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Philosophy 224. Emergence of the Concept Part 1. Reading Quiz. Which of the following is not a part of the soul as characterized by Socrates in Plato’s Republic ? Spirit Appetite Rational Sensual. Who is Plato?.

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philosophy 224

Philosophy 224

Emergence of the Concept

Part 1

reading quiz
Reading Quiz
  • Which of the following is not a part of the soul as characterized by Socrates in Plato’s Republic?
    • Spirit
    • Appetite
    • Rational
    • Sensual
who is plato
Who is Plato?
  • Plato (born 429 BCE, died in 347) was from an old, aristocratic family in Athens.
  • As a young man, Plato was interested in philosophy and politics. He was a friend and companion of Socrates. After the death of Socrates, he fled Athens.
  • Around 385 BCE, he founded his school, the Academy, which many people call the first university. It lasted until 529 CE. He taught at the Academy, with a few interruptions, until his death.
who is socrates
Who is Socrates?
  • Socrates (born ~470 BCE, died 399) was a tradesperson by birth.
  • He lived at the time of the peak of Athenian power and was an adult during the Pelopenesian war, in which he served with distinction.
  • He left no writings and it is therefore difficult to discern his actual philosophical positions. Keep in mind that when we are reading Plato, Socrates is just a character in a dialogue.
plato s work
Plato’s Work
  • Plato’s philosophical project is available to us primarily through a series of dialogues.
  • The dialogues pose us a particular problem of interpretation. They are very tightly constructed dramatic presentations of various philosophical issues. Though the philosophical content is at the heart of these dialogues, it is not a simple matter to separate the dramatic elements from the philosophical.
the phaedo
The Phaedo
  • The dialogue is set during the last days of Socrates’s life, while he is awaiting execution.
  • Given the context, it is not surprising that the conversation that takes place between Socrates, Phaedo, Simias and Cebes concerns death.
  • Our selection is from the end of the dialogue. Plato has provided an argument for the immortality of the soul. When we join the conversation is is cashing out the implications of his claims.
plato the dualist
Plato the Dualist
  • Plato was committed to a dualistic metaphysics.
  • There are two realms or regions of being: the visible and the invisible.
  • The body belongs to the visible realm, and is subject to the principle of decay which characterizes this realm in general.
  • The soul, on the other hand, is a member of the invisible realm, and can upon death, join in communion with the gods.
the body as an obstacle
The Body as an Obstacle
  • However, the body can get in the way of this ascent if it is allowed to rule.
  • The soul, “bewitched by physical desires and pleasures to the point at which nothing seems to exist for it but the physical” (2c2) can be weighed down by the body and prevented from entering the invisible realm.
philosophy is the cure
Philosophy is the Cure
  • What can prevent this? PHILOSOPHY!
  • Philosophy pays attention to the divine part in us, directing the soul away from the body, and focusing it on what is truly real (3c2).
the phaedrus
The Phaedrus
  • The Phaedrus is set earlier than the Phaedo and the subject matter is much different. The two major themes of this dialogue are love and language.
  • Our selection comes from the discussion of love. In order to show that love is a kind of madness sent by the gods, Socrates insists that the structure of the soul must be considered. What results is a psychology of love.
winged horses
Winged Horses?
  • Assuming the soul’s immortality, Socrates proposes an analogy to help articulate the structure in question.
  • The analogy is to a divine chariot, pulled by a mismatched set of horses, one beautiful and good, one ugly and bad.
  • Though they are mismatched, they can work together, pursuing good ends, and when they do, the soul a s a whole is good.
  • When they don’t, suffering and depravity result.
the republic
The Republic
  • The Republic is Plato’s masterwork.
  • It’s nominal subject matter is the nature of justice, but it addresses almost every philosophical topic then recognized and opened up whole new fields of philosophical research.
  • Our selection is taken from a section of the dialogue in which Socrates, in search of a definition of justice, proposes that we seek justice in an individual soul.
the tri partite soul
The Tri-partite Soul
  • This effort is part of an analogy. The soul, he suggests, is like a city. If we can find justice in the soul, we should be able to analogously locate it in the city.
  • He begins the section by noting that our motivations are sometimes at conflict.
  • That has to mean, that our soul (our psyche) is internally divided.
  • The initial division he proposes is between our appetites and our reason.
but that s only 2 parts
But that’s only 2 parts.
  • The question arises whether our emotions are to be located in one of these two parts, or whether they amount to a third part.
  • The conclusion is that they (what Plato calls the spirited element) are indeed their own part.
  • Thus, the soul is a tri-partite structure.
who s in charge
Who’s in charge?
  • The issue then becomes: how are these parts organized?
  • As the other selections from Plato should suggest, the soul is well organized when reason rules. The role of spirit is to aid reason in keeping the appetites in place.