The Brute Within: Appetitive Desire in Plato and Aristotle

Research output: Book/ReportBook

210 Scopus citations


Plato's Republic introduces and employs an elaborate psychological theory whose core commitment it is that human motivation comes in three forms: rational, spirited, and appetitive. The Brute Within offers a detailed philosophical analysis of appetitive motivation and of Plato's conception of appetite as a part of the soul. In doing so, it explores both the psychological theory of the Republic and its afterlife in Plato's later dialogues as well as in Aristotle's psychology and ethics. It shows that Plato's Timaeus, a relatively late dialogue, preserves the substance of the Republic's conception of appetite as a distinct part of the soul. At the same time, the Timaeus offers a number of important clarifications and amplifications of the theory of the tripartite soul, whose full significance emerges once the Timaeus is read in the context of a number of other later dialogues, most importantly the Theaetetus and the Philebus. In turning to Aristotle's psychological theory and moral psychology, the book calls attention to the remarkable continuity between Aristotle's and Plato's thought in this area. It shows how Aristotle made Plato's psychological theory his own both by modifying it where appropriate and by giving it a more determinate and precise formulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages240
ISBN (Electronic)9780191604027
ISBN (Print)9780199290635
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Appetite
  • Aristotle
  • Desire
  • Motivation
  • Plato
  • Psychology
  • Reason
  • Republic
  • Soul
  • Tripartition


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