17 November 2020 - 3.00 pm

Eduardo Saldaña (Geneva)

On line seminar

Abstract

In Republic Books 2–3, Plato’s Socrates reflects on the nature of an early education in ethics, consisting of both musical and physical training. A proper education both prepares the soul for the acquisition of laws, correct judgements, etc. and furnishes the soul with an accurate ethical discriminatory faculty, in the sense that it will perceptually know genuine instances of excellences and vices. The aim of this paper is to gain a better understanding of Plato’s views about this phenomenon in the Republic, namely the acquisition and workings of an accurate ethical discriminatory faculty. There are two basic ideas. First, perceptual contact with excellences and vices can produce the psychic motions corresponding to them in the perceiving subject; for instance, a young soul that perceives temperate action undergoes the psychic motion corresponding to temperance. Second, the soul’s order or constitution determines the way it experiences the motions corresponding to actions; and those actions with motions experienced as pleasant will be regarded as excellences whereas actions with motions experienced as distressing will be regarded as vices.