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Joshua Wilburn
Wayne State University
  1. Moral Education and the Spirited Part of the Soul in Plato's Laws.Joshua Wilburn - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 45:63.
    In this paper I argue that although the Republic’s tripartite theory of the soul is not explicitly endorsed in Plato’s late work the Laws, it continues to inform the Laws from beneath the surface of the text. In particular, I argue that the spirited part of the soul continues to play a major role in moral education and development in the Laws (as it did in earlier texts, where it is characterized as reason’s psychic ‘ally’). I examine the programs of (...)
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  2. Akrasia and Self-Rule in Plato's Laws.Joshua Wilburn - 2012 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 43:25-53.
    In this paper I challenge the commonly held view that Plato acknowledges and accepts the possibility of akrasia in the Laws. I offer a new interpretation of the image of the divine puppet in Book 1 - the passage often read as an account of akratic action -- and I show that it is not intended as an illustration of akrasia at all. Rather, it provides the moral psychological background for the text by illustrating a broader notion of self-rule as (...)
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  3. Plato's Protagoras the Hedonist.Joshua Wilburn - 2016 - Classical Philology 113 (3):224-244.
    I advocate an ad hominem reading of the hedonism that appears in the final argument of the Protagoras. I that attribute hedonism both to the Many and to Protagoras, but my focus is on the latter. I argue that the Protagoras in various ways reflects Plato’s view that the sophist is an inevitable advocate for, and himself implicitly inclined toward, hedonism, and I show that the text aims through that characterization to undermine Protagoras’ status as an educator. One of my (...)
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  4. The Problem of Alcibiades: Plato on Moral Education and the Many.Joshua Wilburn - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 49:1-36.
    Socrates’ admirers and successors in the fourth century and beyond often felt the need to explain Socrates’ reputed relationship with Alcibiades, and to defend Socrates against the charge that he was a corrupting influence on Alcibiades. In this paper I examine Plato’s response to this problem and have two main aims. First, I will argue in Section 2 that (...)
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  5. Is Appetite Ever 'Persuaded'?: An Alternative Reading of Republic 554c-D.Joshua Wilburn - 2014 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 31 (3).
    Republic 554c-d—where the oligarchic individual is said to restrain his appetites ‘by compulsion and fear’, rather than by persuasion or by taming them with speech—is often cited as evidence that the appetitive part of the soul can be ‘persuaded’. I argue that the passage does not actually support that conclusion. I offer an alternative reading and suggest that appetite, on Plato’s view, is not open to persuasion.
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  6. Tripartition and the Causes of Criminal Behavior in Laws Ix.Joshua Wilburn - 2013 - Ancient Philosophy 33 (1):111-134.
    In this paper I argue that, despite what many commentators have concluded, Plato’s division of three psychological “causes” of criminal behavior at Laws 863b1-e3 (anger, pleasure, and ignorance) is not intended to invoke the tripartite theory of the soul. I suggest that the focus of the division is on an alternative moral psychological picture, one which is better suited to the criminal penology of Book 9. However, I argue, this alternative picture is nonetheless consistent with tripartite theory.
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