Plato on Hunger and Thirst

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
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  • 1 Columbia University
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I argue that Plato’s account of hunger and thirst in Republic IV, 437d–439a uncovers a general feature of desire: desire has an unqualified and a qualified dimension. This proposal, which I call Two Dimensions, captures recognizable motivational phenomena: being hungry and aiming to determine what one is hungry for, or wanting to study and still figuring out what field it is that one wants to study. Two Dimensions is a fundamental contribution to the theory of desire. It is compatible, I argue, with the better known premise that desire is for the good, because the objects of paradigmatic desires are inherently valuable.

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