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  • Cited by 4
  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: March 2012

14 - Galen and the tripartite soul

from Part IV - Parts of the soul in the Platonic tradition

Summary

Radical psychic contingency involves not just the moderate idea, present in Republic VIII-IX, that it is contingent how the parts of any given human soul are related to one another, but involves, more radical ideas: first, that with respect to at least some of the so-called parts, it is contingent what sort of internal structure each actually has in any given individual; and second, that it is contingent how many genuine parts actually belong to any given individual soul. Embracing contingency would allow Plato, to ventriloquize about differently constituted souls in different dialogues and even in different passages within the same dialogue. The ideal epithumêtikon seems to be something like a collection of the sort of necessary appetites that Socrates contrasts with unnecessary ones. The thumoeidos will rule the soul of a timocratic character, while the epithumêtikon will rule the souls of oligarchic, democratic, and tyrannical characters.

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