This article concerns the place of Plato’s eschatology in his philosophy. I argue that the theory of reincarnation appeals to Plato due to its power to explain how non-human animals came to be. Further, the outlines of this theory are entailed by other commitments, such as that embodiment disrupts psychic functioning, that virtue is always rewarded and vice punished, and that the soul is immortal. I conclude by arguing that Plato develops a view of reincarnation as the chief tool that (...) the gods have to ensure that virtue is victorious over vice throughout the whole cosmos. (shrink)
As Socrates recounts his search for causes (aitiai) in the Phaedo, he identifies the following as genuine causes: intelligence (nous), seeming best, choice of the best, and the forms. I argue that these causes should be understood as norms prescribing the conditions their effects must meet if those effects are to be produced. Thus, my account both explains what Socrates’ causes are and the way in which they cause what they cause.
Plato’s partition argument infers that the soul has parts from the fact that the soul experiences mental conflict. We consider an ambiguity in the concept of mental conflict. According to the first sense of conflict, a soul is in conflict when it has desires whose satisfaction is logically incompatible. According to the second sense of conflict, a soul is in conflict when it has desires which logically incompatible even when they are unsatisfied. This raises a dilemma: if the mental conflict (...) is supposed to be the latter kind of conflict, then the partition argument is valid but is likely unsound; if it’s supposed to be the former kind, then the partition argument has true premises but is invalid. We explain this dilemma in detail and defend a dispositionalist solution to it. (shrink)
In the Timaeus, plants are granted soul, and specifically the sort of soul capable of perception and desire. But perception, according to the Timaeus, requires the involvement of to phronimon. It seems to follow that plants must be intelligent. I argue that we can neither avoid granting plants sensation in just this sense, nor can we suppose that the phronimon is something devoid of intelligence. Indeed, plants must be related to intelligence, if they are to be both orderly and good (...) – for intelligence is the cause of normativity and teleology. And yet, plants are not intelligent creatures. While plants must have individual souls if they are to be distinct from each other, each having its own orderly life, the intelligence they require for their individual sensations is not similarly individuated, but is rather that of the cosmos itself. Plants’ peculiar partial individuation arises from the fact that their ultimate good is only derivative: unlike animals, it is only by completing the body of the cosmos that a plant’s good a Good Thing. (shrink)
Conceptualism—the view that universals are mental entities without an external, independent, or substantial reality—has enjoyed popularity at various points throughout the history of philosophy. While Plato’s Theory of Forms is not a conceptualist theory of universals, we find at Parmenides 132b–c the startling conceptualist suggestion from a young Socrates that each Form might be a noēma, or a mental entity. This suggestion and Parmenides’ cryptic objections to it have been overshadowed by their placement directly after the notoriously difficult Third Man (...) Argument, and before the Likeness Regress. However, in the background of 132b–c, we find illuminating assumptions behind Parmenides’ arguments against the Theory of Forms in the first half of the dialogue. We also find in this text a set of implied criteria for Platonic concepthood. While in the Platonic corpus, Forms are explanantia for many of the phenomena explained by concepts in contemporary philosophy, concepts do seem to have an important epistemic role in Plato’s philosophy. An account of Platonic concepthood therefore opens the door for new ways of understanding the Platonic corpus as a whole. My focus in this paper is to uncover these assumptions and criteria through a close reading of Socrates’ conceptualist suggestion and Parmenides’ truncated objections to it at Parmenides 132b–c. (shrink)
The Protagoras examines how community can occur between people who have nothing in common. Community, Protagoras holds, has no natural basis. Seeking the good is therefore not a theoretical project, but a matter of agreement. This position follows from his claim that “man is the measure of all things.” For Socrates community is based on a natural good, which is sought through theoretical inquiry. They disagree about what community is, and what its bases and goals are. But Plato illustrates the (...) seriousness of Protagoras’s position through the repeated breakdown of their conversation. The dialogue leads us to question both speakers’ assumptions about community. Socrates must face the problem that not everything can be brought to language. Protagoras must recognize that there is a basis of community even in what cannot be shared. Community is grounded in an event that is both natural and not up to us, and cultural and articulate. (shrink)
This paper is a test case for the claim, made famous by Myles Burnyeat, that the ancient Greeks did not recognize subjective truth or knowledge. After a brief discussion of the issue in Sextus Empiricus, I then turn to Plato's discussion of Protagorean views in the Theaetetus. In at least two passages, it seems that Plato attributes to Protagoras the view that our subjective experiences constitute truth and knowledge, without reference to any outside world of objects. I argue that these (...) passages have been misunderstood and that on the correct reading, they do not say anything about subjective knowledge. I then try out what I take to be the correct reading of the passages. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the importance of causes in Greek epistemology. (shrink)
This edited volume brings together contributions from prominent scholars to discuss new approaches to Plato's philosophy, especially in the burgeoning fields of Platonic ontology and psychology. Topics such as the relationship between mind, soul and emotions, as well as the connection between ontology and ethics are discussed through the analyses of dialogues from Plato's middle and late periods, such as the Republic, Symposium, Theaetetus, Timaeus and Laws. These works are being increasingly studied both as precursors for Aristotelian philosophy and in (...) their own right, and the analyses included in this volume reveal some new interpretations of topics such as Plato's attitude towards artistic imagination and the possibility of speaking of a teleology in Plato. Focusing on hot topics in the area, Psychology and Ontology in Plato provides a good sense of what is happening in Platonic scholarship worldwide and will be of interest to academic researchers and teachers interested in ancient philosophy, ontology and philosophical psychology. (shrink)
The possibility of a harmony between the psychological doctrine of Aristotle and that of Plato marks a significant issue within the context of the debate surrounding Aristotle’s putative opposition to or harmony with Plato’s philosophy. The standard interpretation of Aristotle’s conception of the soul being purely hylomorphic leaves no room for harmonisation with Plato, nor does a functionalist interpretation that reduces Aristotle’s psychological doctrine to physicalist terms. However, these interpretations have serious drawbacks, both in terms of ad-hoc explanations formulated in (...) the developmentalist mode, and the misconstruing of some of the fundamental features of Aristotle’s psychological doctrine. A dualist interpretation that accepts Aristotle’s doctrine of some part of the soul being properly incorporeal, separable and immortal overcomes these drawbacks and, significantly, opens the door for Platonic harmonisation. Furthermore, it can be shown that the kind of immortality in question is also in line with the Platonic stance, due to a deep similarity between the conceptions of metaphysical and moral personhood held by Plato and his student. However, this Aristotelian dualism is not Platonic dualism simpliciter. Rather, it is best understood in terms of the division of labour between Aristotle and Plato suggested by the Neoplatonic commentators generally, and Simplicius in particular. I argue that though questions surrounding these issues and particularly the issue of reincarnation remain, an account of Aristotle’s psychological doctrine as dualist and in harmony with Plato’s view of the soul can be shown to be stronger than both standard hylomorphic and functionalist accounts, both exegetically and philosophically. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that we can better understand Plato’s Phaedo, if we don’t concentrate solely on the hints of Pythagoreanism among the characters and their doctrines, as though that were the principal key to the dialogue’s dialec- tical targets. I suggest that the dialogue is intended to make us think of the meta-physics of at least one other Presocratic predecessor, besides any Pythagorean influence (which may be much less than has been thought). Not least among the thinkers of (...) whom we are reminded is Heraclitus. In the Phaedo, Plato invites us to explore the limitations of these earlier metaphysical views, and to consider how far they can or cannot make space for the capacity of the soul to direct the body, to make decisions, to grasp eternal truths and potentially to survive in perpetuity beyond the decay of the body. (shrink)
This book offers inter alia a systematic investigation of the actual argumentative strategy of Socratic conversation and explorations of Socratic and Platonic morality including an examination ofeudaimonia and the mental conception of health in the Republic as self-control, with a view to the relation of individual health/happiness to social order. The essays cover a period from 1968 to 2012. Some of them are now published for the first time. Self-motion in the later dialogues involves tripartition and tripartition in turn involves (...) embodiment. The Philebus psychology too anticipates Aristotle. The Forms of the Timaeus are patterns, but the two-world picture is abandoned: there is one world constituted by Forms and Place. The Epinomis is arguably genuine. More generally, denying that Plato develops, e.g. exegetically and psychologically, is absurd. There are too many contradictions in the Corpus. The dialogues are artistic wholes and the author's message must be interpreted accordingly: hence in a sense every character is Plato's mouthpiece. Aristotle's idea of the human good or quality of life as optimal mental activity according to the special human capabilities is the root of the modern selfactualization projects. Panaetius (free reason) and Posidonius (science) mark the end of the older Stoa's hard-core materialism and the beginning of a new more 'modern' era. -/- . (shrink)
In this paper I examine the account of courage offered in Books 3 and 4 of the Republic and consider its relation to the account of courage and cowardice found in the final argument of the Protagoras. I defend two main lines of thought. The first is that in the Republic Plato does not abandon the Protagoras’ view that all cases of cowardice involve mistaken judgment or ignorance about what is fearful. Rather, he continues to treat cowardly behavior as an (...) indication that, at least at the time of action, the agent lacked correct belief about what is best and least fearful. The evidence for this view will include an argument that what it means for the thumoeides to ‘preserve what is announced by rational accounts’ in the Republic is for it to prevent the fluctuation or corruption of reasoning under the deceptive influence of appetite. Second, I will argue that the Protagoras anticipates this account of courage in important ways. In particular, it draws attention to the problematic instability of belief and adumbrates the need for something like the spirited element of our psychology. According to my interpretation, the Republic’s account of courage is an elaboration or supplementation of the Protagoras’ account, rather than a rejection of it. (shrink)
In books 8 and 9 of Plato’s Republic, Socrates provides a detailed account of the nature and origins of four main kinds of vice found in political constitutions and in the kinds of people that correspond to them. The third of the four corrupt kinds of person he describes is the ‘democratic man’. In this paper, I ask what ‘rules’ in the democratic man’s soul. It is commonly thought that his soul is ruled in some way by its appetitive part, (...) or by a particular class of appetitive desires. I reject this view, and argue instead that his soul is ruled by a succession of desires of a full range of different kinds. I show how this view helps us better understand Plato’s depiction of corrupt souls in the Republic more generally, and with it his views on the rule of the soul, appetitive desire, and the nature of vice. (shrink)
This study investigates the idea of harmony as a protological and eschatological principle in three outstanding Patristic philosophers, well steeped in the Platonic tradition: Origen, Gregory Nyssen, and Evagrius. All of them attached an extraordinary importance to harmony, homonoia, and unity in the arkhē and, even more, in the telos. This ideal is opposed to the disagreement/dispersion of rational creatures’ acts of volition after their fall and before the eventual apokatastasis. These Christian Platonists are among the strongest supporters of the (...) final universal restoration. Their reflection on the unity-multiplicity dialectic, which parallels that between harmony and disorder/discord/dissonance, is informed by the Platonic tradition. In Gregory, the idea of harmony assumes musical connotations, especially in relation to the telos. In this connection, I examine the relationship between their notion of harmony in the arkhē and telos and Plotinus’ concept of harmony. Plotinus was well known to Gregory, the author of a Christianized version of Plato’s Phaedo in which apokatastasis is prominent. Origen, whose readings included many Middle-Platonic and Neo-Pythagorean texts, in Alexandria attended the classes of the “proto-Neoplatonist” Ammonius, who was also Plotinus’ teacher. A wide-ranging methodical investigation of the relation between Origen’s and Plotinus’ philosophical thoughts is still a notable desideratum. Finally, I concentrate on the concept of harmony in astronomy as a metaphor for intellectual harmony and apokatastasis in Patristic Platonism, especially in Evagrius’ Kephalaia Gnōstika. The noun apokatastasis was used in an astronomical sense, and employed in Stoicism for the conclusion of a cosmic cycle. Evagrius, who loved astronomical metaphors, focussed a kephalaion on a wordplay—which escaped Guillaumont and all other scholars—concerning the astronomical meaning of apokatastasis, thus embedding his theory of the eventual restoration in an allegorical framework that rests on a notion of astronomical harmony. A strong case is made in this connection that Evagrius was elaborating on Plato’s pivotal link between cosmological and intellectual harmony, and was aware that the Stoic theory of cosmological apokatastasis drew on Plato. (shrink)
This essay argues that Plato in the Republic needs an account of why and how the three distinct parts of the soul are parts of one soul, and it draws on the Phaedrus and Gorgias to develop an account of compositional unity that fits what is said in the Republic.
Cet ouvrage constitue la version révisée d'une thèse de doctorat soutenue à la Scuola Normale Superiore de Pise, et traduite en anglais. Composé de quatre chapitres, l'ouvrage se propose d'abord d'examiner le rôle que Platon attribue à la musique dans l'éducation, pour ensuite analyser la relation que la musique entretient avec l'âme et le corps. F. Pelosi étudie la conception platonicienne de la musique et envisage son importance pour comprendre non seulement la relation corps-esprit chez Platon, mais (…) - 12. (...) Plato 12 (2012). (shrink)
Questo testo nasce da alcune indagini sul nesso tra matematica e filosofia in ambiente “accademico”. È interessante notare che l'esplorazione di tale nesso costituisce un felice tratto di continuità tra gli studi più classici e ...
Although the Phaedo never mentions a Form of Soul explicitly, the dialogue implies this Form’s existence. First, a number of passages in which Socrates describes his views about Forms imply that there are very many Forms; thus, Socrates’ general description of his theory gives no ground for denying that there is a Form of Soul. Second, the final argument for immortality positively requires a Form of Soul.
In Republic V, Plato distinguishes two different cognitive powers, knowledge and belief, which operate differently on different types of object. I argue that in Republic VI Plato modifies this account, and claims that there is a single cognitive power, which under different circumstances behaves either as knowledge or as belief. I show that the circumstances which turn true belief into knowledge are the provision of an individuation account of the object of belief, which reveals the ontological status and the nature (...) of the object. Plato explores many alternative candidates of individuation accounts of objects of true belief, which he discards. I conclude with a Platonic sketch of a teleological account of individuation which would satisfy his requirements of turning true belief into knowledge. (shrink)
Starting with the reference to “Plato’s dictum” that Freud added in the second last page of the first edition of The Interpretation of Dreams, the author explains the convergences between the conception of dreams expounded by Plato in the Republic and Freud’s fundamental insights. The analysis of bibliographic sources used by Freud, and of his interests, allow than to suppose not only that Freud omitted to acknowledge the Plato’s theoretical genealogy of “the Via Regia to the unconscious”, but also the (...) possibility that the Republic constituted a tacit source of inspiration for the composition of The Interpretations of dreams. -/- Muovendo dal richiamo al «detto di Platone» inserito nella penultima pagina della prima edizione de "L’interpretazione dei sogni" di Freud (1899), vengono preliminarmente esposte le convergenze tra la concezione del sogno di Platone esposta ne "La Repubblica" e le intuizioni poste alla base dell’edificio freudiano. Alla luce delle fonti testuali citate e utilizzate da Freud, e dei suoi interessi, viene poi avanzata l’ipotesi che egli non soltanto abbia omesso di riconoscere la genealogia teoretica platonica della «via regia che porta alla conoscenza dell’inconscio» (p. 282), ma che l’antico dialogo abbia potuto rappresentare una fonte tacita di ispirazione per la composizione de "L’interpretazione dei sogni". (shrink)
In the Philebus, Plato claims that there exists a natural state of organic harmony in which a living organism is neither restored nor depleted. In contrast to many scholars, I argue that this natural state of organic stability differs from a neutral state between pleasure and pain that Plato also discusses in the dialogue: the natural is without any changes to the organism, the neutral is merely without the perception of these changes. I contend that Plato considers the natural state (...) to be unobtainable by human beings, who can only achieve its closest approximation, namely, the neutral state. (shrink)
The paper aims to show that ανoια is the general term for the diseases of the soul, and that μανία and αμαϑία are not necessarily two distinct species but two levels of the same disease: ignorance signifies the cognitive state, whereas madness indicates both a cognitive state and a specific phenomenal character. Plato's other remarks on psychic ailments can be incorporated into this account. The result can also be accommodated to the general theory of the soul–body relationship in the dialogue. (...) Incarnated souls cannot work without the corresponding activity of the body, even if this does not rule out the possibility for the soul to exist in a discarnate state. (shrink)
Il y a dans les Dialogues de Platon une idée scénique de l’âme. Le texte lui-même peut-être lu comme une représentation, comme une mise en scène de la pensée qui se déploie dans l’âme. L’âme, à son tour, contient une population psychique avec de nombreux habitants. Ces habitants de l’âme parlent entre eux, et ce sont ces discours qui font (sont) l’âme, parce que la psyche pour Platon a une nature linguistique, est un tissu de mots et d’images. Dans le (...) Philèbe l’âme est assimilée à un biblion, et les textes de Platon, tout autant que les textes du théâtre, sont des biblia. L’écriture des logoi sokratikoi a pour but la mémoire (mneme) et la conservation (sōtēría) de l’enseignement du maître pendant son absence. Cependant – comme dit le Phédre – le discours du maître doit s’écrire dans l’âme des disciples, et tous les discours – comme dit le Protagoras – se gardent uniquement dans l’âme des hommes. L’âme est un texte qui garde les discours et les images, et dans l’âme, comme sur une scène, on parle avec les autres ou avec soi même. L’idée de l’âme comme une scène est fondée aussi bien sur la définition de la pensée qui – dans le Théétète – est «une discussion que l’âme elle-même poursuit tout du long avec elle-même». (shrink)
It is arguable that some of the most profound and perennial issues and problems of philosophy concerning the nature of human agency, the role of reason and knowledge in such agency and the moral status and place of responsibility in human action and conduct receive their sharpest definition in Plato's specific discussion in the Republic of the human value of physical activities. From this viewpoint alone, Plato's exploration of this issue might be considered a locus classicus in the philosophy of (...) sport. Indeed, it is in this place that Plato offers a highly distinctive account of the value of physical education in terms of its vital contribution to the development of a part of the soul that he characterises in terms of ?spirit?, ?energy? and/or ?initiative?. Drawing on more recent work in ethics and philosophy of action, this paper sets out to revisit and evaluate Plato's argument. While concluding that Plato's case ultimately flounders on fundamental uncertainty regarding the logical role of spirit in the explanation of agency, the paper concludes that there is much to be learned ? in the philosophy of sport and elsewhere ? from the instructive failures of Plato's argument. (shrink)
Simmias' famous epiphenomenalist analogy of the soul-body relation to the harmony and strings of a lyre leads to Socrates' initial refutation and subsequent prolonged defense of soul's immortality in the Phaedo. It also yields in late antiquity significant treatments of the harmony relation by Plotinus and Porphyry that present a larger context for viewing the nature of harmony in the soul and the psycho-somatic compound. But perhaps the most detailed treatment of the musical analogy, and certainly the most radical, is (...) to be found in Gregory of Nyssa's De Hominis Opificio. Gregory's remarkable development of the musical instrument analogy provides a multi-layered analysis of interrelated causality on the mechanistic, physiological, psycho-somatic and intellectual/spiritual planes. Gregory not only sees mind/soul and body as radically equal and yet multilayered in their mutual development; he also refuses to restrict mind to the brain alone, for all physiological systems, in his view, are holistically and individually expressive of mind's activity. Gregory's theory is more innovative than Augustine's view of the mind/soul-body relation and, in my view, the most important account between Plotinus and Aquinas. (shrink)
How does God think? How, ideally, does a human mind function? Must a gap remain between these two paradigms of rationality? Such questions exercised the greatest ancient philosophers, including those featured in this book: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics and Plotinus. This volume encompasses a series of studies by leading scholars, revisiting key moments of ancient philosophy and highlighting the theme of human and divine rationality in both moral and cognitive psychology. It is a tribute to Professor A. A. Long, (...) and reflects multiple themes of his own work. (shrink)
It is well-known that Plato’s Republic introduces a tripartition of the incarnate human soul; yet quite how to interpret his ‘parts’ 1 is debated. On a strong reading, they are psychological subjects – much as we take ourselves to be, but homunculi, not homines. On a weak reading, they are something less paradoxical: aspects of ourselves, identified by characteristic mental states, dispositional and occurrent, that tend to come into conflict. Christopher Bobonich supports the strong reading in his Plato’s Utopia Recast: (...) His Later Ethics and Politics. In his The Brute Within: Appetitive Desire in Plato and Aristotle, Hendrik Lorenz agrees with Bobonich that the parts of the soul are ‘the subjects or bearers of psychological states’. Any ascription to my Mental Conflict of the opposed, weak view needs qualification: my Plato is highly ambivalent.2 But my intention here is less to defend an earlier self – though I predict failing to escape it – than to reconsider tripartition in the Republic in the light of Bobonich’s virtuosity and Lorenz’s lucidity. They persuade me of the inexhaustibility of the text, notably within Book 4 from 436 to 439. About these pages we may indeed disagree: they find them decisive in favour of their view, as I don’t. When Socrates remarks, ‘Let us have our understanding still more precise, lest as we proceed we become involved in dispute’, he was not anticipating the dissensions of interpreters. (shrink)
The work _De spiritu_ is an important but neglected work by Aristotle. It clearly shows for the first time that Aristotle assumed a special body as the ‘instrument’ of the soul. By means of this soul/body the soul forms the visible body of plants, animals and human beings.
Psiche sets up a close-knit comparison between the psychology of Plato's Republic and Freud's psychoanalysis. Convergences and divergences are discussed in relation both to the Platonic conception of the oneiric emergence of repressed desires that prefigures the main path of Freud's subconscious, to the analysis of the psychopathologies related to these theoretical formulations and to the two diagnostic and therapeutic approaches adopted. Another crucial theme is the Platonic eros - the examination of which is also extended to the Symposium and (...) Phaedrus - taken up explicitly by Freud in relation to the concept of libido. Finally, the author also addresses the two themes - of, inter alia, a metapsychological nature - inherent to the moral dimension. -/- Psiche istituisce un confronto ravvicinato tra la psicologia della "Repubblica" di Platone e la psicoanalisi di Freud. Convergenze e divergenze vengono discusse in relazione sia alla concezione platonica dell'emersione onirica dei desideri repressi, che prefigura la via regia per l'inconscio di Freud, sia all'analisi delle psicopatologie correlate a tali impostazioni teoriche, sia ai due approcci diagnostici e terapeutici adottati. Altro tema cruciale è l'eros platonico - la cui disamina viene estesa anche al "Simposio" e al "Fedro" - ripreso esplicitamente da Freud in relazione al concetto di libido. L'autore affronta, infine, le due tematizzazioni, di natura metapsicologica e non solo, inerenti alla dimensione morale. (shrink)
In this paper I examine G. R. Carone's interpretation of the mind-body problem in late Plato, published in a recent issue of this review. Against Carone's attempt to attribute Plato with a reductionist thesis, whereby the soul can be reduced to the body, I argue that a careful reading of the Timaeus confirms that Plato held a dualist thesis, the soul consisting of an incorporeal substance which cannot be reduced to the corporeal substance the body consists of.
This paper develops a structural parallel between the maternal/feminine body in Greek mythology and the figure of the body in Plato’s Timaeus. HistoricallyPlato is often portrayed as a thinker who is concerned with the corporeal only insofar as philosophy is engaged in transcending bodily limitations. Yet the Timaeus is not engaged in producing a dualistic opposition between the intelligible and the sensible, nor is Platonic philosophy a rejection of life in favor of the perfect wisdom that comes with death. The (...) following work will suggest that the Timaeus is a dialogue deeply concerned with the question of birth and corporeality and that this concern is disclosed (and not repressed) in and through Timaeus’s evocation of the body. (shrink)
This essay explores Socrates’ argumentative strategy in the Philebus, which is a response to the view that pleasure is the good. Socrates leads his interlocutorsthrough a series of steps in order to demonstrate to them the “conditions and dispositions of soul” upon which hedonism rests. Socrates’ aim is not to refute the claim that pleasure is a good, but rather to show the dependence of the experience of pleasure on intellect and the other elements of the life of mind. In (...) this manner, Socrates is able to show the superiority of the life of mind, or philosophy, in terms that are intelligible to the pleasure-seeker. (shrink)
It has been a commonplace, embodied in philosophy curricula the world over, to think of Descartes' philosophy as he seems to present it: as a radical break with the past, as inaugurating a new philosophical problematic centred on epistemology and on a radical dualism of mind and body. In several ways, however, recent scholarship has undermined the simplicity of this picture. It has, for example, shown the considerable degree of literary artifice in Descartes' central works, and thereby brought out the (...) deceptive character of his self-presentation there. In particular, it has revealed the extent of his debts to the Neoplatonist tradition, particularly to Augustine, and of his engagement with the Scholastic commentators of his day. My aim in this paper is to push this interpretative tendency a step further, by bringing out Descartes' indebtedness to Plato. I begin by offering some reminders of the broadly Platonic nature of Cartesian dualism. I then argue that he provides clues sufficient for—and designed to encourage—reading the Meditations on First Philosophy in the light of distinctively Platonic doctrines, and in particular, as a rewriting of the Platonic allegory of the cave for modern times. It will further be argued that some puzzles about the Discourse on the Method can be resolved by recognizing that Descartes there presents himself as a Socratic enquirer after truth. I conclude by drawing attention to some practical benefits that flow from recognizing these linkages. (shrink)
Ancient intellectuals from Gorgias of Leontini forward employed the notion of 'imprinting' the soul in order to describe various sorts of psychic affections. The dominant context for this scientific language remains juridical both in 4th Century philosophy (e.g. Plato's description of the soul being whipped in the Gorgias) and in religion (e.g. the soul's imprint as keyword in "Orphic" Gold Tablets). This tradition continues in the fragments of Plutarch's de Libidine et Aegritudine, although without proper attention to its origins in (...) the Sophists. (shrink)