Plato’s Concept of Soul (Psykhē)Eyüp Çoraklı
The aim of this study is to present an analysis of Plato’s view of soul (psykhē) within the framework of his extant works on this matter. In this regard, Plato’s view of soul is emphasized to be woven into his cosmological theory. Therefore, this study will examine in detail the Timaeus dialogue in which this issue is discussed and scrutinize the subjects treated in this work such as the creation of the corporeal universe, the formation of the World-soul (psykhē pantos), and the creation of other souls from the nature of the World-soul. Then the study will clarify the role of Demiurge as a craftsman as well as the roles of the other gods in this process, after which the nature of the mortal soul formed by the other gods apart from the immortal soul Demiurge had created with the remains of the World-soul will be analyzed. In this context, the study will question the relationship between the immortal and the mortal soul and explain the parts or functions of the soul known as the logistikon [reason], the thymoeides [spirit], and the epithymētikon [appetite]. Again, the study will attempt to show in light of Timaeus the embodiment of the soul, its descent to the corporal universe, and where in the body its aforementioned functions are located in this process. Next, the study will exemplify the three-part/functional nature of the soul through the myth of the winged soul in Phaedrus and by this means shed light on the process of the soul’s embodiment and celestial life before being embodied, namely the moment of the contemplation (theōria) of the realm of Ideas located in a region above the heavens (hyperouranion topon). Thus, the study will relate the narrations in Timaeus and Phaedrus to one another and clarify Plato’s view of the soul. As a result, the study will try to show that the soul according to Plato is a living being with the ability to establish connections between the realm of ideas and this world and that this therefore constitutes a vital point regarding Plato’s understanding of being and knowledge.
Platon’un Ruh (Psykhē) AnlayışıEyüp Çoraklı
Bu çalışmanın amacı, Platon’un ruh (psykhē) anlayışına konuyla ilgili metinleri çerçevesinde bir çözümleme sunmaktır. Bu doğrultuda, öncelikle Platon’un ruh anlayışını evren tasavvurunun içine örgülediği vurgulanacak, bu nedenle doğrudan doğruya bu meselenin işlendiği Timaios diyaloğu ele alınıp orada tartışılan “cismani evrenin yaratılışı,” “evrenin ruhunun (psykhē pantos) teşkili” ve “evrenin ruhunun mayasından diğer ruhların yaratılışı” gibi konular irdelenecek, ayrıca bu süreçte zanaatkâr bir tanrı olarak Dēmiourgos ve diğer tanrıların üstlendiği rol üzerinde durulacaktır. Ardından Dēmiourgos’un evrenin ruhundan arta kalanlarla yarattığı ölümsüz ruha karşılık, diğer tanrıların eliyle şekillenen ölümlü ruhun mahiyeti incelenecektir. Bu bağlamda ölümsüz ruh ile ölümlü ruh veya beden arasındaki ilişki tartışmaya açılarak ruhun “akıl” (to logistikon), “heyecan” (to thymoeides) ve “iştah” (to epithymētikon) şeklinde adlandırılan bölümleri veya işlevleri açıklanacaktır. Ruhun bedenlenip cismani evrene inişi ve bu bedenlenme sürecinde söz konusu temel işlevlerinin bedenin hangi bölgelerinde konumlandırıldığı, yine Timaios diyaloğu ışığında gösterilmeye çalışılacaktır. Daha sonra ruhun üç bölümlü veya üç işlevli yapısı, Phaidros diyaloğunda işlenen “kanatlı at” mitosuyla örneklendirilecek, bu sayede ruhun bedenlenme sürecine ve bedenlenmeden önceki semavi yaşayışına, başka deyişle göğün üstünde bir mekânda (hyperouranion topon) yer alan idea’lar âlemini temaşa etme (theōria) anına ışık tutulacaktır. Böylelikle hem Timaios hem de Phaidros diyaloglarında yer alan anlatımlar birbiriyle ilişkilendirilerek Platon’un ruh anlayışı açıklığa kavuşturulacak; sonuç olarak Platon’a göre ruhun hakiki âlem ile bu dünya arasındaki bağlantıyı tesis edebilme imkânına sahip bir varlık olduğu, bu nedenle onun varlık ve bilgi anlayışının düğüm noktasını oluşturduğu ortaya konmaya çalışılacaktır.
Every study that deals with Plato’s view of the soul must first examine the Platonic Corpus as a whole and find their own way in it. However, the following question is encountered: Can the nature of the soul fully be comprehended without comprehending the nature of the universe? Then one will realize that this Socratic question must inevitably be counted as the starting point of this research. When reexamining the Platonic Corpus with this question in mind, the study will this time place itself directly between the lines of Timaeus and try to proceed into the myths narrated in these lines. Then the study will turn to Phaedrus and see that the narratives in this work form a unity with those in Timaeus. In addition, the study will help one understand that these dialogues are among the primary sources from which one can obtain Plato’s view of the creation, origin, and embodiment of the soul, thus it will determine the vital points of the route that leads to Plato’s view of soul. However, the study will discerned that the expressions in these dialogues contain no clear explanation but are laced with metaphors that need to be transcended. At this point, one can hear the words of Socrates in Phaedrus: “We can’t explain exactly what the soul is, but we can explain what it looks like.” These words will illuminate the way like a flare. In this case, Plato’s view of soul can be revealed by opening the curtain behind these metaphorical expressions. For this reason, the first thing the study will do is present an analysis within the framework of the dialogues in Timaeus and Phaedrus and discuss firstly the creation, origin, and then embodiment of the soul in this context.
In this way, the study will show in light of the analyses based on the narratives in the Timaeus and Phaedrus that the soul in Plato’s eyes is an issue that needs to be dealt with and examined under two separate contexts. The first of these is the original soul, which means the essence of the universe (i.e., the World-soul); the second is the soul that is formed by God as a craftsman using the leaven of the World-soul and bestowing it upon creatures. Therefore, while investigating the origin, nature, and function of the soul, one must start with the original soul as a method. In this respect, because the original and universal soul contains a reason and was formed as an immortal principle, the created souls from it inevitably must have reason and immortality, even if lacks the same value and competence. In this way, by originating from such a source, the soul has an independent and individual nature.
This immortal and individual nature of the soul is the main issue upon which Plato built his view of the soul. For Plato, the soul is essentially one, whole, and monolithic with no separate or independent parts. This is why the soul has such a unique and lofty position when considered on its own, freed from the bonds of the body, rather than in its already incarnated state. However, when taken in its embodied form, the soul constitutes a perfect unity in all its aspects, similar to how the organs of the body have no value on their own. In this sense, the partition of the soul is a hypothetical approach. It is a figurative expression that serves to articulate an incomprehensible issue. When one delves deeper into this metaphor, describing the mortal soul as “spirit” and “appetite” expresses the dispositions that enable the immortal soul that contains reason to hold on to earthly and bodily life. Thus, the fact that the soul is considered as both a mortal and immortal being finds meaning at this point, because the soul is able to live in this world and to establish a relationship with the real world (i.e., the realm of Ideas) during this worldly life. As a result, the soul according to Plato forms the vital point of his ontological and epistemological theory in terms of the possibility of establishing connections between the realm of Ideas and this world.