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There is a mystery right at the heart of Plato’s famous doctrine of the three parts of the soul, as this doctrine is presented in the Republic, Phaedrus and Timaeus: just what is a soul ‘part’ ( meros, eidos )? Republic IV tells us a way to distinguish soul parts, namely by the Principle of Opposites: since ‘the same thing will not do or undergo opposites in the same respect, in relation to the same thing, at the same time’ (436b8-9), (...) whenever we find a thing that does or undergoes opposites in the same respect, in relation to the same thing, at the same time, we must partition it in such a way that each of the parts does or undergoes only one of the opposites in question. But this raises more questions than it answers: (1) are these parts themselves simple? (2) is the Principle of Opposites the only way to determine parts? (3) what is there to being a soul-part other than being distinguished by the Principle of Opposites—is it to desire and pursue one of the characteristic ( idia ) pleasures identified at Republic 580d-81c, namely, the pleasures of truth for the reasoning part of the soul, of honour and victory for the spirited part, and of food-sex-drink, and as a means to these, money, for the appetitive part? (shrink)
Concern with education animates Plato’s works: in the Apology, Socrates describes his life’s mission of practising philosophy as aimed at getting the Athenians to care for virtue (29d-e, 31b); in the Gorgias, he claims that happiness depends entirely on education and justice (470e); in the Protagoras and Meno he puzzles about whether virtue is teachable or how else it might be acquired; in the Phaedrus he explains that teaching and persuading require knowledge of the soul and its powers, which requires (...) knowledge of what objects the soul may act upon and be acted upon by, which in turn requires knowledge of the whole of nature (277b-c, 270d); in the Laws the Athenian Stranger says that education is the most important activity (803d), and that the office of director of state education is the most important office of the state (765d-e). Each of Plato’s two longest works, the Laws and Republic, tirelessly details a utopian educational programme. And Plato’s outlook on the arts (poetry, theatre, music, painting) is dominated by considerations of whether they help or hinder correct education. (shrink)
rally best suited’. One would ordinarily suppose social justice to concern not only the allocation of duties but also the distribution of benefits. I argue that this expectation is fulfilled not by Plato’s conception of social justice, but by the normative basis for it, Plato’s requirement of aiming at the happiness of all the citizens. I argue that Plato treats social justice as a necessary but not sufficient means to happiness that guarantees only the production of the greatest goods; ensuring (...) that these goods are distributed so as to maximize the happiness of the whole city.. (shrink)
readers of Greek ethics tend to favour those accounts of the virtuous ideal according to which virtue involves the development of our non-rational—appetitive and emotional— motivations as well as of our rational motivations. So our contemporaries find much of interest and sympathy in Aristotle’s conception of virtue as a condition in which reason does not simply override our appetites and emotions, but these non-rational motivations themselves ‘speak with the (...) same voice as reason’.2 By contrast, the Stoic.. (shrink)
Contrary to the Aristotelian interpretation of Empedocles' views about cognition, according to which all cognition, like perception, is due to the compositional likeness between subject and object of cognition, this paper argues that when Empedocles says that we know one thing 'by' another (e.g. earth by earth or love by love), he is characterizing analogical reasoning, an intellectual activity quite different from perception (which is explained by the fit between effluences and pores). The paper also explores the idea that strife (...) and love describe, in addition to physical separation and composition, the mental activities of analyzing and composing. (shrink)
Written by an outstanding international team of scholars, this Companion explores the profound influence of Socrates on the history of Western philosophy. A survey exploring the profound influence of Socrates on the history of Western philosophy. Discusses the life of Socrates and key philosophical doctrines associated with him. Covers the whole range of Socratic studies from the ancient world to contemporary European philosophy. Examines Socrates’ place in the larger philosophical traditions of the Hellenistic world, the Roman Empire, the Arabic world, (...) the Renaissance, and contemporary Europe. Addresses interdisciplinary subjects such as Socrates and Nietzsche, Socrates and psychoanalysis, and representations of Socrates in art. Helps readers to understand the meaning and significance of Socrates across the ages. Written by an outstanding international team of scholars, all of whom are recognized experts in their particular field. (shrink)
Plato’s Socrates famously claims that we want (bou9lesqai) the good, rather than what we think good (Gorgias 468bd). My paper seeks to answer some basic questions about this well-known but little-understood claim: what does the claim mean, and what is its philosophical motivation and significance? How does the claim relate to Socrates’ claim that we desire (e7piqumei=n)1 things that we think are good, which..
Situationist social psychologists tell us that information about people’s distinctive character traits, opinions, attitudes, values, or past behavior is not as useful for determining what they will do as is information about the details of their situations.1 One would expect, they say, that the possessor of a given character trait (such as helpfulness) would behave consistently (helpfully) across situations that are similar in calling for the relevant (helping) behavior, but under experimental conditions, people’s behavior is not found to be cross-situationally (...) consistent (the likelihood that a person who has behaved helpfully on one occasion will behave helpfully on the next is hardly above chance).2 Instead, across a range of situations, the person’s behavior tends to converge on the behavioral norm for those situations. So situationists reason that people’s situations, rather than their characters, are the explanatorily powerful factors in determining why different people behave differently. They add that if behavior does not covary with character traits, then ordinary people, “folk psychologists” who try to explain and predict.. (shrink)