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The three elements of the human soul according to plato

The desire in reason is or stems from beliefs about what is good and what is bad. This, however, is not true of the appetite and spirit.

The desires in these parts arise independently of any beliefs about what is good and what is bad. Hence isn't it right for us to claim that they are two, and different from one another?

Plato’s Argument for Three Parts of the Soul

So that if ever we find this happening we shall know that it was not the same thing but a plurality" Republic IV. To understand the Tripartite Theory, consider a case in which someone is thirsty but refuses to drink. Socrates thinks there are two desires in play. One stems from appetite the desire to drink. This desire arises naturally in reaction to events in the body. In the absence of a desire from reason, this appetitive desire would moves the person to drink.

Reason, however, because it has the belief that in the circumstance drinking is not good, issue in the desire not to drink. If reason rules, the connection between the appetitive desire and action is interrupted.

Socrates argues for this understanding in terms of a principle about opposite motions. In this argument, he conceives of desire and aversion as opposite motions of the soul. Desire is a motion toward, and aversion is a motion away.

THREE PLATONIC THEORIES

If a person is thirsty, he has a motivation to drink. If he thinks that drinking is not in his best interest, he also has a motivation not to drink. If this desire and aversion are opposite motions, then given the principle about opposite motions, Socrates concludes that this desire and aversion are motions of different parts of the soul.

The appetitive part of the soul has the desire, and the part of the soul that reasons has the aversion. He says that some part of the soul conflicts with appetite in the case of Leontius Republic IV. The argument in these remarks seems to be that examples of the conflict in the case of Leontius occur in children and animals Republic IV.

  • Socrates says that hunger and thirst are desires 34d-e;
  • He compares the soul to an illustrated book;
  • The Philebus provides some explanation of a way in which the parts of the soul without reason are capable of providing representations of the world that are motivating;
  • The senses grasp and aware of sensible features of the world, but they do not form beliefs because they do not predicate anything of these features.

This part is spirit. The Harmonious Organization of the Parts Given the Tripartite Theory of the Soul, there are different possible organizations among the parts of the soul. The proper organization is the one in which reason rules, spirit is reason's ally, and appetite is suppressed.

When the parts are so organized, they are in "harmony. And the same things appear bent and straight to those who view them in water and out, or concave and convex, owing to similar errors of vision about colors. There is every confusion of this sort in our souls, but measuring and numbering and weighing prevent the domination in our soul of the apparently greater or less or more or heavier, and give the control to that which has reckoned and numbered or even weighed.

Sometimes, when this has measured and declares that certain things are larger or that some are smaller than the others or equal, there is at the same time an appearance of the contrary. But we said that it is impossible for the same thing at one time to hold contradictory opinions about the same thing. Further, that which puts its trust in measurement and reckoning must be the best part of the soul.

That which opposes it must belong to the inferior elements the three elements of the human soul according to plato the soul. This, then, was what I wished to have agreed upon when I said that poetry, and in general the mimetic art, produces a product that is far removed from truth in the accomplishment of its task, and associates with the part in us that is remote from intelligence, and is its companion and friend for no sound and true purpose" The three elements of the human soul according to plato X.

Appetite and spirit can move a human being to action. For this to be possible, there must be representations of the states of affairs that are the objects of the desires in appetite and spirit.

What are these representations? Are they beliefs about how the world is? One might think that that these representations are beliefs and that belief is a cognitive state that can belong to all the parts of the soul. In the parts of the soul without reason, one might think that sensation and imagination form the beliefs.

These parts of the soul would accept these representations uncritically. It would be impossible for them to reject a representation as mistaken because they cannot reason about whether these representations are true.

They would have to accept whatever representations sensation, imagination, and memory present. Is this how Plato understands how appetite and spirit can cause action? In Book X of the Republic, in the context of the argument against imitation and imitative poetry, Socrates seems to commit himself to the view that the parts of the soul without reason can have beliefs. He seems to argue that sometimes there is a belief in the part of the soul with reason that is opposite to a belief in one of the parts of the soul without reason.

In the Timaeus, however, which is traditionally thought to be a late dialogue, Plato seems to have a different view of these representations. The suggestion is that belief is strictly an achievement of reason. Beliefs are an Achievement of Reason One way to understand these different conceptions of belief is to suppose that Plato came to think that belief is an achievement of reason and that what looks like a belief in the parts of the soul without reason is something else, such as a perception of the senses.

If this interpretation is correct, then one would expect Plato to work out this new understanding in some dialogue. Theaetetus, the historical figure, was an Athenian mathematician who work in the theory of incommensurable quantities.

In fact, Plato does work out this view in the Theaetetus. How do you define it, Socrates? You must not suppose that I know this that I am declaring to you. In 184b-187ato refute this understanding of what knowledge is, Socrates says that the soul grasps some things through the senses and some things in some other way.

  • The desires in these parts arise independently of any beliefs about what is good and what is bad;
  • If a person is thirsty, he has a motivation to drink;
  • Is this how Plato understands how appetite and spirit can cause action?
  • The understanding is that a community is just a collection of people who have formed a sense of laws on living collectively; thereby, every individual would introduce some elements, values and functions into the community;
  • That which opposes it must belong to the inferior elements of the soul;
  • The answer seems to be the they are a matter of perception, imagination, and memory.

For example, he says that we perceive color through the eyes and sound through the ears. Further, Socrates says that a thought about both color and sound together would not be something that the soul could perceive through one of the the three elements of the human soul according to plato.

A thought whose content is that both a color and a sound exist is an example. Socrates says that soul has this thought itself, not through one of the senses. The soul directly grasps being, likeness, differences, and so on. The senses grasp and aware of sensible features of the world, but they do not form beliefs because they do not predicate anything of these features.

The application of predicates is an achievement of the part of the soul with reason. At 186bSocrates says that the soul perceives hardness through the sense of touch; however, to predicate hardness of the thing that is hard and thus to form the belief that the thing is hard, the soul must grasp that hardness is, that softness is, and that they are opposites.

Some Representations are not Beliefs This understanding of belief raises a question for the Tripartite Theory of the Soul.

The parts of the soul without reason can generate action. So they must have representations of the world that can move a human being to act in a specific way.

If these representations are not beliefs, what are they? The answer seems to be the they are a matter of perception, imagination, and memory. The Philebus provides some explanation of a way in which the parts of the soul without reason are capable of providing representations of the world that are motivating. The topic in the Philebus is the good. Philebus holds that the good is the same for both humans and animals: To determine whether he is correct, Socrates turns the conversation to an investigation of pleasure.

Socrates says that pleasure that belongs to the soul alone depends on memory 33c. To explain why this is true, Socrates provides accounts of perception, memory, and desire. Perception, he says, involves the soul and the body 34a. Memory, in turn, is the preservation of perception 34a. Socrates says that hunger and thirst are desires 34d-e. Such desires occur in the presence of depletion and are for the opposite, replenishment. For a living thing to have the desire for a given replenishment, the living thing must represent the replenishment in some way.

Socrates says that memory supplies the representation. Memory supplies the representation that represents the object of the desire. Socrates does not make the point explicitly, but it seems possible to think that he supposes that memory also provides the representation of how to acquire the object of the desire.

In this discussion of pleasure in the Philebus, Socrates makes it clear that this understanding applies to both animals and human beings. Only human beings have beliefs because only human beings have reason. Socrates suggests that beliefs are accompanied with the images that alone are the means of representation in animals. He compares the soul to an illustrated book. Forming a belief is like writing a sentence in the soul 38e-39a.

In addition to the "writer" in the soul, Socrates says that there is an illustrator who makes illustrations of the words the writer has written 39b. It is through the extensive eduction and system of censorship in the Republic that this control occurs. Reason arranges things in society so that when a person is young the appetitive and spirited part of his soul become habituated to having the desires reason deems to be correct, and it may be that one way this habituation occurs is in terms the illustrations discussed in the Philebus.

Consequently, they fashioned the appetitive part in the body in such a way that the intellect can "show" it images. This causes pain or pleasure 71b-d.

  • Forming a belief is like writing a sentence in the soul 38e-39a;
  • The desires for essential things should be limited by other sections of the soul, while illegitimate desires ought to be limited entirely by other elements of soul;
  • Reason, in this way, can use imagination to recalibrate how strong the desire to smoke is in the appetite;
  • Finally, the spirited soul produces the desires that love victory and honor;
  • This means that this person wants to eat cabbage and does not want it at the same time;
  • In 184b-187a , to refute this understanding of what knowledge is, Socrates says that the soul grasps some things through the senses and some things in some other way.

In the Philebus, in the discussion of pleasures of anticipation, there is an indication of how this might happen. In pleasures of anticipation, when memory supplies the image of replenishment that provides the object of the desirethere is anticipatory pleasure in the expected replenishment 36b. This suggests a way for reason to rule appetite and spirit. The suggestion is that reason can use the mechanism that underlies anticipatory pleasure and pain to control the parts of the soul without reason.

Consider a compulsive behavior, such as smoking to use a modern example. The appetite may form a habitual desire to smoke because smoking has been pleasurable in the past. Over time, this habit may become extremely strong. If, at some point, reason discovers that smoking is bad, this belief alone will not be enough to prevent the the appetite from issuing the desire and hence from moving the person to smoke.

To break the habit, reason must form beliefs that imagine the painful consequences of smoking so that the appetitive part of the soul associates the pain depicted in these images with smoking and thus takes less anticipatory pleasure in smoking.