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Title:Self and body in Plato: Phaedo, Republic, Timaeus
Author(s):Karatzoglou, Orestis
Director of Research:Sanders, Kirk
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Sanders, Kirk
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Augoustakis, Antony; Tzanetou, Angeliki; Leon Ruiz, Daniel
Department / Program:Classics
Discipline:Classical Philology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Plato, Soul, Body, Self, Phaedo, Republic, Timaeus, Personal Identity
Abstract:This dissertation examines the role of the body in the fashioning of the self in Plato’s Phaedo, Republic, and Timaeus. Even though it is usually argued that for Plato the real self is simply the soul and that the body is merely a hindrance toward realization of the ideal self, my analysis of these dialogues shows that the body may be assigned a constructive rather than obstructive role in the attempt to become a unified self. The Phaedo shows awareness that the indeterminacy inherent in the body infects the validity of any scientific argument but also provides the subject of inquiry with the ability to actualize, to the extent possible, the ideal self. The Republic locates bodily desires and needs in the soul, which is conceived of as a tripartite entity that enjoys at least minimum intelligible unity. Admittedly, achievement of maximal unity is dependent upon successful training of the rational part of the soul, as envisaged in the curriculum of Book 7. There is reason to suppose, however, that the earlier curriculum of Books 2 and 3, which aims at instilling a pre-reflectively virtuous disposition in the lower parts of the soul, is a prerequisite for the advanced studies of Republic 7. The Timaeus is most generous in the influence it accords the body. The world soul is fashioned out of Being, Sameness, and Difference: coupled with Aristotle’s observations, an examination of the Sophist and the Parmenides reveals that Difference is to be identified with the Timaeus’ third ontological principle, namely the Receptacle. Being thought of as space or matter, the Receptacle thus emerges as the quasi-material component that provides each individual soul with the alloplastic capacity for psychological growth and alteration.
Issue Date:2019-03-12
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Orestis Karatzoglou
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-08-23
Date Deposited:2019-05

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