How Smart is the Appetitive Part of the Soul?

In Noburu Notomi & Luc Brisson (eds.), The Selected Papers of the Ninth Symposium Platonicum. 53757 Sankt Augustin, Germany: Academia Verlag. pp. 204-208 (2013)

Mehmet M. Erginel
Eastern Mediterranean University
In recent years there has been a surge of interest among Plato scholars in the tripartition of the soul in the Republic. Particular attention has been devoted to the nature of the soul-parts, and whether or not each part is agent-like. A key element in this debate has been the question whether or not the non-rational parts have access to significant cognitive and conceptual resources. That this is the case, and that appetite cannot be entirely unreasoning, is the widely accepted view, shared by Annas, Bobonich, Cooper, and Irwin among others. A number of scholars – most notably Lorenz and Stalley – have recently criticized this reading of Plato’s tripartition, and argued that the text does not in fact support such a reading. I believe that the weight of evidence remains in favour of the mainstream view, despite the interesting objections raised by the critics. I argue that these critics fail to appreciate the variety of ways in which the non-rational parts employ cognitive and conceptual resources. I also explain that their alternative interpretations of the relevant passages are unconvincing.
Keywords plato  tripartite soul  ethics  moral psychology
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