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Grant number like: FT-56339-08

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Rachel Singpurwalla
University of Maryland, College Park (College Park, MD 20742-5141)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2008 – 8/31/2008

The Metaphysics and Psychology of Unity in Plato's Ethics

The concept of unity animates Plato's ethical thought: he characterizes the happy and just city in terms of inter-personal unity and the happy and just individual in terms of intra-personal unity; some commentators argue that Plato holds that goodness itself is unity. This project is the first comprehensive inquiry into the nature and value of unity in Plato's ethics as presented in the Republic. I inquire into fundamental questions previously unaddressed: what is it to be unified? Is unity valuable for its own sake, or because it enables us to achieve something else? What is the phenomenology of being unified, both with oneself and with others? Is unity identical to goodness? I argue that unity is a teleological notion: an entity is unified when each of its parts contribute to that entity's realizing its particular goal. I argue further that unity is intrinsically valuable: happiness consists in both inter- and intra-personal unity, each of which precludes feelings of alienation.