Plato, Souls, and Motions
AuthorPrince, Brian D.
This paper was submitted by the author prior to final official version. For official version please see http://hdl.handle.net/1911/70396
Plato’s late works contain an unexpectedly consistent treatment of the physics and metaphysics of souls. In the course of showing this, I argue that: (1) the middle period dialogues Phaedo and Republic assume, but do not mention, a Form of Soul; (2) the Timaeus contains a physical theory according to which all changes of every kind are forms of spatial motion; (3) Plato’s view of souls as self-movers is identifiable in more of his late dialogues than is usually recognized (namely, in the Statesman as well as in the Phaedrus, Timaeus, and Laws); (4) in the definition of souls as self-movers, “motion” should be read as “spatial motion” rather than “change” in general, and (5) neither the Phaedrus nor the Timaeus contains the claim that human souls are immortal, while both dialogues contain a concept of “soul-stuff,” a material from which individual souls are manufactured.