• Amity
    289
    If someone lacks willpower, does it mean they are weak-willed, have no self control or are they simply physically tired or emotionally drained ? All of the above ?

    When we decide to do something and it fails, how harshly do we judge ourselves?
    I know what I should do to improve my wellbeing, but...what is it that sometimes stops me ?

    From: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akrasia

    ' Akrasia (/əˈkreɪziə/; Greek ἀκρασία, "lacking command"), occasionally transliterated as acrasia or Anglicised as acrasy or acracy, is described as a lack of self-control or the state of acting against one's better judgment.[1] The adjectival form is "akratic".

    The problem goes back at least as far as Plato. In Plato's Protagoras Socrates asks precisely how it is possible that, if one judges action A to be the best course of action, one would do anything other than A?

    In the dialogue Protagoras, Socrates attests that akrasia does not exist, claiming "No one goes willingly toward the bad" (358d). If a person examines a situation and decides to act in the way he determines to be best, he will pursue this action, as the best course is also the good course, i.e. man's natural goal. An all-things-considered assessment of the situation will bring full knowledge of a decision's outcome and worth linked to well-developed principles of the good. A person, according to Socrates, never chooses to act poorly or against his better judgment; and, therefore, actions that go against what is best are simply a product of being ignorant of facts or knowledge of what is best or good.'

    '...Aristotle reasons that akrasia occurs as a result of opinion. Opinion is formulated mentally in a way that may or may not imitate truth, while appetites are merely desires of the body.'

    I don't know how accurately this wiki article reflects the classical approach to willpower, or the lack of.

    I would be interested to hear more about this. Some theory and a bit of practice.
    How to make a success of any New Year's Resolutions....how does willpower work ?
    Do we need to be charged up, or what ?
  • Tzeentch
    250
    In my understanding Plato claims "all men desire the Good", however they may be wrong in regard to what is Good. This also holds close relation to the what part of our being rules the others (reason, desire and spirit), which may cause us to develop a wrong understanding of what is Good. In the context of your question I would elaborate as follows:

    It is reason that wants to stop smoking as a New Year's Resolution, because smoking is bad for your health, it costs money, it makes you smell etc. Reason therefore states that to stop smoking is Good. However, if reason isn't in control of the other to parts of our nature, it is a matter of time until desire or spirit (emotion) takes over and we start smoking again. Maybe because we crave the feeling of smoking (desire) or because we try to forget our wordly woes (spirit). These parts of our nature will therefore try to convince us that to start smoking again is actually Good, and if reason isn't firmly in control, they will eventually prevail.

    So willpower seems to hold a close relation to reason and the degree to which it is able to control the other parts of our nature.
  • Amity
    289
    my understanding Plato claims "all men desire the Good", however they may be wrong in regard to what is Good. This also holds close relation to the what part of our being rules the others (reason, desire and spirit), which may cause us to develop a wrong understanding of what is GoodTzeentch

    Thanks for this and your practical elaboration. Real life examples help.

    [ An aside: As someone who has started but not finished Plato's Republic, I understand that there are different translations and interpretations of his work.
    May I ask if you have a favourite translator and have you read any of the commentaries ? ]

    I have to say I was surprised to read that Socrates, in the play, denies the existence of weakness of will.
    I will have to read Protagorus to examine the context.
    However, from this SEP article:
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/weakness-will/

    '''No one,” he declared, “who either knows or believes that there is another possible course of action, better than the one he is following, will ever continue on his present course” (Protagoras 358b-c). And philosophers have been wrestling with the issue ever since. It is not surprising that weakness of will has such a long and distinguished pedigree as a topic of philosophical discussion: it is both an intrinsically interesting phenomenon and a topic rich in implications for our broader theories of action, practical reasoning, rationality, evaluative judgment, and the interrelations among these.

    My own feeling is that I would love for akrasia not to exist because then who could then judge another for it ! Perhaps they would just call it by another name. Stupidity ? Irrational ?
    Here's another view from the SEP article:

    'Michael Bratman, for instance, introduces us to Sam, who, in a depressed state, is deep into a bottle of wine, despite his acknowledged need for an early wake-up and a clear head tomorrow. Sam's friend, stopping by, says:

    “Look here. Your reasons for abstaining seem clearly stronger than your reasons for drinking. So how can you have thought that it would be best to drink?” To which Sam replies: “I don't think it would be best to drink. Do you think I'm stupid enough to think that, given how strong my reasons for abstaining are? I think it would be best to abstain. Still, I'm drinking.” (1979, p. 156)'
  • Tzeentch
    250
    One interpretation of Plato's Republic that I found particularly interesting and which opened my eyes to its contents was by Pierre Grimes. Many lectures he has done on Plato's works can be found on YouTube. Here's a link to one of his lectures about the Republic:

    Plato's Republic as the Allegory for the Training of the Soul

    If you're interested in Plato, as you seem to be, I would recommend taking a look at the channel. There is an absolute wealth of knowledge there.

    Something else that ties into this discussion which I find interesting, is the fact that Plato speaks of the Good, but never of evil. There is no evil, only degrees to which people are wrong about the Good. Similarly I think that what we perceive as someone being 'driven towards something that is bad for him', like drinking, is someone who in that moment believes (perhaps wrongly) that drinking is good for him. Such judgements, which reason knows to be wrong, may be perceived as right by the desire or spirit. In your example, Sam is depressed. Such a state of mind can only be ruled by spirit (emotion), and it is in all likelihood his spirit that is convincing him to drink. Reason is not in control, thus Sam is driven towards things that are bad for him, though his spirit is telling him otherwise.

    So I think the reason Socrates states ἀκρασία cannot exist, is because one is not acting against their better judgement, but their judgement was simply wrong, likely due to the fact that the wrong part of their nature was in control when the judgement was passed.
  • Amity
    289
    Ego depletion, useful idea.fdrake

    Yes well I suppose all ideas are useful in some respect in a philosophy discussion.
    What do you think of the idea of 'ego depletion ?

    From your linked wiki article:
    'Ego depletion refers to the idea that self-control or willpower draws upon a limited pool of mental resources that can be used up.[1] When the energy for mental activity is low, self-control is typically impaired, which would be considered a state of ego depletion.'

    The ego here is used in the psychological sense.

    Again using wiki:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Id,_ego_and_super-ego
    ' The id, ego, and super-ego are three distinct, yet interacting agents in the psychic apparatus defined in Sigmund Freud's structural model of the psyche.

    The three parts are the theoretical constructs in terms of whose activity and interaction our mental life is described. According to this Freudian model of the psyche, the id is the set of uncoordinated instinctual trends; the super-ego plays the critical and moralizing role; and the ego is the organized, realistic part that mediates between the desires of the id and the super-ego.'

    Interesting to consider. If there is a limited supply of mental energy apparently resulting in impaired self control which is then termed a state of ego depletion...then does this also apply to the id or superego ?
    Id depletion - now there's a thought...

    I don't even know how such theoretical constructs can even be measured....far less fill up the tank ?
    The id would correspond I suppose to following our passions without rhyme or reason. Perhaps the lack of willpower...?
    The ego our higher self - the reasoning part. This is the right and rational thing to do.
    The superego - our conscience. The judgmental. Evaluative judgment ?
    So all 3 parts will be continuously interacting. No wonder we get tired...
    Going round in virtuous or vicious circles...
  • fdrake
    2.3k
    The ego here is used in the psychological sense.Amity

    Ego depletion doesn't really require the Freudian notion of the ego to get going. As a phenomenon, all it requires is that people exhibit less self control when they're in states of fatigue, especially when that fatigue is induced by concentration or tasks which otherwise require self control.

    I think it's a reasonable idea that's fraught with problems when trying to experimentally verify it.
  • tim wood
    2.6k
    I think fdrake is right on with his reference to ego depletion. Many discussions of many different kinds of actions often presuppose without making explicit that the capacity to accomplish the action is present. And you don't need Freud or psychology, you merely need your own experience whether in missing meals, working (or playing) too hard, or aging.

    Given Socrates's premises, though, it's hard to argue against him. That is, most arguments with Socrates simply fail to correctly engage with his thinking.
  • Amity
    289
    The ego here is used in the psychological sense.
    — Amity

    Ego depletion doesn't really require the Freudian notion of the ego to get going. As a phenomenon, all it requires is that people exhibit less self control when they're in states of fatigue, especially when that fatigue is induced by concentration or tasks which otherwise require self control.

    I think it's a reasonable idea that's fraught with problems when trying to experimentally verify it.
    13 hours ago
    fdrake

    I think we are in agreement. The psychological concept is fraught with problems and is currently being debunked. I wonder at it taking so long...

    It is clear to most people that conscious decision-making and behaviour can be affected by various factors, tiredness being one of them. Drinking a glass of lemonade ( as per experiment) might give a quick boost to the system but what has this to do with self-control or even willpower.

    I don't see willpower as being a finite or quantifiable resource. We might compare people who we think have more or less self control than others but that can be variable and context dependent.

    I found this article useful re the concept of willpower. There is an argument for getting rid of it.

    http://m.nautil.us/issue/45/power/against-willpower
  • Amity
    289
    Given Socrates's premises, though, it's hard to argue against him. That is, most arguments with Socrates simply fail to correctly engage with his thinking.tim wood

    What are Socrates's premises on the subject of willpower ?
    Can you tell me which arguments with Socrates you are talking about ?
  • Amity
    289


    There is a lot to digest in your last post.
    I will have a look at Pierre Crimes.
    Will respond when I can...thanks.
  • TheMadFool
    3.3k
    Willpower is needed to cross a hurdle. I mean a negative experience may required to be digested before getting to your happy zone.

    So, I see nothing great in willpower and those who have it. It's just one of those mind hacks people write books about. They sell well. I'm at a loss why.
  • Amity
    289
    Willpower is needed to cross a hurdle. I mean a negative experience may required to be digested before getting to your happy zone.

    So, I see nothing great in willpower and those who have it. It's just one of those mind hacks people write books about. They sell well. I'm at a loss why.
    TheMadFool

    If you think that willpower is needed to overcome any obstacle in the path to achieving some goal, then it seems a contradiction for you to 'see nothing great' in it. Can you explain further ?

    Why would you be puzzled if people look to outside resources to help overcome any difficulties or problems in their lives ?
  • Valentinus
    431
    So I think the reason Socrates states ἀκρασία cannot exist, is because one is not acting against their better judgement, but their judgement was simply wrong, likely due to the fact that the wrong part of their nature was in control when the judgement was passed.Tzeentch

    The primary motive for Socrates not accepting the "lack of command" argument is that he is holding out for a certain way to understand understanding as a form of agency. That part of the soul struggles against the appetitive for directing the whole as described in the Republic starting at 439c. But a third element is introduced there as well, namely, thumos, which gets translated as anger or "high spiritedness", depending on the context. Now in the argument going forward, Socrates sees thumos as able to ally itself with reason but not with the appetites:

    "And do we not, said I, on many other occasions observe when his desires constrain a man contrary to his reason that he reviles himself and is angry with that within which masters him, and that as it were in a faction of two parties the high spirit of such a man becomes the ally of his reason? But its making common cause with the desires against the reason when reason whispers low, Thou must not---that, I think, is a kind of thing you would not affirm ever to have perceived in yourself, nor I fancy, in anybody else either.
    No, by heaven, he said."
    Republic 440b Paul Shorey translation

    This conclusion does pertain to your observation that Plato is reluctant to consider evil as anything but the absence of good. But I am not sure I agree with Socrates here. In terms of thumos providing strength to achieve an end, I think I have seen "energetic" forms of self-destruction.
  • Not
    22
    This is a great question. The antonym to ἀκρασία is ἐγκράτεια. Both are based in κράτος, meaning power. One without and one with. I do agree that thumos may be able to provide the strength, but I also think the ancients saw all around them people who were grossly dysfunctional. Just like today. Probably most were dysfunctional. Not everyone had the luxury to "work on their issues." This is why philosophers tended to hang around kings (Seneca/Nero, Aristotle/Alexander, Plato/Dionysius, etc) and why Diogenes laughed at them. He said they were slaves to kings.

    So I think if it takes a king's money to be able to reach ἐγκράτεια, I am screwed. I find that self control is so much easier in some certain situations than others. Health, vocation, family support, financial security,etc. How many of us could ever be like Diogenes? Where life could hammer us and we still have the same steel will as before?

    So I do believe ἐγκράτεια and ἀκρασία are byproducts of Fate. You may fight to preserve the one over the other for a while, and you may make it to the end! But, depending on where you live, the forces around you, etc etc etc......it seems more and more a crap shoot.
  • Amity
    289
    I Ihink that what we perceive as someone being 'driven towards something that is bad for him', like drinking, is someone who in that moment believes (perhaps wrongly) that drinking is good for him. Such judgements, which reason knows to be wrong, may be perceived as right by the desire or spirit. In your example, Sam is depressed. Such a state of mind can only be ruled by spirit (emotion), and it is in all likelihood his spirit that is convincing him to drink. Reason is not in control, thus Sam is driven towards things that are bad for him, though his spirit is telling him otherwise.Tzeentch

    I thought I would tackle part of your substantial post.

    [ A wise, empathic person once advised me when I bemoaned the fact that there was too much to take in when reading Plato.
    '... it is a mistake to take in nothing because you will never be able to take in everything.' ]

    So even if we feel overwhelmed at the enormity of any project, perhaps lacking in energy/motivation or willpower, we can take one step at a time.

    First - I don't agree that a depressed state of mind can 'only be ruled by spirit (emotion)'.

    Why do you think that?
  • Amity
    289
    I do believe ἐγκράτεια and ἀκρασία are byproducts of Fate. You may fight to preserve the one over the other for a while, and you may make it to the end! But, depending on where you live, the forces around you, etc etc etc......it seems more and more a crap shoot.Not

    What do you mean by 'Fate' ?
    One dictionary meaning is: Fate is a power that some people believe controls and decides everything that happens, in a way that cannot be prevented or changed. 

    Do you believe that whether or not you have willpower or self- control is predetermined and cannot be changed by your own action ?
    That sounds like a passive acceptance and an excuse not to try and improve your current situation.
  • Tzeentch
    250
    As far as my understanding goes, Socrates is not saying spirit is always an ally of reason. Instead, he is giving an example where reason, being firmly in control, may ally with spirit to control desire. After all, shouldn't reason propel a man to feel anger for being a slave to his desires? Thus there are cases in which spirit can aid reason. A man's passions are a powerful thing, and if guided can lead a man to greatness. If they are not, they may lead him to ruin. If they are denied or suppressed, they will surely return with a vengeance.

    First of all, I fully encourage you to continue studying Plato. Trying to understand his philosophy is a rewarding mental exercise of itself, and there will come a point where something will 'click' and his ideas will start to intuitively make sense to you.

    Now, to your question: I think we can determine depression is the domain of spirit by process of elimination. Desire clearly does not qualify. All men desire the Good, thus no man desires to be depressed. To eliminate reason is a little more complicated, because we must firmly understand its meaning in Plato's works. Reason is that part of the mind which seeks truth and wisdom, and is interested in the nature of the reality. The highest expression of reality is the One or the Good. Therefore, reason must necessarily lead one to the Good. Whenever it doesn't, one is not being lead by reason, but being deceived by spirit or appetite. That leaves us with spirit. And can we not say that depression is the presence of profound sadness, or the absence of happiness, therefore the natural domain of spirit?
  • Valentinus
    431

    Agreed, Socrates clearly says that thumos is not always allied with reason. His argument that thumos does not ally with the appetitive, however, is asking for a distinction in how to look at "passion."
  • Tzeentch
    250
    I do not believe Socrates argues that spirit and desire cannot ally. Would you perhaps share the passage in which you believe he states this?
  • Amity
    289
    can we not say that depression is the presence of profound sadness, or the absence of happiness, therefore the natural domain of spirit?Tzeentch

    You can say that but I wouldn't. It is a generalisation and simplification.

    Depression is more complex than that, as I think you probably know if you have read anything about it. Or even experienced it.
    Varying degrees and causes require different strategies for coping or treatment.

    Cognitive symptoms are perhaps less well known than those of low mood, fatigue and loss of interest.
    For example, there are negative thought patterns. And various other cognitive distortions.
    This is the province of reasoning. And can be alleviated by cognitive behavioural therapy ( CBT ) amongst other treatments.

    Physical symptoms include a slowing down of movement and speech. And so on.

    I am not sure what you are trying to imply by bringing in aspects of the Good, or even deception by spirit.
    I am frankly uneasy with your understanding of depression. There seems to be a moral element creeping in. For example - if you are thinking of a spiritual depression, what do you consider would be the causes and cures ?
  • Valentinus
    431

    Well, there is the passage I just quoted from Republic 440b that you replied to. It is best understood reading a bit before and after those words.
    There are discussions in Book 9 in the Republic that touch upon the same issue. There are passages in other dialogues that may help. I will try to pull together what I can over the next few days.
  • Fooloso4
    623
    With regard to Plato I would suggest that just as the “city in speech” is not an existing city or a city we would want to live in, the soul, which is said to be the microcosm of the city, is not the soul that emerges in the dialogue. Just as the city requires “noble lies” so does the soul. The tripartite soul of the Republic is not an accurate description of an actual soul, it is, rather, a noble lie intended to bring harmony to the conflicting desires within us. Two hints in this direction are the description of the love of wisdom as erotic and divine madness. Both are immoderate and stand in opposition to the central importance of sophrosyne (moderation). Reason may recognize the necessity of moderation, but it is not reason that makes us moderate. This is why music and gymnastics are fundamental to the education of the guardians and philosophy reserved for the few with sufficient age and maturity.

    My own feeling is that I would love for akrasia not to exist because then who could then judge another for it !Amity

    Is weakness of will is like physical weakness? Do you judge yourself for your physical limits or judge others for theirs? There are things I am not capable of no matter how much I train and try. In addition, my willingness to train and try may not be very great to begin with. Is that a lack of willpower or simply a limit of my will?

    Or, it may be that the whole notion of willpower is wrong. There may only be various and sometimes competing desires. It is not weakness of will that fails to stop me from eating cake, but that at this moment the desire for cake is stronger than the desire to lose a few pounds. But this is too simplistic. The story of competing desires is not an accurate description of the complex physiological and psychological things going on within me.
  • Valentinus
    431
    The tripartite soul of the Republic is not an accurate description of an actual soul, it is, rather, a noble lie intended to bring harmony to the conflicting desires within us.Fooloso4

    I accept that judgment up to a point. I would not accept it as a final word on how the model is used to diagnose what is wrong. The premise of the Republic is how to not be overwhelmed by bad things. It respects the enemy as something that could win and is not triumphant in relation to the elements that might change the balance.

    A good model doesn't explain everything but does draw attention to what is lacking.

    If there is a more accurate Platonic view of the soul, what is that?
  • Fooloso4
    623
    The premise of the Republic is how to not be overwhelmed by bad things.Valentinus

    What support do you have for that? The premise as stated is to defend justice against the argument put forward by Thrasymachus that whatever is beneficial to you.

    If there is a more accurate Platonic view of the soul, what is that?Valentinus

    The short answer is, no. There is no accurate view of the soul at all. What it is and what happens to it at death remains a mystery.

    In the Phaedo Socrates makes the argument that what is composed of parts can be destroyed, and so, if the soul is immortal it cannot be composed of parts. Other arguments are put forth in the Phaedo to persuade his friends that the soul is immortal but they all fail. One argument is that Soul is imperishable, but this proves to be problematic for the soul of the individual and self-identity.
  • Valentinus
    431
    What support do you have for that? The premise as stated is to defend justice against the argument put forward by Thrasymachus that whatever is beneficial to you.Fooloso4

    Thrasymachus also claimed that the powerful are always the last word about what is just. That puts the matter of opinion into a different register. The winners of political struggles get to say what is good and bad. Glaucon's desire to have that point contested is why anything after the first book happened. At least as far as the dialogue explains itself.

    The immortality thing is an important argument that may or may not be connected to the other arguments.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.7k
    As far as my understanding goes, Socrates is not saying spirit is always an ally of reason. Instead, he is giving an example where reason, being firmly in control, may ally with spirit to control desire. After all, shouldn't reason propel a man to feel anger for being a slave to his desires? Thus there are cases in which spirit can aid reason. A man's passions are a powerful thing, and if guided can lead a man to greatness. If they are not, they may lead him to ruin. If they are denied or suppressed, they will surely return with a vengeance.Tzeentch

    Yes, I believe this is a good description of the tripartite soul. The spirit (sometimes translated as ambition), is like a medium between the mind and the body. It is how the two distinct categories, mind and body interact. Through the means of spirit or ambition, the mind may have control over the body. But in an ill-disposed, poorly tempered person, the opposite may be the case, and this is a corruption of the soul. It is suggested that we might be able to culture the proper balance, and in The Republic the suggested balance between training in gymnastic and music appears to be prominent towards this end.

    Akrasia (/əˈkreɪziə/; Greek ἀκρασία, "lacking command"), occasionally transliterated as acrasia or Anglicised as acrasy or acracy, is described as a lack of self-control or the state of acting against one's better judgment.[1] The adjectival form is "akratic".Amity

    Augustine considered this problem quite extensively. How is it possible that one can know what is good, and even decide to do the good action, yet still proceed to do the contrary? I believe that this is the root of his division of the human mind into three parts, memory, intellect, and will. It is an extension of Plato's tripartite soul. With this division, the will does not necessarily follow what the intellect. Later, Aquinas discusses the relation between intellect and will. Although the will is generally seen to follow the intellect, in the absolute sense will is prior to intellect. This is how we can uphold Augustine's conception of free will.
  • TheMadFool
    3.3k
    If you think that willpower is needed to overcome any obstacle in the path to achieving some goal, then it seems a contradiction for you to 'see nothing great' in it. Can you explain further ?Amity

    My point is willpower is a just a gimmick. There'a position A, where you are. Then there's position C, where you want to be. But there's this position B, which you have to cross to get to C.

    If B is a pleasant place there is no need for willpower.

    If B is an unpleasant place then we need willpower.

    My point is all you wanted was to get to C and willpower is nothing more than an intermediary to achieve an objective. The goal-oriented nature of it diminishes its value. We have willpower only to achieve happiness or joy and that's something everyone wants. So, what's the difference between the strong-willed and weak-willed people?
  • BrianW
    774
    I think will-power has to be an energy, otherwise why would we refer to it as a 'power'. I consider it as intent or the impulse to cause. In analogy, I would say will-power corresponds to a spark which results in a fire when it is combined with materials that burn. And, just as you can have sparks which don't turn into flames, it is possible to have intent without leading to a cause of action. However, if you consider the spark itself as a kind of combustive action, so also intent, in itself, can already be a caused action.

    I don't think people lack will-power per se, it's more that they do not possess the necessary degree of intent to cause certain activities. The capacity to will or to produce intent is present in everybody but, it is more or less progressed depending on how developed it is. I think, sometimes, it is developed by directly training it, other times it develops instinctively in response to circumstances. Therefore, the difference between strong and weak willed people is just the degree to which the capacity to will is developed.
  • Tzeentch
    250
    I fear we are in danger of having two different conversations here. I'm trying to explain to you Plato's model of the tripartite soul. It seemed only appropriate to use the example of the depressed Sam which you used earlier. What I am not trying to do is present you with an accurate explanation of depression! Not only is Plato's tripartite soul not a tool meant for such an endeavor, but clearly depression is a condition about which there are still many questions today and it would be impossible to capture its essence in a forum post.

    With that in mind, I'd like to address your comment.

    For example, there are negative thought patterns. And various other cognitive distortions.
    This is the province of reasoning. And can be alleviated by cognitive behavioural therapy ( CBT ) amongst other treatments.
    Amity

    The word reason (λόγος) that Plato uses carries a significant meaning, of which you are perhaps unaware, and there is a very important distinction here. Reason can only lead to truth. To the degree that which it doesn't, it is being deceived by spirit or desire to make false conclusions. Cognitive distortions and negative thought patterns therefore, cannot fall under reason, because they are (I think by definition) not based in reality. Reasoning can be false, to the degree it is being mis(led) by spirit and desire. Reason can never be false.

    I am not sure what you are trying to imply by bringing in aspects of the Good, or even deception by spirit.
    I am frankly uneasy with your understanding of depression. There seems to be a moral element creeping in. For example - if you are thinking of a spiritual depression, what do you consider would be the causes and cures ?
    Amity

    The Good and the One should not be confused with morality. The concept of the Good and the One (they are the same) is fundamental to Plato's philosophies and if I were to try and explain it in a forum post I would not be doing it justice. Suffice it to say that Plato's 'the Good and the One' has nothing in common with the popular concepts of 'good and evil'. A simple, but insufficient explanation would describe the Good as 'that which is ultimately real'. It holds a very close connection to reason, which is why I brought it up.

    I assumed you had studied Plato's idea of the Good and perhaps I have moved too fast in my explanations. It is quite fundamental to almost all of Plato's works and I would recommend studying it before moving on. The lecture I shared earlier is the first part of a two-part lecture on Plato's Republic. In the second part the Good and the One are explained. There are also lectures on commentaries on Plato by Proclus and Plotinus who go into greater detail, to which I can link you if you want.
  • Tzeentch
    250
    As I understand the meaning of the text, Plato is saying that as long as reason is present, and it lowly whispers 'Thou shall not', spirit has the tendency to side with reason rather than desire. After all, if we commit an act that we know to be wrong (reason tells us it is wrong), don't we feel bad afterwards? This shows that spirit has a natural inclination towards what is right. In the absence of reason, it seems rather obvious that spirit and desire can form a destructive duo. I don't think Plato disputes this.
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