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Oxford Studies in Ancient PhilosophyVolume 42$
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Brad Inwood

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199644384

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199644384.001.0001

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Imagination, Self‐Awareness, and Modal Thought at Philebus 39–40

Imagination, Self‐Awareness, and Modal Thought at Philebus 39–40

Chapter:
(p.109) Imagination, Self‐Awareness, and Modal Thought at Philebus 39–40
Source:
Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy
Author(s):

Karel Thein

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199644384.003.0004

This chapter revisits Plato's image of our soul as a book where two craftsmen are at work, a scribe and a painter (Philebus 39–40). Its focus is on how the painter's elaborations pertain to some important formal features of our belief‐formation. A special emphasis is on the relevance of Plato's image as both a commentary upon and an instance of the discursive thought understood as the soul's inner dialogue. In the Philebus, Socrates' comments are meant to clarify not the conditions of a narrowly conceived theoretical epistemology, but the richness of the everyday thought processes including their modal and counterfactual dimensions. The clarification of these issues goes together with a new treatment of the false pleasures of the soul and their anticipatory character, and with an analysis of the implications of Socrates' remarks on the painter in our soul for the issue of self‐awareness. The proposed interpretation of Philebus 39–40, which argues for a rather strong connection between the pleasures and pains of the soul, the latter's self‐awareness and the modal thinking that relies on comparing various mental representations, is then confronted with the Wax Tablet and the Aviary models of the mind from the Theaetetus, and also with some contemporary theories of belief‐formation and imagination.

Keywords:   Plato, Philebus, false pleasure, imagination, self‐awareness, modal thought

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