Ancient soul in action : rationality and question of Unity in Homer, Socrates and Plato

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Title: Ancient soul in action : rationality and question of Unity in Homer, Socrates and Plato
Author: Holappa, Merja
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic and Political Studies
Date: 2010-03-18
Language: en
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Social and Moral Philosophy
Käytännöllinen filosofia
Praktisk filosofi
Abstract: In my master’s thesis, I examine rational action and the possibility of irrationality. I begin by exploring how the question of unity of soul and action in raised first time in the Homeric discussion. In Socratic philosophy, the rationality and unity of soul and action is a necessary condition for achieving piece of mind and prosperity of life as a continuum. According to the prevalent interpretation, Socrates denies the possibility of akrasia, on the ground that he sees all the desires that can lead to action as rational. Akrasia, that is a Greek term for ‘weakness of will’ or ‘moral weakness’ is a form of irrationality, where an agent acts consciously, voluntarily, or intentionally against that which he considers the best option overall. Socrates argues that a person always according to his knowledge of the good and the desire for the good is an only motivational force for action. This Socratic view has also been interpreted as a denial of the possibility of akrasia. The Platonic philosophy of soul is seen diverging from the Socratic one in that he argues for the possibility of akrasia. According to this interpretation, Plato divides the soul into three elements, or parts as they as often called which each has its own objects of desires as well as reasoning ability, and therefore the parts can be causes of action without cooperating with the other parts. Akrasia, in this reading, would be possibly, when the less rational desires of the lower parts can outweigh the more rational considerations of the reasoning part. The different views on desires are most often argued as the greatest difference between the Socratic and Platonic accounts on akrasia. In my thesis, I argue against the prevalent readings of the theories of Plato and Socrates. As I see it, their views on akrasia do not differ to the extent that the common interpretation supposes.
Description: Endast sammandrag. Inbundna avhandlingar kan sökas i Helka-databasen ( Elektroniska kopior av avhandlingar finns antingen öppet på nätet eller endast tillgängliga i bibliotekets avhandlingsterminaler.Only abstract. Paper copies of master’s theses are listed in the Helka database ( Electronic copies of master’s theses are either available as open access or only on thesis terminals in the Helsinki University Library.Vain tiivistelmä. Sidottujen gradujen saatavuuden voit tarkistaa Helka-tietokannasta ( Digitaaliset gradut voivat olla luettavissa avoimesti verkossa tai rajoitetusti kirjaston opinnäytekioskeilla.
Subject: Sokrates
rationality – action – soul
irrationality – akrasia
philosophy – antiquity
rationaalisuus - toiminta - sielu

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