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Ethical Aspects of Listening in Plato’s Timaeus

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Pleasure and Delight in 80b5-8

image of Greek and Roman Musical Studies

Plato’s Timaeus suggests two types of responses to consonances: the perception of consonance results in pleasure (ἡδονή) for fools, but delight (εὐφροσύνη) for the intelligent (80b5-8). By investigating the physical and psychological mechanisms of perception and hearing in the Timaeus, this paper argues that the pleasure and pain taken in auditory perception operate analogously to the pleasure and pain of other sensory modalities. Accordingly, the fools’ pleasure is (merely)a non-localized aesthetic pleasure of the mortal soul. Nevertheless, aesthesis of sounding material must be present to the intelligent individual in order for delight to arise: delight results from the correct perception of a sensory object as a mimesis of divine order.

Affiliations: 1: Cornell University ell67@cornell.edu

10.1163/22129758-12341278
/content/journals/10.1163/22129758-12341278
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1. Archer-Hind R.D. " The Timaeus of Plato " 1973 New York Arno
2. Barker Andrew Greek Musical Writings II: Harmonic and Acoustic Theory 1989 Cambridge
3. Barker Andrew Wright M.R. "“Timaeus on music and the liver”" Reason and Necessity: Essays on Plato’s Timaeus 2000 London Duckworth
4. Carone Gabriela Roxana Plato’s Cosmology and Its Ethical Dimensions 2005 New York Cambridge University Press http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511734915
5. Carpenter Amber Dillon J. , Zovko M. "“Embodying Intelligence”" Platonism and Forms of Intelligence 2008 Berlin/Verlag
6. Cornford Francis MacDonald " Plato’s Cosmology: The Timaeus of Plato " 1975 Indianapolis Bobbs-Merrill
7. LeVen Pauline A. "“The Colors of Sound: Poikilia and Its Aesthetic Contexts”" Greek and Roman Musical Studies 2013 Vol 1 229 242 http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/22129758-12341244
8. Lorenz Hendrik Barney R. , Brennan T. , Brittain C. "“The Cognition of Appetite in Plato’s Timaeus”" Plato and the Divided Self 2012 Cambridge
9. Onians Richard B. The Origins of European Thought 1951 Cambridge
10. Pelosi Francesco Plato on Music, Soul and Body 2010 Cambridge http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511778391
11. Taylor A. E. A Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus 1962 Oxford
12. Voegelin Salomé Listening to Noise and Silence: Towards a Philosophy of Sound Art 2010 New York Continuum
13. Wolfsdorf David "“Timaeus’ Explanation of Sense-Perceptual Pleasure”" jhs 2014 Vol 134 120 135 http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0075426914000093
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/content/journals/10.1163/22129758-12341278
2016-09-01
2018-09-18

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