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The Tyrannical Character, Spirit, and Moral Repair in the Republic

Griffiths, India Paige Katelyn; (2024) The Tyrannical Character, Spirit, and Moral Repair in the Republic. Masters thesis (M.Phil.Stud), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

In Republic books VIII and IX, Socrates describes the moral degeneration of four unjust characters, culminating in the worst character of all, the tyrannical character. This thesis examines the moral degeneration of the tyrannical character. My main claim is that a person develops a tyrannical character progressively over time. In chapter one, I investigate Socrates’ account of the degeneration of unjust characters. I argue that a bad upbringing, specifically a lack of rational development and weak interpersonal relations in one’s upbringing, enables moral degeneration. Hereafter, I focus exclusively on the tyrannical character, beginning with an examination of three interpretations of the nature of extreme desire, or eros, in the tyrannical soul. I argue that each interpretation is unable to provide a complete picture of the tyrannical character’s eros because they fail to consider the entire process of his moral degeneration. Chapter two is split into two parts. First, I argue that the tyrannical character develops progressively over the course of three stages of moral degeneration. In stages one and two the tyrannical character is still developing and therefore has the potential to undergo moral repair. However, by stage three the tyrannical character is fully formed and thus morally incurable. In the second part of chapter two, I investigate evidence for the possibility of moral repair for tyrannical characters in the Republic. In chapter three I examine the role of spirit in the tyrannical soul. I argue that spirit’s capacity for shame, which can be evoked at the prospect of harming those familiar to us, plays a crucial role in helping the developing tyrannical character to resist his lawless desires. I end with a speculative account of how moral repair can be initiated in the developing tyrannical character through the intervention of a friend and role model.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.Phil.Stud
Title: The Tyrannical Character, Spirit, and Moral Repair in the Republic
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2023. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10187053
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