Plato’s theory of healthy soul

Plato’s theory of healthy soul - Plato's...

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Unformatted text preview: Plato's theory of healthy soul By: Jorge Alvarez Where the theory comes from Plato's theory is derived from Socrates' theory about the city (the Polis, the Republic) being a soul which is magnified. "The study of the ideal city will reveal to us the ideal soul (healthy soul), and from that picture, we can deduce the nature of justice and an answer to the question of why one should be moral" (Palmer 262) As stated in DCH (Does the Center Hold?) the ideal city would include three different classes. Three parts of a City This is relevant to the presentation because, as Socrates' theory says, a city is just a soul which is being magnified. The three parts of a city are as follows: rulers, guardians, and artisans. Who controls what? "First are the rulers who know philosophy; hence they have beheld the `Platonic' essence of citizenship and, as a class, have the virtue of wisdom." "Second, there are guardians whose job it is to protect the City from internal and external enemies. The members of this class know some philosophical principles (otherwise they would not know the difference between friends and enemies of the City). This class has virtue of courage." "Finally, [of the three parts] there is the class of artisans. This class is the majority of people, but are incapable of self governance... they must submit to the rule of reason [the rulers] imposed upon it by the ruling class. When it does so, its collective virtue is moderation." All taken from DCH page 262/263 Three parts of a Soul The ideal city would have three distinct parts or classes This is related to this presentation because... as the title of this slide says, the soul has three parts or components to it. As Palmer's interpretation of Plato's theory states, "The soul, though a unity [one whole piece] in fact, can be analyzed into three componentsreason, spirit, and appetite" (Palmer 263). Part 1 of 3: Appetitive This part of the soul, for some reason, finds itself constantly at odds with the rational part of the soul. "We might call [this] the animal part of the psyche" (Palmer 263). This bottom part of the soul holds the "primitive lust and irrational desires." These desires need to be restrained so the average Joe can obtain "psychic peace." This idea of a "beastly" part of the soul is similar to what Freud thought. Well DUH!! He was greatly influenced by Platonic philosophy. "Plato metaphorically locates the appetitive aspect of the soul `below the midriff'..." (Palmer 263). Appetitive cont'd This part of the soul just happens to be the largest of all three and the most disorderly of all three. It consists of "desires for bodily satisfaction (e.g., hunger, thirst, sexual desire, desire for wealth and material goods). Bodily pleasures and pains, and the emotions associated with these, belong to this part of the soul" ("Some Notes on Plato's Theory of Justice"). Part 2 of 3: Spirited "This part of the soul consists of desires for honor and means of gaining honor (e.g., for fame, glory, victory, popularity)." "It is in this part that emotions such as pride, selfesteem, humility, guilt, and disgrace are felt (when it does happen)." "It is from this part that we feel respect and gratitude to others, but also emotions such as arrogance, contempt, anger and resentment, and the desires for domination (power) and revenge." Spirited cont'd The metaphorical location that Plato gave for this part of the soul was in the heart (Palmer 263) The spirit is what truly separates the soul from being just [healthy] or unjust [unhealthy]. This part is what is considered a "henchman" to the reason part of the soul. Part 3 of 3: Rational This part of the soul is at odds with the appetitive part of the soul The part of the soul that is truly "just" [healthy] and tries to make the rest of the soul "just" [healthy] with help from the spirit part of the soul The "entire soul is ruled by reason, and strives to fulfill reason's desires and lusts after truth and is the source of all of our philosophic desires" . Rational cont'd In order for the soul to be a healthy and just one, the rational part of the soul must persuade the spirit part of the soul to side with it, then the individual becomes rational [healthy and just]. As I said, the true maker of the soul being just or unjust is the spirit part of the soul. If the rational part is able to persuade it, then the individual shall be just and healthy. And if not then the individual will be overcome with lustfulness and unruliness if the spirit sides with the appetitive part. Plato's metaphorical location for this part of the soul is the head. Last slide... finally The three parts of the soul have virtues of wisdom, courage, and moderation. The three parts of a city have virtues of wisdom, courage, and moderation. So once again, Plato's formula is "City equals Soul magnified." When each class of the City sought its virtue, the result was a just City. Same is said about the Soul. So "why be just?"is like raising the identical question "Why be healthy?" "This question is absurd, and anyone who asks it does not understand it" (Palmer 265). Sources Palmer, Donald. Does the Center Hold?. 4th. New York: McGrawHill, 2008. "Some Notes on Plato's Theory of Justice." NIU. 22 May 2008 <>. "The Republic." Sparknotes. 29 May 2008 <>. ...
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This note was uploaded on 06/02/2008 for the course PHL 201 taught by Professor Dixon during the Spring '07 term at Cal Poly Pomona.

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