Feed on
Posts
Comments

In Book X of Plato’s Republic, Socrates finalizes the discussion of the soul with an analogy of “nesting bowls”, which in many ways is strikingly similar to the analogy of the divided line. Socrates tells us in Book VI “‘that for the four segments of the line there are these four kinds of experiences that arise in the soul’” (6.511d) and in Book X, that each knob “‘fitted in just like bowls nested into one another, with another, third one the same way, and a fourth, and four more . . . eight knobs in all’” (10.616d-e). The first four segments relate to the breakdown of the visible and the intelligible, and then into clarity and obscurity, whereas the subsequent four experiences are active insight, thinking, trust, and imagination. I have said previously, that the divided line never seemed to be indicative of the analogies like the ship of state, the three waves, the sun, and the cave, but rather that the divided line seemingly suggests the foundational structure of the book, and by extension, the soul. In Book X, Socrates seems intent on showing his audience the complexity of the soul. If this is true, then Books I and X would be omitted, as they introduce and conclude these discussions, the divided line in Book VI would be “‘the shaft [in], which was driven all through them through the center of the eighth’” (10.616e)—or simply, the divided line as the spindle—leaving eight Books to form rings around the remaining parts of the metaphysical soul. Therefore, Plato transforms what was initially a Euclidian understanding of the form of the soul, into a modern-day Copernican, or perhaps Ptolemaic, understanding of the soul.

The original divided line seen in Book VI is commonly understood as a piece of Euclidian geometry, in which a line has “no breadth, and a plane figure as having no depth” (Sachs Footnote 114), so it is curious, how it could become a spherical component as what Copernicus depicts in his works. Yet, Socrates does not claim that his nesting bowl planetary theory is spherical; it is circular, most definitely, but seeing as it is theory, it cannot be given legitimate spherical components. Regardless, Socrates’ analogy must have heavily inspired Copernicus’ later works, and most likely Ptolemy as well. Using this idea, however, it is possible for a line to connect to its other end, because Euclid also does not reduce a line to a merely straight entity. He defines a straight line as “a line which lies evenly with the points on itself” (Euclid 1. Defintion 4). By this definition, we could make a spherical line out of the perceived straight and flat divided line.

Returning, however, to the conceptual, rather than structural form of the nesting bowl analogy, brings us to the divide between the four segments and the four experiences. Omitting Book I leaves us with a form that seems to split evenly, for the best clarity, between the two categories. Rather than alternating between segment and experience, it seems as if the subdivisions of the four experiences—active insight, thinking, trust, and imagination—relate to the Books II through V, whereas the four segments—visible, intelligible, clarity, and obscurity— rise into more complex and conceptual arguments in Books VI—using the sun analogy—through IX. This is a reasonable progression, as Socrates’ explanations are analogy, familiarity, and visual based, therefore, Socrates may not have been able to effectively communicate the conceptual segments before demonstrating the four experiences first.

Seeing as many of the books recycle topics such as education, happiness, justice, tyranny, philosophy, and collective properties, it is appropriate that these issues translate to a circular, or perhaps spherical form in which the soul is represented. The educations are not entirely cyclical as they introduce new topics important to the soul, but the foundations of those topics are recycled from previous books. In this way, the Euclidian lines from the divided line analogy can connect to themselves to create Copernican rings around the spindle, especially as Euclid’s definition of a straight line does not prevent it. Yet, Plato and Socrates would argue that every repeated piece of information is necessary, as it would have been omitted otherwise. This is true, as each time a topic is brought up again—from the experience category to the segment, and more conceptual category—a slight change is permitted. This change, as we have discussed, allows for the same foundation, but with a new, and more complex, elaboration on the same theme; a topic brought up within Books II through V is more conceptually developed in Books VI through IX.

In this way, the form of the soul may be outlined. Each new idea, either discovered or outlined in more detail in eight of the Books, adds to the city-soul analogy, and therefore adds another ring or another vital component to the existence and function of the soul. Through this, the Euclidean, linear form of the divided line transforms and connects to itself to create Copernican rings surrounding the center of the spindle of the metaphysical soul.

20 Responses to “The Linear Progression of the Nesting Bowls”

  1. Online Article…

    […]The information mentioned in the article are some of the best available […]…

  2. Awesome website

    […]the time to read or visit the content or sites we have linked to below the[…]…

  3. Websites we think you should visit

    […]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually worth a go through, so have a look[…]…

  4. Links

    […]Sites of interest we have a link to[…]…

  5. Sources

    […]check below, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[…]…

  6. Websites we think you should visit

    […]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually worth a go through, so have a look[…]…

  7. Links

    […]Sites of interest we have a link to[…]…

  8. Awesome website

    […]the time to read or visit the content or sites we have linked to below the[…]…

  9. Websites you should visit

    […]below you’ll find the link to some sites that we think you should visit[…]…

  10. Visitor recommendations

    […]one of our visitors recently recommended the following website[…]…

  11. cheat4game says:

    Visitor recommendations

    […]one of our visitors recently recommended the following website[…]…

  12. Blogs ou should be reading

    […]Here is a Great Blog You Might Find Interesting that we Encourage You[…]…

  13. Gems form the internet

    […]very few websites that happen to be detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well worth checking out[…]…

  14. this link says:

    Superb website

    […]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I love but don’t get a lot of link love from[…]…

  15. You should check this out

    […] Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nevertheless really worth taking a look, whoa did one learn about Mid East has got more problerms as well […]…

  16. You should check this out

    […] Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nevertheless really worth taking a look, whoa did one learn about Mid East has got more problerms as well […]…

  17. Sites we Like…

    […] Every once in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose […]…

  18. Sources

    […]check below, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[…]…

  19. Websites you should visit

    […]below you’ll find the link to some sites that we think you should visit[…]…

  20. see it here says:

    Recommeneded websites

    […]Here are some of the sites we recommend for our visitors[…]…