Self‐Motion and Cognition: Plato's Theory of the Soul

Southern Journal of Philosophy 59 (4):523-544 (2021)
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Abstract

I argue that Plato believes that the soul must be both the principle of motion and the subject of cognition because it moves things specifically by means of its thoughts. I begin by arguing that the soul moves things by means of such acts as examination and deliberation, and that this view is developed in response to Anaxagoras. I then argue that every kind of soul enjoys a kind of cognition, with even plant souls having a form of Aristotelian discrimination (krisis), and that there is therefore no completely unintelligent, evil soul in the cosmos that can explain disorderly motions; as a result, the soul is not the principle of all motion but only motion in the cosmos after it has been ordered by the Demiurge.

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Douglas R. Campbell
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

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