Being dear to God : due measure and moderation in late Plato
Kerch, Thomas Michael.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Georgetown University, 2008.; Includes bibliographical references. This dissertation presents an analysis of due measure and moderation in Plato's later dialogues. An examination of the Statesman, Philebus, and Laws, indicates that there is a substantially different, but complementary, emphasis in Plato's political and moral thought from that encountered in the rest of the Platonic corpus. Rather than grounding politics and ethics in rationalism and persuasion or in the apprehension of the supersensible, the dialogues treated in the dissertation have their positions grounded in due measure and moderation. The appeal to due measure is first encountered in the Statesman. It is the task of the statesman to find the middle ground between extreme states so that individuals and the political community live well. In the Philebus, Plato's conception of the best life as one which mixes true pleasures and knowledge relies upon weighing the various pleasures and kinds of knowledge against the standard of due measure. Due measure and moderation converge in the Laws. There is a reciprocal relationship between due measure and moderation: what is in due measure is what the moderate person would choose to do, and a person is moderate because he chooses to do what is in due measure. Both due measure and moderation are central to what constitutes the best type of regime, the manner in which a law-giver legislates, and the education which the citizens receive in respect to the political community; they are essential to ensure that the citizens live as politically responsible citizens and morally responsible agents. Although Plato never disregards the fundamental notion that in order to live politically and morally responsible lives we must always attend to the condition of our souls, the manner by which we can accomplish this becomes reconfigured in the late dialogues. By living in accordance with due measure and moderation, a person emulates the divine order of the cosmos. As a consequence of Plato's views in his late-period dialogues, there is an increased potential for a greater number of human beings to live morally virtuous lives.
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