Plato and the Divided Self

Plato and the Divided Self

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Plato's account of the tripartite soul is a memorable feature of dialogues like the Republic, Phaedrus and Timaeus: it is one of his most famous and influential yet least understood theories. It presents human nature as both essentially multiple and diverse - and yet somehow also one - divided into a fully human 'rational' part, a lion-like 'spirited part' and an 'appetitive' part likened to a many-headed beast. How these parts interact, how exactly each shapes our agency and how they are affected by phenomena like eros and education is complicated and controversial. The essays in this book investigate how the theory evolves over the whole of Plato's work, including the Republic, Phaedrus and Timaeus, and how it was developed further by important Platonists such as Galen, Plutarch and Plotinus. They will be of interest to a wide audience in philosophy and more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1139216023
  • 9781139216029

Review quote

'This volume represents an invaluable contribution to the field of Platonic moral psychology. The essays it contains are filled with fresh ideas, insights, and challenges, and they are sure to stimulate new debates in the ongoing scholarly discussion of Plato's views on the soul.' Joshua Wilburn, Philosophy in Reviewshow more

Table of contents

Acknowledgements and notes; Editors' introduction Rachel Barney, Tad Brennan and Charles Brittain; Part I. Transitions to Tripartition: 1. Enkrateia and the partition of the soul in the Gorgias Louis-Andre Dorion; 2. From the Phaedo to the Republic: philosophers, non-philosophers, and the possibility of virtue Iakovos Vasiliou; 3. The soul as a one and a many: Republic 436a8-439d9 Eric Brown; Part II. Moral Psychology and the Parts of the Soul: 4. Eros before and after tripartition Frisbee Sheffield; 5. Speaking with the same voice as reason: personification in Plato's psychology Rachana Kamtekar; 6. Psychic contingency in the Republic Jennifer Whiting; 7. Curbing one's appetites in Plato's Republic James Wilberding; 8. The nature and object of the spirited part of the soul Tad Brennan; 9. How to see an unencrusted soul: Republic X 611b-612a Raphael Woolf; Part III. Developments in Late Plato: 10. Pictures and passions in the Philebus and Timaeus Jessica Moss; 11. The cognition of appetite in Plato's Timaeus Hendrik Lorenz; 12. Soul and state in Plato's laws Luc Brisson; Part IV. Parts of Soul in the Platonic Tradition: 13. Plutarch on the division of the soul Jan Opsomer; 14. Galen and the tripartite soul Mark Schiefsky; 15. Plotinus and Plato on soul and action Eyjolfur K. more

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