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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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Concluding Remarks

Concluding Remarks

(p.276) Concluding Remarks
Knowing Persons

Lloyd P. Gerson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

For Plato, persons are not identical with individuals falling under the putative natural kind ‘human being’. Alternatively, it can also be said that for Plato, souls are not identical with individual composites of soul and body. But an embodied person (or an embodied soul) is not exactly the same thing as a disembodied person (or soul), so it is a mistake to suppose that the human being is just the simple sum of person or soul and body. A person with a body is not a person plus a body. An embodied person is different from a disembodied person, as images of the intelligible differ from their paradigms. It would be more accurate to characterize Plato's dualism as based upon the distinction between disembodied person and embodied person than upon the distinction between soul and body. Therefore, Plato's position avoids or at least changes the meaning of the question ‘How is the soul related to the body?’ The embodied person or soul is neither a res cogitans related to a res extensa nor even a ‘captain’ related to a bodily ‘ship’, to use Aristotle's metaphor. The embodied person has a body and is the subject of bodily states.

Keywords:   Plato, soul, body, embodied person, disembodied person

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