Plato’s Argument For Three Parts Of The Soul

843 words - 4 pages


Plato argues that the soul comprises of three parts namely rational, appetitive, and the spirited. These parts also match up the three ranks of a just community. Personal justice involves maintaining the three parts in the proper balance, where reason rules while appetite obeys. According to Plato, the appetitive part of the soul is the one that is accountable for the desires in people. It is accountable for the effortless cravings required to stay alive like hunger, thirst, and for pointless cravings like desire to over feed. The desires for essential things should be limited by other sections of the soul, while illegitimate desires ought to be limited entirely by other ...view middle of the document...

Since every person contributes to the community, those aspects that are present in the community, ought to have come from the person, thereby, souls have three different elements.

Moreover, Plato argued that there has to be at least two parts in the soul; one that stops an individual from undertaking action and another, which brings about the need for the action. The two elements cannot act in two differing ways, there has to be more than one force in the soul. Someone might respond to the claim saying that an action cannot be moving and resting at the same time except another force has been involved. Additionally, there is an element of logic which says that a thing cannot be itself, and also be its reverse.


There is a possibility that Plato has confused the difference between wanting to do something and not wanting to do it, which are reverses, with the difference between wanting to do something and wanting not to do it which is not apparently reverse at all. It is a natural state of human life that an individual desires both to undertake something, and not undertake it. For example, someone who is very hungry and so wants to consume the only food that is accessible, which is a cabbage; however, she hates cabbage. This means that this person wants to eat cabbage and does not want it at the same time. If this leads one to the conclusion that there are distinct elements of the...

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