Soul as 3-Part Partition

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In an attempt to illustrate that the soul, much like the city Socrates describes earlier in the book, is partitioned into three parts, Socrates presents his arguments in three logical steps. He firstly establishes the assumption that the same thing cannot undergo opposite things. Then, he demonstrates that the soul must contain at least two parts, namely the appetitive and the rationally calculating. Lastly, he demonstrates that the spirited part must be different from both of those, thereby proving the tri-constituent structure of the soul. First, Socrates tackles the question of whether we do everything with the whole of our soul or distinct parts by stating a fundamental premise upon which all subsequent arguments are built. This…show more content…
For example, learning about a particular thing called medicine will give rise to a specific form of knowledge called medical knowledge. This then leads to Socrates’ idea that those are general and just themselves are related to things that are also just themselves; similarly, those of a particular kind are related to thing that are also a particular kind. This idea turns out to be the key in proving that the soul contains at least 2 parts. Socrates achieves this by acknowledging that a simply thirsty person will desire drink in its pure form and that anything that makes him unwilling to drink must be of a different being to his appetite since the same thing can not do opposite things. Thus, it is reasonable to label one the appetitive element, one that makes the person want to drink, and the other the rationally calculating element, one that impedes the person from drinking. Consequently, it has been shown that the soul has at least two segments. Finally, by using the same premise of opposites, Socrates shows that the spirited element of the soul, in other words the part with which we feel anger, must be different from both the appetitive element and the rationally calculating element. Socrates firstly recognizes that when a person’s appetite entices him to do something contrary to his rationality, he would feel angry and become self-reprehensive. To more concretely prove the distinction between the spirited and the appetitive, Socrates then
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