Plato, Nietzsche, and Sublimation

Phronimon 3 (1):1-21 (2001)

Sandrine Berges
Bilkent University
In this paper I aim to refute the claim that Plato and Nietzsche are at opposite poles regarding the treatment of the non-rational elements of the soul, and argue that, instead, they share a complex and psychologically rich view of the role of reason towards the appetites and the emotions. My argument makes use of the Freudian distinction between sublimation, i.e. the re-channelling of certain undesirable appetitive and emotional forces towards more beneficial ends, and repression. I show that both Plato and Nietzsche argue in favour of sublimation and against repression of the non-rational elements of the soul.
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