Plato on False Pleasures and False Passions

Patricia Marechal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the Philebus, Socrates argues that pleasures can be false in the same way that beliefs can be false. On the basis of Socrates' analysis of malicious pleasure, a mixed pleasure of the soul and a passion, I defend the view that, according to Socrates, pleasures can be false when they represent as pleasant something that is not worthy of our enjoyment, where that means that they represent as pleasant something that is not pleasant in its own right (αὐτὸ καθ'αὐτó) because it is not fine (καλóν). Since these pleasures misrepresent the value of their objects, they involve an evaluative error. In contrast, a pleasure is true when it correctly represents the actual value of things.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-304
Number of pages24
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022


  • Philebus
  • Plato
  • pleasure
  • truth
  • value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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