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Knowing PersonsA Study in Plato$
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Lloyd P. Gerson

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199288670

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199288670.001.0001

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Souls and Persons

Souls and Persons

(p.14) CHAPTER 1 Souls and Persons
Knowing Persons

Lloyd P. Gerson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the roots of the Platonic notion of the person or self. The terms ‘person’ and ‘self’ are used interchangeably, and it is argued that persons or selves are treated by Plato as distinct from the natural kind ‘human being’. In Plato's ordinary use of the Greek language the word άνθρωπος refers to an individual member of this natural kind. It is shown that there are various circumlocutions used by Plato to refer to persons or selves. Sometimes the claim that Plato is speaking about a person and not a human being is an inference from an argument. Such inferences need to be carefully scrutinized. The possibility that the inference is ours and not Plato's must be acknowledged.

Keywords:   person, self, Plato, Socratic paradox, selfhood, Socrates, self-knowledge

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