a live organism” (32b1-4). It is claimed that in anticipating certain future pleasure, the soul is able to experience by itself a different kind of pleasure, which happens in the present, but does not at all involve the body. Later in the dialogue, a “mind-book simile” is raised to support the following three arguments: that anticipatory pleasure (1) belongs to the soul alone (32c4-6, 33c5-6); (2) depends entirely on memory (33c6); and (3) can be true or false (36c ff.). In this essay, I will offer a reinterpretation of the “mind-book simile” based on an integrated account of memory and perception of pleasure. I will provide a new reading of the text of 39a1-3 and the analogy of the scribe and the painter featuring what I specify as memory and perception of pleasure, in which the work of the two artisans in the soul each serves as a distinct form of memory that preserves the perception of pleasure. Such memory can later be recollected to base the occurrence of anticipatory pleasure, and thus shed light on all the three characteristics of anticipatory pleasure listed above.
Ockham Society Convenor: Steven Diggin | Ockham Society Webpage