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Frisbee Sheffield: Plato on Love and Moral Motivation

When:We 24-10-2018 15:15 - 17:00
Where:Room Omega

Colloquium lecture by dr. Frisbee Sheffield (Cambridge) organized by the Department of the History of Philosophy

In this paper I argue that love is a promising candidate for a moral motive in Plato, by which I mean something that motivates persons to engage in other-regarding  obligations that do not apply to agents in virtue of their own aims and interests. The kind of care and concern for another wherein we are motivated to benefit others is developed, specifically, in accounts of philia. Though it is often argued that Plato did not develop an account of philia, I argue that he did, in fact, do so in the Phaedrus and the Laws. I then turn to explore the cultivation of philia in the civic communities of the Laws and the Republic, where citizenship is articulated in terms of filial devotion and obligation. Finally, I consider whether this counts as anything we would recognize as moral motivation.