Strangely Moved: Appetitive Souls in Plato

  • Lucas John Mix


Plato used the soul to explain motivations in humans and other life. He provided the first clear delineation of vegetable, animal, and rational life, attributing souls or soul aspects to each. The appetitive soul, present in all living things, drives desires of the flesh. The spirited soul, present in animals, allows them to move and be moved. The rational soul, present in humans, seeks wisdom and proportion. All three reflect a continuum connecting changeable matter (the world of becoming) to ideal forms. All three have physical aspects, though the rational soul aspired to perfect, eternal life. Plato’s system featured both mortal and immortal souls, but his immortal, rational souls and accounts of the afterlife have received the most attention.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucas John Mix
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Organismic and Evolutionary BiologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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