The Three Parts Of The Soul In Plato's Republic

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In Plato’s Republic, the character Socrates presents an argument from lines 436a-441c with the conclusion that there are three parts to a person’s soul: The rational part, the irrational or appetitive part, and the spirited part, which naturally supports the rational part in a moral person. Socrates presents the following as premises to support this conclusion. (:?) In line 436b, Socrates asserts that no single element of anything, including the soul, can do opposite things at once. An example of opposite things includes desiring to satisfy an appetite while not desiring to satisfy the appetite in a certain way. According to lines 437d-438b, restrictions on someone’s desire to fulfill an appetite are the result of outside conditions, and are not restrictions inherent in that appetite itself. In other words, a desire or appetite is always…show more content…
(439e-440a) However, the part of the soul by which one gets angry is not the same as the rational part because small children and animals can be angry but do not often have the capacity to be rational. (441a) To further support the claim that the spirited and rational parts are separate, Socrates anecdotally refers to Homer, who distinguishes in The Odyssey between the part of a character’s soul that calculates rationality and the part that is angry. (441b) On the other hand, a noble man will not be angry at suffering unsatisfied appetite if he believes he has been unjust, and he will conversely be willing to suffer unsatisfied appetite for the sake of anger, unless rational thought calls on the anger to stop, in which case the spirited part of the soul obeys. Socrates judges by these examples that this third, spirited, part of the soul naturally and universally supports the rational part of the soul in any man not made ignoble by his upbringing.

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