Two Kinds of Mental Conflict in Republic IV

History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 25 (2):255-281 (2021)
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Abstract

Plato’s partition argument infers that the soul has parts from the fact that the soul experiences mental conflict. We consider an ambiguity in the concept of mental conflict. According to the first sense of conflict, a soul is in conflict when it has desires whose satisfaction is logically incompatible. According to the second sense of conflict, a soul is in conflict when it has desires which are logically incompatible even when they are unsatisfied. This raises a dilemma: if the mental conflict is supposed to be the latter kind of conflict, then the partition argument is valid but is likely unsound; if it’s supposed to be the former kind, then the partition argument has true premises but is invalid. We explain this dilemma in detail and defend a dispositionalist solution to it.

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Author Profiles

Edith Gwendolyn Nally
University of Missouri, Kansas City
Galen Barry
Iona University

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Metaphysics. Aristotle - 1933 - In W. D. Ross (ed.), The Basic Works of Aristotle. Random House.
An Introduction to Plato's Republic.Julia Annas - 1981 - New York: Oxford U.P..

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