Publication Date

April 2018


Tushar Irani




English (United States)


This project explores the question: "What does it mean to be rational?" by exploring Plato's conception of reason in the Republic. I develop and argue for a specific interpretation of Plato's account of how reason rules in the soul: ideal rationality is represented by reason's rule in the philosophic soul-type, whereas reason's rule in souls generally is concerned with subduing spirited and appetitive desires, and it can be thought of as a lower-level form of rationality. I then consider whether challenges to contemporary accounts of rationality as developed by Daniel Kahneman in "Thinking, Fast and Slow" present challenges to Plato's conception of reason. I argue that they do by developing an interpretation of Plato's division of the soul in "Republic" X in terms of Kahneman's characterization of System 1 and System 2 processing. I then respond to these challenges by giving an account of how philosophic soul-types and non-philosophic souls, specifically the producers in the kallipolis, can actively engage the rational part of the soul and thus mitigate or avoid some the errors in reasoning caused by limitations or flaws in their cognitive capacities by engaging in a method of hypothesis.



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