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False Anticipatory Pleasures: "Philebus" 36a3-41a6

Author(s): Terry Penner

Source: Phronesis, Vol. 15, No. 2 (1970), pp. 166-178
Published by: BRILL
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False Anticipatory
Philebus36a 3-4i a 6


n the first section of this paper, I try to set out with a minimum of
complication the philosophical considerationswhich bear upon the
interpretation I offer in section II of Plato's account of false
anticipatory pleasures. In the case of the uses of the words for "belief",
"with"and "in",the orderof exposition reversesthe orderof discovery:
it was by noticing Plato's use of these words that I came to the
philosophical points I make about them in section I of the paper.
I am not here offering any general account of other kinds of false
pleasures considered by Plato.
Mr. Dybikowski's article (this issue) seems to me to fix on the important distinction for purposes of interpreting this passage, namely
that expressed by Williams in the following passage.'
b. I may be pleased at x, but say that I am pleased at y because
I falsely believe that x is y; but this does not matter, because
x's being y is no element in my pleasure. Thus, I may be pleased
by this picture as a picture, and say that I am pleased by this
Giorgione, when the picture is not a Giorgione.
c. More drastically, I may take pleasure in, or be pleased by,
I B. A. 0. Williams, "Pleasure and Belief", in Stuart Hampshire (Ed.), Philosophy of Mind (New York: Harper and Row, 1966), esp. 235-236 with 230-231,
(reprinted from Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume
for 1959). See also Stuart Hampshire's two different ways of wanting the most
expensive picture in the gallery: if I want to buy that picture (which, as I think,
also happens to be the most expensive in the gallery) I am affected differently
by learning that it is not the most expensive picture in the gallery than if I
simply wish to buy whatever picture is the most expensive in the gallery.
Hampshire rather misleadingly speaks of the former desire as thought-independent, the latter as thought-dependent; for all the example shows is dependence or independence on one particular thought. The former desire may be
dependent on another thought of which the latter desire is independent. (S.
Hampshire, Freedom of the Individual (New York: Harper and Row, 1965), 46ff.


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x which I mistakenly think is y, where x's supposedly being y is

the basis of my pleasure. Thus I may be pleased by this supposed Giorgioneas being a Giorgione...
One way in which this distinction might be referred to is in terms of
whether or not the belief "involved" in either case, namely that this
picture before me is a Giorgione,does or does not "infect" the pleasure
with the truth or falsity of the belief. There seem to be grounds for
saying that in the case of c the truth or falsity does, and that in the
case of b the truth or falsity does not - namely that finding out that
the belief is false is liable to destroy the pleasurein c, but not to destroy
the pleasure in b. For this important difference may be thought
sufficiently striking to allow Plato to depart from usage and say that
in the case of c the falsity of the belief that is involved results in the
pleasure being a "false pleasure". That Plato does indeed speak of
certain beliefs "infecting" certain "pleasures"2 seems prima facie
grounds for saying that it was indeed this distinction that Plato was
after in his discussion of false anticipatory pleasures. But I think we
can do better than this by way of demonstrating Plato's insights, and
better than any of those recent treatments of the passage which have
been aware of the distinction Williams concerns himself with.3
I shall not in this paper discuss this distinction in detail, but simply
take it that such a distinction can be made. However, I may indicate
very roughly how I would deal with it. We may say that
(1) This Giorgione pleases me
is ambiguous (or "has two readings"), since it may be read as either
of the following:
(2) This painting is a Giorgioneand it pleases me,

(42 a 9), normally "fill up", but here apparently in the metaphorical use for "infect" which can also be seen at Apol. 32 c, Phd 67 a, Thucydides II. 51. That the falsity of a belief infects a pleasure is characteristic of false
pleasures of the anticipatory type, by contrast with the other two types (see
section III of this paper).
8 E.g. Williams, op. cit., J. Gosling, "False Pleasures: Philebus 35 c - 41 b",
Phronesis, 1959, Antony Kenny, "False Pleasures in the Philebus: A reply to
Mr. Gosling", Phronesis 1960, J. Gosling, "Father Kenny on False Pleasures",
Phronesis, 1961, I. Thalberg, "False Pleasures", Journal of Philosophy, 1962,
Terence Penelhum, "Pleasure and Falsity", in S. Hampshire (Ed.) Philosophy
of Mind, cited above, n. 1, (reprinted from AmericanPhilosophicalQuarterly, 1964).
Williams and Penelhum are not directing their attention to the exegesis of
Plato. David Gallop's "True and False Pleasures", Philosophical Quarterly,
1960, makes no use of the distinction these other interpreters have to a greater
or less degree had in mind.


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(3) This painting is a Giorgione and it, being a Giorgione,pleases me.

The difference Williams points to is that the painting's being a Giorgione is "within the scope of" my being pleased when "this Giorgione"
is read as in (3), whereas when read as in (2) it does little more than
help me pin an identificatory tag on the painting which is the object
of my pleasure. (This identificatory purpose it can fulfil even if it is
false that the painting is a Giorgione, provided "this Giorgione"
suffices to get the hearerto identify what the speakeris talking about).4
Now in fact, Williams' examples of objects of pleasure are paintings
hanging in a gallery, while the one example of a false anticipatory
pleasure Plato gives (40 a 9-12) is clearly of a possible future state of
affairs - oneself getting a lot of gold and many pleasures as a consequence. So let us alter Williams' example to make it more like
Plato's. Consider the case where I am skating in a race and believe
that I am going to win the race. Then there are at least the following
two cases of pleasure:
(4) I am going to win the race and I am taking pleasure in
(= enjoying) skating,
(5) r am going to win the race and because I am going to win the
race I am pleased.
Here again the cases of pleasure differ in that in the first the (supposed) fact that I am going to win the race is apparently irrelevant,
while in the second my (supposed) future winning of the race falls
"within the scope of" my pleasure. Now (5) is equivalent to
(6) I am going to win the race and I am pleased that I am going to
win the race.
Here the object of pleasure is (not the activity of skating but) the
possible future state of affairs or (as I shall call it) the "proposition"
that I am going to win the race."
Having put the distinction in this way, we can see that another way
of putting Williams' distinction as it applies to (4) and (6) is this: that
' See Keith S. Donnellan, "Reference and Definite Descriptions", Philosophical
Review (1966); "this Giorgione" is used "referentially" when it is an identificatory
tag, "attributively" when it falls within the scope of my pleasure. In an unpublished paper on quantification into intentional contexts, I explore the
significance of this distinction for developments of Fregean semantics and the
Fregean theory of existence and the existential quantifier.
6 I speak of "possible future states of affairs" or "propositions" because the
differences between this traditional characterization of the objects of "propositional attitudes" and the characterization I offer in the unpublished paper
mentioned in n. 4 are irrelevant to the points I make in this paper.


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in (6) my pleasure is in a certain belief, whereas in (4) my pleasure is

not in the belief but merely occurs simultaneously with the belief.
Further, when I say my pleasure is in a certain belief, I do not mean
that I take pleasure in my believingthat I am going to win the race
(that would be a different pleasure) but that I take pleasure in a
certain proposition believedby me, namely that I will win the race.
Whereas when I say my pleasure occurssimultaneouslywith a certain
belief, I mean that my pleasure occurs simultaneously with a certain
believingby me. Thus to say that in (6) my pleasure is in a belief is to
say that my pleasure is in somethingbelieved,whereas to say that in
(4) my pleasure occurs with a belief is to say that my pleasure occurs
simultaneously with a certain believing. ("Belief", like many other
philosophically crucial words has a certain kind of ambiguity known,
somewhat misleadingly in this case, as "process-productambiguity".
It may mean something I do or tend to do, namely believing,or it may
mean something believedby me, just as my cooking may be something
I do (a process) or something cooked by me (a product). It is in the
former sense that beliefs are silly, touching, acquired, given up, unconscious, etc.; it is in the latter sense that beliefs may be shared by
several persons, be disagreed about, be propositions. "True" and
"false" apply primarily to the latter, but are also applied derivatively
to the former. If I believe that p and p is false, then I may be said to
falsely believe that p.)6 I am not, of course, denying that when there
6 Here are some more examples of this ambiguity. The examples on the left
refer to "processes", those on the right to the "products" (better, but still not
adequate, would be talk of "the X-ing" and "the thing X-ed").
His hope (= hoping) is touching.
His hope is that he will get tenure.
His expectation is unreasonable.
His expectation is that he will get tenure.
His fear (= fearing) is laughable.
Among his fears are war, women and
His pleasure (= enjoying)
is inordinate.
Smoking is one of his pleasures.
His love is undying.
My love is like a red, red rose.
His painting relaxes him.
His painting is of a cathedral in France.
The master builder found the acThe house was an actualization of skills
tualization of his skills very enthe master builder had acquired over a
His envy of her poisoned their life
She was the envy of her peers.
Notice that the "products" are sometimes propositional (that he will get tenure,
his getting tenure), sometimes persons, physical objects or activities; and that
sometimes the "products" in the latter group must exist (e.g. actualizations of
the master builders skills, smoking), sometimes they need not (through a hoax,


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is a believing which merely occurswith a pleasure there is also a thing

believed. Nor am I denying that when one's pleasure is in a thing
believed there is also a believing: if I am pleased that p then I also
believe that p. Indeed it is just the fact that one's being pleased is
always in a thing believed that makes mention of a corresponding
believingsuperfluous. But since not everything believed when one is
pleased that something is the case is something the pleasure is taken
in, it seems natural to speak of a believingas what "merely occurs
simultaneously with" the being pleased. In other words, "pleasurein
a belief" is most naturally construed as
pleasure in something believed
whereas "pleasure merely occurring with a belief" is most naturally
construed as
a pleasure which merely occurs together with a believing.
Thus, to sum up, two other (inter-dependent) ways of showing
awareness of Williams' distinction would be (a) to distinguish being
in and being merelywith a belief, and (b) to distinguish "process"and
"product" senses of "belief". Noticing these distinctions is not, of
course, a necessary condition of noticing Williams' distinction as it
applies to beliefs; but such distinctions would have to be observed
in practiceif someone making the Williams point were to avoid fallacy
I fall in love with someone who doesn't exist; and notice the puzzling case of the
man who enjoys running up the stairs thinking he is charging San Juan Hill).
Notice finally that the "product" sense of "pleasure" corresponding to the
"process" sense "enjoy" cannot be a proposition (one doesn't enjoy that something is the case). One can however be pleased that something is the case. The
Greek i8ov', like the English "pleasure" can do duty for "my enjoying", "the
thing or activity I enjoy", "my bodily pleasure", "the sensation which gives
me bodily pleasure", "my being pleased that (at, with, by)". [Although (4) and
(6) above differ in that the pleasure in (4) is an enjoying

while that in (6) is

a being pleased that, the points made in section I could as easily have been made
with the pleasure in (4) a being pleased that, e.g. being pleased that I am alive.
Or we could have had, adapting an example of Penehum's,
(4*) That beautiful girl coming is Miss Smith and I am pleased that that
beautiful girl is coming,
(6*) That beautiful girl coming is Miss Smith and Miss Smith is my only love
and I am pleased that my only love is coming.
There are different results in (4*) and (6*) if I become convinced that the
beautiful girl coming is Miss Jones.]
For some references to the literature on process-product ambiguities and a
treatment of an instance of this ambiguity (&vipycmL)which gives Aristotle some
trouble, see my "Verbs and the Identity of Actions" in G. Pitcher and 0. P.
Wood (Eds.), Ryle (New York: Anchor Books, Doubleday, 1970), esp. section III.


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and confusion. In the next section I argue that even if Plato does not
notice the distinctions (a) and (b), in practice he observes them and
avoids fallacy and confusion on this point.
But if Plato neither notices the point about the "scope"of what the
pleasure is taken in, nor notices the distinctions (a) and (b), how are
we to suppose he did notice the Williams distinction as applied to
(4) and (6)? A glance at the examples in n. 6 will show us how. For
many of the verbs there have a feature which they share with such
verbs as "perceive", "believe", "think", namely that in at least some
cases they take as grammatical object a "that"-clause which tells us
what the person perceives, believes, thinks, or etc. Someone who
thinks of hope, fear, expectation and being-pleased-that as kinds of
perceiving, as kinds of "cognitive attitudes" to propositions, will be
able to notice Williams' distinction as applied to (4) and (6). For the
distinction between (4) and (6) is just that the proposition that I am
going to win the race is and is not respectively what the "cognitive
attitude" or "pleasure perceiving" is directed towards. It is in the
recognition of this analogy between beingpleasedthat and believingthat
that Plato exhibits his awareness of the Williams distinction. Thus,
just as if a thing believed is false the believing is said to be false ("He
believes falsely that..."), so if a future state of affairs will not occur,
the being pleased at it may be said to be false. This treatment of
pleasure as a kind of perceiving is, if the perceiving is a perceiving that
something is the case, a way of saying that "being pleased that..."
is a propositional attitude.7 Plato was the first person in the history of
7Evidence from elsewhere that Plato thought of pleasure (being pleased that)
as a kind of perceiving that something is the case is harder to come by than
evidence that Plato thought of pleasure as a kind of perceiving some object or
some aspect of an object. For the latter we can cite Tht. 156 b 2 - c 3:
mt dv o5v aEar5ae?t 'rm'o&8e

tilv IXouatv 6v6,axcr, 6beLq re xd &xooxlxot

?8o0VM ye 8' xal )t67ML
xocal o6oL
xat &XXat, 7rpav'roL,uv aot &vcWVU,LOL,
Tr 8' a5 mEat4-o6v ykvoq 'OUTr)V &kzdcrOLC
7rm[a7r?,-qfs! gadal GoLxaLr[vcXV





fueLq re xacl xxKuaeLs



pwvcA, xcxl 'roci &)BoctL, a







dr&& o3a ad:'r,&S auyyevi ytyv6tLeva.

Here the objects of pleasure are apparently certain pleasure-giving dispositional

aspects of some object (as colours, etc. will be for Plato). The passage itself does
not direct us as to what restrictions should be placed on "some object" in the
preceding sentence (can a state of affairs or a possible state of affairs be "some
object" for the purposes of that sentence?) The second type of false pleasure
(with the treatment of which compare the metric art in Prot. 356 c 5ff.) also
appears to exhibit pleasure as a kind of perceiving. Notice esp. &vdisv6+et... tv


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philosophy to see this, though in trying to make this point clear by

talking of falsely being pleased that..., he has scandalized generations
of interpreters.
It is time to examine the text of the Philebus to see how far the points
made in section I were recognizedby Plato. The analogy between being
X6trcxr 8' &po xti t8ovatz...

(41 e 9 - 42 a 2). [This passage unfortunately


of a number of different interpretations. Thus, some expressions suggest (i) that

the second type of false pleasure really involves only a real enough (future or
present) pleasure and a false belief, namely that one is enjoying oneself as much
as one thinks one is: xmt ToU&rwvmLa,aCL4 (41 d 2), oepeZa5boc (42 b 3), qaLvov'rmt,
and 6pX5; gLv6ptevov(42 b 4-5, b 9, c 1). In fact (ii), 41 d 2 can

tz6 yaLv6.LcVOV

be put together with 36 a 4-7 to make it seem that the al&'acq here are
desirings or even pleasures. Again (iii) at 42 c 1-3, we get rather the picture of
a real future or present pleasure causing a false belief and the latter causing a
present (illusory) pleasure in (in[) something non-existent, namely the amount
of pleasure by which we over-estimate the real future or present pleasure.
But perhaps (iii) can be discounted on the grounds that c 1-3 is an afterthought
(oM' 5.... ). The fact is, it is not clear in the second type of false pleasure whether
it is socalled because of (i), (ii) or (iii). Plato's lack of explicitness here parallels
a lack of explicitness in the treatment of the first type of false pleasures at
40 b 6-7; but I propose in n. 12 what seems to me a clear solution to that
But to show that Plato thinks of pleasure as a kind of perceiving is not to
show that he thinks of pleasure as a kind of perceiving that (or perhaps better,
a kind of perceptually taking it that). This latter is, however, what I think
emerges from the scribe and painter similes. The difference of the first type of
false pleasures from the second type - what Plato says is that while in the first
type the falsity of the belief "infects" the anticipatory pleasure, the "opposite"
occurs with the second type - is not clear. (For see alternatives (i), (ii) and (iii)
in the preceding paragraph). The only thing of which I feel confident is that in
the first type since the anticipated pleasure may not ever exist (40 c 8 - d 10),
we have merely the causal sequence {belief, anticipatory pleasure}, supposing
that non-existents cannot enter into causal sequences. On the other hand, in
the second type, we have either the causal sequence {real (present or future)
incorrectly estimated pleasure, incorrect belief or estimate) or the causal
sequence {real (present or future) incorrectly estimated pleasure, incorrect
belief or estimate as to the amount of pleasure one is or will be getting, illusory
pleasure in anticipating or having that amount by which one over-estimates
the pleasure}. ("Belief" in these formulae for causal sequences is of course used
in the sense of "believings"). It is clear that the causal sequence involved in the
first type of false pleasure is different from either of the two which might be
involved in the second type. As I implied at the beginning of the paragraph,
the difference seems to have something to do with the first type involving
non-existent states of affairs while the second type does not.


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pleased that and believing that emerges immediately in Socrates'

response to Protarchus' claim (36 e 5-7) that even in dreams or madness, it cannot seem to me that I am having pleasure (XaclpeLv)
when I
am not. For Socrates urges (37 a 1 ff.) that if I y (3ociaLtv, believe or
judge; 8ea,9 have pleasure, be pleased, enjoy) in (or that) p8 (tr
8o0m46?evov,thing believed or judged; '6 ye J '6 i 6UtevovMvs-oL,what
one is pleased in), then p-ing is something (37 a 2-5), p is something
(a 7-10), and whether or not I rightly c, I still really g (a 11 - b 3).
Plato's understanding of "I wrongly 9 in p" may thus be formulated
as follows:
(7) There exists a 9p-ingwhich I am doing and there exists a proposition which that cp-ingis in and that cp-ingis wrong,
since from it all the desired inferences can be drawn. Socrates now
needs only to show that
(8) A cp-ingin a proposition is not correctjust in case the proposition
is false
in order to establish the propriety of speaking of false (because not
correct) pleasures. However, all that Protarchus will accept (37 e 1-3)
is (8) with "believe" substituted for "y", i.e.,
(9) A believing in a proposition is not correct just in case the proposition is false.
In (8) and (9), "not correct" (ou'x4pD) is interchangeable with
"erring" (O'4cprO'CVouao)
and both apply to the cp-ingand not to the
thing 9-ed (= the proposition). What is "correct" (4p0v) at 37 d 7
is "belief" or "judgment" (86oRv),contrasted with "what is believed"
('r 8oao6[vov) at 37 e 1. "Belief" or "judgment" (84ocv)is "erring"

is "what

one erred about", "the error" (a[Lp-ov6Levov). Similarly, "belief"

(86oc) at 37 b 5 is the same as "believing" (ao0&4eLV,
b 7 and e 3; and at e 5-6, "pain" and "pleasure" (XiU'r, 'ov') are
- rou'vav'tov).
contrasted with "what one is pained at (-r6&'y,T ?wu7rdZat
That is to say, "correct" and "erring"are reserved for the 9-ing as
opposed to the proposition; and "belief" (MRoc)
up to this point in the
argument is reserved for the 9-ing.
9 I use "cp-ing in p" for convenience, though "in" will often be
This stands for "pleasure in the proposition p", "being pleased that p", "believing (in) the proposition p", "believing that p" and the like. I take it that
nothing of philosophical substance turns on this usage. (I am also taking it
that "is wrong" (= is incorrect") in (7) is not an incomplete predicate; whether
it is or not will make no difference to the present discussion).


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Socrates now (37 e 10-11) gives Protarchus just the opening Protarchus needs to throw Socrates' argument off the track:
X0CLL)V gOLXevye '8ov' 7roXX&xL; o'u 0tm& U6Evj 40pq

XuX ?vac


(But now, pleasure very often seems to come to us not with a

true belief, but with a false belief).
For what Socrates needs at this point, according to my arguments on
pp. 168-71 above, is not that the being pleased sometimes occurs
false believings (which, as I have just argued, is what the
with (,uwo&)0
86iau are throughout the passage so far), but that the being pleased
is in false things believed (propositions), i.e. he needs the existence
(10) There are pleasures (= cases of being pleased) and there are false
propositions such that the pleasures are each in one of those false

How 37 e 10-11 gives Protarchus what he wants becomes clear at

37 e 12 - 38 a 2:
xOClT-s ,uv 3Waovye, 6 EwXpatseq, ?v TXo rowCOUc xalt r6-e
teU8i , rFV a



&V 7COT; 7tpOaet7COL jeU8.

(11) Whenever there is a pleasure and a false proposition which occur
simultaneously, there is a believing which is in the false proposition & the believing is false & the believing is with the
pleasure & the pleasure is not false.
Pleasure just occurs or fails to occur with or without simultaneous
beliefs, Protarchus is saying (cp. the more extreme view at 37 c 4-6
which Socrates considers worth refuting). In effect this is either to
deny that there is any relation corresponding to "y-ing in p" where
pleasure is concerned, or to say that all pleasure in a belief is simply
pleasure with (?tv: 37 e 10-11, 38 a 7) a believing.
There is no need to deny that Socrates would have accepted (11)
with the "Whenever..." altered to "Sometimes,when..." as an analysis of some cases of pleasure, e.g. that described in (4), enjoying
skating and believing that one will win the skating race one also
happens to be engaged in.'0 But the cases Socrates is interested in are
those which are like (6). He must therefore re-direct Protarchus'
9 In section I, I contrasted pleasure in a belief with pleasure that merely occurs
simultaneously with a belief. "With" here covers both "in" and "merely with".
10 Again (see n. 6), notice "pleasure" both for enjoying (in (4)) and for being
pleased that (in (6)).


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attention to the idea of taking pleasure in a belief, i.e. in a proposition.

This he does by means of the scribe and painter similes. And in the
course of this, 86io ("belief") ceases to be what it was before, namely
the believing, and becomes the thing believed (O' 8aO 6[ievov) - that
which is written or that which is painted (39 a 4 with b 10 - c 1,
c 4-5, 40 b 3: and cp. the ( clauses, which are obviously intended as
86iat at 38 d 6, 9-10, as well as X6yom at 38 e 3 (= Pv- evT: e 1),
at 39 b 10, c 4-5, cp. 40 a 9-12;
aoxaO wrVTo
39 a 3,5, 40 a 6, and erx6Ovoc,
however, 40 d 1-2 will be the


use if, as may be

urged, the xaEat d 2 is epexegetic). There is no temptation to construe

and Cwypaqpu-xa (writings = things written,
things painted) as 86oL in the "process"sense.
pictures, paintings



And the relation of pleasure to the the "product"sense is now

given either by means of 't (40 c 9, d 8-10, 37 e 5; cp 48 b 11-12,
49 d 3 and 50 a 2 for ypMvoq,a mixture of pleasure and pain in the
soul (47d 5-6) = in effect s6 XaCLpSvML TOL; 'Cv ypXwvxxxoZq,taking
pleasure in the ills of one's friends) or by means of the use of the dative
case for the object of pleasure (at 40 b 5 - c 2, 37 a 9, cp. 42 a 7-9).
Here one might also notice the two different uses of opa'at 52 a 5 - b 5
on the one hand, and at 51 b 3-5, e 1, e 7 on the other. All of these
devices are natural ones for the relation I have characterized as
"p-ing in p".

Thus up to 37 e 9, ao'a is 'z6 8oRaCLv ("beheving"), while in the

similes it has become so68ocx6[ievov ("the thing believed"). It is not
certain which it is at 38 b 9-10 (mrwa), b 12 and e 3, which are in
between the passage where Socrates makes for Protarchus the opening
Protarchus needs for his view (expressedhere as (11)) and the passage
containing the similes. As for 37 e 10, where the opening is made, there
seem to be three possibilities. (A) 86ocxis simply ambiguous here:
Plato does not see the ambiguity and does not see the importance of
the "in" - "with" contrast. (B) Plato is consciously exploiting the
ambiguity of 86Rato make his point. Furthermore,he consciously uses
u at 37 e 10 in order to allow Protarchus to state his point with full
force, and then, after a transitional period, consciously substitutes for
,u& the various grammatical devices I have identified as natural for
the relation of c-ing in p (e.g. i7r(,the use of the dative case). (C) As
in (A), Plato is unaware of the ambiguity of 6Ra.and of the technical
distinction one might want to make by means of "in" and "with", but
having a clear conception of the perceptual or cognitive analogy he is
urging, which we nowadays recognize in our talk of "propositional

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or the dative case in

attitudes", in practice he uses 6oic, p?vt& and &nC
conformitywith the points made in terms of their English equivalents
in section I. (The use of ~'ra is, as in (B), favourable to Protarchus'
position, so might seem not to be independent evidence for (C); however, it is clear that at 37 e 10 Plato does want a statement which is
strong for Protarchus, so that its appearanceis still perfectly consistent
with (C)). I prefer (C) to either (B) or (A). I prefer (C) to (A) because
it seems to me that the turnabout in the use of 8 ocin the course of this
passage is truly remarkable,especially given his use of 8o'x elsewhere:
on interpretation (A) it would be an extraordinarilyfortunate accident
that Plato should so grossly equivocate on 86ta and yet not spoil the
argument. I prefer (C) to (B) not just because Plato makes none of
the linguistic points mentioned explicitly, but also because (as I have
argued elsewhere) the tracking down of process-product ambiguities
was more difficult for the Greeks than for us because of the relative
paucity of such ambiguities in Greek, at least in important philosophical contexts.'
The account I have offered displays clearly the analogy between
pleasure and perception and explains why Plato lavished so much time
on the scribe and painter similes. It also explains why Plato thought
that the similes would be perceived by the reader or hearer of the
dialogue as adequate to explain Protarchus' conversion at 40 d 4-5
(referring to d 1-2 and referred to at 42 a 7-9) from his position at
37 e 12 - 38 a 2. In the latter passage Protarchus had insisted that
whenever a pleasure and a believing occur together, it is only the
believing that can ever be said to be false; whereas in the former
passages he is clearly conceding that in the case of anticipatory
pleasures, the pleasures may sometimes also be false.12This account
11 For example, in the crucial passages in the Republic, 475 d - 480 a (on knowability and degrees of reality) and 509 d - 511 e (the divided line), 86oEx(like
JMCFTrtlvv, YV&OLg, 8&&VOLO,vo03, T6 yLYVpCXCLV, Tr6ao8a&tv and -rs 6p&v)is always
Loc'xT&v'r 4UX) and
used for what persons do or tend to do (their 8V' LL, t

with vo-l-6v,


gao0Xa6v, voo4Levov. Such passages

make Plato's

steering through the dangers of the ambiguity of in the Philebus even more
noteworthy. See also the paper cited in n. 6.
11 There is a difficulty as to just where Protarchus concedes that pleasures can
be false. It might seem that he does so at 40 b 8 - c 3. However, on any reading,
40 b 6-7

xalc 'olq

7r&pCLk V



0oBaVC yc o'Ua&v*Tov

8i ocrt



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also shows why there is some plausibility to speaking of "false pleasures". For (I) if Plato were as clear as account (B) above (p. 10)
would make him, then the natural thing for him to say would be that
"product"-beliefs can be true or false, are interpersonal and don't
occur at any one particular time, while "process"beliefs are acquired
and lost at certain times, may be firm or hopeless or wishful (as in
"wishful thinking"), but cannot, strictly speaking, be true or false.
But by a natural extension (which Protarchus accepts: 36 d 1) we do
speak of people as "falsely believing" something, by analogy with "it
is a mistake to think that..."; so, Plato would say, we should make
the same extension for beingpleased that as we have done for believing
that. On the other hand, (II) if Plato were not as clear as account (B)
makes him, but rather, as account (C) would have it, was just exploring
the analogy between believing and being pleased which leads us to
is odd, for the 8ovlt... &k ypx ?&vxL
which are called false are not the pleasures
of anticipation which Socrates is (agreed on all hands to be) trying to show
false on some occasions, but the pleasures being anticipated, the pleasures
painted in the soul. I do not see how one can deny that for Plato there was a
distinction between these two pleasures given the way anticipatory pleasures
are set up (31 b - 32 c: the pictured pleasures - getting gold and many pleasuresmust undoubtedly have been meant to include bodily pleasures, which according
to Plato anticipatory pleasures cannot be). So I agree with Kenny (op. cit. 52)
that 40 b 6-7 must be elliptical for something like:
"And pictured pleasures are no less present to the evil, but [these pictures]
are false."
I suspect that the "false pleasures" mentioned at 40 c 1 and 40 c 4 (again
iBovat) are in the same way pleasures that appear in false pictures of the future,
and that it is those pleasures that are referred to by 'raio3a at 40 d 2. If this is
right, then false anticipatory pleasures (represented at 40 c 1, d 7-8 - though
not at a 12 - by yXopeLv)are not fully established in Protarchus' mind until
40 d 4 - e 1: the v'dra'rpoqpoq
Mis true-false which applies to 86E,aLalso applies
to pleasures and pains. It is this account of 40 b 6-7 that I have assumed earlier
in section II. It seems to me preferable both to that of Gosling [who has Plato
equating picturing a future pleasure with "enjoying that pleasure in anticipation" (1959, 52) and confusing (1961, 44) the having of pleasures (e.g. enjoying) with the pleasures had (e.g. the activity enjoyed) - which, it might
seem, ought to be one of the last hypotheses considered in view of 37 a 5-9]
and to that of Dybikowski [who has Socrates confusing the pleasure anticipated
with the pleasure of anticipating and thinking of the former as false, and Protarchus accepting what Socrates says because he confuses the picturing of the
future pleasure (which he has conceded is false) with the pleasure pictured].
The machinery of both these accounts of confusion in Plato seems to me


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speak of them as "propositional attitudes", he is still observing in

practice what he does not see in theory. Just as we believe truly or
falsely just in case the things written or painted in our souls are true
or false, so Plato urges, if we are pleased by something false which is
written or painted in our souls we are being pleased falsely. On the
account (B), the justification for speaking of "false pleasures" comes
out even more clearly, namely in the distinction between (4) and (6),
or Williams' (b) and (c). But even on account (C), I have argued
(p. 9 above) that there is no reason to suppose Socrates would have
denied a weaker form of (11), no reason to suppose he would not have
accepted that in some cases pleasures which are not false pleasures
could occur merelysimultaneouslywith false believings. So even on this
account we can characterize Socrates' arguments for false pleasures
as his attempting to isolate (6) from (4).13
University of Wisconsin.

13 I received helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper from Gregory

Vlastos and from members of a graduate seminar at Princeton, which I gratefully acknowledge.


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