Recollective pathé: Affectivity and inquiry in Plato
Potter, Joel Michael
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In this study, I defend a novel interpretation of Platonic recollection and show how it helps to solve an interpretative puzzle about the paradox of inquiry in the Meno and a puzzle about Socrates' praise of erotic madness in the Phaedrus. While these two puzzles have previously been dealt with in isolation from one another, I argue that in both the Meno and Phaedrus recollection possesses an essential affective dimension and that this explains why Plato thinks inquiry is possible in the Meno and why a form of affect-induced madness is necessary for philosophical progress in the Phaedrus. This account sheds light upon the interrelationship between Plato's moral psychology and epistemology and contributes to a more nuanced view of Plato's attitude toward the relationship between affect and the philosophical life. Although the focus of my dissertation is Plato, I also make use of some contemporary philosophies of the emotions in my analysis. As is so often the case, the insights of this ancient theorist continue to illuminate the pursuits of contemporary philosophers.