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According to Lorenz, this does not involve any recognition by appetite that going to the shop is a means to smoking and the only desire that the Appetitive part has and acts upon is the desire to smoke; in particular, it has no desire to go to the shop. Does this succeed in explaining akratic action without attributing any means-end items to the Appetitive part? First, with respect to the informational side of the story, such representations are not found anywhere in the Republic , but only, perhaps, in the Philebus and the Timaeus.

However, it is questionable, even there, how ubiquitous their role is and how specific their action guidance is. Second, the example tacitly depends on there being a match between the memory sequence and the current options open to me. But if it was raining in the memory sequence and is not now, do I still go?

If I know that the shop is closed now, why would I refrain from going if my Appetitive part does not recognize that it is going to the store as a means to get cigarettes? Third, the example tacitly relies on there being only one memory sequence that is available.

2. Ethics, Part One: What Justice Is

But I also have a memory sequence of flying across country and buying cigarettes in the airport gift shop. Why do I not take that sequence instead of going to the store around the corner? My Appetitive part should not be concerned with considerations of efficiency because on this view it lacks all concepts of means and does not see either action sequence as a means to getting cigarettes.

I learn, for example, that the store is about to close. I could make it there by driving, but I have never driven there. I realize that by the time I walk there, the store will be closed. But note this is precisely a case of instrumental reasoning and Lorenz cannot avail himself of the principle without allowing the Appetitive part to engage in instrumental reasoning after all. But in any case, this principle is modified at Gorg. In sum, I think that we have seen good reason to think that the Appetitive part of the soul can have means-end beliefs and desires.

Recent years have seen a lively debate over the sorts of motivations open to the Appetitive part. One issue concerns whether it has good-independent desires, that is, desires for objects that are not desired under the guise of the good. In particular, discussion has focused on whether thirst in Book 4 is such a desire. Indeed, on some accounts of thirst, it is a desire for its object i.

First, even if thirst is good-independent, this does not entail that all appetitive desires are. Second, there is convincing evidence that at least many appetitive desires aim at things insofar as they are pleasant. It and D8 flank the discussion of thirst. So we cannot see the idea that appetitive desires are good-independent as simply correcting an earlier view, but we should allow that at least many appetitive desires aim at pleasure. Our question follows on the point just discussed about means-end reasoning.

If the Appetitive part is capable of means-end reasoning, then it is capable of having some conception of an end, at least the end of an action on a particular occasion. The fact that this person commits injustices when unnoticed shows that. Whatever else may be uncertain here, it seems clear that Plato is criticizing the oligarch for not persuading or taming with reason his appetitive desires or part and that he is being unfavorably contrasted with someone who does exactly that. But since the first condition is not satisfied, nothing is asserted here about the appetites making a judgment of goodness.

Thus, Plato must have thought that such persuasion was, in some way, possible. But this just changes the topic, and the oligarch is no longer being criticized for the relation in which he stands to his Appetitive part at all. Both just before and after CD, Plato contrasts the oligarch and the virtuous person. The oligarch has bad desires because he has ignored the right education B4. Necessary desires are those that either 1 we cannot get rid of or 2 benefit us DE3. There is a natural necessity for us to seek to satisfy both E Unnecessary desires are those that a we can get rid of and b harm us or at least do us no good A His bad desires are his unnecessary desires and these aim, paradigmatically, at the unrestrained pleasures of food, sex, and drink.

Nor would just people be any better able to persuade their unnecessary desires, but their training from childhood has left them with few such desires A, compare B2-C1. What sort of persuasion, then, does the just person engage in with respect to her Appetitive part? We can, I think, make some sense of the idea of persuading a necessary desire. To begin, suppose that I learn that the bread I am about to drink is spoiled. In this case, I shall typically lose my occurrent necessary desire for it, although the necessary desire for bread remains as a disposition.

It might be that it is perceptibly evident. This is, we should note, a relatively weak form of persuasion; the necessary desire is left exactly as it was; it is only pointed out that an object that purports to satisfy it does not in fact do so. But if the parts of the soul are agent-like, the virtuous person may be able to engage in persuasion in the richer sense of persuading her Appetitive part itself. So far we have considered cases in which an occurrent necessary desire is lost, but reason can also help specify general necessary desires.

At AB the other necessary desires seem to be specified in terms of their intentional object. The intentional object of this necessary desire is not food , but something like a healthful quantity of food. This belief of the Appetitive part, along with the necessary desire, would then produce a more specific desire for the right amount of food. Plato describes a related process in Book This echoes an earlier passage about moderation in the city:. But you meet with the desires that are simple, measured, and directed by [ agontai ] calculation with the aid of understanding and true belief only in the few people who are born with the best natures and receive the best education.

As the context makes clear, Plato, with respect to the Appetitive part, has in mind the pleasures of drink, sex, and especially food compare with A1-B4. So we can take this passage to apply to eating to the point of health. Reason here is clearly intervening in order to shift the objects of the appetitive desire from what they would otherwise be, and this is to specify the necessary desire for eating up to the point of health.

This is persuasion about what is most pleasant, but I shall shortly consider the relation between pleasure and the good for the Appetitive part. If the foregoing analysis is right, we have seen that even necessary desires and the Appetitive part itself are open to a kind of persuasion. But before turning to the last two topics in the section, there is a point of clarification to make. In focusing on the example of the oligarch CD , it is easy to think that all persuasion takes place wholly within the context of a single decision-making episode.

Let us consider the conception of the Appetitive part that emerges from our discussion. To begin, what cognitive abilities does it need to be persuaded by the Reasoning part? First, it needs an ability to revise its beliefs in response to new information. Second, this ability would be pointless if the Appetitive part never actually revised its beliefs or if it revised them at random.

Thus, it needs some grounds for belief change, although these need not be explicit and conscious. The Republic does not provide an analysis of belief, so any answer to this question will be somewhat speculative. For our purposes, what is important is that it can, and sometimes does, revise in the direction of truth in response to the Reasoning part. On the practical side, we saw in the last section that the Appetitive part was capable of some means-end reasoning.

Being such requires some conception of oneself as temporally extended the means, the end, and the thought of them are not all simultaneous. Does the Appetitive part also have a conception of the good? Let me briefly note two issues before taking up this question. These passages do not force us to read CD literally, but the more passages we have to read away, the less plausible it is to do so. As the definition of wisdom C shows, each part of the soul has its own good. First, we might worry whether the Appetitive part is capable of developing and maintaining some grasp of a single ultimate end which is such that all other objects are chosen for its sake and it is chosen for its own sake and not for the sake of anything else.

Pleasure, of course, might still be the good for the Appetitive part even if it could not recognize this. Second, good-independent desires do not fit into such a scheme. With respect to the first worry, the Appetitive part need not have an articulate and worked-out conception of the good or be able to rank all possible options. What is important is that in the virtuous person, at any rate, it is able to get right a standard range of cases, for example, prefer true and satiable pleasures to false and insatiable ones.

Second, as we noted earlier, even thirst may not be good-independent. But in any case, the threat of further splitting is not a problem unique to this interpretation; there is no interpretation of the parts of the soul and the Principle of Contraries that I think successfully avoids the danger of splitting within the parts in all cases. The relation of priority runs in the opposite direction: x is found good because it is pleasant, x is not found pleasant because it is good. In finding x good because it is pleasant, the Appetitive part takes x as an ultimate end because it is pleasant.

Both necessary and unnecessary desires at any rate some of them aim at pleasure, so there is overlap with the admonition to that extent. But the types of pleasure that these two kinds of desire aim at are quite different: unnecessary desires aim at pleasures that are typically insatiable and false, while necessary desires aim at pleasures that are relatively satiable and true. Necessary desires, however, do benefit us and so must be directed toward satiable and true pleasures.

Gifting Information

So there would be overlap with the admonition and to that extent necessary desires are persuadable. This fits well with the two passages we have seen in which Plato claims that reason can lead desires for pleasure, including appetitive desires for pleasure, to the right sorts of objects. Such a belief should allow the Appetitive part to specify, for example, the general necessary desire for healthful eating. If the suggestion that the intended contrast case with the oligarch is the virtuous person and her relation to her Appetitive part is right, then persuasion seems possible both with respect to her necessary desires and her Appetitive part itself.

Moderation requires more than agreement among the three parts of the soul: it requires friendship among them philia , C9-D2. In a virtuous person, the Reasoning part knows and seeks not only what is best for the whole soul but what is best for each part C and leads each part to its truest and best pleasures DA2, compare with EB6. This helps to make sense of the requirement of friendship, because friendship is most likely to obtain where there is a coincidence of interests between the parties D It is plausible that in doing so they are intended to be aware of doing what is best for themselves.

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Finally, this possibility of feelings of friendship in the Appetitive part gives Plato a further interesting way to distinguish moderation from something like Aristotelian self-control enkrateia. Plato seems to think that even in good people, some unnecessary and lawless desires remain BC and perhaps some unnecessary, but lawful ones. Having friendship in the Appetitive part, along with agreement about which part should rule, would distinguish genuine Platonic moderation from a less valuable state in which it was only the case that the appetitive desires for what reason approves were stronger than those that were contrary to it.

Finally, let us consider what distinguishes the rational from the nonrational parts of the soul. For Lorenz, it is the capacity for means-end reasoning. Nor does the capacity for means-end reasoning seem to help to explain the sense in which the nonrational parts are nonrational in virtue of being subject to bad emotions in response to imitative poetry or being prone to believe the wrong side in cases of perceptual illusion.

Todd Ganson suggests two related ways in which the nonrational parts differ from the Reasoning part. Nonrational parts. But how, exactly, are we to understand measuring, calculating, and weighing? For example, does denying them to the lower parts preclude these parts from making comparative judgments? The Spirited part can judge that one thing is more shameful than another and that it is sometimes better to wait to exact vengeance. One might object that these are not genuinely quantitative judgments. But cannot the Appetitive part judge that one outcome involves making more money than another?

Although Plato does not go into details, he seems to recognize perceptual or sensible versions of some number concepts, that is, number concepts that have only sensible content.

Priority Code

If this is right, then not all forms of measuring, calculating, and weighing may be beyond the capacities of the lower parts. Similar caution is needed with respect to 2. Could Plato have really supposed that Greek soldiers on seeing hordes of Persian troops at a great distance suddenly found that their fear vanished and their Spirited parts gloated in the belief that the Persians were literally the size of ants? The problem is that once we allow that the nonrational parts literally believe what seems to be the case to perception, these beliefs can then be incorporated into nonrational motivations with unacceptably bizarre results.

Such difficulties give us good reason to avoid attributing to Plato the strong form of the thesis found in Ganson and Moss that nonrational parts of the soul cannot criticize appearances. Appetitive desire for another apple should persist through trying an entire bowl of fakes. This leaves Plato with a bizarre theory of nonrational motivations that is inconsistent with our experience of them. Mutatis mutandis , for actions that the Appetitive part originates.

Thus, it is wrong to see it as a kind of rational intuition of the value of the fine. But I do not think that we should accept the existence of such a special faculty. First, there is no textual evidence for it in the Republic. It has no place, for example, on the Divided Line. Second, in the Phaedrus and the Timaeus , Plato takes pains to make it clear that the lower parts never have any contact with the Forms; thus, they cannot have any concepts that come via Recollection.

Thus, it is reasonable to think that in the Republic also the lower parts have no concepts that come via Recollection and do not cognize Forms. But then it is very hard to see how the Spirited part could perceive the fine. It is much more reasonable to think that the Spirited part, like the lovers of sights and sounds in Book 5, to the extent that it has a conception of the fine, really has a concept that has purely sensible content.

Moss objects that honor is not a sensible property. Second, we have good evidence that Plato was not troubled by the idea that honor was a perceptual property. To begin, let us consider the original equipment of the parts. We can divide the original equipment into a practical side and a cognitive side.

On the practical side, each lower part comes equipped with self-concern. The Spirited part also has desires and emotions connected with self-assertion; the Appetitive part has desires for food, sex, drink, and money. On the cognitive side, the fundamental resource for each of the lower parts is sense-perception, broadly construed, and belief. Along with this, they have various abilities, including those of using a language and engaging in simple forms of reasoning, including means-end reasoning.

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On the practical side, the Reasoning part has both a sense of self-concern and a concern for the whole soul. It naturally loves knowledge and truth and seeks to express this love of order in its actions. On the cognitive side, it also has, in some way, sense-perception along with belief and has to a much higher degree the abilities had by the lower parts. But this is not merely a matter of degree, because the Reasoning part can use concepts that have nonsensible content, including number concepts.

The fundamental dividing line between the nonrational and the rational is that between sense-perception and nonsensible cognition. This roughly coincides, as we saw at DA, with the distinction between noncalculative and calculative thought measuring, counting, and weighing , but the coincidence is not perfect because a kind of calculation might be performed using sensible units DB3, compare with D, A, Phil.


On the other hand, it seems that engaging in the sort of discussion that leads to the accounts of the virtues in Book 4 does not require any measuring, counting, or weighing. What is necessary and sufficient for rationality on this account on the cognitive side would be engaging in some mathematical or philosophical thinking that employs, and is understood to employ, nonsensible concepts. Because this seems unsatisfactory, we might make the initial condition a necessary condition and add a success or truthfulness constraint.

But there are at least two worries about such a move. At any rate, an appropriate truthfulness constraint may not require completely true accounts. So the condition imposed will have to go beyond truth. What seems to be required here is the proper way of thinking about the things with which one is dealing: for example, the elenchus, mathematical reasoning, the method of hypothesis, or dialectic. On the practical side, what would be required is love of the knowledge of nonsensible reality enabled by the use of such concepts as well as genuine self-concern and concern for the other parts based on a more or less correct grasp of what is best for each part and for the whole soul.

Is it too demanding to be an appropriate conception of rationality? But there are textual indications that rationality may not be so widespread. It may be the case that every human soul has the potential to be rational; in most people, however, the distinctively rational capacities of their soul remain dormant D, compare with AC14 insofar as they do not receive an appropriate mathematical education.

In conclusion, I would like to discuss one implication of this conception of rationality. One common worry about our relation to our nonrational desires is that we seem to be passive with respect to them. First, they are not the product of deliberation because we do not choose them; they simply come over us.

Second, as we did not acquire them at will, we cannot rid ourselves of them at will. Fourth, as we saw earlier, our actions seem to be determined by whichever desire happens to be strongest. Plato argues that our ability to decipher truth will affect the nature of the ideal State, morality and the good life eudaimonia.

We also encounter this question in Book VII of the Republic , where Plato begins by questioning how far our nature can become enlightened. I n the allegory of the cave the prisoners are said to be captives of their own ignorance. In that allegory darkness exists in direct correlation to ignorance—as light is to truth. Light produces a liberating effect for people who attempt to live the good life. But truth at what price? There are truths that can be known in their immediacy—their essence easily intuited—but the test of truth in terms of the good life can only be attained with the passage of time.

This is why Plato argues that time is the ultimate test of truth. The scientific method requires quantifiable evidence. Philosophical truth, more often than not, requires time to flush out fallacious premises. The dialectical nature of truth-seeking, especially as this acts as the ground of the good life, is ultimately arrived at—if at all—through sustained effort. Truth, Plato tells us, is objective and serves as the ground of human reality. This, he contends, remains the case regardless of our animated rants and machinations to the contrary.

For example, this idea the analogy of light to truth was utilized during the Middle Ages in what is known as the mysticism of light. Neo-Platonism influenced Christian stained glass-making in the attention to color and the allegorical effect of the design in conveying a story.

The idea that God partakes in creation as light was a central aspect of cathedral building, especially how light transparency and height verticality , are dispersed throughout the interior of the building. To them, the fire is all the light that exists. Thus, they construe appearance as reality.

When light is immediately contrasted with darkness, as occurs in a total solar eclipse or a blackout in our own age, light is then no longer taken for granted. The dilemma, as Plato views it, is that light, because of its translucent nature, is so near us that we fail to see it. Instead, truth reveals itself to the active participant in the struggle to attain the fruits of the Good. Socrates is clear about this:. But whether true or false, my opinion is that in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort ….

T he prisoners who leave the cave face a dilemma; once they witness freedom and the warmth of the sun, they naturally want to remain free. In other words, once we come face to face with truth, it becomes difficult to concern ourselves with the banal vainglory brought on by appearances. This is why Socrates argues that after a cave dweller has left the cave and has seen the sun, he will refuse to partake in the ignorance of the prisoners who remain in the cave. At that point, the released prisoner begins to pity his fellow prisoners for living in a world of shadows.

This is one reason why truth—light in the allegory—has such a liberating effect on man. Truth has many practical benefits. This is certainly expected of parents in relation to their children, for instance. And we are to infer that any proposed changes in the policy of effecting justice in any state would have to meet the criteria of the ideal state: the Republic. Since its first appearance, the Republic has traditionally been published in ten books, probably from its having been so divided into ten "books" in its manuscript form.

In order to clarify its argument, this Note further subdivides those ten books in its discussion. Socrates' method of engaging conversations with his fellow citizens has come to be known in history as the Socratic Dialectic or the Socratic Method , and its method of pursuing a given truth is still adopted by many university and public school teachers to the present day.

It is the method that Plato adopted for the Republic and for all of his Dialogues conversations. Socrates' and Plato's method of opening a dialogue is in almost every instance to pose a question of meaning to ask for a definition of a term or terms for the sake of forming up a logical argument. For example, Socrates might ask at the outset of a dialogue: "If you claim to be an honest man, how would you define honesty?

And then Socrates might ask for examples of courageous, or virtuous, or honest behavior; or he might ask for analogues things similar to those things. Thus Socrates conversed with the young men of Athens, young men who were apparently disenchanted with their teachers whom their parents had hired and who apparently did not know as much as Socrates knew. But Socrates, who some claimed to be the wisest man, claimed to know nothing except that every person should carefully determine what he thinks he knows.

He said that the unexamined life is not worth living.