Plato on Divinization and the Divinity of the Rational Part of the Soul
Keywords:Plato, homoiosis theo, divine, god, divinization, psychology
Three distinct reasons that Plato calls the rational part of the soul “divine” are analyzed: (1) its metaphysical kinship with the Forms, (2) its epistemological ability to know the Forms, and (3) its ethical capacity to live by them. Supposing these three divine aspects of the rational part are unified in the life of each person, they naturally suggest a process of divinization or “becoming like god” according to which a person (specifically, a philosopher), by (3) living more virtuously, which requires (2) increasingly better knowledge of the Forms, gradually (1) becomes united with them. This process of divinization is in fact found throughout the middle and late dialogues, including the Phaedo, Republic, Symposium, Phaedrus, Timaeus, and the Laws. This synoptic view of the Platonic idea(l) of divinization provides a standard according to which misplaced emphasis, flaws, and tension created by other interpretations are criticized and corrected.
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