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The Review of Metaphysics

Volume 71, Issue 2, December 2017

Howard J. Curzer
Pages 265-291

Akrasia and Courage in the Protagoras

Akratic agents know what is best, can do it, do not do it, and rationalize. According to Socrates, seemingly akratic agents are confused, ignorant of what is best. According to the Many, they are overcome, unable to do what is best. Unlike Socrates and the Many, Plato rejects hedonism and psychological egoism, but not the existence of akratic acts in the Socratic reductio (351b–358c). Counterexamples to both Socrates’ mismeasure account and the Many’s overpowering account pervade Greek literature and even the Protagoras itself. In the courage-is-wisdom arguments (349d–351a, 358c–360e), Plato again argues against hedonism and psychological egoism, and advances an Aristotelian definition of courage.