Reflections on selfhood in Gorgias's Encomium of Helen and Plato's Apology of Socrates
In this thesis I reflect on selfhood in Gorgias' Encomium of Helen and Plato's Apology of
Socrates. I argue that Plato develops a reflective account of `the self' and that he does it
in contrast to a Gorgianic account of the soul as passively determined from the outside,
which we find in Helen. Plato develops a picture of the soul, which he finds in Gorgias,
as if it were a vessel or a container. The soul-as-a-vessel model entails a particular
account of knowledge, teaching, and learning. Plato juxtaposes the soul-as-a-vessel
model and its epistemology with a reflective model of the soul, which entails a very
different account of what knowledge, teaching, and learning are. I argue that only one of
these two models of the soul, namely the reflective model, is a proper model of the self.
The other model does not amount to an account of the self because the soul on this model
does not have any ownership or control over its beliefs. I will argue that we can
understandth e Apology better if we interpret it in light of theset wo modelso f the soul
and their epistemology. In the course of my analysis of Plato I shall also offer an interpretation of passages in the Ion, the Protagoras, the Meno, and the Phaedrus, which
grounds and supports my analysis of the Apology and its connection to Gorgias.