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  • Cited by 2
  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: March 2012

11 - Pictures and passions in the Timaeus and Philebus

from Part III - After the Republic


The chapter argues that Plato's psychology represents our motivations as themselves person-like with the aim of showing us the lineaments of philosophic virtue and of the self-transformation required for its development. It examines the way one ordinarily uses personification to think about our own motivations. The chapter highlights that Plato uses personification in a similar way with respect to the development of philosophic virtue. Parallels between Plato's psychology and the theology of the Republic suggest that one ought to regard personification as a likely story told for its effects on our self-conceptions and behavior. Finally, it is important to acknowledge that personification is a feature not only of Plato's middle-period but also of his late psychology, where it appears to conflict with two significant theoretical developments in the psychology: the denial of belief to appetite, and the recognition of the requirements for unity of the experiencing subject.