2008. február 7.

Hellenic Colloquia

at CEU

cordially invite you
to the next lecture of the
3rd series of the



Jennifer Whiting
(Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto)

Psychic Contingency in Plato: Rethinking the Tripartite Soul

Time: Tuesday, February 12, 16:30
Location: CEU, Room 412, Department of Philosophy, Zrinyi u. 14,

Abstract: Commentators often assume (a) that the argument of Platos
Republic requires that each human being has exactly the three and only
the three parts of soul required by the dialogues state-soul analogy and
(b) that this tripartition (also found in the Phaedrus and Timaeus)
reflects a change of mind on Platos part from the Phaedo (where
appetites and emotions that the Republic ascribes to the lower parts of
soul are ascribed instead to the body and the soul itself is viewed as
simple). I challenge both assumptions, first showing how Socrates (the
character in the Republic) seems to take his argument there to allow for
contingency in how many parts, and exactly which parts, any given soul
has. His view seems to be that the well-ordered souls described in Book
IV are unified in a way such that they do not have the sort of genuinely
distinct parts that the corrupt souls described in Books VIII and IX do.
If this is right, then we can see how the views Socrates expresses in
the Phaedo may be compatible with those he expresses in the Republic:
for he may be talking in the Phaedo primarily about what he takes his
own, philosophically cultivated soul to be like, while talking in the
Republic primarily about what he takes the souls of the many to be like.

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