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Author: OLIVIER RENAUT

This paper aims to offer a way of characterizing Plato’s dualism through his use of the intermediate {metaxu). There are three distinct uses of the metaxu : a) as an interval between two limits, b) as a median position between two extremes, and c) as a step towards a distinct and positive pole. The intermediate is that according to which the value of an interval or of an opposition can be justified as such, in order to have a better intelligibility of the realm of becoming.

In: Méthexis
In: Plato and the Power of Images
In: Les philosophes face au vice, de Socrate à Augustin
In: Plato and the Power of Images
In: Les philosophes face au vice, de Socrate à Augustin
Author: Olivier Renaut

Abstract

Taking Timaeus 42a-b and 69c-72e as a starting point, this paper claims that emotions are rational in Plato only in a derivative sense. First, what we call “emotions” are, in the Timaeus, a complex state not only of “mind”, but of the compound “body and soul”, or, rather of the “incarnate soul”; in this sense, they are non-rational for they derive from necessity. Second, in the framework of a psycho-physiological account, emotions are, prima facie, irrational affections, insofar as they may prevent reason from working properly. Third, it is true, however, that there are some emotions that actually help the reason to command, but the cognitive dimension that is commonly found within emotions comes from a distinct and separate power, δόξα, that makes these emotions display a kind of derivative “rationality”. With such a psycho-physiological explanation, the Timaeus can better explain how to rationalize our actions and ways of being through these intermediate states, by bypassing the apparently natural process that goes from sense-perception to what is found pleasant or painful and by giving these emotions their proper (though extrinsic) object of value.

In: Emotions in Plato
In: Emotions in Plato
In: Emotions in Plato
In: Emotions in Plato
Emotions (pathè) such as anger, fear, shame, and envy, but also pity, wonder, love and friendship have long been underestimated in Plato’s philosophy. The aim of Emotions in Plato is to provide a consistent account of the role of emotions in Plato’s psychology, epistemology, ethics and political theory. The volume focuses on three main issues: taxonomy of emotions, their epistemic status, and their relevance for the ethical and political theory and practice. This volume, which is the first edited volume entirely dedicated to emotions in Plato’s philosophy, shows how Plato, in many aspects, was positively interested in these affective states in order to support the rule of reason.

"Emotions in Plato is a rich and illuminating book, which will probably make not a few readers change their view of Plato’s attitude to emotions."
-Margalit Finkelberg, Tel Aviv University, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2021.10.16