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Unity and complexity in Plato's conception of the soul

Bourlogianni, Xanthippi (2008) Unity and complexity in Plato's conception of the soul. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



In this thesis I examine Plato's conception of the soul in the Republic. I attempt to show that Plato in the Republic regards the human soul as something unitary and that the unity the human soul possesses is compatible with the complexity and plurality that the soul displays. I wish to argue that the nature and the unity of the soul, which is expressed by the fact that the soul desires the good as the whole, is not adequately revealed in the arguments of the division of the soul in Book 4 of the Republic. In Book 4 the reader is presented with a divided soul that is characterized by internal conflict. I suggest that one would achieve better understanding of the unity of the soul and its rational nature if one followed the 'longer road' that Socrates recommends in Republic Book 6. The 'longer road', which involves a better methodology, would also provide one with more adequate understanding of the relation between the parts of the soul and the relationship between the parts and the whole. I suggest that a proper understanding of the nature of the soul as a unity and a whole involves the assumption that one part is not in essential opposition to the other parts and the whole, as it appeared to be the case in Book 4. Consequently radically separate parts do not need to be accepted in the soul.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2008
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:31

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