Ψυχή, Θυμός, and Metaphor in Homer and Plato
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- 1 For that approach, see rather E. Rohde, Psyche: The Cult of Souls and Belief in Immortality among t (...)
1This paper deals with the notions of ψυχή and θυμός both in Homer and in Plato (especially the Republic), and in particular with the importance of metaphor (especially personification) in both the Homeric and Platonic versions of these concepts. We shall start with ψυχή and then move on to θυμός, just as we start with Homer and move on to Plato, but the metaphoricity of both concepts in both authors will be central throughout. Homeric representations of ψυχή will be used to illustrate the role of metaphor in the construction of the concept and thus the scope for further extension of its metaphorical applications in later authors such as Plato. The final and longest section of the paper then explores the importance of metaphor for our understanding of the role of θυμός in the model of ψυχή adopted in the Republic. It is in the Republic that Plato returns explicitly to Homeric model of psychological motivation. Homeric psychology, as is well known, is an important and specific inspiration for the tripartite soul, and especially for the establishment of its thymoeidic element, in Republic 4. Throughout that dialogue, moreover, and especially in connexion with the tripartite soul, Plato uses a wide range of techniques that might be regarded as poetic, while all the time dissociating his account from poetic models. The Republic, in a sense, is Plato’s epic. Its psychology constitutes, at least to some extent, a system, as does Homer’s. In both cases, we shall argue, these are systems built on metaphor. We shall need to explore these in their own terms, at length and in detail, but we shall also attend to the respects in which their similarities and differences prove instructive, and to the ways in which Homer’s conceptions might be regarded as precursors to Plato’s. Despite the length of this paper, however, this exploration cannot discuss every significant aspect either of Homeric psychology or of Plato’s in the Republic. To a certain degree, the analysis offered here must remain selective and impressionistic. It is especially so in paying scant attention to the texts and representations in which one might trace the history of the relevant conceptions between Homer and Plato. This is not just a matter of the exigencies of space, pressing though those are. It is much more that this paper is intended as a comparative analysis rather than as a purely historical study.1 Equally, only minimal attention can be given to Plato’s approach in other dialogues. The Republic, for reasons canvassed above, serves as a case study precisely because of the potential for comparison with Homer that it offers. In the same way, the Homeric poems serve as a case study – of a seminal and fundamental source of influence – of the roots of Platonic conceptions in his poetic predecessors.
- 2 Lakoff and Turner, More Than Cool Reason: A Field Guide to Poetic Metaphor (Chicago, 1989), xi.
2Before embarking on the discussion of these topics, however, it will be as well, at the outset, to set out some essential features of my understanding of what metaphor is and what metaphor does. These are perhaps not universal features of everyone’s understanding of metaphor, but they seem to me to be incontrovertible, and they are indispensable to the case I want to make here. A succinct and eloquent statement of the approach that I follow is the following, from a 1989 study by George Lakoff and Mark Turner:2
Metaphor is a tool so ordinary that we use it unconsciously and automatically, with so little effort that we hardly notice it. It is omnipresent: metaphor suffuses our thoughts, no matter what we are thinking about. It is accessible to everyone: as children, we automatically, as a matter of course, acquire a mastery of everyday metaphor. It is conventional: metaphor is an integral part of our ordinary everyday thought and language. And it is irreplaceable: metaphor allows us to understand our selves and our world in ways that no other modes of thought can.
Far from being merely a matter of words, metaphor is a matter of thought – all kinds of thought: thought about emotion, about society, about human character, about language, and about the nature of life and death. It is indispensable not only to our imagination but also to our reason.
- 3 Modern theory on this topic derives in particular from G. Lakoff and M. Johnson, Metaphors We Live (...)
3In the basic sense in which I shall use the term in this paper, metaphor involves seeing one thing in terms of another. It involves a transfer (‘mapping’, in the metaphor-theorists’ metaphor; cf. the original Greek/Aristotelian μεταφορά) from one category or domain to another, so that the source domain provides the conceptual structure of the target domain. Typically, as in the cases that will interest us in this paper, mapping proceeds from the concrete, accessed by the senses and experienced in the course of our interaction, as embodied human beings, with our physical and social environments, to the abstract. In this way, abstract concepts can be said to be metaphorically constructed.3
- 4 More Than Cool Reason, esp. 57-139.
- 5 See G. Steen, ‘The Paradox of Metaphor’, Metaphor and Symbol 23 (2008), 213-41. Though Steen distin (...)
- 6 E.g. in the interaction between physical warmth or heat and metaphorical, emotional concepts of hea (...)
- 7 Though some studies find no activation of the brain’s sensory-motor areas when (lexicalized) metaph (...)
- 8 Thus, despite their scepticism regarding the evidence for embodiment (in their strict sense of the (...)
4This has some important consequences for the present paper. First, as a figure of thought and not just of language, metaphor is not simply ornamental. There is nothing ‘mere’ about metaphor, especially in the case of the conceptual and theory-constitutive metaphors that we shall consider in this study. As Lakoff and Turner show,4 the deliberate and artistically developed metaphors of the poets regularly rest upon the same basic mappings as structure the background metaphors of everyday language and thought: we shall explore this phenomenon in both Homer and Plato. Though there may be differences in the ways that conventional and novel metaphors are used and processed, all are metaphors.5 Fully lexicalized (or ‘dead’) metaphors typically make use of the same mappings as are found in less conventional cases, and even they often reveal the active, but unconscious, influence of the source domain in the ideation of individuals who deploy them.6 In recent years, the core of these discussions has moved decisively to the field of cognitive neuroscience; accordingly, they have become more difficult for the non-specialist to evaluate. Controversy now focuses on whether cognitive metaphor relies on mental simulations or representations that use the same regions of the brain as are involved in the sensory-motor processes on which such metaphors regularly draw.7 But whether or not cognitive metaphor is embodied in this way, the basic proposition with which we shall work in this paper – that metaphorical thinking is fundamental to the structure of many abstract concepts – is not seriously in doubt.8
5These general considerations allow us to dispel some common misconceptions. The most important, perhaps, is the intuition that the standard way of thinking or talking about a topic must be literal rather than metaphorical. Thus even Hayden Pelliccia, author of a splendid study of early Greek psychology which takes full account of the importance of cognitive metaphor, can write:
- 9 H. Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech in Homer and Pindar (Hypomnemata 107, Göttingen, 1995), 34-5. (...)
It seems to me that when dealing with ‘semantic gaps’ it is wrong, or at best unhelpful and at worst misleading, to call the unique available expression of the given meaning a ‘metaphor’. If it is the only way of expressing the meaning, then the expression designates it literally; what else does ‘literally’ mean?9
- 10 See e.g. S. Guthrie, Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion (Oxford, 1993); P. Boyer, Religi (...)
- 11 See D. Casasanto and L. Boroditsky, ‘Time in the Mind: Using Space to Think about Time’, Cognition (...)
- 12 See Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, 147-55.
6Some concepts, however, are inherently metaphorical: there is, for example, nothing that can be said of God that is not drawn from some other domain of experience.10 The concept of time, in both thought and language, is fundamentally shaped by its representation in terms of space.11 The concept of gods, or the conception of time in spatial terms, does not depend on a pre-existing analogy between gods and human agents or between time and space.12 The attribution of agency to a putative divine being is one of the things that creates the domain of divinity and gives it its structure. The issue is not whether one believes that there are divine agents. Even those who do so believe are making use of a concept that derives the putative agency of the gods from the agency of actual agents. It is this general process of mapping, in fact, that gives the believer something to believe in.
- 13 See Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, 107-10 on the ‘abstraction view’.
- 14 In using this example I am responding to a personal communication from Richard Seaford, in which he (...)
7Metaphors of this sort need not be used deliberately or consciously (though of course they may be). They are also typically or largely unidirectional: we talk about time in terms of space much more often than we talk about space in terms of time. The typical direction of travel, from the concrete world of experience to domains that are not directly accessible to the senses, is a clear sign that we are not in such cases dealing simply with the inclusion of two entities in a superordinate category.13 If Aeschylus ‘really believed’ the sky to be capable of sexual desire for the earth, expressed via the rains which fertilize the land and bring forth plant life (Danaids fr. 44 Radt), this would not mean that this desire is an abstract quality predicated in a category that includes both humans and the sky. It is only by metaphor (personification) that sexual desire, empirically verifiable in human beings, can be predicated of an entity such as the sky. The agency of actual agents (such as human beings) is conceptually prior to that of personifications, even if personification is pervasive as the default mode of thinking about the domain in question.14
8It is in this sense, according to which thought about abstract entities is structured on the basis of qualities drawn from more immediate, empirically accessible, concrete domains of experience, that I use the term ‘metaphor’ in this paper. The criterion for inclusion is the basic phenomenon of mapping from one domain to another. This is a general sense of the term that includes deliberate and non-deliberate, conventional and non-conventional varieties. We shall see that these subcategories form a continuum. They interact productively in the texts that we shall now proceed to discuss.
- 15 In defining my own position below I make greatest use of the contrasting approach of Clarke, Flesh (...)
- 16 Adkins, From the Many to the One, 62 and passim.
9We shall now proceed to discuss first ψυχή and then θυμός in Homer in the light of these considerations. The point of the first part of this discussion is to establish at the outset the extension and meaning of the former – what ψυχή is and what ψυχή does – in Homer, and to demonstrate the importance of metaphor to its conceptualization.15 If ψυχή is already, even at the earliest traceable stage of its historical development in Homer, a metaphorical concept, it will be crucial to bear this in mind when we consider its role as a background conceptual metaphor that Platonic psychology takes for granted. The importance of ψυχή in Plato, generally speaking, constitutes a chapter in the history of its development from a comparatively narrow conception in Homer, in which its manifestations are more or less confined to scenarios involving the loss of life and its continuation in the underworld, and its role in the psychology of the living individual is at best implicit and in general minimal, to the richer and more familiar classical conception in which ψυχή is, as Arthur Adkins once put it, ‘core or carrier of the personality’.16 That there such development – that ψυχή’s role and importance in psychological, ethical, and metaphysical discourse expand over time – is beyond doubt. But it is important not to over-schematize the process by excessively minimizing ψυχή’s Homeric role and telling an exaggeratedly teleological story of the primitiveness of the origins from which later conceptions spring. As indicated above, however, the purpose here is not to tell the developmental story as such, but to use a brief account of the conceptualization of ψυχή in Homer in order to suggest ways in which Homeric and Platonic concepts of ψυχή may be usefully compared and contrasted.
10The orientation of our discussion of θυμός will be slightly different, though still integral to the overall project. The post-Homeric conception of θυμός does not have quite the richness of its Homeric counterpart, but θυμός survives not only as a ‘psychic organ’ in poetic contexts but also as an ordinary term for the emotion of anger. In making θυμός an element in the Republic’s tripartite psychology Plato is both drawing on the linguistic and conceptual resources of contemporary Greek and reaching back to select an element of Homeric psychology that particularly suits the model he wishes to develop in the Republic. His conception of θυμός is thus less a stage in a development that can be paralleled in other fifth- and fourth-century sources than a particular aspect of Plato’s reading of Homeric psychology that proves especially fruitful for his project. But because in the Republic the θυμός is, unlike in Homer, an aspect of the ψυχή, analysis of the Platonic θυμός and its relation to the Homeric also contributes to our overall project of comparing Homeric and Platonic conceptions of ψυχή.
- 17 The ψυχή is breathed out in a swoon: Il. 22. 467 (ἀπὸ δὲ ψυχὴν ἐκάπυσσε); cf. 5. 696-8; cf. also th (...)
- 18 On metaphor, metonymy, and their affinities and differences, see Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors We L (...)
11The etymology of ψυχή, cognate with ψῦχος and ψυχρός, suggests an original reference to the cold breath of death. If ψυχή was ever a literal concept, then this will have been its literal sense. In Homer, the word is used only in connexion with death or deathlike loss of consciousness. The influence of this putative original sense (ψυχή as the cold breath of death) is apparent in Homer, but perhaps not as insistently so as has sometimes been claimed.17 But even in connexion with death, the ψυχή is much more than just the dying breath: as the final expiration is a sign of death, so it becomes a sign of the transition from life to death, and a metonymy for death itself – ‘his ψυχή left him’ is a way of saying ‘he died’. This is probably the root metonymy, which extends ψυχή from a simple physical act to a symbol for the biological process of death. But ψυχή in Homer is implicated in a much wider network of metonymies and metaphors than this, a network that encompasses social and cultural notions of life and the personality on the one hand, and death and post-mortem survival on the other.18 This fact, in turn, represents an important locus of contact and difference between Homeric and Platonic conceptions.
- 19 For verbs of ‘taking’ or ‘removing’ the ψυχή see Il. 16. 625, 22. 257, 24. 745, Od. 22. 444; cf. ‘g (...)
- 20 On ontological metaphors, see Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, 25-40.
12Although the ψυχή in Homer is mentioned only in connexion with death or deathlike loss of consciousness and never explicitly credited with any specific function in the living person, it still inheres in the living person and underpins the vitality and consciousness that end in death. We can see how this sense develops from the basic and original one in simple locutions such as ‘taking’ or ‘removing’ someone’s ψυχή.19 Here ψυχή is not simply ‘breath’, because breath is not the kind of thing that one warrior can literally ‘take’ from another: this is an ontological metaphor (i.e. it reifies the ψυχή as a physical object), in which the cold breath of death has become a symbol for the life that the dying man loses and his opponent deprives him of.20 Even in its most basic association with death, ψυχή has a metaphorical aspect as an entity that undergoes metonymous extension from its putative original, minimal, physical meaning and is then enmeshed in a wider set of basic ontological metaphors.
13This process of extension goes further. At Il. 9. 321-2 Achilles says
οὐδέ τί μοι περίκειται, ἐπεὶ πάθον ἄλγεα θυμῷ,
αἰεὶ ἐμὴν ψυχὴν παραβαλλόμενος πολεμίζειν.
- 21 Il. 22. 159-61: οὐχ ἱερήϊον οὐδὲ βοείην / ἀρνύσθην, ἅ τε ποσσὶν ἀέθλια γίγνεται ἀνδρῶν, / ἀλλὰ περὶ (...)
- 22 Cf. Il. 1. 159, 5. 552-3 (τιμή), 6. 446 (κλέος).
14For Michael Clarke (56, cf. 133) this retains the notion of ψυχή as the cold breath of death: either the phrase ‘expresses in a simple and non-figured way the idea that breath is cast about when a warrior gasps or groans in exhaustion, unconsciousness, or finally death’ or it suggests gambling, ‘casting the ψυχή around as one rattles lots in an urn’.Yet ‘casting one’s (literal) breath about’ can hardly be ‘non-figured’ – breath is physical, but not a tangible physical object of that sort. And in any case παραβάλλεσθαι does not mean ‘to cast about’; it is used with various objects of putting those objects at risk, i.e. staking them (LSJ s.v. παραβάλλω, II).The gambling metaphor entails the more basic ontological metaphor in which ψυχή is reified as an entity that one can pick up and put down, and thus expose to danger (cf. ψυχὰς παρθέμενοι at Od. 3. 74= 9. 255). If ψυχή can be figured as a valued possession which one would not like to lose, then it is not just the cold breath that is exhaled at the moment of death. When Hector and Achilles run a race in which the prize is Hector’s ψυχή (Il. 22. 161), the ψυχή has become a valuable object, one that Hector tries to retain and Achilles tries to take from him; what is valuable in this case is not the cold breath of death or the capacity to die, but simply life itself.21 When, in the Odyssey proem, Odysseus is described as ‘striving to secure his ψυχή and the homecoming of his companions’ (ἀρνύμενος ἥν τε ψυχὴν καὶ νόστον ἑταίρων, Od. 1. 5) ψυχή cannot simply be the ‘cold breath of death’, because that is not the sort of thing that you can win (unlike τιμή, κλέος, or νόστος).22
15Another pertinent passage is Il. 9. 406-9:
ληϊστοὶ μὲν γάρ τε βόες καὶ ἴφια μῆλα,
κτητοὶ δὲ τρίποδές τε καὶ ἵππων ξανθὰ κάρηνα,
ἀνδρὸς δὲ ψυχὴ πάλιν ἐλθεῖν οὔτε λεϊστὴ
οὔθ’ ἑλετή, ἐπεὶ ἄρ κεν ἀμείψεται ἕρκος ὀδόντων.
- 23 Cf. Od. 9. 523-4: Odysseus wishes he could send Polyphemus to Hades ‘bereft of ψυχή and αἰών’, i.e. (...)
16This draws on the notion of ψυχή as breath, but also reifies the ψυχή as a valued possession. It marks the ψυχή out as a valuable possession, moreover, in so far as it animates the individual; for if the ψυχή were really nothing more than the last breath, the image of its return would make no sense; though this is an impossibility, it nonetheless rests on the notion that if the ψυχή could return, then so would life itself. The original sense of ψυχή has undergone a process of metonymous extension in which the word has come to stand for what is lost at death, namely life; and while ψυχή in this sense is life liable to be lost rather than life enjoyed, still in the metaphorical associations that are integral to its conceptualization the word ψυχή (as something risked, saved, given up, or taken away) performs some, but not all of the functions of the English ‘life’.23
- 24 καὶ γάρ θην τούτῳ τρωτὸς χρὼς ὀξέϊ χαλκῷ, / ἐν δὲ ἴα ψυχή, θνητὸν δέ ἕ φασ’ ἄνθρωποι / ἔμμεναι.
- 25 For straightforward examples, see e.g. Euthyd. 287d, 302a; Crat. 399d; Resp. 353d, 590a; Polit. 261 (...)
17For evidence that the ψυχή is a feature of the living individual we turn to Il. 21. 568-70, where the Trojan, Agenor, observes that Achilles is ‘vulnerable to sharp bronze, and only has one ψυχή in him, for they say that he is mortal’.24 This does indeed mean that Achilles is liable to die, but it also implies that this ψυχή, which Achilles himself says he risks every time he enters battle, is his permanent possession. Is this possession wholly inert until it departs the body in death? The logic of the container metaphor means that, since the departure of the ψυχή signifies loss of life or loss of consciousness, its presence betokens life and consciousness. It is true that ψυχή is credited with no active function in the living person, and that it engages the poet’s attention only when its loss is threatened, and it may be going too far to say (with Regenbogen, Kl. Schr. pp. 13, 18) that the ψυχή is the Grundlage for ‘all mental and emotional functions of the person’ (for that is never stated as such), but Regenbogen’s basic claim (pp. 19-20), that ψυχή is the conditio sine qua non for life and consciousness must be right. All these metaphors and metonymies figure ψυχή as ‘life’ (a Platonic as well as an Aristotelian sense).25 The ontological metaphor in some of these passages (e.g. the reification involved in locutions such as ‘staking’ one’s ψυχή) can be compared in very general terms to Platonic metaphors (e.g. honouring one’s ψυχή in the Laws, esp. 697b, 726a-728d); and the notion of ψυχή as the life that one clings to presupposes at least a minimal version of Plato’s notion of ψυχή as an object of value, indeed of greater value than the body (e.g. Ap. 29e, Cr. 47d, 48a, G. 477b-c, 512a, 522e).
- 26 Il. 5. 296, 8. 123, 315, 11. 333-4, 11. 762-3, 14. 518-19, 16. 453, 16. 505, 22. 256-7, 24. 167-8, (...)
- 27 Il. 1. 3-4, 5. 654= 11. 445 9 (cf. 16. 625), 7. 328-30, Od. 10. 559-60, 11. 217-22, 24. 1-4
18We have seen that the Homeric ψυχή leaves the body on death. Some passages (seventeen, to be precise) focus only on this;26 another eight focus rather on the ψυχή’s entry to Hades;27 while two have the ψυχή both leaving the body and flying off towards Hades. These two passages involve one of the Iliad’s most salient repetitions, the presentation of the death of Hector (Il. 22. 362-3) in exactly the same words as had been used of the death of Patroclus (Il. 16. 856-7):
ψυχὴ δ’ ἐκ ῥεθέων πταμένη ῎Αϊδόσδε βεβήκει
ὃν πότμον γοόωσα λιποῦσ’ ἀνδροτῆτα καὶ ἥβην.
- 28 Flesh and Spirit, 129-30, 147-56.
19The obvious interpretation of such a spread of data would be to regard these passages as emphasizing distinct stages of a single process. For Michael Clarke, however, the data reflect separate and distinct conceptions of ψυχή as (a) the dying breath and (b) the survivor in Hades, with only two passages (the second a verbatim repetition of the first) making an ad hoc and exceptional link between the two.28 But in all eight of the passages that refer to the ψυχή’s entry to Hades, the ψυχή is a property of the living individual which leaves the corpse and enters Hades; these passages do not simply portray the entry of the ψυχή qua wraith into the world of the dead: by drawing a contrast between the departing ψυχή and the person or the corpse that it departs from, they demonstrate that before death that entity was resident in the living individual. The difference between these passages and those describing the deaths of Patroclus and Hector is simply that in the latter the moment and method of the ψυχή’s departure are emphasized and so there is a more inclusive emphasis on both departure and arrival; equally, the seventeen passages in which the ψυχή is said simply to depart the body do not preclude its leaving for Hades, as in the other ten; they simply do not specify. The deaths of Patroclus and Hector do not depart from, but merely amplify a Homeric norm that is implicit in all twenty-seven passages.
- 29 Od. 11. 222, 24. 5-9 (with 186-7).
- 30 τέλος δέ, ἐπειδὰν τῶν περὶ τὸν μυελὸν τριγώνων οἱ συναρμοσθέντες μηκέτι ἀντέχωσιν δεσμοὶ τῷ πόνῳ δι (...)
- 31 Soul birds and winged homunculi: see E. Vermeule, Aspects of Death in Early Greek Art and Poetry (B (...)
20The mythologizing of the ψυχή as a winged creature that flies from the body and enters the underworld is obviously a metaphor of a more developed sort than those which present it as a valued possession, a prize in a fight to the death, or even just an object in a container. This conception occurs not only in these two passages (regarding Patroclus and Hector), but also in the first and second Nekyiai of the Odyssey.29 We see the influence of this tradition in the description of the soul’s departure at death at Timaeus 81d,30 and, though there are many important differences, it clearly bears at least minimal comparison with the winged soul in the chariot-myth of the Phaedrus. It also forms a link between the Homeric poems and a set of religious beliefs that antedate their establishment as canonical fixed texts, for the image of the winged ψυχή, either as a bird hovering in the vicinity of the corpse or as a winged image of the deceased, appears, no doubt under oriental or Egyptian influence, in Greek art in isolated examples from the Mycenean period and with greater regularity from the mid-seventh century onwards.31 The image of the flying ψυχή is not the Homeric conception, but it is not just an occasional elaboration either. It enjoys an extensive extra-Homeric existence in art and cult, and the link which it presupposes between the ψυχή that leaves the body and the one that is resident in Hades is regular.
21The soul as winged creature, however, plays no part in the depiction of ψυχαί in the underworld in Odyssey 11. There, the ‘official line’ is that ψυχαί are bloodless, enfeebled remnants, insubstantial if not incorporeal images of the living individual. This, for example, is the explanation offered by Odysseus’ mother, Anticleia, in the Nekyia and by the ψυχή of Patroclus in Iliad 23:
“οὔ τί σε Περσεφόνεια Διὸς θυγάτηρ ἀπαφίσκει,
ἀλλ’ αὕτη δίκη ἐστὶ βροτῶν, ὅτε τίς κε θάνῃσιν.
οὐ γὰρ ἔτι σάρκας τε καὶ ὀστέα ἶνες ἔχουσιν,
ἀλλὰ τὰ μέν τε πυρὸς κρατερὸν μένος αἰθομένοιο
δαμνᾷ, ἐπεί κε πρῶτα λίπῃ λεύκ’ ὀστέα θυμός,
ψυχὴ δ’ ἠΰτ’ ὄνειρος ἀποπταμένη πεπότηται.”
(Od. 11. 217-22)
ὣς ἄρα φωνήσας ὠρέξατο χερσὶ φίλῃσιν
οὐδ’ ἔλαβε· ψυχὴ δὲ κατὰ χθονὸς ἠΰτε καπνὸς
ᾤχετο τετριγυῖα· ταφὼν δ’ ἀνόρουσεν ᾿Αχιλλεὺς
χερσί τε συμπλατάγησεν, ἔπος δ’ ὀλοφυδνὸν ἔειπεν·
“ὢ πόποι ἦ ῥά τίς ἐστι καὶ εἰν ᾿Αΐδαο δόμοισι
ψυχὴ καὶ εἴδωλον, ἀτὰρ φρένες οὐκ ἔνι πάμπαν·
παννυχίη γάρ μοι Πατροκλῆος δειλοῖο
ψυχὴ ἐφεστήκει γοόωσά τε μυρομένη τε,
καί μοι ἕκαστ’ ἐπέτελλεν, ἔϊκτο δὲ θέσκελον αὐτῷ.”
(Il. 23. 99-107)
- 32 See C. Sourvinou-Inwood, ‘Reading’ Greek Death: To the End of the Classical Period (Oxford, 1995), (...)
- 33 Competing conceptions: Clarke, Flesh and Spirit ch. 6; different chronological stages:
22Consonant with this conception is the need of the ψυχαί encountered by Odysseus in Hades to drink blood before they can converse with him. Yet this requirement is not just inconsistently applied;32 in itself it actually presupposes a degree of corporeality – otherwise, how could a mere ‘image’ (εἴδωλον) drink? But as well as being called ψυχαί and εἴδωλα, the dead in Hades are also very often described as νέκυες or νεκροί, words that are also applied to the physical remains of the deceased, and there are frequent shifts from describing the survivor in Hades as ‘the ψυχή of X’ to the use of the individual’s personal name or the appropriate personal pronoun. The inconsistency and ambiguity of these accounts of existence in Hades generally leads scholars to posit more than one competing conception of the afterlife, often attributed to different chronological stages and associated changes in burial practice.33 But it is better to see the inconsistency as lying within the concept of ψυχή than between ψυχή and other conceptions of survival (e.g. Clarke’s ‘simple’ conception in which it is the corpse that descends to the underworld, Flesh and Spirit 214-15).
- 34 Il. 6. 418, 22. 510-13 (with N. J. Richardson, The Iliad: A Commentary vol. 6 (Cambridge, 1993), ad (...)
23There are many passages in which the named individual is said to make the journey to Hades, but (with one exception, Od. 9. 523-4, in n. 23 above) these are compatible with the specification that it is qua ψυχή and not as physical body that he or she does so; this is in fact the only specification that is offered – it is never specified that the physical body of the dead person makes that journey. Homer’s characters and his audience know that corpses do not descend to Hades; they know that the physical bodies are cremated; but this awareness coexists with beliefs which, taken literally, might be thought to suppose a physical post mortem existence. The burning of clothes, armour, and other possessions along with the cremated body combines an acknowledgement of the physical destruction of the objects with at least a vestige of a belief in a form of physical post-mortem existence.34 Belief in some form of physical survival does not require physical translation of object or corpse from one realm to the other, but can coexist with acknowledgement of physical annihilation in the world of the living.
- 35 Cf. 10. 530, 11. 147, 541, 564.
24The inextricable closeness of the two supposed conceptions (inhabitants of Hades as ψυχαί and as νέκυες) is illustrated by the phrase ψυχαὶ . . . νεκύων κατατεθνηώτων at Od. 11. 37.35 These ψυχαί are then immediately identified with the individuals whose existence they continue, young men and women, old men, girls, and warriors both wearing their blood-stained armour and bearing the wounds of which they died (36-41):
αἱ δ’ ἀγέροντο
ψυχαὶ ὑπὲξ ᾿Ερέβευς νεκύων κατατεθνηώτων·
νύμφαι τ’ ἠΐθεοί τε πολύτλητοί τε γέροντες
παρθενικαί τ’ ἀταλαὶ νεοπενθέα θυμὸν ἔχουσαι,
πολλοὶ δ’ οὐτάμενοι χαλκήρεσιν ἐγχείῃσιν,
ἄνδρες ἀρηΐφατοι, βεβροτωμένα τεύχε’ ἔχοντες.
25These are ψυχαί, but they have the appearance of the corpses that were cremated and, somehow, sufficient corporeality to wear armour. It is striking how rapidly the ψυχαί are identified with the individuals themselves; this is the pattern throughout the Nekuia, e.g. in the immediately following initial encounter with Elpenor: the ψυχή of Elpenor comes forward (πρώτη δὲ ψυχὴ ᾿Ελπήνορος ἦλθεν ἑταίρου, 51); for he/it (no change of subject) had not yet been buried (οὐ γάρ πω ἐτέθαπτο ὑπὸ χθονὸς εὐρυοδείης, 52), for the σῶμα had been left at Circe’s palace (σῶμα γὰρ ἐν Κίρκης μεγάρῳ κατελείπομεν ἡμεῖς | ἄκλαυτον καὶ ἄθαπτον, 53-4); Odysseus then pities him (τὸν μὲν ἐγὼ δάκρυσα ἰδὼν ἐλέησα, 55) and addresses him (καί μιν φωνήσας, 56) as ‘Elpenor’ (57). A dialogue between ‘me’= Odysseus and ‘him’= Elpenor ensues, but as it concludes all that ‘Elpenor’ has said is attributed to the εἴδωλον (εἴδωλον δ’ ἑτέρωθεν ἑταίρου πόλλ’ ἀγόρευεν, 83). There is no gap here between the ψυχή that survives and the man that survives, and the properties of the bodily man are properties of the ψυχή. We can compare the way the ψυχή of Achilles can (without drinking blood) ‘recognize’ Odysseus, ‘shed tears’, and ‘address’ him (470-1):
ἔγνω δὲ ψυχή με ποδώκεος Αἰακίδαο
καί ῥ’ ὀλοφυρομένη ἔπεα πτερόεντα προσηύδα.
26There follows a dialogue between ‘Achilles’ and Odysseus, as an overture to which the ψυχή (as such) asks Odysseus how he dared to come to Hades, where the heedless νεκροί live, the images of worn-out mortals (475-6):
“πῶς ἔτλης ῎Αϊδόσδε κατελθέμεν, ἔνθα τε νεκροὶ
ἀφραδέες ναίουσι, βροτῶν εἴδωλα καμόντων;”
27This ψυχή has (at least some of) the properties of the living man, and is able to talk about itself as a member of a class that can be called indifferently νεκροί or εἴδωλα. At the end of the dialogue, the ψυχή, which has assumed the identity of Achilles throughout the scene, can itself stride off with large steps, reflecting with pride and pleasure on the news that it (what was a moment ago ‘he’) has just received (538-40):
ὣς ἐφάμην, ψυχὴ δὲ ποδώκεος Αἰακίδαο
φοίτα μακρὰ βιβᾶσα κατ’ ἀσφοδελὸν λειμῶνα,
γηθοσύνη, ὅ οἱ υἱὸν ἔφην ἀριδείκετον εἶναι.
28If a ψυχή qua ψυχή can wear clothes and armour, exhibit wounds and scars, perceive, converse, and show emotion, then there is no reason to assume that, when the dead in Hades are described as νέκυες/νεκροί, given corporeal existence, and depicted perceiving, conversing, and showing emotion, they are anything other than ψυχαί. They are, after all, εἴδωλα: very convincing εἴδωλα indeed.
29Despite the (apparently dualist) belief that what survives in the underworld is an insubstantial ψυχή, a mere image of the man that died, a translation to another realm of the spirit that separated from the corpse and left it behind, Homer does not conceive of any kind of survival which does not retain the characteristics of the living person as a psychophysical unity. The poems’ conception of survival as survival of the ψυχή confirms that the fundamental Homeric conception of the person is not dualist: the thinking and feeling of living persons is done by embodied human beings or (as we shall see below) attributed to entities that are at least in some sense physically located in the body; and the survivor in Hades that similarly thinks and feels is, when it comes down to it, credited with the physicality that characterizes living individuals. Despite the imagery of the ψυχή’s departure for and survival in Hades, the conception of living individuals and ψυχαί in Hades does not consistently involve the separation of ‘body’ and ‘soul’ either in substance or in function. The passages in Iliad 23 and Odyssey 11 which emphasize the conception of the post-mortem survivor as an insubstantial ψυχή do create a dissonance with other passages in which the survivor has substantial corporeality; but this is a dissonance between a ψυχή that is supposed to be evanescent and one which possesses considerable materiality, not between ψυχή and something else. The ‘official’ conception of the survivor as an insubstantial ψυχή is not sustained, but this does not mean that it is not intended to be definitive. Any conception of personal survival after death will be vulnerable to the same inconsistency, because the only model of personhood that we possess is based on our experience of living, breathing, thinking, feeling, embodied human beings – the practice of personification has a logic of its own.
- 36 Cf. n. 16 above.
30This is an extremely important point to which we shall need to return and on which we shall place considerable emphasis in discussing the tripartite Platonic ψυχή below. If we conceive of the dead as having any form of personal existence, we shall talk about them in terms that apply properly to their existence in life. In doing so, we make a common metaphorical translation from one domain (the known world of human agents) to another (the unknown world of the dead). The importance of this metaphor for later conceptions of ψυχή, including the Platonic, is not just eschatological; rather, the idea that the survival of the ψυχή in Hades entails the survival of core aspects of the human personality facilitates the view that it is the presence of the ψυχή, when it is united with the body, that is responsible for the personality and its functions in the living human individual. In Homer the ψυχή exists in the living person and keeps him alive, but it also survives death; and this entity that survives can be regarded as retaining all the significant traits and capacities that marked the living individual. Though the Homeric poems do not take the next step, the conclusion is there to be drawn that there is within each person an immortal, vital force that functions as (to use Adkins’ phrase once more) the ‘core or carrier of the personality’.36 Add the specific religious and moral overtones of Orphism, Pythagoreanism, and the mystery religions, and one will have (finally) something like Plato’s conception of the soul. But there is a paradox in this. It is Homer’s holistic view of the human being as a psychophysical unity that determines the similarly holistic view of the ψυχή as survivor in Hades, not just as an image but as a fully formed doublet of the living person. Yet the properties of this holistic human personality, the personality that is attributed to the ψυχή in Hades, are at the same time regarded as belonging to a substance that is separable and distinct from the lifeless body. The use of the ψυχή’s departure from the body as the vector between these two holistic conceptions requires an eschatological dualism that facilitates dualist accounts of the living human person in ontological and psychological terms as well.
- 37 On the way that the functions of θυμός etc. in Homer are taken over by ψυχή in later usage, see Cla (...)
31A further substantial difference, however, between the Platonic and Homeric conceptions is that the mental activity that Plato attributes to the soul is not carried out by ψυχή in Homer, but by other ‘mental organs’, especially the θυμός, a faculty that also has a significant Platonic afterlife (in the Republic, Phaedrus, and Timaeus).37 The importance of θυμός in Plato is thus, as we have indicated, an element in the story of the expansion of the capacities of the post-Homeric ψυχή (for θυμός is for Plato an aspect of ψυχή), but in its detail this is also a story of Plato’s remodelling of a central set of features of Homeric psychology.
- 38 See e.g. Il. 18. 110-11, with Onians, The Origins of European Thought, 52, 87.
- 39 Il. 4. 522-4, 13. 653-5, 16. 468-9, 20. 403, 21. 416-17. Cf. 21. 386, 22. 475. The θυμός also leave (...)
- 40 Cf. Onians, The Origins of European Thought, 23-4, 31, 44-56, 66-79, 208; cf. 23-39 on the φρένες a (...)
- 41 The presentation of θυμός as a substance that may waste and wane, of which one may have more or les (...)
- 42 Creature to be tamed (Il. 9. 496, 18. 113, Od. 11. 562) or restrained (Il. 1. 92, 9. 254-6, 635-6, (...)
- 43 Il. 2. 276-7, 6. 256-7, 439, 444, 7. 68, 74, 349, 369, 8. 6, 189, 301, 310, 322, 9. 703, 10. 220, 3 (...)
- 44 Discussed in detail below.
- 45 Od. 10. 374, 20. 301-2. Cf. its ‘shudder’ at Od. 23. 216.
32In classical Greek, θυμός is a regular and prosaic word for anger. In Homer, on the other hand, θυμός is never anger as such, always the general psychic force under whose head anger and other emotions belong.38 It is this Homeric conception of θυμός as an interrelated set of motivations rather than the single emotion of anger to which Plato returns. But θυμός is also cognate with Latin fumus, and like ψυχή can be presented as a kind of breath.39 For Michael Clarke, this is the essence of the concept, and ‘every significant fragment of description applied to the θυμός family [can be fitted] into the same process of inhalation, ebb and flow, liquefying and coagulation’ (p. 107) and every mental activity attributed to θυμός is at the same time also a movement of gaseous substances within the breast.40 But again, this misrepresents the role of metaphor: if the θυμός is a kind of gas that one can think with or feel with, then it is no longer just a type of gas – the mental process is being described metonymously in terms of the physical process that is believed to underpin it. But θυμός can be much more metaphorical than that, and in ways that leave its physical guise as the air in the lungs far behind.41 For θυμός is also a creature that must be tamed or restrained, or an opponent to which one can yield.42 The θυμός, too, is said very frequently to urge on or issue orders,43 and it can be presented as a partner in dialogue;44 it can even be said to manifest facial expressions (black looks and smiling) in situations in which the individual (in both cases Odysseus) does not visibly express his feelings.45 Examples could be multiplied. These are not isolated examples of non-standard poetic elaboration; reification and personification of θυμός and similar terms – in ways which go far beyond the qualities of air or fluids – are fundamental to the conceptualization of their psychological function.
- 46 Discovery, 19-22 (quotations pp. 21-2); cf. his review of J. Böhme’s Die Seele und das Ich im homer (...)
- 47 H. Fränkel, Early Greek Poetry and Philosophy (Eng. trans. Oxford, 1975), 76-80, 527 (quotations fr (...)
33Older, progressivist scholarship in the German tradition of Geistesgeschichte regarded the operations of the θυμός and other ‘psychic organs’ – and especially their personification – as an indication of the primitiveness of Homeric concepts of self and agency. For Bruno Snell, the explanation of mental process in terms of the promptings of θυμός and other organs makes Homeric man ‘a battleground of arbitrary forces and uncanny powers’ – ‘Homeric man has not yet awakened to the fact that he possesses in his own soul the source of his powers’.46 For Hermann Fränkel, Homeric man is a whole, the actions of his psychic organs are his actions, and his tendency to engage in dialogue with his θυμός represents no ‘real splitting of the ego but only discursive thinking’. Yet he is also ‘completely part of his world. He does not confront an outside world with a different inner selfhood, but is interpenetrated by the whole.’ Hence ‘our own basic antithesis between self and not-self does not yet exist in Homeric consciousness’; ‘[e]ven after man had acquired a “soul”, there was at first no essential change in his relation to the outside world; he still remained an open force-field … among other force-fields …’47
- 48 See T. Jahn, Zum Wortfeld ‘Seele-Geist’ in der Sprache Homers (Munich, 1987), esp. 182-211. Cf. alr (...)
- 49 Claus, Toward the Soul, 32, 42; Bremmer, The Early Greek Concept of the Soul, 54-5; Jahn, Zum Wortf (...)
34More recent scholarship, however, has rendered such approaches untenable. First, it has been shown that in the majority of their occurrences, i.e. when used adverbially (with a preposition, in the instrumental dative, or in some other analogous use of an oblique case, e.g. ἐν(ὶ) θυμῷ, κατὰ θυμόν, θυμῷ, etc.), the usage of the words denoting the so-called ‘psychic organs’ θυμός, κραδίη, κῆρ, ἦτορ, φρένες, πραπίδες (and of the locution ἐν στήθεσσιν) reflects neither the specificity of the organ’s physiological function nor any semantic difference, but merely metrical shape, in such a way that the various phrases form a flexible repertoire of modifiers for verb-phrases of different shapes.48 In their association with the body and its parts, these entities are many; but in these adverbial uses the terms are semantically interchangeable, and their psychological function is single – at most, they capture something of the phenomenology of the psychological experience in question.49 In that way, they leave the specificity of their physiology behind. Thus the mere number of psychic organs does not in itself support the view that Homeric models of the mind entail a fragmentation of the self, and we need to treat this family of terms as essentially a single entity rather than as a variety of independent entities.
- 50 See Sharples, ‘“But why …”’; Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 115-216, 234-68, 277-81; Gill, Pers (...)
- 51 Il. 11. 401-13 (Odysseus), 17. 90-107 (Menelaus), 21. 552-72 (Agenor), 22. 98-131 (Hector).
35That there is indeed no fragmentation of the self is demonstrated by Robert Sharples, Hayden Pelliccia, and Christopher Gill in their complementary approaches to the issue of Homeric deliberation, and especially scenes of (apparent) dialogue between a person and his or her θυμός.50 Crucial in this regard are four Iliadic decision-making monologues in which direct speech is set up by the narrator as an address to the θυμός, only for the speaker himself to reject the alternative canvassed in his own opening words as a proposal of the θυμός.51 Discussion of the final example, Hector’s monologue in Iliad 22, will suffice to illustrate the phenomenon.
36Isolated outside the walls of Troy and facing the prospect of an encounter with the furious Achilles, Hector remains unmoved by the appeals of his parents that he should retreat to the safety of the city and instead ponders his options. His deliberations are introduced by the same formulaic line as occurs in each of the other three comparable scenes – ὀχθήσας δ’ ἄρα εἶπε πρὸς ὃν μεγαλήτορα θυμόν (22. 98). Direct speech then begins (99-107):
“ὤ μοι ἐγών, εἰ μέν κε πύλας καὶ τείχεα δύω,
Πουλυδάμας μοι πρῶτος ἐλεγχείην ἀναθήσει, (100)
ὅς μ’ ἐκέλευε Τρωσὶ ποτὶ πτόλιν ἡγήσασθαι
νύχθ’ ὕπο τήνδ’ ὀλοὴν ὅτε τ’ ὤρετο δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς.
ἀλλ’ ἐγὼ οὐ πιθόμην· ἦ τ’ ἂν πολὺ κέρδιον ἦεν.
νῦν δ’ ἐπεὶ ὤλεσα λαὸν ἀτασθαλίῃσιν ἐμῇσιν,
αἰδέομαι Τρῶας καὶ Τρῳάδας ἑλκεσιπέπλους, (105)
μή ποτέ τις εἴπῃσι κακώτερος ἄλλος ἐμεῖο·
Ἕκτωρ ἧφι βίηφι πιθήσας ὤλεσε λαόν.”
- 52 Cf. Gill, Personality, 81-92, esp. 85-6.
37The narrator’s introduction had already signalled Hector’s emotional turmoil (ὀχθήσας, 98), and the speech itself furnishes direct evidence. The reference to Polydamas (100-3) refers back to Book 18 (249-313), where Hector’s rejection of Polydamas’ sensible advice was explicitly marked as an error by the narrator. Now Hector realizes this himself, and berates himself not only for his recklessness but also for his failure as a leader (103-5). Though the pejorative terms of his self-reproach indicate his sense of responsibility for his blameworthy actions, he also projects that blame onto an imaginary critic (105-7). This, then, is a poetic character who is fully aware that he will have to answer in future for his previous decisions. The continuity between the past he regrets and the future he imagines is an individual whose sense that he is answerable for his actions reflects the norms of the community to which he belongs. So far, not much sign of the fragmentation of the self; what we have instead is a good example of the contribution made by direct speech to the vivid representation of personal agency in Homer, and clear indications of the robustness of the background theory of mind, personhood, and responsibility presupposed by the text and required in its audiences.52
38Though Hector now realizes that it would have been better had he listened to Polydamas (103), what seems κέρδιον in the present circumstances (ἐμοὶ δὲ τότ’ ἂν πολὺ κέρδιον εἴη) is to face Achilles in battle (108-10). At that point, however, Hector contemplates another possibility: he might propose the return of Helen and all her possessions and offer the Achaeans a share of the Trojans’ wealth (111-21). This, Hector then realizes, is unlikely to satisfy Achilles, and so he breaks off his ruminations by attributing the rejected alternative to his θυμός and recasting it as a futile fantasy (122-30):
“ἀλλὰ τί ἤ μοι ταῦτα φίλος διελέξατο θυμός;
μή μιν ἐγὼ μὲν ἵκωμαι ἰών, ὃ δέ μ’ οὐκ ἐλεήσει
οὐδέ τί μ’ αἰδέσεται, κτενέει δέ με γυμνὸν ἐόντα
αὔτως ὥς τε γυναῖκα, ἐπεί κ’ ἀπὸ τεύχεα δύω. (125)
οὐ μέν πως νῦν ἔστιν ἀπὸ δρυὸς οὐδ’ ἀπὸ πέτρης
τῷ ὀαριζέμεναι, ἅ τε παρθένος ἠΐθεός τε
παρθένος ἠΐθεός τ’ ὀαρίζετον ἀλλήλοιιν.
βέλτερον αὖτ’ ἔριδι ξυνελαυνέμεν ὅττι τάχιστα·
εἴδομεν ὁπποτέρῳ κεν Ὀλύμπιος εὖχος ὀρέξῃ.” (130)
- 53 See Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 136-46, 200-3, and passim. This introductory convention occu (...)
- 54 Cf. the use of the formula in a non-monologic speech at 22. 385, where it serves as a break-off tha (...)
- 55 See Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, esp. 117, 200-3, 208-13, 236, 259, 261, 267; on the ‘self-di (...)
- 56 Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 27, 62, 77, 212.
39Lines 111-21 are spoken by Hector (using five first-person verbs and a further two nominative participles), just as Hector has, with a strong sense of his own agency and responsibility, spoken all the words since, according to the narrator, he first addressed his θυμός in line 98. But Hector himself does not take his cue from the narrator. His speech begins “ὤ μοι ἐγών …”, not “ὢ θυμέ”, and the θυμός does not figure until, retrospectively, it is identified as the author of the rejected alternative in 122. Though that alternative is rejected using a phrase that, on the face of it, credits the θυμός with the power of speech (ἀλλὰ τί ἤ μοι ταῦτα φίλος διελέξατο θυμός;) no actual direct speech is attributed to it. This is a recurrent pattern in this series of monologues. The narrator introduces a monologue addressed to the θυμός as a sign that the speaker is out of contact with any actual interlocutor.53 The speech then rehearses the options available to the speaker, before attributing a rejected alternative to the θυμός.54 The executive decision remains that of the speaker – it is to him and him alone that the preferred option ‘seems better’, while the θυμός serves first of all as a convenient sounding-board, the auditor of a speech that otherwise has no audience, and then as a scapegoat for an option that was momentarily entertained, only to be dismissed.55 As the addressee of a speech (in the introductory formula) and as the subject of a verb of speaking (in the speech itself) the θυμός is certainly personified, but in a limited way. This limited personification does not present the θυμός as an actual interlocutor,56 but is compatible with the function and phenomenology of thymoeidic events elsewhere in the Iliad and the Odyssey, in that it is associated particularly with impulses that seem somehow to impose themselves upon the subject and are not themselves the outcomes of considered reflexion. Though in the two formulae in question (the narrator’s introduction and the speaker’s self-distancing) it is possible to regard the θυμός as a homunculus, it is a homunculus with a specific and circumscribed function.
- 57 See Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 129-31. For the θυμός speeches as dramatization of the proce (...)
40Addresses to the θυμός are not, however, an essential element of Homeric deliberation; and cases in which an address to the θυμός is followed by the attribution of a rejected alternative to the θυμός constitute an even smaller sub-category. What we are dealing with in these cases is a dramatization of a standard scenario, in which an agent ponders both sides of a dilemma, before coming to a decision, a situation that in Homer regularly involves the use of verbs such as μερμηρίζειν, ὁρμαίνειν, and the like, with the agent as subject.57 Od. 22. 330-9, where the bard, Phemius, deliberates whether to take refuge at the altar of Zeus or to supplicate Odysseus directly, is a straightforward example:
Τερπιάδης δ’ ἔτ’ ἀοιδὸς ἀλύσκανε κῆρα μέλαιναν, (330)
Φήμιος, ὅς ῥ’ ἤειδε παρὰ μνηστῆρσιν ἀνάγκῃ.
ἔστη δ’ ἐν χείρεσσιν ἔχων φόρμιγγα λίγειαν
ἄγχι παρ’ ὀρσοθύρην· δίχα δὲ φρεσὶ μερμήριζεν,
ἢ ἐκδὺς μεγάροιο Διὸς μεγάλου ποτὶ βωμὸν
ἑρκείου ἕζοιτο τετυγμένον, ἔνθ’ ἄρα πολλὰ (335)
Λαέρτης Ὀδυσεύς τε βοῶν ἐπὶ μηρί’ ἔκηαν,
ἦ γούνων λίσσοιτο προσαΐξας Ὀδυσῆα.
ὧδε δέ οἱ φρονέοντι δοάσσατο κέρδιον εἶναι,
γούνων ἅψασθαι Λαερτιάδεω Ὀδυσῆος.
- 58 See Sharples, ‘“But why …”’ 2-3; cf. Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 215, 259-61.
- 59 See Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 55-69, 77-8, 100-3, and cf. above, n. 43.
- 60 See esp. Gill, Personality, 47, 59, 179-80, 183, 186-7.
41There are two options, but each is an object of Phemius’ thought (δίχα δὲ φρεσὶ μερμήριζεν, 333; ὧδε δέ οἱ φρονέοντι, 338). The reference to his φρένες in 333 is a pleonastic adverbial expression that merely advertises the status of μερμηρίζειν as a mental (cognitive and affective) event. This is the familiar form of self-division that θυμός-dialogues model and dramatize.58 As a kind of breath that you can think with, an entity within the chest that is a source of thoughts, emotions, and desires, the θυμός is already metaphorical. The basic ontological metaphor is regularly extended by personification, e.g. when θυμός is the subject of verbs of wishing and commanding,59 and personification can take the specific form of making the θυμός an apparent partner in dialogue. In that case, an experience of an individual, that of mentally rehearsing the options among which one must choose (an experience that Homeric verse is entirely capable of representing as such), is being represented in terms of interpersonal dialogue.60
- 61 See F. Dirlmeier, ‘Vom Monolog der Dichtung zum “inneren” Logos bei Platon und Aristoteles’, Gymnas (...)
- 62 Socrates has already quoted lines 17-18 at 390d; cf. Phd. 94d-e, where the same lines illustrate th (...)
- 63 See further S. Halliwell, ‘Traditional Greek Conceptions of Character’, in C. B. R. Pelling (ed.), (...)
42Plato’s conception of θυμός as one of the three elements of the tripartite soul is clearly and explicitly indebted to Homer.61 In that model’s first outing in Republic 4 (441b-c), the distinction between ‘that which makes calculations about better and worse’ (τὸ ἀναλογισάμενον περὶ τοῦ βελτίονός τε καὶ χείρονος) and ‘that which rages without reason’ (τῷ ἀλογίστως θυμουμένῳ) is drawn with reference to Odysseus’ celebrated rebuke to his heart (κραδίη) at Odyssey 20. 17-24. The passage is so well known that Plato needs to quote only a single line (20. 17),62 but knowledge of the whole passage is clearly assumed, and so we must examine the speech and its wider context in full.63
43The disguised Odysseus is asleep in the courtyard of his own house, κακὰ φρονέων ἐνὶ θυμῷ (5), when he is awoken by the serving women who have been sleeping with the suitors (1-8). This exacerbates his anger, as the poet continues (9-24):
τοῦ δ’ ὠρίνετο θυμὸς ἐνὶ στήθεσσι φίλοισι·
πολλὰ δὲ μερμήριζε κατὰ φρένα καὶ κατὰ θυμόν, (10)
ἠὲ μεταΐξας θάνατον τεύξειεν ἑκάστῃ,
ἦ ἔτ’ ἐῷ μνηστῆρσιν ὑπερφιάλοισι μιγῆναι
ὕστατα καὶ πύματα· κραδίη δέ οἱ ἔνδον ὑλάκτει.
ὡς δὲ κύων ἀμαλῇσι περὶ σκυλάκεσσι βεβῶσα
ἄνδρ’ ἀγνοιήσασ’ ὑλάει μέμονέν τε μάχεσθαι, (15)
ὥς ῥα τοῦ ἔνδον ὑλάκτει ἀγαιομένου κακὰ ἔργα.
στῆθος δὲ πλήξας κραδίην ἠνίπαπε μύθῳ·
“τέτλαθι δή, κραδίη· καὶ κύντερον ἄλλο ποτ’ ἔτλης,
ἤματι τῷ, ὅτε μοι μένος ἄσχετος ἤσθιε Κύκλωψ
ἰφθίμους ἑτάρους· σὺ δ’ ἐτόλμας, ὄφρα σε μῆτις (20)
ἐξάγαγ’ ἐξ ἄντροιο ὀϊόμενον θανέεσθαι.”
ὣς ἔφατ’, ἐν στήθεσσι καθαπτόμενος φίλον ἦτορ·
τῷ δὲ μάλ’ ἐν πείσῃ κραδίη μένε τετληυῖα
νωλεμέως· ἀτὰρ αὐτὸς ἑλίσσετο ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα.
44Like a haggis on a fire (25-8), Odysseus tosses and turns, μερμηρίζων, | ὅππως δὴ μνηστῆρσιν ἀναιδέσι χεῖρας ἐφήσει, | μοῦνος ἐὼν πολέσι (29-30), until Athena appears in the guise of a mortal woman and reminds him of how far he has come and how close to his goals he is (30-5). Odysseus replies (37-43):
“ναὶ δὴ ταῦτά γε πάντα, θεά, κατὰ μοῖραν ἔειπες·
ἀλλά τί μοι τόδε θυμὸς ἐνὶ φρεσὶ μερμηρίζει,
ὅππως δὴ μνηστῆρσιν ἀναιδέσι χεῖρας ἐφήσω,
μοῦνος ἐών· οἱ δ’ αἰὲν ἀολλέες ἔνδον ἔασι. (40)
πρὸς δ’ ἔτι καὶ τόδε μεῖζον ἐνὶ φρεσὶ μερμηρίζω·
εἴ περ γὰρ κτείναιμι Διός τε σέθεν τε ἕκητι,
πῇ κεν ὑπεκπροφύγοιμι; τά σε φράζεσθαι ἄνωγα.”
45Athena assures him that all will be well, and ensures that he is able to sleep (44-55).
- 64 See Pellicccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 175-6, 178; Gill, Personality, 184.
- 65 See Pelliccia 220-1, 223; Gill 184.
- 66 Cf. Jahn, Zum Wortfeld ‘Seele-Geist’, 201-9; Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 177 n. 123.
46In some respects, this episode exhibits similarities with those monologues addressed to the θυμός that we have considered above, but is also unique in many ways. As in the θυμός-monologues, the narrator’s description of an address to a physically embodied psychic organ introduces a speech that is spoken out of contact with any actual addressee. But this is the only such speech in which the κραδίη is the addressee, and, more importantly, the only speech in which the organ that is identified as the addressee by the narrator is actually addressed in direct speech by the speaker.64 The speech is also unique in combining two conventional objects of deliberation, whether to do x or y and how to do what one has decided to do.65 Both of these forms of deliberation, moreover, are introduced as activities of Odysseus himself: it is Odysseus who πολλὰ … μερμήριζε κατὰ φρένα καὶ κατὰ θυμόν, whether to kill the maids or to let them be in the meantime (10-13), Odysseus αὐτός who tosses and turns (24), considering (μερμηρίζων, 28) how he might be able to overcome the suitors (28-30), as he explains to Athena (μερμηρίζω, 41). These are ordinary forms of Homeric deliberation, in which psychic organs need play no more than their normal adverbial role (κακὰ φρονέων ἐνὶ θυμῷ, 5; ἐνὶ στήθεσσι, 9, 22; κατὰ φρένα καὶ κατὰ θυμόν, 10; ἐνὶ φρεσί, 41). Whatever role they play, these organs are clearly interchangeable:66 not only does the κραδίη of lines 13, 17, 18, and 23 become the ἦτορ of line 22, but κατὰ φρένα καὶ κατὰ θυμόν forms a single adverbial expression, pleonastically modifying μερμήριζε in 10, and it is the stirring up of the θυμός in 9 that leads to the barking of the κραδίη in 13 and 16. Though Plato quotes only the rebuke to the κραδίη, that organ’s function, together with the number of references to the θυμός in the original Homeric context (5, 9, 10, 38), show that his instincts in taking this passage as evidence for the motivation that he himself calls θυμός are correct. Without citing any of the lines that actually contain the word, Plato is able to rely upon his readers’ ability to make the link between Odysseus’ address to his κραδίη and the Homeric θυμός, and thus to see the established concept of the θυμός as a factor that supports his own postulation of an entity with the same name and similar functions.
- 67 The way that the simile in 14-15 illustrates the ‘barking’ metaphor in 13 and 16 refutes those who (...)
- 68 E.g. in the way that the reflections of Odysseus in 5 and 9-13, the arousal of his θυμός in 9, and (...)
- 69 All the more so, given that the stratagem of calling himself Οὖτις (μή τις in the conditional claus (...)
- 70 See Halliwell, ‘Traditional Greek Conceptions of Character’, 40 n. 9; Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Sp (...)
47The passage thus exhibits a number of standard features of Homeric psychology in general and of deliberation scenes in particular. None of these features amounts to anything that might detract from personal agency or the unity of the self. These features are merely extended and dramatized by the personification of the κραδίη as a creature that can bark like a dog (13-16),67 be the recipient of speech (17-18), and exhibit the resolve to obey (23-4). The purpose of this striking imagery is clearly to emphasize the drama of Odysseus’ momentary temptation to jeopardize his long-term plan by giving way to a powerful impulse for revenge, the mastery of that impulse thus demonstrating the strength of character that he needs to achieve his aims. That the κραδίη represents an aspect of the motivation of Odysseus the man is demonstrated not only by the unity that underpins the passage’s shifts between Odysseus, his θυμός, and his κραδίη,68 but also in the shared history of which Odysseus, rhetorically, reminds his κραδίη in 18-21; the endurance of the κραδίη in the Cyclops’ cave is precisely the endurance for which ‘much-enduring’ Odysseus is himself famous; in presenting his κραδίη as rescued by his μῆτις on that occasion, Odysseus is simply personifying two salient features of his own personality.69 That the operative agent remains, both now and in the past, Odysseus himself is demonstrated by two aspects of the passage’s syntax. Homer is content to present Odysseus as interacting with his κραδίη as if it were a person, both in the narrative (ἠνίπαπε μυθῷ, 17, καθαπτόμενος, 22, τῷ δὲ μάλ’ ἐν πείσῃ κραδίη μένε τετληυῖα, 23) and in direct speech (τέτλαθι, ἔτλης, 18, σὺ δ’ ἐτόλμας, ὄφρα σε μῆτις ἐξάγαγ’, 20-1), but the fact that all of this represents Odysseus’ way of addressing himself is betrayed by 20-1, σὺ δ’ ἐτόλμας, ὄφρα σε μῆτις | ἐξάγαγ’ ἐξ ἄντροιο ὀϊόμενον θανέεσθαι – ‘you’, the heart, endured, and μῆτις led ‘you’ out of the cave, but the thought of imminent death is attributed to the only person on the scene capable of being qualified by the masculine participle ὀϊόμενον, i.e. Odysseus himself.70 The tenor, Odysseus, intrudes into the vehicle of the metaphor. Just so, it is, according to the narrator, the heart within Odysseus that barks, but Odysseus himself who experiences the emotion that the heart’s barking represents (ὥς ῥα τοῦ ἔνδον ὑλάκτει ἀγαιομένου κακὰ ἔργα, 16). There is an important point here that we shall explore further in the next section with regard to Plato. The personification of the κραδίη in this passage (like, in some respects, that of the θυμός in others) exhibits a phenomenon that we noted above in connexion with the personification of the ψυχή as survivor in Hades: these personifications serve a limited purpose and have a particular function, but the very fact of personifying either the aspect of a person that survives death or that which is involved in certain kinds of spontaneous and powerful emotion entails a degree of slippage between the capacities of the personification and those of the whole person with whom the personified entity is associated. At the same time, the conception of the individual as the actual and effective centre of agency remains intact.
- 71 On ζέσις, boiling, as a θυμός-metaphor, see Crat. 419e (“θυμὸς” δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς θύσεως καὶ ζέσεως τῆς ψυ (...)
- 72 Gill, Personality, 188 n. 47.
48Plato’s chosen example in introducing the thymoeidic element in the ψυχή is a salient Homeric passage in which the personification of aspects of the personality reaches its apogee. Plato obviously welcomes the phenomenological aspects of the Odyssean passage – not only the subjective experience of self-division itself, but also the canine imagery that is applied to the κραδίη. Just after the initial suggestion, made via the example of Leontius and his anger at his own desires (Republic 439e-440a), that there is some third element in the ψυχή, namely θυμός, ‘that by which we get angry’ (τὸ … τοῦ θυμοῦ καὶ ᾧ θυμούμεθα, 439e), Socrates suggests that, whereas the θυμός of a person who has done wrong and suffers just punishment ‘is unwilling to be roused’ (οὐκ ἐθέλει … ἐγείρεσθαι ὁ θυμός, 440c), that of someone who is wronged ‘seethes and rages and fights alongside that which seems just … until it is soothed as a dog is by a shepherd’ (ζεῖ τε καὶ χαλεπαίνει καὶ συμμαχεῖ τῷ δοκοῦντι δικαίῳ …, πρὶν ἂν ὥσπερ κύων ὑπὸ νομέως ὑπὸ τοῦ λόγου τοῦ παρ’ αὑτῷ ἀνακληθεὶς πραϋνθῇ, 440c-d).71 Just so, adds Glaucon, the Auxiliaries of Kallipolis are like dogs, under the command of the Guardians as shepherds of the state (440d).72 Odysseus’ rebuke to his dog-like heart is then adduced as one of the proofs that this truly is a third element of the soul, a distinct category like that of the Auxiliaries in the state. The currency, in the ordinary Greek of Plato’s own day, of θυμός as a form of anger is one reason why Plato chooses to develop this aspect of Homeric psychology. It is clear, too, that he treats the Homeric θυμός as part of system of related organs and functions: he quotes only a reference to the κραδίη but uses it to introduce his concept of θυμός. But Plato clearly also also wants the Homeric personification of these entities, and with it at least something of the Homeric model of the personality. This is one aspect of the debt owed to Homer by a philosophical dialogue that seeks to banish Homer from its model of the state. At the same time, however, Plato’s psychology in the Republic departs from Homer in many ways, including in the extravagant degree to which it is prepared to indulge in personifications. It remains to be seen whether it also differs from Homer in permitting or entailing the fragmentation of the personality.
- 73 See J. Annas, An Introduction to Plato’s Republic (Oxford, 1981), 127-9, 137-41; M. Woods, ‘Plato’s (...)
- 74 Cf. Cooper, ‘Plato’s Theory of Human Motivation’, 12-16. On pp. 15-16, Cooper suggests that the ang (...)
- 75 Folk models (including Homer): see Gill, Personality, 251 n. 36; R. Kamtekar, ‘Speaking with the Sa (...)
49The distinction between θυμός and ἐπιθυμία (in the case of Leontius) and between θυμός and reason (as in Odysseus’ rebuke to his barking heart) invokes the Principle of Opposites that has earlier been used to distinguish between reason and ἐπιθυμία at 436a-439d, but that principle can only ever affirm that, if the same thing appears to do or undergo opposites in the same respect and with regard to the same object, then we are dealing not with one thing but with more than one (436b-c). In the cases of the distinctions between the λογιστικόν and the ἐπιθυμητικόν, between θυμός and ἐπιθυμία, and between θυμός and τὸ ἀναλογισάμενον περὶ τοῦ βελτίονός τε καὶ χείρονος, it is not the Principle of Opposites in itself that establishes the nature of the things that conflict, but pre-existing intuitions about the phenomenology of the motivations involved and of psychic conflict itself.73 This is particularly clear in the case of θυμός, because the only argument in favour of the contention that θυμός is not simply one of the two conflicting motivations that the principle has previously established, but rather tertium quid, rests on the phenomenological character of θυμός itself. Much of this argumentation rests on personification: ὀργή can be at war with the desires (440b); θυμός can be the ally of reason, as if they were taking part in civil strife against ἐπιθυμία (440b; cf. 441a); it can be unwilling to be roused when justly punished, but seethe, rage, and fight along with justice, suffering hunger and cold, holding out for victory until it either prevails, or dies, or is called back and calmed down, like a dog, by its owner (440c-d). All of this might suggest that Plato’s θυμός is an entity very much like Homer’s, a metaphorical ‘part’ of the person whose personification serves to figure particular forms of motivation in ways that draw on capacities of persons without detracting from the notion of the individual as the real centre of agency. If the θυμός is ‘irrational’, it is only by comparison with ‘that which makes calculations about better and worse’; in its phenomenology it resembles the fury of infants (441a) and of barking dogs (441b), but as personifications, both Plato’s θυμός and Odysseus’ κραδίη possess many, but not all, of the qualities that characterize a person.74 The distinctness of these three forms of motivation is conditioned by the analogy between the city and the soul, but not entirely determined by it. Its empirical, phenomenological plausibility, rather, is strengthened by folk models and traditional categories.75
- 76 See Aidôs: The Psychology and Ethics of Honour and Shame in Ancient Greek Literature (Oxford, 1993) (...)
- 77 For inflexions of this general approach see J. F. Moline, ‘Plato on the Complexity of the Psyche’, (...)
50When I first began to work on θυμός in Plato in the late 1980s,76 this was more or less the orthodox view of Plato’s use of personification in the representation of the tripartite soul, especially in the Republic and the Phaedrus. On this view, Plato’s ready and frequent recourse to personification represents a way of modelling three distinct kinds of motivation. Each of the personified agents thus established is characterized by its orientation towards a single goal or set of goals, but inevitably exhibits characteristics of the whole person in the way that those motivations are expressed. As with Homer’s θυμός, the personification of θυμός (and the other psychic ‘parts’) in Plato is (again on this view) limited and functional, drawing on but not replicating the powers of the whole person.77
51I still believe that an approach of this sort is more or less right, but it now seems to me (first) that there are aspects of Plato’s account that it glosses over, some of which have been highlighted in more recent scholarship, and (second) that studies such as those cited in n. 77 do not quite recognize how the full range and significance of Plato’s use of metaphor contributes to a proper understanding of his purpose. The issues require a fullness of treatment that cannot be attempted here. What I propose instead is a limited discussion of some of the implications of the use of metaphor and personification in the Republic’s version of the tripartite model of the ψυχή that will highlight similarities and differences between Homeric and Platonic conceptions and thus perhaps shed light on tripartition as an enterprise.
- 78 Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast, passim, esp. 217-22; cf. 248-51.
- 79 C. H. Kahn, ‘From Republic to Laws: A Discussion of C. Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast’, OSAP 26 (2 (...)
- 80 An approach found also in Kahn, ‘From Republic to Laws’, e.g. 356; see further Lorenz, The Brute Wi (...)
52The more recent approaches to the Republic’s model of the tripartite ψυχή that reject the view that the model simply represents three distinct ways in which a person might be motivated fall broadly into three categories (at least as far as the use of metaphor and personification is concerned). One approach, represented only (as far as I know) by Christopher Bobonich, denies that the model is metaphorical at all.78 Another accepts the use of metaphor, but maintains that it is at least in principle possible (though in practice difficult) to get behind Plato’s metaphors to whatever it is that they are supposed to represent.79 And a variation of that approach seeks to play down the significance of some metaphors while privileging or substituting others in establishing precisely what it is that the ‘parts of the soul’ can ‘really do’.80
- 81 See esp. his pp. 217-21, 237, 242-4. A list of passages in which the elements of the tripartite ψυχ (...)
- 82 For R. Barney, T. Brennan, and C. Brittain, in the introduction to their volume Plato and the Divid (...)
- 83 Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast, 221. Bobonich’s formulation on p. 248 (‘Plato’s attribution of bel (...)
53Bobonich’s approach has the virtue of giving full weight to the dialogue’s frequent recourse to personificatory language, a feature that it shares with, but deploys to an even greater extent than Homer.81 But Bobonich denies that this language is metaphorical – the ‘parts of the soul’ are real agents, and their agency leaves no room for that of the person.82 This cannot be right. We can be certain that Plato believes in in the existence of the ψυχή. He may also believe in that of λογιστικόν, θυμός, and ἐπιθυμητικόν, and perhaps also in their status as agents. For Bobonich, this would exclude metaphor: the Republic’s ‘attributions of psychological affections and activities to the parts of the soul’ is not just ‘the common personification of psychic (or quasi-psychic) entities’, but ‘an ultimate theoretical commitment’, an effort ‘to get clear about the real nature and capacities of the soul (Rep. 435B-440C) … Plato’s commitment to agent-like parts of the soul pervades the Republic and he never suggests that such talk is intended as a metaphor or as a convenient way of speaking and not as a literal truth claim.’83 The assumption that one cannot be theoretically committed to a metaphorical model, that metaphor cannot be conceptual or theory-constitutive simply begs the question. If instead we address that question, we find, as I argued at the outset of this discussion, that there is no reason to accept these premisses. The ψυχή, as our treatment of the Homeric evidence above shows, is not the sort of concept to which it makes much sense to apply the notion of literal truth. As anything other than the cold breath expelled at the point of death, its existence requires the kind of ontological metaphor that makes it an object (i.e. not just an activity or an aspect of a person, but a entity that is somehow contained within a person) or an agent. No matter how committed a believer may be to the reality of its existence, there is nothing that such a person can say about it, as a psychological phenomenon, that does not involve a transfer of qualities from other domains of experience. As a hypothetical aspect of a living creature, anything that it does is an aspect of what the living creature does. If this should include the capacity to exhibit beliefs, emotions, and desires, that capacity will depend upon mappings that proceed from the empirical concept of the person to the construct that is the soul. No amount of commitment or conviction can make that construct anything other than a metaphor. If the parts of the ψυχή are not, as a matter of empirical fact, persons, then their presentation as such depends on the mapping onto the domain of the ψυχή of characteristics that properly belong to actual persons.
- 84 See e.g. Bobonich 297-8, 315 on Tim. and Phdr. and cf. ‘Images of Irrationality’, 157, with Kahn, ‘ (...)
- 85 Kahn ‘From Republic to Laws’, 356.
- 86 Lorenz, The Brute Within; Moss, ‘Appearances and Calculations’ (cf. n. 143 below).
- 87 As Richard Robinson long ago insisted, in ‘Plato’s Separation of Reason from Desire’, Phronesis 16 (...)
- 88 From, at one end of the scale, the basic ontological metaphor that makes spatially located entities (...)
- 89 A point well made by Stalley, ‘Persuasion and the Tripartite Soul’, 76-8, 84-7, Kamtekar, ‘Speaking (...)
54A peculiarity of Bobonich’s argument on which his critics have commented is that his hypothesis of development in Platonic psychology from Republic to Phaedrus, Timaeus, and Laws relies to a substantial extent on the denial of metaphor in the first and the detection of metaphorical exaggeration in the others – in effect picking and choosing among metaphors.84 But these critics, and other minimalist accounts of tripartition, in effect do the same. Kahn, for example, rejects Bobonich’s literalist reading of the personification that credits θυμός and appetite with capacities such as the ability to listen to persuasion or to form friendships, yet is happy to argue that the image of the ψυχή at 588b-e as a compound creature, part man, part lion, part many-headed beast presents Plato’s considered view of θυμός and ἐπιθυμητικόν as ‘not homunculi but animalculi’.85 Similarly, both Lorenz and Moss reject the apparent attribution of many higher cognitive functions to the θυμός or the ἐπιθυμητικόν, yet base their interpretations on those entities’ powers of perception.86 But if we take metaphor away from Plato’s talk about the ψυχή we are left with nothing; and it is bad method to dismiss some images as merely metaphorical while claiming to find the true kernel of the theory in a different set of metaphors. To ask what these metaphorical constructs can really do is to ask the wrong questions of the material; the only real or literal agent in any of this is the person.87 That is to say: the rich agency demonstrated by the elements of the model, integral and essential to that model though it is, is purely a function of the model, a model whose purpose is to figure the agency of actual persons. Though there are varieties and degrees in Plato’s use of imagery,88 and personification is only one of the many types of metaphor that he deploys,89 we need to recognize that metaphor is integral and indispensable to all his accounts of soul, and accordingly to give all his metaphors their due. This may entail resigning ourselves to a degree of imprecision and uncertainty about the overall implications of the various strands of imagery.
- 90 This is seen clearly by C. H. Kahn, ‘Plato’s Theory of Desire’, The Review of Metaphysics 41 (1987) (...)
55If the conceptualization of the soul in general and of the parts of the soul in particular is metaphorical, we need to keep in mind that we are dealing at all times with two domains, the source and the target. The ‘parts of the soul’ are agents only within the model; the source for the materials from which their agency is constructed is the person as agent. In the case of the personification of elements of the personality, however, the origin of all our difficulty lies in the fact that the source domain, the behaviour of persons, and the target domain, the personified entity that explains the behaviour of persons, draw on the same resources. All the more reason, then, to keep a close a grip as possible on the differences between vehicle and tenor, model and modelled, explanans and explanandum. In the case of the tripartite soul, the explanans is the model in which the three entities, λογιστικόν, θυμοειδές, and ἐπιθυμητικόν, do the work that, in the explanandum, constitutes the mental and spiritual life of the person. Strictly speaking, then, there is no room in the model (the vehicle or explanans) for the person or the ψυχή of the person as elements that interact with the three psychic parts.90
- 91 Pace Robinson ‘Plato’s Separation of Reason from Desire’, 44; Lorenz, The Brute Within, 19. See rat (...)
56Such an interpretation of the model is suggested by the introduction of tripartition in the shift from the structure of the state to that of the soul at 435b ff. That an individual contains the same three εἴδη (435c1, 5) as the state is first introduced (at 435b-c) as a consequence of the agreement that the qualification δίκαιος must identify the same quality (εἶδος) in a person as in a community (435a-b). This is the reason why the existence of these εἴδη in an individual (435e1) or in an individual’s ψυχή (435b9-435c1) is said to be a natural assumption (435c3, 435d9-435e2). In so far as this is a claim about human psychology at all, its intuitive basis is said to lie simply in a sense that (for example) the spiritedness of a state must derive from the spiritedness of its inhabitants (435d9-436a2). The argument is not as such intended to dismiss the existence of distinct and potentially conflicting types of motivation as a widely accepted and therefore comparatively uninteresting phenomenon,91 and so the argument so far is not in any way decisive evidence against the view that all that the theory of tripartition establishes is the existence of distinct kinds of motivation.
- 92 See Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast, 224-5; cf. Woods, ‘Plato’s Division of the Soul’, 24-5, 31.
57That the ψυχή of the individual really does consist of three distinct εἴδη, and what this means, remains to be established, and this is presented as a difficult task (435c4-8, 436a8, 436b3-4).92 It is begun at 436a8-b4:
τόδε δὲ ἤδη χαλεπόν, εἰ τῷ αὐτῷ τούτῳ ἕκαστα πράττομεν ἢ τρισὶν οὖσιν ἄλλο ἄλλῳ· μανθάνομεν μὲν ἑτέρῳ, θυμούμεθα δὲ ἄλλῳ τῶν ἐν ἡμῖν, ἐπιθυμοῦμεν δ’ αὖ τρίτῳ τινὶ τῶν περὶ τὴν τροφήν τε καὶ γέννησιν ἡδονῶν καὶ ὅσα τούτων ἀδελφά, ἢ ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ καθ’ ἕκαστον αὐτῶν πράττομεν, ὅταν ὁρμήσωμεν. ταῦτ’ ἔσται τὰ χαλεπὰ διορίσασθαι ἀξίως λόγου.
- 93 Cf. 439d-e.
- 94 Cf. its reiteration at 439b.
58This is the passage in which we begin the move from the tenor, namely the behaviour of individuals, to the vehicle, the model of the tripartite soul: the first-person verbs πράττομεν (bis), μανθάνομεν, θυμούμεθα, ἐπιθυμοῦμεν, and ὁρμήσωμεν, are ordinary-language references to the former; the instrumental datives take us into the realm of the model.93 At first sight, these instrumental datives might seem to resemble the Homeric adverbial uses of the words for the various psychic organs, designating modes of the mental life of the whole person. But one difference is that these instrumental datives are designed to take us away from the observable, phenomenological level towards a deeper level of explanation. For the answer to the question posed in this passage will be that when we learn not with the whole ψυχή, but with one of the three εἴδη within it, then it is that εἶδος that learns. This arises from the Principle of Opposites, as introduced at 436b-c:94
δῆλον ὅτι ταὐτὸν τἀναντία ποιεῖν ἢ πάσχειν κατὰ ταὐτόν γε καὶ πρὸς ταὐτὸν οὐκ ἐθελήσει ἅμα, ὥστε ἄν που εὑρίσκωμεν ἐν αὐτοῖς ταῦτα γιγνόμενα, εἰσόμεθα ὅτι οὐ ταὐτὸν ἦν ἀλλὰ πλείω.
- 95 See J. L. Stocks, ‘Plato and the Tripartite Soul’, Mind 24 (1915), 207-21; cf. more recently R. Woo (...)
- 96 See M. F. Burnyeat, ‘Plato on the Grammar of Perceiving’, CQ 26 (1976), 29-51 at 33; cf. Bobonich, (...)
- 97 The following example, of the top which spins on the same spot without tilting (436d-e), does not d (...)
59As the same subject cannot do or suffer the same thing in the same respect with regard to the same object at the same time, there are more subjects than one in the ψυχή. Though the argument begins by looking for εἴδη, types, in the ψυχή, though these are indeed types of motivation, and though these types of motivation may (as we noted above) be thought of in terms of a wide range of metaphors (just at the entities in question may be at different points in the argument εἴδη, μέρη, γένη, or neuter substantives),95 their agency, i.e. their personification, is intrinsic to the model. Though this passage does not explicitly draw the distinction made at Theaetetus 184c between the use of the dative, denoting (for the purposes of the argument in that passage) the ‘real subject’ of the action, and the use of the preposition διά with reference to the ὄργανον through which the action is performed, scholars are right to argue that the datives in this passage are made to bear a similar sense – they are not merely instrumental.96 So, in the examples that follow, a stationary person moving his hands and head is not simultaneously standing still and moving, but part of him is standing still and another is moving (436c),97 just as there is something that pulls back or prevents and something that leads, commands, or drags the ψυχή of a person who both wants and does not want to drink (439a-d), one of the archer’s hands pushes and the other one pulls (439b), and θυμός (as we saw above) can be at war with the ἐπιθυμίαι (440a); and so on in the other cases of personification of the θυμός that we looked at above.
- 98 See Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast, 254 (quotation), 256-7, and passim. Cf. Sharples, ‘“But why …” (...)
- 99 Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast, 259-94, esp. 259-66, 274-5. For Bobonich it is equally a strength (...)
- 100 See Sharples, ‘But why …’, 5; Price, Mental Conflict, 91; cf. Kamtekar, ‘Speaking with the Same Voi (...)
60This is a model of human behaviour that is based on the attribution of human or animal behaviour to parts or aspects of the ψυχή. There is thus no room for the person in the model itself. The mental life of the person, i.e. what a person’s ψυχή does, is explained in terms of what the λογιστικόν, θυμοειδές, and ἐπιθυμητικόν do. But this also means that it is not necessarily correct to lament (as Bobonich does) the absence of the person, as the ultimate subject of his or her acts, from the model, or to conclude that the model ‘commits Plato to denying the unity of the person. Specifically, it commits him to denying that there is a single ultimate subject of all of a person’s psychic states and activities.’98 For Bobonich, the retention of the person as an element within the model of the divided self is precisely what makes the Laws’ image of a person as a puppet with strings, reason (λογισμός) being the golden string on which agents themselves should join in pulling (644d-645b), better than the Republic’s image of the tripartite soul.99 Others, however, find the demerit of that image precisely in the division that it creates between an agent and all his or her motives.100
- 101 For further discussion, see A. W. Price, ‘Are Plato’s Soul-Parts Psychological Subjects?’ Ancient P (...)
- 102 The subject of the participle κινοῦντα is ἄνθρωπον.
- 103 Cf. Brown, ‘The Unity of the Soul’, 60-2.
- 104 NB the personification, and its limits, in ‘the soul of the thirsty person wants to drink’. Whateve (...)
61The position of the Theaetetus passage is that if we see ‘with’ rather than ‘through’ our eyes or hear ‘with’ rather than ‘through’ our ears we shall amount to no more than a collection of Trojan horses, containers for the various agents responsible for our perceptions (184d). But while the model of the tripartite soul in the Republic postulates that we calculate, get angry, and feel desire ‘with’ psychic εἴδη that are thus (in a sense) the agents of those activities, this does not seem to reduce the person to the level of a Trojan horse.101 First, the illustrations that follow suggest not explanations that replace the agency of the person, but levels of explanation that complement or deepen the kind of explanation which might be offered at the level of the person. In the first illustration (436c-d), the person, to be sure, is not as such simultaneously in motion and at rest (but rather standing still while moving his hands and head),102 but if one part of him is at rest and the other in motion (τὸ μέν τι αὐτοῦ ἕστηκε, τὸ δὲ κινεῖται), this does not mean that it is no longer meaningful to speak of ‘him’ as an agent.103 Similarly, when the example of thirst is used to illustrate the distinctness of λογιστικόν and ἐπιθυμητικόν (439d), though the conflict between the desire to drink and the aversion to drink indicates the presence of different elements within the ψυχή (439b), still it makes sense to attribute thirst both to the ψυχή and to the person (τοῦ διψῶντος ἄρα ἡ ψυχή, καθ’ ὅσον διψῇ, οὐκ ἄλλο τι βούλεται ἢ πιεῖν, 439a-b).104 In the analogy of the archer which is used to illustrate this conflict, one hand is pushing and the other is pulling; this is one level of explanation, and it is presented as better than an alternative according to which the hands, considered as a single source of movement, are simultaneously pushing and pulling (439b); but there is no encouragement to see this as displacing the most natural level of explanation of them all, on which the archer pushes the bow with one hand and pulls the string with the other. In this connexion, we might note that, in the quotation from Odyssey 20 that we discussed above, Socrates is quite happy to use a passage in which the agent, Odysseus, rebukes his κραδίη as evidence for the opposition between ‘the element that reasoned about better and worse’ and ‘the element that rages without reason’ (ἐνταῦθα γὰρ δὴ σαφῶς ὡς ἕτερον ἑτέρῳ ἐπιπλῆττον πεποίηκεν Ὅμηρος τὸ ἀναλογισάμενον περὶ τοῦ βελτίονός τε καὶ χείρονος τῷ ἀλογίστως θυμουμένῳ, 441b-c). In none of these formulations does the background concept of the person as agent disappear.
62That Plato still wants to talk meaningfully about the person as the source of his or her actions, as the whole of which the λογιστικόν, θυμός, and ἐπιθυμητικόν are the parts, emerges quite clearly in a subsequent passage of Book 4, where the issue is the agent’s authority over his or her psychic ‘parts’ (443c-e):
τὸ δέ γε ἀληθές, τοιοῦτόν τι ἦν, ὡς ἔοικεν, ἡ δικαιοσύνη ἀλλ’ οὐ περὶ τὴν ἔξω πρᾶξιν τῶν αὑτοῦ, ἀλλὰ περὶ τὴν ἐντός, ὡς ἀληθῶς περὶ ἑαυτὸν καὶ τὰ ἑαυτοῦ, μὴ ἐάσαντα τἀλλότρια πράττειν ἕκαστον ἐν αὑτῷ μηδὲ πολυπραγμονεῖν πρὸς ἄλληλα τὰ ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ γένη, ἀλλὰ τῷ ὄντι τὰ οἰκεῖα εὖ θέμενον καὶ ἄρξαντα αὐτὸν αὑτοῦ καὶ κοσμήσαντα καὶ φίλον γενόμενον ἑαυτῷ καὶ συναρμόσαντα τρία ὄντα, ὥσπερ ὅρους τρεῖς ἁρμονίας ἀτεχνῶς, νεάτης τε καὶ ὑπάτης καὶ μέσης, καὶ εἰ ἄλλα ἄττα μεταξὺ τυγχάνει ὄντα, πάντα ταῦτα συνδήσαντα καὶ παντάπασιν ἕνα γενόμενον ἐκ πολλῶν, σώφρονα καὶ ἡρμοσμένον, οὕτω δὴ πράττειν ἤδη, [κτλ.]
- 105 Note that the harmony that is said to be the work of the person at 443c-e is the culmination of the (...)
- 106 On the harmony of the just soul in this passage see (most recently) G. R. F. Ferrari, ‘The Three-Pa (...)
- 107 Pace Price, Mental Conflict, 56. Similarly, for Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast, 234 and n. 27, thi (...)
- 108 For a similar conclusion, but different arguments, see A. Vallejo Campos, ‘The Theory of Conflict i (...)
63Taken at face value, at least, this attributes to the individual himself the power (a) to prevent each element within him, each γένος of the ψυχή, from interfering in the business of the others and (b) to put the γένη of his own ψυχή in order, thus becoming one rather than many. The harmonious working of the ‘parts of the soul’, the result of the programme of educational and social reform that the dialogue has outlined so far,105 gives us a normative model of what it is to be a person.106 This ‘person’ is not an additional element in the model of the personality, which remains tripartite, but what the model aims to explain. Thus, while this passage adds no fourth element to the model, it does not merely represent a ‘manner of speaking’ either.107 A person whose soul contains what Bobonich calls ‘agent-like parts’ can be a unified agent, responsible for his or her actions in the world. If the denial of the unity of the person is a consequence of tripartition, this is clearly not a consequence that Plato intended.108
- 109 On the way that the Republic’s applications of tripartition develop as the argument builds and cont (...)
- 110 See Gill, Personality, 256-7.
64The person as agent is equally manifest in the description of the deviant personality types in Books 8 and 9, especially in a number of passages which similarly introduce the notion of interaction between a person and the elements of his personality. The whole point of this discussion is to use the model of the tripartite soul – originally introduced with reference to the phenomenon of psychic conflict – to explain how the type of character a person has is the product of various ways of developing the overall goals and motivations that, by this stage of the discussion, are becoming associated with the three elements of the soul.109 The focus is on agents as representatives of distinct character types corresponding to the four types of deviant constitution; changes of regime are traced to shifts in the power and influence of various character types, and then the development of the character type is sketched; at both levels – that of regime change and that of personality development – the focus is on individuals, their motives, and their interactions with each other. At the same time, however, the exploration of individual character also operates at the sub-individual level. In this account, then, the formation of character types is the explanandum and the tripartite account of the ψυχή will turn out to be part of the explanans. But the imagery in which this is developed is not simply that of the interaction of personified psychic εἴδη; it includes also imagery of a person’s interaction with those εἴδη, as well as of the interaction of a person with his or her own desires. Throughout the discussion, moreover, individuals, their desires, and the elements of the soul into which those desires might be grouped are all presented as subject to the external influence of other people. Both interpersonal and intrapersonal dialogue are certainly part of the picture,110 but there is more to it than merely this. These two levels do not just co-exist: they also interact and overlap. Interactions takes place between individuals, between individuals and (the elements of) another’s ψυχή, between individuals and (the elements of) their own ψυχή, and between the elements of the ψυχή themselves.
- 111 See rather Cairns, ‘The Tripartite Soul as Metaphor’, in P. Destrée and R. G. Edmonds (eds), Plato (...)
- 112 Resp. 576b-592b.
65The pattern in each case is broadly similar: as a result of growing up in a particular social and political environment, of their relations with their parents, and of the influence of others, each character type develops a particular relationship to his desires and a particular constitution of the ψυχή. This is a sequence of argument that deserves to be probed in detail; but this is not a task that can be attempted here.111 Instead, I make one simple observation, which we may then pursue by examining of a single passage which comes towards the conclusion of this whole discussion. The observation is this: the whole point of the analysis of the deviant constitutions and deviant types of person is to present an account of the kind of person that we as individuals should most aspire to become and of the conditions that conduce to or militate against such an outcome. The lover of wisdom, even if not fortunate enough to live in the good society, is nonetheless better off than the lover of honour or the lover of money; the sequence of deviation in the character-types presented in Books 8-9 is also a ranking of the true desirability of their lives.112 This is an account that presupposes the ability of individuals to order their personalities and change their lives.
66The imagery of the tripartite ψυχή looms large in the conclusion to this argument, at 588b-592a. As an illustration of the claim (which Socrates now takes to be proven) that successful injustice, even if undetected, is not more advantageous than justice (588b, referring back to 358b-361d), Socrates proposes that he and Glaucon create a verbal image of the ψυχή (εἰκόνα πλάσαντες τῆς ψυχῆς λόγῳ) which will show what it would be like to be such a person. This εἰκών is a composite of three ἰδέαι, corresponding to the three εἴδη of the ψυχή: the first ἰδέα is of a many-headed beast, the second of a lion, and the third of a person, though the three together have the external aspect (or image: εἰκών again) of a person (588c-d). This may look rather like the Theatetus’ picture of a Trojan Horse: the outer covering (ἔλυτρον) seems to be a single creature, a human being, but if one could see inside one would see the three ἰδέαι of which this εἰκών consists.
67In conformity with that impression, the three ἰδέαι are presented as agents able to interact with each other, the nature of their relationship determining the condition of the ψυχή: when the beast and the lion are strong and the human being weak, the latter is at their mercy, unable to reconcile the others but instead forced to let them bite, fight, and devour each other (588e-589a). Instead, the human being should be as strong as possible, and should, with the lion as his ally, look after the many-headed beast as a farmer cultivates his crops (589b). The bestial element should be under the control of the human and the tame should not be enslaved to the wild (589d), the best element of oneself to the worst (ibid.), or the most divine element to the most godless and vile (589e). The ψυχή is thus a πολιτεία in which elements interact like factions or classes of citizens (591e).
- 113 At 577d, for example, the equivalent structure of individual and state warrants the claim that the (...)
- 114 For the heterogeneity of the ἐπιθυμητικόν, see 580d-e, and for the imagery by which this is represe (...)
- 115 See 554d-e, 560a-c, 561a-b, 571b-572b, 572e-576b, 571b, 572e-573b, 574a, 574d, and cf. below §75.
- 116 See 571b, 573b, 573d, 577e.
- 117 See J. Adam, The Republic of Plato (2nd edn, Cambridge, 1963), ii. 366 ad loc.
- 118 See (a) 554a, 554c-555a, 558d-561c, 571b-c, 573e, 575a, 579d-e (the interaction of the individual w (...)
68This presentation of the relations between the ἰδέαι/εἴδη of the ψυχή, and the imagery in which it is articulated, recapitulates much that has gone before in the account of the deviant personalities.113 But neither here nor there is interaction between personified εἴδη the most common pattern, nor does it, either in this passage or earlier in Books 8-9, occur in isolation from other patterns. The commonest pattern of imagery – found especially in the account of the three personality types (oligarch, democrat, and tyrant) which are dominated by the ἐπιθυμητικόν – is of interaction between the whole person and his or her personified desires, between the social environment and an individual’s desires, or between kinds of desire themselves. Thus, in the passage in question, the imagery of the beast with many heads, some tame and some wild (588c), as well as the image of these as domesticated crops to be nurtured versus weeds to be cut back (589b) recapitulates much earlier imagery which represents the heterogeneity of the desires which are grouped under the heading of the ἐπιθυμητικόν.114 Personified, these desires can conflict among themselves.115 They may interact (as in our passage, 589b, 589d-e) with the other elements of the tripartite ψυχή.116 But they can also be represented as the direct recipients of external influence (from other people, from the institutions of the state); and they can be the focus of the attention of the individual him- or herself. Hence, in our passage, resistance to ‘bestial and irrational pleasure’ is the focus of any sensible person’s attitude to the care of body and soul (591c-e), and manual labour weakens the best part of a person, so that he (the person) is unable to rule the beasts within (ὥστε μὴ ἂν δύνασθαι ἄρχειν τῶν ἐν αὑτῷ θρεμμάτων, ἀλλὰ θεραπεύειν ἐκεῖνα, 590c).117 As far as external influences are concerned, the effect of punishment on the criminal is that the bestial is put to sleep and tamed while the tame is liberated (τὸ μὲν θηριῶδες κοιμίζεται καὶ ἡμεροῦται, τὸ δὲ ἥμερον ἐλευθεροῦται, 591b). This picture, of an individual’s interaction with his own desires and of others’ influence on those desires, is a very common one.118 The personification of desires, the grouping of such desires into classes or factions, and the presentation of these desires or factions of desire in their various interactions with (a) the other motivations that constitute the πολιτεία of the ψυχή, (b) with the individual, and (c) with those who exercise external influence on the individual recurs again and again in the account of the oligarchic, democratic, and tyrannical characters.
- 119 For intrusion, see M. S. Silk, Interaction in Poetic Imagery (Cambridge, 1974), 138-49 and passim.
- 120 That such imagery is not primarily intended to capture aspects of the phenomenology of mental life (...)
69Already in the case of the person’s relations with his or her desires we see a degree of interaction between the vehicle and the tenor of the metaphor: turning desires into persons is a way of thinking about how we, as persons, think, feel, and behave. But though Plato’s developed analogy between soul and city takes this imagery beyond the everyday and into extended and extravagant descriptions of internal στάσις, nonetheless imagery of interaction between the person and aspects of his or her personality is a regular feature of ordinary phenomenological metaphors of self-division of the sort that we discussed above in the case of the person’s relation towards his or her θυμός in Homer. The sense of what Michael Silk calls ‘intrusion’ in the interaction between vehicle and tenor is more pronounced when (as in the case of the passage at 443c-e discussed above) we find the person (whose behaviour and motivations are the tenor of the metaphor) interacting with the elements of the tripartite ψυχή, i.e. precisely those agent-like entities which are the vehicle of the metaphorical model of agency itself.119 While the model of the tripartite ψυχή may derive ultimately from the phenomenology of self-division, still metaphors of a person’s interaction with his or her λογιστικόν, θυμοειδές, or ἐπιθυμητικόν do not form part of the ordinary Greek repertoire of phenomenological imagery.120 What we have in such cases is a more pronounced form of intrusion between the model or explanans and the explanandum; we move in a single locution from the action of the person as agent to the explanation of that action in terms of the tripartite model.
- 121 590d-591b, on the role of the state in ensuring that those without the capacity to rule themselves (...)
- 122 See 590a-c on the way that various ways of life affect the many-headed beast, the lion, and the inn (...)
70Such intrusion is, however, both common and significant. This can again be illustrated using the εἰκών of the ψυχή as person, lion, and many-headed beast at 588b and following. We noted above that this image makes use of metaphors of interaction between the so-called ‘psychic parts’, but also of metaphors that personify the desires of the ἐπιθυμητικόν and present these in interaction not only with the other elements of the model but also with the individual whose behaviour the model is designed to explain (as well as with that individual’s society). But in the wider context of the image and the uses to which it is put in the closing passages of Book 9 it is clear that it is the interaction of the whole person with the three main elements of his or her own personality that is the ultimate point of the argument. We mentioned the interaction of the internal ἄνθρωπος with the other two ἰδέαι of the εἰκών at 589a; but in context the cause of his weakness, which leaves him liable to be dragged off wherever either of the other two may wish, unable to reconcile either to the other, is the mistaken belief that injustice is advantageous and justice disadvantageous (588e). Anyone who holds this belief is committed to the idea that it is advantageous to feed and strengthen the beast and the lion, while starving and weakening the human being (οὐδὲν ἄλλο φησὶν ἢ λυσιτελεῖν αὐτῷ τὸ παντοδαπὸν θηρίον εὐωχοῦντι ποιεῖν ἰσχυρὸν καὶ τὸν λέοντα καὶ τὰ περὶ τὸν λέοντα, τὸν δὲ ἄνθρωπον λιμοκτονεῖν καὶ ποιεῖν ἀσθενῆ, 588e-589a); i.e. it is our beliefs and our behaviour that determine the inter-relationships of our three internal agents; ‘we’ stand in a certain relationship not only to our desires, but to each of the three elements of our personality, including our inner ἄνθρωπος. Someone who seeks wealth by unjust means, for example, enslaves the best to the worst part of himself (καταδουλοῦται τὸ βέλτιστον ἑαυτοῦ τῷ μοχθηροτάτῳ, 589d-e; τὸ ἑαυτοῦ θειότατον ὑπὸ τῷ ἀθεωτάτῳ τε καὶ μιαρωτάτῳ δουλοῦται, 589e-590a). Accordingly, what we ought to do is to speak and act in ways that will promote the rule of the internal ἄνθρωπος (ὁ τὰ δίκαια λέγων λυσιτελεῖν φαίη ἂν δεῖν ταῦτα πράττειν καὶ ταῦτα λέγειν, ὅθεν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ὁ ἐντὸς ἄνθρωπος ἔσται ἐγκρατέστατος, καὶ τοῦ πολυκεφάλου θρέμματος ἐπιμελήσεται …, 589a-b). Just as we should create a society that can promote the rule of reason in others,121 so we should cultivate only those habits that develop the elements of our own ψυχαί in the right way and avoid those that do so in wrong ways.122 The conclusion to this section, and thus to the whole account of the superiority of the life of reason and justice that emerges from the exploration of the deviant constitutions and their associated personality types, leaves us in no doubt that the cultivation and management of each of the three elements of the personality is something that the individual as such can and should choose to pursue. Anyone with any sense (ὅ γε νοῦν ἔχων) will live his life in such a way as to direct all his energies to this one end (591c). This will involve training one’s attitudes towards intellectual pursuits (μαθήματα, 591c), towards bodily pleasures (591c-d), towards material wealth (591d), and towards honours (592a). The statement that the individual should keep an eye on and guard against disturbance in his internal πολιτεία (ἀποβλέπων γε … πρὸς τὴν ἐν αὑτῷ πολιτείαν, καὶ φυλάττων μή τι παρακινῇ αὑτοῦ τῶν ἐκεῖ, 591e) refers in its immediate context to the attitude towards money, but uses an image that in fact applies to the whole argument about the individual’s relationship towards the elements of his ψυχή. The relationship between the individual and these elements here is precisely that which occurs immediately after the introduction of tripartition in Book 4, and it is no accident that that passage’s musical imagery recurs in the present one (591d; cf. 443d-e).
- 123 See 443d-e (above), 550a-b, 553b-d, 571d-572a, 591e, 606a. For Bobonich’s view, Plato’s Utopia Reca (...)
- 124 Pace Irwin, Plato’s Ethics, 285-7.
- 125 For the interaction of the person and the personified reason, see 553d, 571d, 588e-589b, 589d. Thes (...)
71This picture of an interaction between the individual, one the one hand, and the elements of his own tripartite ψυχή, on the other, recurs throughout the dialogue.123 These passages offer no encouragement whatever to see these images as simply ways of talking about the interactions of internal agents, or to hope that in speaking of the person’s influence over the aspects of his personality Socrates is in fact talking about the rule of one of those aspects, namely reason.124 In fact, there is plenty of evidence for a relationship between the agent and his λογιστικόν that parallels precisely that between a person and his θυμός, his ἐπιθυμητικόν, or the desires to which the ἐπιθυμητικόν gives rise.125 Given the emphasis on the individual’s cultivation of each of the three psychic elements, as well as of the inter-relations between them, all this talk of person’s interaction with his reason deserves to be taken at face value. The ἄνθρωπος within and the real ἄνθρωπος in whose mental life the former plays a role are not identical.
- 126 And thus, as far as Bobonich’s argument is concerned (above §60 and n. 99), the Republic in fact of (...)
- 127 I.e. a Platonic agent who thought of herself as influencing the state of her three psychic kinds mi (...)
72Therefore, though there is language which might suggest that a person’s desires, motivations, and choices should be analysed solely in terms of the interaction of internal agents, this is not the only or even the most common kind of language that is used of the relation between the person and the ‘parts of the soul’. In particular, not only in the accounts of the deviant personalities in Books 8 and 9, but also in two salient passages which explicitly address the implications of tripartition for the ways in which people should order their lives (one in Book 4 and the other in Book 9), emphasis is placed on the ability of the real agent whose behaviour constitutes the tenor of the metaphor to interact with the internal agents which form the vehicle of the tripartite model.126 These can be taken as examples of the phenomenon of intrusion between source and target domains that is a common feature of metaphor, but they are not merely that. Metaphor is a figure of thought, not merely of language, and the thought which drives the interaction of tenor and vehicle in these cases is a conviction that the nature and strength of our desires, the condition of our three psychic elements, and the overall dispositions of our souls all depend on how we behave and how we respond to the influence of others. The point of the tripartite model is not just to explain the relationship between our behaviour (including our relationships with others and their influences on us) and our character, but also to encourage us to behave in ways that can improve our character. The imagery of our relations with our ‘psychic parts’, unlike that which portrays our relations towards our desires, does not quite correspond to the imagery that we use (or that we have seen the Homeric poems using) to capture something of the phenomenology of our mental lives; but the relevant sections of the dialogue’s argument do suggest that awareness of the kinds of motivation to which we are subject and of their potential to diverge is a useful means to self-improvement and eudaimonia.127 The point of tripartition, as of the personification of a person’s desires, is to illustrate the truth that moral improvement and the pursuit of eudaimonia (at least for embodied social and political beings) require not just intellectual, but also further kinds of cognitive, affective, and desiderative training. This training presupposes a certain relationship between the individual and society; the nature of that training and of that relationship is something that is in principle subject to the control of the individual him- or herself.
73The protreptic force of the argument thus focuses on what we do; what we do is explained partly in terms of what the elements of our soul do and what the desires of those elements do; but (in spite of the rich capacities of agency afforded the various elements of the soul within the model) the only answer to the question of what these metaphorical agents really do is ‘nothing’. The only real agent in all of this is the person as such: the agency of the elements of the model is intended to explain what real agents, i.e. persons, do. This is the real reason why, in crucial passages of the Republic, the real agent is portrayed as interacting with the metaphorical agents which populate a model designed to explain the heterogeneity of the real agent’s motives. The whole point is the ability of persons to take responsibility for their own agency by recognizing its complexities. The agency of the entities that constitute the vehicle is there precisely to emphasize the agency of the tenor. The explicit argument of the dialogue demonstrates without doubt that Plato had no intention to dispense with the agency of the person; the details of his imagery further illustrate the persistence of a fundamental and robust background conception of personal agency.
- 128 602c-603b, especially 602e-603a (δοξάζειν bis of the conflicting judgements of both elements).
- 129 441b-c, 439e-440a (resp.).
- 130 See G. R. F. Ferrari, ‘The Three-Part Soul’; N. Blössner, ‘The City-Soul Analogy’, ibid. 345-85; C. (...)
- 131 For that debate, see e.g. Annas, An Introduction to Plato’s Republic, 130; Kahn, ‘Plato’s Theory of (...)
- 132 See Schofield, Plato, 255 (on this very point): ‘It goes without saying that money is paradigmatica (...)
74At the same time, the qualities of the whole person also thoroughly permeate the elements of the vehicle – the εἴδη of the soul, and the desires of those εἴδη, are repeatedly credited with the cognitive, affective, and desiderative capacities of persons. The Principle of Opposites, on its first occurrence in Book 4, may seem to reduce the ἐπιθυμητικόν, at least, to the level of an agent wholly consumed by basic bodily desires for food, drink, and sex. But the same is not true when the Principle recurs in Book 10,128 where the non-rational element that judges by appearances alone is nonetheless capable of judgement. The θυμοειδές, too, is similarly credited with a rich variety of capacities when it is first characterized by the Principle of Opposites in Book 4. Odysseus’ θυμός or κραδίη is an agent capable of resenting a wrong, imagining a scenario that would right that wrong, and demanding that the wrong be redressed immediately, but it is also susceptible to argument on the basis of past experience, and is thus credited not only with imagination, but also with memory. The θυμός of Leontius, for its part, makes the same judgement of his disreputable desires as does his reason.129 By Book 9, the three εἴδη have come to be distinguished by their orientation towards three different goals in life.130 A general form of desire characterizes each of the three elements (581c), but none is just a faculty of desire; each kind of desire is presented in metaphors that draw on the capacities of the whole person. If the θυμοειδές really were an agent, it would be an agent capable of ordering its life towards the long-term goal of others’ approbation, with all the intellectual and affective properties that such an orientation would entail. If the ἐπιθυμητικόν were an agent, it would pursue not only immediate sensual pleasures, but also money (580d) – and here all the debate as to whether this requires that the ἐπιυμητικόν should ‘really’ be capable of ‘limited’ forms of means-end reasoning pales into pointlessness when one reflects on what a highly complex intellectual, social, and cultural phenomenon money actually is.131 Nothing that is not an acculturated human being has ever desired money.132 Minimalist explanations of the capacities of the ἐπιθυμητικόν simply replace Plato’s metaphors with simpler forms of personification than Plato himself chooses to use; since Plato’s own use of personification is so pervasive, vivid, and extravagant we should rather assume that there is no minimalist version to which his metaphors can be reduced.
- 133 571b-572b.
- 134 572e-575a.
- 135 See 559e-560a, 560c.
75The argument of Books 8 and 9, moreover, maintains the complexity of the ψυχή at every point. Though each of the deviant types is characterized by one of the three main motivations in life, none is ever devoid of the motivations that characterize the other two forms. These motivations also interact in different ways: the oligarch, the democrat, and the tyrant are all dominated by the motivation that focuses on money and pleasure, but this takes a different form in each case.The Principle of Opposites is nowhere to be found as even epithymetic desires, personified, begin to form opposing factions, whether merely of better and worse,133 as the tyrannical power of ἔρως, with its bodyguard of base desires, takes control in the ψυχή of the tyrant,134 or of democratic (τὸ δημοκρατικόν) and oligarchic (τὸ ὀλιγαρχικόν, aka τὸ φείδωλον),135 as in the presentation of the development from the oligarchic to the democratic personality as a microcosm of the factional strife that bedevilled late fifth-century Athens. The personification of individual desires, kinds of desires, and factions of desires within the πολιτεία of the ψυχή does not suggest that Plato has a rigid conception of tripartition as a method for separating the functions of the individual into discrete categories. The point is precisely to characterize aspects of the person in whatever ways are necessary to give an adequate impression of the complexity that needs to be harmonized. The whole person, the individual as agent, persists throughout at the level of the modelled, the explanandum. But the whole person also persists within the explanans, the model, and in two ways: in the way that the person interacts with the elements of his or her own personality as if they were agents; and in the way that the elements themselves draw freely on the attributes of whole persons.
- 136 See Boyer, Religion Explained, 155-91.
76The imagery that Plato uses to divide the person in Republic in fact demonstrates a robust conception of the unity of person in much the same way as Homer’s imagery for the survival of ψυχή as distinct from the body in Hades demonstrates the absence of a thorough-going body-soul dualism. The εἴδη qua homunculi do, after all, perform the same kind of function as is attributed to them in the classic formulations of Moline, Annas, and Ferrari, drawing freely on the capacities of individuals as wholes in order to model aspects of individual psychology. In so far as they are homunculi, the representation of the εἴδη has a logic of its own: just as the anthropomorphic qualities of gods are not necessarily limited to the functions that only gods can perform,136 and (as we saw above) Homeric representations of the ψυχή as survivor in Hades retain more of the attributes of the living human being than some explicit Homeric lore about the afterlife might warrant, so the psychic εἴδη of the Republic are credited with whatever capacities of a person are necessary to support the specific kind of motivation by which they are typified. When an individual or a culture resorts to personification they do not set out in advance the complete set of attributes that the personified agent shall have; once the personification is motivated by the salient characteristics that it is designed to explain, other inferences of the ‘person’ template typically follow. That personified agents can (e.g.) persuade, obey, or engage in dialogue, as do real persons, is a design feature of personification itself. Even if the user of the personification does not particularly want to highlight such features, as salient aspects of the ‘person’ template they are difficult to eliminate. This has the happy effect of reminding us that, though the capacities of human agents can be modelled in personified terms, they are in fact elements of an integrated system and as such interact with and imply each other. Whatever the functions of a θυμός (or a λογιστικόν, or an ἐπιθυμητικόν) may be, they will never be exercised except in a human being capable of exercising the full range of cognitive, affective, and desiderative functions of which human beings are in fact capable. Because it is only persons that can reason, care about their self-image, and experience desire, it is inevitable that constructs based on one of these capacities will draw on other characteristics of the person. In a similar way, the fact that Plato is predicating agency of both vehicle and tenor of the image, facilitates the phenomenon of the intrusion of the tenor into the vehicle that we noted above. An integrated conception of personal agency in fact informs both the model of the tripartite soul and the personality that it models.
- 137 Cf. Schofield, Plato, 280 n. 48: ‘I conclude that Plato – always the dramatist of the theatre of th (...)
77In Books 8 and 9 of the Republic, in particular, both the deviant types whose personalities are modelled and the internal agents that constitute the elements of the model are typified by one dominant kind of motivation; the interaction of the ‘internal’ agents in the model explains the overall character of the individual. Plato, it would appear, is completely unaffected by any need to avoid the ‘parts’ drawing on the characteristics of the whole, just as he sees no need to keep the vehicle and tenor of the model separate. If we are to understand his project properly, however, the distinction between model and modelled is one that we need to keep in mind. It is precisely because the εἴδη of the soul are personifications that we should not see them as discrete faculties or functions. The literal or target domain that they model is simply the behaviour of the person, what people do. Everything that the ‘parts of the soul’ do they do only by virtue of the ontological metaphor that makes them persons. To attempt to sort out what is and is not literal about these metaphorical agents is a confusion.137
- 138 Cf. Z. Petraki, The Poetics of Philosophical Language: Plato, Poets, and Presocratics in the Republ (...)
78It is also a confusion of which Plato is not guilty. The model of the person as a composite of many-headed beast, lion, and human being is introduced at 588b as an image (εἰκών), with explicit reference to the process of moulding such an image in words rather than wax (εἰκόνα πλάσαντες τῆς ψυχῆς λόγῳ, 588b; δεινοῦ πλάστου, ἔφη, τὸ ἔργον· ὅμως δέ, ἐπειδὴ εὐπλαστότερον κηροῦ καὶ τῶν τοιούτων λόγος, πεπλάσθω, 588d). There are two points to note about this. First, the function of this image, as applied at 588e-592a, is to recapitulate the argument of Books 8 and 9 as a whole on the need for the person to develop his ‘inner society’ (τὴν ἐν αὑτῷ πολιτείαν, 591e) in order to produce ‘order and harmony’ (σύνταξίν τε καὶ συμφωνίαν, 591d). These metaphors, developed via an explicit analogy between body and soul at 591c-d and a clear acknowledgement of the musical imagery at 591d (παντάπασι μὲν οὖν, ἔφη, ἐάνπερ μέλλῃ τῇ ἀληθείᾳ μουσικὸς εἶναι), in turn take us back to the prominent use of the same imagery in the conclusion to Book 4’s argument on the existence of the tripartite ψυχή (443d-e). Similar forms of imagery, including personification, permeate the model of the tripartite ψυχή at all stages from its introduction in Book 4 to the end of Book 9 (and beyond); the explicit designation of this as a process of creating images in words at the end of Book 9 clearly applies to all the imagery that accompanies the model wherever it appears. Second, the wider point of the image of the triform creature of Book 9 is to argue that the challenge to justice, as posed by Glaucon and Adimantus in Book 2, has now been met (588b, 588e-592a): the justice that consists in psychic harmony is better for us than injustice. That this conclusion has been reached, not just in Book 9 but in the dialogue as a whole, by a form of argument that draws much of its persuasive force from its use of imagery is the explicit import of the Book 9 image.138
- 139 Here we might recall Steen’s distinction between deliberate and non-deliberate metaphor (above n. 5 (...)
- 140 See Phdr. 246a (to describe what sort of thing ψυχή is would need a long and divinely inspired acco (...)
- 141 C. J. Rowe, Plato and the Art of Philosophical Writing (Cambridge, 2007), 164-82, esp. 164-5. For R (...)
79Plato is clearly well aware that the model of the tripartite ψυχή, a model that he deliberately flags as central to the project of the Republic as a whole, is metaphorical.139 Wherever similar models appear, similar hedges regarding their nature as image rather than reality tend also to appear.140 And as Christopher Rowe has recently reminded us, the truth of the nature of the ψυχή, including the extent to which its structure corresponds to that of the city, is properly the subject of a ‘longer and fuller way’ than is attempted in the discussion that ensues (435d, 504a-b).141 This raises a significant question about Plato’s view of the metaphors through which he discusses the ψυχή in general and the tripartite ψυχή in particular. Though the ψυχή itself is an entity only by ontological metaphor, Plato clearly believes in its existence. It is one of the central conceptual metaphors of his thought. In this respect, his view of the ψυχή as such differs from the deliberate, protreptic, and indeed extravagant use of metaphor in his deployment of the tripartite model in Books 4, 8, 9, and 10. But this does not mean that the ψυχή as such is not metaphorical, in the sense outlined above.
- 142 See Pender, Images of Persons Unseen, 18-27. Cf. Petraki, The Poetics of Philosophical Language, 98
80Plato makes use not only of this basic metaphor, but also the unconscious, background, cognitive metaphors of his culture and of the poetic and philosophical traditions from which he creates his own unique synthesis. The new and specifically Platonic model of human motivation that results, thoroughly and consciously permeated by metaphor as it is, is rooted in but also transforms the everyday phenomenological metaphors that construct the cultural model of the mind in Greek literature and thought. Just as Plato is convinced of the existence of the ψυχή, so he is convinced that there is in principle a form of discourse about the ψυχή that is capable of capturing its true nature. But none of his dialogues in fact offers an example of that discourse as such; and in particular, when discussing the aspects of the ψυχή that have occupied our attention in the latter parts of this paper (namely the θυμός and its relation to the other aspects of the ψυχή in Plato and to its namesake in Homer), his approach is explicitly metaphorical; as far as the ψυχή of common-or-garden, embodied, acculturated human beings is concerned, all we ever hear is (to borrow the characterization of the Phaedrus) what the ψυχή is like, not what sort of thing it is. This may suggest that Plato’s metaphors for ψυχή are (in terms of the candidates canvassed for their categorization by Elizabeth Pender) ‘illustrative’ rather than ‘epistemic’;142 but in practice the full and true account of the nature of ψυχή is never offered – even the narrative of its true, immortal nature in Republic 10 is couched in mythological, and hence partial and provisional, terms. The myths and metaphors through which Plato articulates various approaches to what the ψυχή is and does are typically flagged as approximations to the truth and as adequate for the contexts and arguments in which they occur; they are neither purely illustrative nor straightforwardly epistemic; in heuristic terms, they seem rather to be the former in theory, but the latter in practice.
- 143 Here there is, as many have noted, an appearance of bipartition rather than tripartition, but this (...)
- 144 On the potential for irony here, see S. Halliwell, The Aesthetics of Mimesis: Ancient Texts and Mod (...)
- 145 See esp. 605b-c, where the external influence of the poet on the psychic constitution of the indivi (...)
- 146 On philosophical and poetic image-making in Resp. (and on the terminology employed), see R. A. Nadd (...)
- 147 For the view that Plato’s use of personification in Resp. is protreptic, cf. Kamtekar, ‘Speaking wi (...)
81It is surely no accident that Republic 9 ends with a prominent and vivid example of the persuasive power of imagery that is not only presented as the culmination of the argument that began in Book 2 but also followed by a coda on the dangers of poetic images in Book 10. The μίμησις of which poetry is a branch deals with images (here called not εἰκόνες, but εἴδωλα, 598b, 599a, 599d, 600e, 601b, 605c), not reality. These images appeal not to the λογιστικόν (602e) but (by the Principle of Opposites that was used to introduce tripartition in Book 4) to ‘one of the baser elements in us’ (τῶν φαύλων τι ἐν ἡμῖν, 603a).143 The trouble with this (from Socrates’ point of view in Book 10) is that poetry’s appeal to pleasure (the paradoxical pleasure of being affected by others’ grief, 605d, 606b) can strengthen aspects of the personality that reason does not sanction (605b-c, 606a, 606d). The juxtaposition of this argument with the image of the triform individual with which Book 9 came to a close might be regarded as creating an element of paradox: a discussion which has relied on imagery throughout, including in particular aspects of psychological imagery with a long poetic pedigree, gives way to a denunciation of image-making as a technique that appeals to the lower aspects of the self.144 But there is no genuine paradox: poetic imagery (εἴδωλα), as used by the poets themselves according to their portrayal in Book 10, is an external influence of the sort whose damaging effect on the ψυχή is highlighted by the account of the varieties of psychic and political degradation in Books 9-10.145 That degradation is itself described in forms of imagery (εἰκόνες) that draw freely on the methods of the poets; but its purpose, as we noted above, is the reinforcement of the rule of reason and the creation of that harmony in the ψυχή for which, as we saw, Plato regards each of us (rather than merely a personified aspect of ourselves) as ultimately responsible. These two arguments – that which spans Books 2 to 9, on the one hand, and includes the imagery of the ψυχή as a society of different kinds of motivation in Books 4, 8, and 9, and that of Book 10’s account of poetic μίμησις on the other – represent positive and negative examples of image-making, the former offering images that promote the integration of the personality by warning us against the dangers of disintegration, and the latter reinforcing that message by contrast with the harmful effects of other (i.e. poetic) forms of image-making. This distinction appears to be reflected in the variation in terminology between εἰκών and εἴδωλον.146 The force of the positive use of imagery in Plato’s account of the ψυχή’s εἴδη is protreptic,147 but in the service of what we are to regard as the truth. That imagery is not merely illustrative of an account that might easily be offered in non-metaphorical terms, but is presented, provisionally, as the best that we can do, at least in this medium and in these circumstances.
- 148 See Simonides T 47(a) and (b) in D. A. Campbell, Greek Lyric III (Cambridge MA, 1991), 363; cf. Gor (...)
- 149 See e.g. B. Graziosi and J. Haubold (eds), Homer: Iliad 6 (Cambridge, 2010), 23–4. On ἐνάργεια in P (...)
82Both in the presentation of poets as makers of images in the same way as painters are (605a-b) and in his own recourse to ‘images of the soul in words’ (588c) Plato draws on a long tradition of Greek poetics, theorized by the likes of Simonides and Gorgias,148 but in application as old as the vividness, the ἐνάργεια, which is an implicit aspiration of the poet’s art already in Homer.149 Part of that vividness in Homer resides in the stock of images at his disposal for adumbrating the phenomenology of mental life and for imagining the life of the ψυχή after death. The aim of this article has been to outline some of the commonalities between these conceptions and those that are, in some respects, their successors in Plato, especially in the Republic. As far as the ψυχή itself is concerned, Homeric heroes spend no time cultivating, purifying, or venerating their souls, as Plato would have us do. The Homeric ψυχή can be figured as an element of the person(ality) that survives death, but it is not akin to the gods; it is not an intellectual or even a cognitive faculty in the living person; nor is it even, as it is in archaic and classical Greek, the force that lends a person courage (εὐψυχία). When the ψυχή has content (as it does only after death), that content is holistic, a simulacrum of the whole person. Yet ψυχή in Homer is still a metaphor (whether by reification or personification), with a certain family resemblance to Plato’s conceptions. As metaphor, in both Homer and Plato, ψυχή is a concept with a related set of explanatory functions. In some respects, the functions are similar: ψυχή makes the difference between being alive and being dead, but also exists after death; but the Platonic ψυχή has a wider range of specific functions in life, and the – spiritual and moral – conditions and details of its survival are again much more particular than in Homer.
83Some of the Platonic functions of ψυχή are performed by the so-called psychic organs of the θυμός-family in Homer, and the influence of these on Plato’s own concept of θυμός is clear. Like Homer’s, Plato’s conceptualization of the θυμός is fundamentally metaphorical. Also like Homer’s, its starting point is the phenomenology of mental conflict, drawing on intuitions of how that phenomenon appears both to the subject and to others. Indeed, as we saw, the Homeric conception of θυμός is there at the birth of the Platonic one. But where Homer represents the phenomenology of a person’s interaction with his or her θυμός in the emic categories of long-established oral-traditional and folk-psychological discourse, Plato builds on but goes beyond these to deploy analytical, etic categories of his own. Yet those categories are still rooted in experience, and we are invited not only to understand the analysis that they offer, but also to build that understanding into the way that we order our lives and our characters. Neither Homer’s nor Plato’s conception of the person as a participant in intra-personal dialogue with a variety of internal agents leads to the dissolution of the person or to a proliferation of autonomous homunculi.
This paper has benefited enormously from the criticisms of Øyvind Rabbås, Richard Seaford, and the journal’s two referees. I am grateful also to Alex Long for an important reference that I would otherwise have missed, and to Carlo Natali for encouragement, support, and comments. The research project from which this paper derives was funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the European Research Council, the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
1 For that approach, see rather E. Rohde, Psyche: The Cult of Souls and Belief in Immortality among the Greeks (trans. W. B. Hillis, New York, 1925); B. Snell, The Discovery of the Mind (trans. T. G. Rosenmeyer, New York, 1953); A. W. H. Adkins, From the Many to the One (London, 1970); D. B. Claus, Toward the Soul: An Enquiry into the Meaning of ψυχή before Plato (New Haven CT, 1981); M. J. Clarke, Flesh and Spirit in the Songs of Homer: A Study of Words and Myths (Oxford, 1999). These accounts tell (often widely) different stories, but are broadly in agreement on the fact and direction of development. Each also directs the reader to a vast number of additional studies, the specifics of which cannot be explored here.
2 Lakoff and Turner, More Than Cool Reason: A Field Guide to Poetic Metaphor (Chicago, 1989), xi.
3 Modern theory on this topic derives in particular from G. Lakoff and M. Johnson, Metaphors We Live By (Chicago, 1980). For its development, see (e.g.) Lakoff, Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind (Chicago, 1987); Johnson, The Body in the Mind (Chicago, 1987); Lakoff and Johnson, Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought (New York, 1999); R. W. Gibbs (ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Metaphor and Thought (Cambridge, 2008). But there are influential precursors: on the widespread acceptance (from Locke to the present) of the basic idea that abstract concepts derive from embodied human beings’ interactions with the physical environment, see O. Jäkel, ‘Kant, Blumenberg, Weinrich: Some Forgotten Contributions to the Cognitive Theory of Metaphor’, in R. W. Gibbs and G. J. Steen (eds.), Metaphor in Cognitive Linguistics (Amsterdam, 1999), 9-27; cf. also J. Geary, I is Another: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How it Shapes the Way We See the World (New York, 2011), 137-138 on Giambattista Vico’s New Science (1725).
4 More Than Cool Reason, esp. 57-139.
5 See G. Steen, ‘The Paradox of Metaphor’, Metaphor and Symbol 23 (2008), 213-41. Though Steen distinguishes between deliberate and non-deliberate use of metaphor in communication, he accepts that conventional metaphors, unconsciously used, are metaphors (esp. pp. 217-8, 226, 231). Contrast P. Hogan, ‘A Minimal Lexicalist/Constituent Transfer Account of Metaphor’, Style 36.3 (2002), 484-502’, for whom lexicalized metaphors are non-metaphorical (and cf. n. 9 below). For R. Giora, ‘Is metaphor special?’ Brain and Language 100 (2007), 111-14, and ‘Is Metaphor Unique?’ in Gibbs, Cambridge Handbook of Metaphor and Thought, 143-60, ‘the relevant distinction is not between literals and metaphors but between various degrees of meaning salience’ (‘Is Metaphor Unique?’, 153). Cf. I. C. Bohrn, U. Altmann, and A. M. Jacobs, ‘Looking at the Brains behind Figurative Language: A Quantitative Meta-analysis of Neuroimaging Studies on Metaphor, Idiom, and Irony Processing’, Neuropsychologia 50 (2012), 2669-83.
6 E.g. in the interaction between physical warmth or heat and metaphorical, emotional concepts of heat and warmth: C.-B. Zhong and , G. J. Leonardelli, ‘Cold and Lonely: Does Social Exclusion Literally Feel Cold?’ Psychological Science 19. 9 (2008), 838-42; L. E. Williams, and J. A. Bargh, ‘Experiencing Physical Warmth Promotes Interpersonal Warmth’, Science 322. 5901 (2008), 606-7; B. M. Wilkowski, B. P. Meier, M. D. Robinson, M. S. Carter, M. S., and R. Feltman, ‘“Hot-headed” is More than an Expression: The Embodied Representation of Anger in Terms of Heat’, Emotion 9 (2009), 464–77. Cf. R. W. Gibbs, ‘Metaphor Interpretation as Embodied Simulation’, Mind and Language 21 (2006), 434-58 at 439-40, 444-5, 448-50, 452; S. Lacey, R. Stilla, K. Sathian, ‘Metaphorically Feeling: Comprehending Textural Metaphors Activates Somatosensory Cortex’, Brain & Language 120. 3 (2012), 416-21 at 416, 418-19; D. Casasanto and T. Gijssels, ‘What Makes a Metaphor an Embodied Metaphor?’ Linguistics Vanguard (2015) [online ahead of print: DOI: 10.1515/lingvan-2014-1015], §1.
7 Though some studies find no activation of the brain’s sensory-motor areas when (lexicalized) metaphors drawn from the sensory-motor domain are deployed (L. Aziz-Zadeh, S. M. Wilson, G. Rizzolatti, and M. Iacoboni, ‘Congruent Embodied Representations for Visually Presented Actions and Linguistic Phrases Describing Actions’, Current Biology 16 (2006), 1818-23; L. Aziz-Zadeh and A. Damásio, ‘Embodied Semantics for Actions: Findings from Functional Brain Imaging’, Journal of Physiology – Paris 102 (2008), 35-9), more recent research suggests that areas of the brain active in sensory-motor activity are also active (to varying degrees) in processing not only literal but also figurative action-language (R. H. Desai, J. R. Binder, L. L. Conant, Q. R. Mano, and M. S. Seidenberg, ‘The Neural Career of Sensory-Motor Metaphors’ Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 23 (2011), 2376-86; R. H. Desai, L. L. Conant, J. R. Binder, H. Park, and M. S. Seidenberg, ‘A Piece of the Action: Modulation of Sensory Motor Regions by Action Idioms and Metaphors’, NeuroImage 83 (2013), 862-9; Lacey, Stilla, and Sathian, ‘Metaphorically Feeling’). Against this, however, need to be weighed the strict criteria for ‘embodiment’ stipulated by Casasanto and Gijssels (‘What Makes a Metaphor an Embodied Metaphor?’). For them, it is not enough that metaphors should activate areas of the brain associated with the source activity; embodiment requires that that activity should involve ‘modality-specific’ regions rather than those who deal with sensory-motor and other activity (§2).
8 Thus, despite their scepticism regarding the evidence for embodiment (in their strict sense of the term), Casasanto and Gijssels are careful to emphasize (in the abstract of their paper and throughout) that ‘There is now abundant evidence that metaphors structure our thoughts, feelings, and choices in a variety of conceptual domains.’ See in detail Lakoff and Johnson, Philosophy in the Flesh.
9 H. Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech in Homer and Pindar (Hypomnemata 107, Göttingen, 1995), 34-5. For a refutation, see Lakoff and Turner, More than Cool Reason, 114-17, 124, 128-31, Lakoff and Johnson, Philosophy in the Flesh, 118-29.
10 See e.g. S. Guthrie, Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion (Oxford, 1993); P. Boyer, Religion Explained: The Human Instincts that Fashion Gods, Spirits, and Ancestors (London 2001); S. Atran, In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion (Oxford, 2002); cf. B. Williams, ‘Tertullian’s Paradox’, Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline (Princeton, 2006), 3-21.
11 See D. Casasanto and L. Boroditsky, ‘Time in the Mind: Using Space to Think about Time’, Cognition 106 (2008) 579–93. Cf. Lakoff and Turner, More than Cool Reason, 34-49, Lakoff and Johnson, Philosophy in the Flesh, 137-69, on ‘time’ metaphors in general (including the spatial).
12 See Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, 147-55.
13 See Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, 107-10 on the ‘abstraction view’.
14 In using this example I am responding to a personal communication from Richard Seaford, in which he restates, in answer to my criticisms in Tragedy and Archaic Greek Thought (Swansea, 2013), lii n. 114, his position at Cosmology and the Polis (Cambridge, 2012), 245, that ‘Aphrodite’s description of the sky’s sexual longing for the earth ... is not a metaphor’, but rather ‘an unfamiliar cosmology’.
15 In defining my own position below I make greatest use of the contrasting approach of Clarke, Flesh and Spirit. This has much in common with R. B. Onians, The Origins of European Thought about the Body, the Soul, the World, Time, and Fate (2nd edn, Cambridge, 1954). In positive terms, I also take a great deal from the functionalist analysis of Claus, Toward the Soul, whose orientation can be compared to the outstanding study of Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, which will be especially important when the discussion shifts from ψυχή to θυμός (below).
16 Adkins, From the Many to the One, 62 and passim.
17 The ψυχή is breathed out in a swoon: Il. 22. 467 (ἀπὸ δὲ ψυχὴν ἐκάπυσσε); cf. 5. 696-8; cf. also the verb ἀποψύχειν at Od. 24. 347-9. For ψυχή breathed out on death see Il. 9. 409 (discussed below, text following n. 22); for its departure from the body on death, see n. 26 below. On the felt nature of the etymology in Homer, see Clarke, Flesh and Spirit, 144-7.
18 On metaphor, metonymy, and their affinities and differences, see Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, 35-40, and cf. M. S. Silk, ‘Metaphor and Metonymy: Aristotle, Jakobson, Ricoeur, and Others’, in G. Boys-Stones (ed.), Metaphor, Allegory, and the Classical Tradition: Ancient Thought and Modern Revisions (Oxford, 2003), 115-47; M. Theodoropoulou, ‘The Emotion Seeks to Be Expressed: Thoughts from a Linguist’s Point of View’, in A. Chaniotis (ed.), Unveiling Emotions. Sources and Methods for the Study of Emotions in the Greek World (Stuttgart, 2012), 433-68, esp. 450-60. See also my remarks in ‘The Imagery of Erôs in Plato’s Phaedrus’, in E. Sanders et al. (eds), Erôs in Ancient Greece (Oxford, 2013), 233-50 at 239 and n. 12.
19 For verbs of ‘taking’ or ‘removing’ the ψυχή see Il. 16. 625, 22. 257, 24. 745, Od. 22. 444; cf. ‘giving’ the ψυχή to Hades: Il. 5. 654, 11. 445, 16. 625; ‘losing’/’destroying’ the ψυχή: Il. 13. 763, 24. 168. These are not just a matter of breathing one’s last (pace Clarke, Flesh and Spirit, 133-6).
20 On ontological metaphors, see Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, 25-40.
21 Il. 22. 159-61: οὐχ ἱερήϊον οὐδὲ βοείην / ἀρνύσθην, ἅ τε ποσσὶν ἀέθλια γίγνεται ἀνδρῶν, / ἀλλὰ περὶ ψυχῆς θέον ῞Εκτορος ἱπποδάμοιο. Cf. Il. 9. 401, Od. 9. 422-3, 22. 245; also (e.g.) Tyrt. 10. 14, 10. 17-18, 11. 4-5 West, Hes. Op. 685.
22 Cf. Il. 1. 159, 5. 552-3 (τιμή), 6. 446 (κλέος).
23 Cf. Od. 9. 523-4: Odysseus wishes he could send Polyphemus to Hades ‘bereft of ψυχή and αἰών’, i.e. ψυχή is, like αἰών, a sign of vitality (cf. Il. 16. 453; also λύθη ψυχή τε μένος τε at Il. 8. 123, 315). On ψυχή as ‘life’ see Rohde, Psyche, 31, O. Regenbogen, “Δαιμόνιον ψυχῆς φῶς. E. Rohdes Psyche und die neuere Kritik”, Kleine Schriften (Munich, 1961), 12, 18-20. Cf. Onians, The Origins of European Thought, 94, 195; Claus, Toward the Soul, 61-8, 92-102 passim.
24 καὶ γάρ θην τούτῳ τρωτὸς χρὼς ὀξέϊ χαλκῷ, / ἐν δὲ ἴα ψυχή, θνητὸν δέ ἕ φασ’ ἄνθρωποι / ἔμμεναι.
25 For straightforward examples, see e.g. Euthyd. 287d, 302a; Crat. 399d; Resp. 353d, 590a; Polit. 261b-c, 292bc; Tim. 91a-b; Laws 869b, 873e (in both cases comparing the Homeric examples in n. 19 above), 959a; cf. the arguments at Phd. 71c-72d, 77c-e, 80b, 105e, 106c-e; Phdr. 245c-246a; Tim. 30a-72d, 73b, 74e-75a, 76e-77c, 81d, 87e, 89e-90b, 92c; Laws 892a-897b, esp. 895c. Cf. T. M. Robinson, Plato’s Psychology (Toronto, 1970), 26-8, 35-8, 46, 159; Claus, Toward the Soul, 163-4, 174.
26 Il. 5. 296, 8. 123, 315, 11. 333-4, 11. 762-3, 14. 518-19, 16. 453, 16. 505, 22. 256-7, 24. 167-8, 754-6, Od. 14. 134, 426, 18. 90-2, 21. 153-4, 170-1; this is ‘the usual image’, according to Clarke, Flesh and Spirit, 155.
27 Il. 1. 3-4, 5. 654= 11. 445 9 (cf. 16. 625), 7. 328-30, Od. 10. 559-60, 11. 217-22, 24. 1-4
28 Flesh and Spirit, 129-30, 147-56.
29 Od. 11. 222, 24. 5-9 (with 186-7).
30 τέλος δέ, ἐπειδὰν τῶν περὶ τὸν μυελὸν τριγώνων οἱ συναρμοσθέντες μηκέτι ἀντέχωσιν δεσμοὶ τῷ πόνῳ διιστάμενοι, μεθιᾶσιν τοὺς τῆς ψυχῆς αὖ δεσμούς, ἡ δὲ λυθεῖσα κατὰ φύσιν μεθ’ ἡδονῆς ἐξέπτατο. The metaphorical language here is noted by A. E. Taylor, A Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus (Oxford, 1928), 586-7, but not its Homeric pedigree.
31 Soul birds and winged homunculi: see E. Vermeule, Aspects of Death in Early Greek Art and Poetry (Berkeley, 1979), 65 and fig. 13 (Mycenean); 18-19 and figs. 12-13 (7th century); 58-9 and fig. 14, 111-12 and fig. 27 (6th century); 9-10 and figs. 4-5, 26 and fig. 19, 31-2 and figs. 23-4, 160-2 and figs. 14-15 (5th century). Winged homunculi as ψυχή in later archaic and classical Attic vase-painting: M. Halm-Tisserant, ‘Representations et problématique de l’homuncule dans la peinture de vases grecque: naissances merveilleuses, sommeil et mort’, Ktema (1988), 223-44, E. Peifer, Eidola und andere mit dem Sterben verbundene Flügelwesen in der attischen Vasenmalerei in spätarcharchaischer und klassischer Zeit (Frankfurt, 1989), R. Vollkommer, LIMC 8. 1 (1997), Suppl. pp. 566-70, s.v. Eidola. Egyptian influence: G. Weicker, Der Seelenvogel in der alten Litteratur und Kunst: Eine mythologisch-archaeologische Untersuchung (Leipzig, 1902), Vermeule 74-7.
32 See C. Sourvinou-Inwood, ‘Reading’ Greek Death: To the End of the Classical Period (Oxford, 1995), 82-3.
33 Competing conceptions: Clarke, Flesh and Spirit ch. 6; different chronological stages:
Sourvinou-Inwood, ‘Reading’ Greek Death, 78-83, O. Tsagarakis, Studies in Odyssey 11, Hermes Einzelschrift 82 (Stuttgart, 2000), 110-19.
34 Il. 6. 418, 22. 510-13 (with N. J. Richardson, The Iliad: A Commentary vol. 6 (Cambridge, 1993), ad loc.: cf. Hdt. 5. 92η), 24. 38; Od. 1. 291, 2. 222, 3. 285, 11. 74, 12. 13.
35 Cf. 10. 530, 11. 147, 541, 564.
36 Cf. n. 16 above.
37 On the way that the functions of θυμός etc. in Homer are taken over by ψυχή in later usage, see Claus, Toward the Soul, 60.
38 See e.g. Il. 18. 110-11, with Onians, The Origins of European Thought, 52, 87.
39 Il. 4. 522-4, 13. 653-5, 16. 468-9, 20. 403, 21. 416-17. Cf. 21. 386, 22. 475. The θυμός also leaves the body on death: Il. 4. 470, 16. 410, Od. 3. 455. Cf. Onians, The Origins of European Thought, 45; Claus, Toward the Soul, 15 n. 14; J. Bremmer, The Early Greek Concept of the Soul (Princeton, 1983), 56; Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 59; Clarke, Flesh and Spirit, 130-3.
40 Cf. Onians, The Origins of European Thought, 23-4, 31, 44-56, 66-79, 208; cf. 23-39 on the φρένες as the lungs. In Homer, the θυμός is contained by the στήθεα or φρένες, and can itself be container for μένος (Il. 16. 529; cf. Claus, Toward the Soul, 45). We might compare the location of the θυμός in the chest at Tim. 70a and the reference to τὸ τοῦ θυμοῦ μένος at 70b.
41 The presentation of θυμός as a substance that may waste and wane, of which one may have more or less, figure it as physical, but not necessarily as breath: Il. 16. 540; cf. 17. 744; 22. 242; Od. 10. 78, 19. 263; at Il. 1. 593 ὀλίγος δ’ ἔτι θυμὸς ἐνῆεν might refer to ‘breath’, but if it does, it is as a symbol of vigour and vitality that it does so.
42 Creature to be tamed (Il. 9. 496, 18. 113, Od. 11. 562) or restrained (Il. 1. 92, 9. 254-6, 635-6, 462, Od. 5. 222); opponent to which one can yield (Il. 5. 126, 9. 109-11, 587-8, 24. 42-3); in Pl. cf. esp. Resp. 9, 588c-590c; also Phdr. 246a ff.
43 Il. 2. 276-7, 6. 256-7, 439, 444, 7. 68, 74, 349, 369, 8. 6, 189, 301, 310, 322, 9. 703, 10. 220, 319, 389, 12. 300; etc. Cf. θυμός as subject of verbs of wishing and desiring: Il. 1. 173, 468, 602, 2. 431, 4. 263, 6. 361, 7. 320, 9. 42, 177, 398, 10. 401, 12. 174, 407; etc. See Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 55-7, 59, 78, 100-3.
44 Discussed in detail below.
45 Od. 10. 374, 20. 301-2. Cf. its ‘shudder’ at Od. 23. 216.
46 Discovery, 19-22 (quotations pp. 21-2); cf. his review of J. Böhme’s Die Seele und das Ich im homerischen Epos in Gnomon 7 (1931), 74-86 (at 82); see also Adkins, From the Many to the One, 15-27.
47 H. Fränkel, Early Greek Poetry and Philosophy (Eng. trans. Oxford, 1975), 76-80, 527 (quotations from pp. 78-9, 80, and 527). For criticism of this approach to Homeric psychology, see R. Sharples, ‘“But why has my spirit spoken with me thus?” Homeric Decision-Making’, G&R 30 (1983), 1-7 at 3-4; Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 15-27; C. Gill, Personality in Greek Epic, Tragedy, and Philosophy: The Self in Dialogue (Oxford, 1996), 29-41. Cf. (at greater length) A. Schmitt, Selbständigkeit und Abhängigkeit menschlichen Handelns bei Homer: Hermeneutische Untersuchungen zur Psychologie Homers (Stuttgart, 1990).
48 See T. Jahn, Zum Wortfeld ‘Seele-Geist’ in der Sprache Homers (Munich, 1987), esp. 182-211. Cf. already Claus, Toward the Soul 25, 45-6 (cf. 16-21, 27-8, 37, 39-41, 47 on adverbial uses); Bremmer, The Early Greek Concept of the Soul, 53-63. On Jahn’s findings, see Schmitt, Selbständigkeit und Abhängigkeit, 175, Clarke, Flesh and Spirit, 63-6, and Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 100-3. As Pelliccia demonstrates, a degree of that interchangeability that Jahn establishes for the ‘adverbial’ uses can be detected even in more central cases, e.g. when the ‘organ’ is used as the subject or object of a verb. I leave aside here the complications involved in relating νόος to Jahn’s scheme (Jahn 46-118), save to note that νόος also has a large number of ‘adverbial’ uses but differs from the other terms listed above in its intrinsic nature as a functional term (the noun that corresponds to νοεῖν as λόγος corresponds to λέγειν) rather than as the name of an organ with a more or less definite physiological character. See Onians, Origins of European Thought, 82; Claus, Towards the Soul, 20; Bremmer, The Early Greek Concept of the Soul, 57. For an attempt at a systematic account of the relations between νόος and θυμός etc. (that in some respects invites comparison with the model of the tripartite soul in Plato), see Schmitt, Selbständigkeit und Abhängigkeit, 174-221.
49 Claus, Toward the Soul, 32, 42; Bremmer, The Early Greek Concept of the Soul, 54-5; Jahn, Zum Wortfeld ‘Seele-Geist’, 212-46; Schmitt, Selbständigkeit und Abhängigkeit, 178-211; Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 259-61; cf. even Onians, The Origins of European Thought, 49.
50 See Sharples, ‘“But why …”’; Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 115-216, 234-68, 277-81; Gill, Personality, 48-93. Cf. O. Renaut, Platon: La Médiation des émotions. L’éducation du thymos dans les dialogues (Paris, 2014), 121-4.
51 Il. 11. 401-13 (Odysseus), 17. 90-107 (Menelaus), 21. 552-72 (Agenor), 22. 98-131 (Hector).
52 Cf. Gill, Personality, 81-92, esp. 85-6.
53 See Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 136-46, 200-3, and passim. This introductory convention occurs 11x in the formula ὀχθήσας δ’ ἄρα εἶπε πρὸς ὃν μεγαλήτορα θυμόν and 4x in κινήσας ῥα κάρη προτὶ ὃν μυθήσατο θυμόν. It is used not only where there is no addressee in the subsequent speech, but also where the speech has an actual, but fictive addressee (Pelliccia 147-8, 161-2, 181-2, 188). The link between the introductory formula and the speaker’s isolation is also noted by Gill, Personality, 58, 187.
54 Cf. the use of the formula in a non-monologic speech at 22. 385, where it serves as a break-off that signals the speaker’s realization that there is a pressing need for a course of action other than the one initially contemplated (Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 205).
55 See Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, esp. 117, 200-3, 208-13, 236, 259, 261, 267; on the ‘self-distancing’ involved in this and other uses of the θυμός, cf. Sharples, ‘“But why …”’, 2-3, Gill, Personality, 187-8.
56 Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 27, 62, 77, 212.
57 See Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 129-31. For the θυμός speeches as dramatization of the process of deliberation, see Pelliccia, 214-15.
58 See Sharples, ‘“But why …”’ 2-3; cf. Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 215, 259-61.
59 See Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 55-69, 77-8, 100-3, and cf. above, n. 43.
60 See esp. Gill, Personality, 47, 59, 179-80, 183, 186-7.
61 See F. Dirlmeier, ‘Vom Monolog der Dichtung zum “inneren” Logos bei Platon und Aristoteles’, Gymnasium 67 (1960), 26-41, esp. 32-4; cf. J. M. Cooper, ‘Plato’s Theory of Human Motivation’, Hist. Phil. Q. 1 (1984), 3-21 at 12; Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 28-9 n. 38; Gill, Personality, 184, 188, 253; Renaut, Platon, passim, esp. 121-34.
62 Socrates has already quoted lines 17-18 at 390d; cf. Phd. 94d-e, where the same lines illustrate the ψυχή’s ability to master ἐπιθυμίαι, ὀργαί, and φόβοι (seen there as examples of τὰ κατὰ τὸ σῶμα πάθη, b7).
63 See further S. Halliwell, ‘Traditional Greek Conceptions of Character’, in C. B. R. Pelling (ed.), Characterization and Individuality in Greek Literature (Oxford, 1990), 32-59 at 38-42; Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 175-8, 220-4; Gill, Personality, 183-90.
64 See Pellicccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 175-6, 178; Gill, Personality, 184.
65 See Pelliccia 220-1, 223; Gill 184.
66 Cf. Jahn, Zum Wortfeld ‘Seele-Geist’, 201-9; Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 177 n. 123.
67 The way that the simile in 14-15 illustrates the ‘barking’ metaphor in 13 and 16 refutes those who argue that an understanding of metaphor qua metaphor is foreign to the Homeric poems; see C. G. Leidl, ‘Metaphor and Literary Criticism’, in G. Boys-Stones (ed.), Metaphor, Allegory, and the Classical Tradition: Ancient Thought and Modern Revisions (Oxford, 2003), 31-54 at 38 (with reference to Porphyry, Homeric Questions 6). A conscious and knowing approach to the use of such imagery is also suggested by the pun, κύντερον, in 18. We see the same phenomenon at Od. 19. 204-7, where Penelope’s skin or cheeks (in a common metaphor for grief, love, etc.) ‘melt’ (τήκετο, 204, 208) in a way that is compared to melting snow on a mountain (205-7). In this case, the metaphor is a familiar, conventional one, while in the case of the barking heart it is a novel one that is, however, based in familiar and conventional metonymies and personifications; in both cases, the amplification by means of a simile indicates deliberate, artistic use of metaphorical concepts that in other contexts might be used in a purely conventional way. Cf. n. 5 above.
68 E.g. in the way that the reflections of Odysseus in 5 and 9-13, the arousal of his θυμός in 9, and the indignation of his κραδίη in 13-21 all represent a single mental process. Cf. Odysseus’ attribution to his θυμός (in 38-40) of considerations that the narrator presents as those of Odysseus himself in 28-30. See Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 222.
69 All the more so, given that the stratagem of calling himself Οὖτις (μή τις in the conditional clause at 9. 410) was the form that Odysseus’ μῆτις took on the occasion in question. Cf. in general Gill, Personality, 184-5, 189. As Gill points out (189-90), Odysseus does not repudiate the κραδίη’s perspective, but will act on it in due course.
70 See Halliwell, ‘Traditional Greek Conceptions of Character’, 40 n. 9; Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 223 n. 203.
71 On ζέσις, boiling, as a θυμός-metaphor, see Crat. 419e (“θυμὸς” δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς θύσεως καὶ ζέσεως τῆς ψυχῆς ἔχοι ἂν τοῦτο τὸ ὄνομα), Tim. 70b, with Onians, The Origins of European Thought, 47, A. W. Price, Mental Conflict (London, 1995), 63. Plato’s sentence at 440c-d reveals the co-existence of the metaphors of θυμός as substance and θυμός as agent that we see in Homer and that is otherwise widespread in his own account.
72 Gill, Personality, 188 n. 47.
73 See J. Annas, An Introduction to Plato’s Republic (Oxford, 1981), 127-9, 137-41; M. Woods, ‘Plato’s Division of the Soul’, PBA 73 (1987), 23-48 at 34-9; Price, Mental Conflict 56-7, 61-3, 68-70. For the limitations of the Principle of Opposites, see Annas 125, comparing Resp. 581b-c.
74 Cf. Cooper, ‘Plato’s Theory of Human Motivation’, 12-16. On pp. 15-16, Cooper suggests that the anger of infants and dogs represents ‘the central primitive phenomena which get transformed, as we mature, into the full-fledged competitive desire for self-esteem’. The examples are compatible with the view that the θυμός of dogs and infants exhibits a degree of family resemblance to that of mature adults, but that the latter is inevitably conditioned by the capacities for reasoning and calculation that adults possess.
75 Folk models (including Homer): see Gill, Personality, 251 n. 36; R. Kamtekar, ‘Speaking with the Same Voice as Reason: Personification in Plato’s Psychology’, OSAP 31 (2006), 167-202 at 178, 186. (I cite Kamtekar’s paper from this version; an abridged version has appeared in R. Barney, T. Brennan, and C. Brittain (eds.) Plato and the Divided Self (Cambridge, 2012), 77-101.) By ‘traditional categories’ I refer especially to the ‘three lives’ (especially relevant to the association of the three elements of the ψυχή with three basic types of person, each with its own pleasure or goal in life, 580d-581e); for references, see Price, Mental Conflict, 69 and 186 n. 20; cf. H. Lorenz, The Brute Within: Appetitive Desire in Plato and Aristotle (Oxford, 2006), 18-19; cf. also the association between the tripartite model and traditional ways of thinking about the virtues of the young, the mature, and the old, as traced by F. M. Cornford, ‘Psychology and Social Structure in the Republic of Plato’, CQ 6 (1912), 246-65. Recognition of this traditional background is not incompatible with N. Blössner’s observation that the tripartite model as such is not traditional: see ‘The City-Soul Analogy’, in G. R. Ferrari (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Plato’s Republic (Cambridge, 2007), 345-85, at 355-6.
76 See Aidôs: The Psychology and Ethics of Honour and Shame in Ancient Greek Literature (Oxford, 1993), 381-92. On the aspects of θυμός discussed in that volume (chiefly its relation to self-image and self-esteem), see the recent studies by J. Wilberding, ‘Plato’s Two Forms of Second-Best Morality’, Philosophical Review 118 (2009), 351–74, and R. Singpurwalla, ‘Why Spirit is the Natural Ally of Reason: Spirit, Reason, and the Fine in Plato’s Republic’, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 44 (2013), 41–65.
77 For inflexions of this general approach see J. F. Moline, ‘Plato on the Complexity of the Psyche’, Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 60 (1978) 1-26; Annas, An Introduction, 131, 142-6; Cooper, ‘Plato’s Theory of Human Motivation’. See also (e.g.) G. R. F. Ferrari, Listening to the Cicadas (Cambridge, 1987), 200-3; Gill, Personality, 251-2, 255; Kamtekar, ‘Speaking with the Same Voice as Reason’, 184-6; cf. T. H. Irwin, Plato’s Ethics (Oxford, 1995), 216-22 (though we shall have to return to his assertion, p. 222, that Plato’s ‘remarks about agreement and harmony between the parts are no mere metaphor’). Both Moline and Annas draw attention to contemporary developments in philosophy of mind, via references to K. Wilkes (Moline 26) and D. Dennett (Annas 144, 152). On Dennett’s functionalist approach, cf. Pelliccia, Mind, Body, and Speech, 22-3, C. Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast: His Later Ethics and Politics (Oxford, 2002), 221-3. For a dissenting voice among early responses to this approach, see Woods, ‘Plato’s Division of the Soul’, 24-5, 31.
78 Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast, passim, esp. 217-22; cf. 248-51.
79 C. H. Kahn, ‘From Republic to Laws: A Discussion of C. Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast’, OSAP 26 (2004), 337-62, esp. 354-6; R. F. Stalley, ‘Persuasion and the Tripartite Soul in Plato’s Republic’, OSAP 32 (2007), 63-89.
80 An approach found also in Kahn, ‘From Republic to Laws’, e.g. 356; see further Lorenz, The Brute Within, 2, 16, 34, 48-9 (together with his literalist understanding of partition, p. 10); J. Moss, ‘Appearances and Calculations: Plato’s Division of the Soul’, OSAP 34 (2008), 35-68. For pertinent arguments against this (what we might call the) minimalist approach, see Bobonich, ‘Images of Irrationality’, in id. (ed.), Plato’s Laws: A Critical Guide (Cambridge, 2010), 149-71, at 150-3, 158-9.
81 See esp. his pp. 217-21, 237, 242-4. A list of passages in which the elements of the tripartite ψυχή are personified would include (at least) the following: 431a-b, 439c, 439d-440b, 441a-b, 440e, 441d-442d, 443d, 444b, 550a, 553b-d, 554b-555a, 558d, 559c-560c, 571b-572c, 572e-574a, 574d-575a, 577d-e, 580d-581c, 583a, 586d-587c, 588c-590d, 591a-b, 591c, 591e-582a, 603c-d, 604d-605c, 606a-c, 607a. Cf. in later dialogues Phdr. 246a-256e, Tim. 69d-71d. Under the head of ‘personification’ I include the predication of animal-like as well as human-like forms of agency.
82 For R. Barney, T. Brennan, and C. Brittain, in the introduction to their volume Plato and the Divided Self (Cambridge, 2012), 2-3, something like Bobonich’s (‘realist’) view – that the ‘parts of the soul’ ‘are robustly agent-like individuals’ – is ‘a growing consensus’. ‘For each’, they continue, ‘seems to comprise an integrated system of capacities for cognition, volition, affect, and agency …’ They recognize that the model is permeated by metaphor, but, in their view, the use of metaphor ‘suggests that we are to understand the parts as real agents’. Among their contributors, only Kamtekar (in an abridged version of the article cited in n. 75) and J. Whiting (‘Psychic Contingency in the Republic’, 174-208) pose any kind of challenge to this view.
83 Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast, 221. Bobonich’s formulation on p. 248 (‘Plato’s attribution of beliefs and desires to the parts of the soul is not merely metaphorical’) betrays a similar assumption that metaphor can only be decorative and never theory-constitutive (aka epistemic, cognitive, or conceptual). Cf. Irwin, Plato’s Ethics, 222: ‘His remarks about agreement and harmony between the parts are no mere metaphor or unfortunate anthropomorphism; they rest on a defensible view of the nature of the three parts.’ But see my remarks at the beginning of this paper.
84 See e.g. Bobonich 297-8, 315 on Tim. and Phdr. and cf. ‘Images of Irrationality’, 157, with Kahn, ‘From Republic to Laws’, 356; Stalley, ‘Persuasion and the Tripartite Soul’, 87-8; cf. Kamtekar, ‘Speaking with the Same Voice as Reason’, 183.
85 Kahn ‘From Republic to Laws’, 356.
86 Lorenz, The Brute Within; Moss, ‘Appearances and Calculations’ (cf. n. 143 below).
87 As Richard Robinson long ago insisted, in ‘Plato’s Separation of Reason from Desire’, Phronesis 16 (1971), 38-48. Cf. more recently M. Schofield, Plato: Political Philosophy (Oxford, 2008), 256, 280 n. 48, 281 n. 59. This is what Whiting, ‘Psychic Contingency in the Republic’, 178 calls the ‘deflationist’ position. She herself argues that the deflationist position (‘more or less’) obtains in some passages of Republic, the ‘realist’ position (of Bobonich) ‘more or less’ in others: see esp. her pp. 202-3. This, I think, fails to do justice to the role of metaphor, despite her emphasis on ‘the metaphors and images that frame the arguments’, ‘the models or metaphors around which Plato chose to organize the Republic’ (206-7).
88 From, at one end of the scale, the basic ontological metaphor that makes spatially located entities of the soul and its parts to the vivid and developed images that Plato himself marks as such, e.g. that of the composite creature in Republic 9 (εἰκόνα πλάσαντες τῆς ψυχῆς λόγῳ, 588b) or the soul as charioteer and horses in Phdr. (οἷον μέν ἐστι [sc. ἡ ψυχή], πάντῃ πάντως θείας εἶναι καὶ μακρᾶς διηγήσεως, ᾧ δὲ ἔοικεν, ἀνθρωπίνης τε καὶ ἐλάττονος· ταύτῃ οὖν λέγωμεν. ἐοικέτω δὴ συμφύτῳ δυνάμει ὑποπτέρου ζεύγους τε καὶ ἡνιόχου, 246a; cf. 256b-c).
89 A point well made by Stalley, ‘Persuasion and the Tripartite Soul’, 76-8, 84-7, Kamtekar, ‘Speaking with the Same Voice as Reason’, 178, and Schofield, Plato, 271, but which I cannot pursue at length here.
90 This is seen clearly by C. H. Kahn, ‘Plato’s Theory of Desire’, The Review of Metaphysics 41 (1987), 77-103, at 81 n. 8: ‘The agent-view of the parts … represents them as theoretical entities with explanatory power. Plato’s explanation of human character and conduct is given exclusively in terms of the interaction of these parts. There is no room for a person or self over and above the three parts on the level of the explanans.’ Cf. Irwin, Plato’s Ethics, 285; Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast, 254.
91 Pace Robinson ‘Plato’s Separation of Reason from Desire’, 44; Lorenz, The Brute Within, 19. See rather Blössner, ‘The City-Soul Anology’, 373-4; as he points out, for the argument to work in context, it must involve the fallacious claim that each of the state’s inhabitants possesses θυμός (etc.). On this point, see G. R. F. Ferrari, City and Soul in Plato’s Republic (St Augustin, 2003), 42-50, discussing the argument of B. A. O. Williams, ‘The Analogy of City and Soul in Plato’s Republic’, in E. N. Lee, A. P. D. Mourelatos, and R. M. Rorty (eds), Exegesis and Argument (Phronesis suppl. 1, Assen, 1973), 196-206.
92 See Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast, 224-5; cf. Woods, ‘Plato’s Division of the Soul’, 24-5, 31.
93 Cf. 439d-e.
94 Cf. its reiteration at 439b.
95 See J. L. Stocks, ‘Plato and the Tripartite Soul’, Mind 24 (1915), 207-21; cf. more recently R. Woolf, ‘How to See an Unencrusted Soul’ in Barney, Brennan, and Brittain, Plato and the Divided Self, 155-7 (with an emphasis, p. 155, on the need ‘not to dwell unduly on the terminology of “parts”’), and J. Whiting, ‘Psychic Contingency in the Republic’, ibid., 174-208.
96 See M. F. Burnyeat, ‘Plato on the Grammar of Perceiving’, CQ 26 (1976), 29-51 at 33; cf. Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast, 226-34; Lorenz, The Brute Within, 27; E. Brown, ‘The Unity of the Soul in Plato’s Republic’, in Barney, Brennan, and Brittain, Plato and the Divided Self, 56-60 contrast Robinson, ‘Plato’s Separation of Reason from Desire’, 45; Price, Mental Conflict, 55.
97 The following example, of the top which spins on the same spot without tilting (436d-e), does not disconfirm the Principle of Opposites either, not because the subjects of motion are rest are different, but because it does not undergo opposites in the same respect. This example thus makes a different point from the one that precedes it, of the individual who moves his head and his hands, and those which follow, in which the ψυχή is affected in contrary ways in the same respect and with regard to the same object, and thus contains more than one subject. See R. F. Stalley, ‘Plato’s Argument for the Division of the Reasoning and Appetitive Elements within the Soul’, Phronesis 20 (1975), 110-28; Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast, 223, 226-32; Lorenz, The Brute Within, 25; Brown, ‘The Unity of the Soul’, 59-60, 62; contrast Woods, ‘Plato and the Tripartite Soul’, 34-6; Irwin, Plato’s Ethics, 204; Price, Mental Conflict, 41, 54.
98 See Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast, 254 (quotation), 256-7, and passim. Cf. Sharples, ‘“But why …”’, 4.
99 Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast, 259-94, esp. 259-66, 274-5. For Bobonich it is equally a strength that this image, unlike those which characterize the tripartite soul in the Republic, is ‘only a metaphor’ (p. 261).
100 See Sharples, ‘But why …’, 5; Price, Mental Conflict, 91; cf. Kamtekar, ‘Speaking with the Same Voice as Reason’, 181.
101 For further discussion, see A. W. Price, ‘Are Plato’s Soul-Parts Psychological Subjects?’ Ancient Philosophy 29 (2009), 1-13, esp. p. 8.
102 The subject of the participle κινοῦντα is ἄνθρωπον.
103 Cf. Brown, ‘The Unity of the Soul’, 60-2.
104 NB the personification, and its limits, in ‘the soul of the thirsty person wants to drink’. Whatever the source of the desire, it will only ever be the person that does the drinking (cf. Price, ‘Are Plato’s Soul-Parts Psychological Subjects?’ 12-14).
105 Note that the harmony that is said to be the work of the person at 443c-e is the culmination of the process described at 441d-442d in which the educational programme outlined in Books 2-3 secures agreement between the λογιστικόν, θυμοειδές, ἐπιθυμητικόν on the λογιστικόν᾽s right to rule. Language of the interaction of the ‘parts’ is immediately followed by a reformulation in terms of the agent’s relation to the ψυχή.
106 On the harmony of the just soul in this passage see (most recently) G. R. F. Ferrari, ‘The Three-Part Soul’, in id. (ed.), Cambridge Companion, 165-201 at 178, 188; C. Gill, ‘What is the Point of the Tripartite Psyche in Plato’s Republic’, in N. Notomi and L. Brisson (eds.), Dialogues on Plato’s Politeia (Republic): Selected Papers from the Ninth Symposium Platonicum (St Augustin, 2013), 161-7 at 163, 166-7.
107 Pace Price, Mental Conflict, 56. Similarly, for Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast, 234 and n. 27, this and similar passages involve nothing more than ‘occasional loose language’. Contrast Ferrari, ‘The Three-Part Soul’, 194.
108 For a similar conclusion, but different arguments, see A. Vallejo Campos, ‘The Theory of Conflict in Plato’s Republic’, in Notomi and Brisson, Dialogues, 192-203, esp. 194-7. See also Irwin, Plato’s Ethics, 287; Lorenz, The Beast Within, 26 n. 18; Price, ‘Are Plato’s Soul-Parts Psychological Subjects?’ 9-10. For a brief statement of a position that is closer to my own, see Schofield, Plato, 256. It is true that this particular passage (443c-e) is about the just agent, not agents in general. But still it uses the model in a way that shows that there can be an agent who is not just the sum of the parts; and we shall see immediately below that similar passages in later Books are not confined to the just agent.
109 On the way that the Republic’s applications of tripartition develop as the argument builds and contexts change in the course of the dialogue, see Ferrari, ‘The Three-Part Soul’; Blössner, ‘The City-Soul Analogy’, esp. 362-6, 375-81 (drawing on id., Dialogform und Argument: Studien zu Platon’s ‘Politeia’, Stuttgart, 1997); and Gill, ‘What is the Point of the Tripartite Psyche …?’ The idea that the εἴδη of the ψυχή represent forms of desire distinguished chiefly by their objects emerges explicitly only in Book 9, at 580d-588a, but begins to inform the discussion at an earlier stage.
110 See Gill, Personality, 256-7.
111 See rather Cairns, ‘The Tripartite Soul as Metaphor’, in P. Destrée and R. G. Edmonds (eds), Plato and the Power of Images (Leiden, forthcoming).
112 Resp. 576b-592b.
113 At 577d, for example, the equivalent structure of individual and state warrants the claim that the best parts (μέρη) of the tyrant’s ψυχή are enslaved to the worse; and at 586e-587a the presence of στάσις among the μέρη of the soul’s πολιτεία is a matter of one part’s exercising compulsion on the others and causing all three to fail in the pursuit of their proper pleasure. Cf. the στάσις between the three psychic elements in the discussion of the effects of poetry in Book 10, 603c-d, 604b, 606a-d (but cf. also below on the wider context of that argument). At 586d-587b the interaction of the personified parts coexists with that of the personified desires that characterize each part (for which see 580d-581c). And at 571d-572a the interaction of the personified parts is the result of the way that the person himself develops those parts.
114 For the heterogeneity of the ἐπιθυμητικόν, see 580d-e, and for the imagery by which this is represented, see 554b-d, 555a, 558d-561c, 571b-c, 572b, 573d, 574d.
115 See 554d-e, 560a-c, 561a-b, 571b-572b, 572e-576b, 571b, 572e-573b, 574a, 574d, and cf. below §75.
116 See 571b, 573b, 573d, 577e.
117 See J. Adam, The Republic of Plato (2nd edn, Cambridge, 1963), ii. 366 ad loc.
118 See (a) 554a, 554c-555a, 558d-561c, 571b-c, 573e, 575a, 579d-e (the interaction of the individual with his desires); (b) 554b-c, 559e, 560c, 572d-e, 575a; cf. 605b-c, 606d (others’ influence on desires).
119 For intrusion, see M. S. Silk, Interaction in Poetic Imagery (Cambridge, 1974), 138-49 and passim.
120 That such imagery is not primarily intended to capture aspects of the phenomenology of mental life is suggested by the fact that not only the individual himself but also other people can be described as interacting with or affecting one or more of the three elements of a person’s ψυχή (see esp. 550a-b; cf. 605a-c, 606a); this is primarily a way of describing the actual results, in terms of tripartite psychology, of interactions that those involved would normally represent to themselves as taking place between two individuals.
121 590d-591b, on the role of the state in ensuring that those without the capacity to rule themselves are nonetheless ruled by reason, and on the role of law and education in developing the individual ψυχή to its full potential.
122 See 590a-c on the way that various ways of life affect the many-headed beast, the lion, and the inner person.
123 See 443d-e (above), 550a-b, 553b-d, 571d-572a, 591e, 606a. For Bobonich’s view, Plato’s Utopia Recast, 234 and n. 27, that these are simply cases of ‘occasional loose language’, see n. 107 above.
124 Pace Irwin, Plato’s Ethics, 285-7.
125 For the interaction of the person and the personified reason, see 553d, 571d, 588e-589b, 589d. These passages need to be borne in mind when we consider others (e.g. 606a-c) where Socrates shifts easily from talk of ‘our’ interaction with the non-rational elements of the ψυχή to interaction between λόγος and those elements. The latter may suggest the equation of the person with the person’s reason; the former rule that out as a universal explanation.
126 And thus, as far as Bobonich’s argument is concerned (above §60 and n. 99), the Republic in fact offers more evidence than the Laws for the kind of image that Bobonich prefers.
127 I.e. a Platonic agent who thought of herself as influencing the state of her three psychic kinds might achieve a deeper awareness of the effect of her actions on her character than is available to the ordinary person, even if the primary purpose of the identification of the three ‘parts of the soul’ themselves is to describe motivation in terms other than those in which agents normally describe their own behaviour; cf. and contrast Gill, Personality, 254-5.
128 602c-603b, especially 602e-603a (δοξάζειν bis of the conflicting judgements of both elements).
129 441b-c, 439e-440a (resp.).
130 See G. R. F. Ferrari, ‘The Three-Part Soul’; N. Blössner, ‘The City-Soul Analogy’, ibid. 345-85; C. Gill, ‘What is the Point of the Tripartite Psyche in Plato’s Republic?’ in Notomi and Brisson, Dialogues, 161-7.
131 For that debate, see e.g. Annas, An Introduction to Plato’s Republic, 130; Kahn, ‘Plato’s Theory of Desire’, 86; Irwin, Plato’s Ethics, 214, 219-20; Price, Mental Conflict, 60, 62; Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast, 244; Lorenz, The Brute Within, 43, 47-8; Moss, ‘Appearances and Calculations’, esp. 37-9, 65; J. Wilberding, ‘Curbing One’s Appetites in Plato’s Republic’, in Barney, Brennan, and Brittain, Plato and the Divided Self, 128-49 at 132-5; M. E. Erginel, ‘How Smart is the Appetitive Part of the Soul?’ in Notomi and Brisson, Dialogues, 204-8. Cf. the argumentation of R. D. Parry, ‘The Unhappy Tyrant and the Craft of Inner Rule’, in Ferrari, Cambridge Companion, 386-414 at 405-6, 411.
132 See Schofield, Plato, 255 (on this very point): ‘It goes without saying that money is paradigmatically a social and cultural phenomenon, only intelligible in terms of social and cultural structures.’ For the implications of this for the conceptualization of the ἐπιθυμητικόν, see his wider discussion at pp. 258-64.
135 See 559e-560a, 560c.
136 See Boyer, Religion Explained, 155-91.
137 Cf. Schofield, Plato, 280 n. 48: ‘I conclude that Plato – always the dramatist of the theatre of the soul – has no non-metaphorical way of articulating his theory of mind.’ Cf. 281 n. 59.
138 Cf. Z. Petraki, The Poetics of Philosophical Language: Plato, Poets, and Presocratics in the Republic (Berlin, 2011), 233, 249-50, and passim.
139 Here we might recall Steen’s distinction between deliberate and non-deliberate metaphor (above n. 5), his emphasis on the former’s communicative function, and his specification of that function in terms of the intention ‘to change the addressee’s perspective’ (‘The Paradox of Metaphor’, 222).
140 See Phdr. 246a (to describe what sort of thing ψυχή is would need a long and divinely inspired account; to say what it is like, ἔοικε, via the following image of a team of two horses and a charioteer, is an easier and more human task), 265b-c (the myth’s imagery – ἀπεικάζοντες – will have caught the truth in some respects and missed the mark in others, but is perhaps not entirely implausible). Cf. Leg. 644b-c (where the model of the human being as puppet that follows is hedged as an εἰκών). In the Timaeus, it is the whole discussion that is hedged (as an εἰκὼς μῦθος, 29d, 59c, 68d, of a cosmos that is itself an εἰκών, 29b-d), not just that of the tripartite ψυχή – see most recently J. Bryan, Likeness and Likelihood in the Presocratics and Plato (Cambridge, 2012), 114-91 for a full interpretation, with further references. For the general point, cf. Phd. 114d (the preceding myth of the ψυχή’s journey after death is not the kind of thing whose truth a sensible man would insist on, but it is worth the risk of believing this or something like it). With respect to the epistemological status of the imagery of the tripartite ψυχή, then, there is no difference between Resp., on the one hand, and Phdr., Tim., and Leg. on the other, pace Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast, 297. Cf. n. 83 above. For wider discussion of Plato’s use of εἰκόνες (including myths), see E. E. Pender, Images of Persons Unseen: Plato’s Metaphors for the Gods and the Soul (St Augustin, 2000), 37-86, and ‘Plato on Metaphors and Models’, in Boys-Stones, Metaphor, Allegory, and the Classical Tradition, 55-81; Petraki, Poetics of Philosophical Language, 78-105 and passim. On Plato’s myths more generally, see e.g. L. Brisson, Plato the Myth Maker (Chicago, 1998), K. Morgan, Myth and Philosophy from the Presocratics to Plato (Cambridge, 2000); C. Partenie (ed.), Plato’s Myths (Cambridge, 2009), C. Collobert, P. Destrée, and F. J. Gonzalez (eds.), Plato and Myth: Studies on the Use and Status of Platonic Myths (Leiden, 2012).
141 C. J. Rowe, Plato and the Art of Philosophical Writing (Cambridge, 2007), 164-82, esp. 164-5. For Rowe, these passages show ‘that there is something unsatisfactory about the … division of the soul itself’, while something like ‘the destination of the “longer road”’ is reached in the account of what the ψυχή truly is when not deformed by association with the body and other evils (611b-c) in Book 10, even if it is clear that that account, too, has much further to go (not least, perhaps, because it too relies on metaphor). Cf. F. Fronterotta, ‘Plato’s Psychology in Republic IV and X: How Many Parts of the Soul?’ in Notomi and Brisson, Dialogues, 168-78 at 175; further relevant thoughts in Gill ‘What is the Point of the Tripartite Psyche in Plato’s Republic?’166-7; see also the discussions of the unity of the ψυχή in Republic in the separate contributions by Brown, Woolf, and Whiting in Barney, Brennan, and Brittain, Plato and the Divided Self. For a defence of tripartition that embraces its ‘second-best’ character as an account of human beings as embodied, social, rational animals, see M. F. Burnyeat, ‘The Truth of Tripartition’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 106 (2006), 1-23.
142 See Pender, Images of Persons Unseen, 18-27. Cf. Petraki, The Poetics of Philosophical Language, 98.
143 Here there is, as many have noted, an appearance of bipartition rather than tripartition, but this is only a superficial impression – the θυμός lurks in the references to shame at 604a, 606b-c; see Cairns, Aidōs, 382-3; cf. Burnyeat, ‘The Truth of Tripartition’, 18, Renaut, Platon, 138-42. For a trenchant refutation of the view (e.g. Lorenz, The Beast Within; cf. Moss, ‘Appearances and Calculations’) that this passage and its context make a general claim that the capacities of the ‘non-rational’ part or parts are restricted to some form of perception, see Bobonich, ‘Images of Irrationality’, in id. (ed.), Plato’s Laws: A Critical Guide (Cambridge 2010), 149-71, esp. 150-3. By the same token, I am not persuaded by the claim that Book 10 introduces a new form of tripartition, as advanced by D. S. Allen, Why Plato Wrote (Malden MA, 2010), 154-7.
144 On the potential for irony here, see S. Halliwell, The Aesthetics of Mimesis: Ancient Texts and Modern Problems (Princeton, 2002), 55-6; Petraki, Poetics of Philosophical Language, 37 n. 1 (further references). On the complexity of the relation between Platonic philosophizing and poetry more generally see K. Crotty, The Philosopher’s Song: The Poets’ Influence on Plato (Lanham MD, 2009); P. Destrée and F.-G.Herrmann (eds), Plato and the Poets (Leiden, 2011).
145 See esp. 605b-c, where the external influence of the poet on the psychic constitution of the individual mirrors a pattern found repeatedly in the account of the deviant personalities in Books 8 and 9 (see n. 118 above). For more on poetry’s psychological effects, see Halliwell, The Aesthetics of Mimesis, 59-60, 78-9, 93-8, 111-14; Crotty, The Philosopher’s Song, 107-20, 124-9.
146 On philosophical and poetic image-making in Resp. (and on the terminology employed), see R. A. Naddaff, Exiling the Poets: The Production of Censorship in Plato’s Republic (Chicago, 2002), 66-91 (esp. 80-1), Allen, Why Plato Wrote, 29-30, 40-59, 62, 64-68, 148-150, 156-157; Petraki, Poetics of Philosophical Language, passim, esp. 20-23, 80-84, 87-90, 131-136, 182-266; on the complexity of the relation between Platonic philosophizing and poetry more generally see K. Crotty, The Philosopher’s Song: The Poets’ Influence on Plato (Lanham MD, 2009).
147 For the view that Plato’s use of personification in Resp. is protreptic, cf. Kamtekar, ‘Speaking with the Same Voice as Reason’ (though her understanding of what this amounts to differs somewhat from mine).
148 See Simonides T 47(a) and (b) in D. A. Campbell, Greek Lyric III (Cambridge MA, 1991), 363; cf. Gorgias on the visual power of λόγος at Helen 13. With Gorgias’ appeal to τὰ τῆς δόξης ὄμματα, cf. Plato’s τῆς διανοίας ὄψις (Smp. 219a); τὸ τῆς ψυχῆς ὄμμα (Resp. 533d); τῆς ψυχῆς ὄμματα (Soph. 254a). See further Halliwell, Aesthetics of Mimesis, 58-9, 133-42. Cf. id., ‘Plato and Painting’, in N. K. Rutter and B. A. Sparkes (eds), Word and Image in Ancient Greece (Edinburgh, 2000), 99-116; Petraki, The Poetics of Philosophical Language, 22-3.
149 See e.g. B. Graziosi and J. Haubold (eds), Homer: Iliad 6 (Cambridge, 2010), 23–4. On ἐνάργεια in Plato, see Allen, Why Plato Wrote, passim.Haut de page
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Douglas Cairns, « Ψυχή, Θυμός, and Metaphor in Homer and Plato », Études platoniciennes [En ligne], 11 | 2014, mis en ligne le 15 avril 2015, consulté le 22 mars 2017. URL : http://etudesplatoniciennes.revues.org/566 ; DOI : 10.4000/etudesplatoniciennes.566Haut de page
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