The powers of Plato's tripartite psychology

Rachana Kamtekar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


The widely-held view that the three parts of the soul have - no matter what the condition of the soul as a whole - fixed objects of desire, namely truth for the reasoning part, honor for the spirited part, and the pleasures of nutrition and reproduction for the appetitive part, is difficult to reconcile with the Republic's program for the education of the non-rational parts of the soul, and with its insistence that the virtuous person's soul is harmonious. Distinguishing between the characteristic object of a part and the natural object of a power, the paper explores the related ideas of a natural object and the power that is set over it, concluding that the natural object determines the character of the power to which it is correlated, and that in turn determines the character of the part(s) bearing the power. Depending on their power, the parts of the soul can have different objects of desire.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy
Subtitle of host publicationVolume XXIV, 2008
EditorsGary M. Gurtler, John J. Cleary, John J. Cleary
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9789004177413
StatePublished - 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy
ISSN (Print)1059-986X

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Classics
  • Philosophy


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