Transcendent Simple Soul

  • Erik Nis Ostenfeld
Part of the Martinus Nijhoff Philosophy Library book series (MNPL, volume 10)


Though the Gorgias starts as a discussion on rhetoric it soon develops into a battle between two different views of morality and, by implication, between two views of man. Socrates’ view is of interest in this connection. He takes the soul-body distinction for granted. So do his opponents Gorgias, Polus and Callicles. Socrates further holds that there is a state of health (euhexia) for each. Justice and legislation care for the soul, while medicine and gymnastics attend to the body (464). Medicine and justice are corrective, while gymnastic and legislation are formative. A dualistic view may be involved here, though the ready assent of Gorgias may not commit him to more than a distinction. One may have states of mind differing from states of body even on a monistic view. But it should be taken into account that, say, talking and giving drugs are two rather different sorts of art dealing with two correspondingly different types of state, provided that the doctrine that cause and effect must be alike is Platonic. Now a little further on we are told that whenever there is an agent there is a correlative patient, and that a specific kind of activity is correlated with a specific kind of passivity. The quality of the experience and the action is the same. If there is cutting, there must be an object cut, and if the cut be big, deep or painful, the object must be cut in the same way (476bd).40


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Hague 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik Nis Ostenfeld
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AarhusDenmark

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