The soul of a human is one of the body’s most indescribable parts. Philosophers have debated its merits and abilities for thousands of years and yet there is still confusion of what it truly means. Questions have arisen of its existence if it is one with the body and many more throughout time. The theory I will be debating is Plato’s theory of the Tripartite Soul as described in “The Republic.” I agree with the merits of Plato’s argument in this theory as I think it truly shows the most truth in the unknown that is the soul. Within this theory, Plato argues the idea of ‘rational rule.’ This, in my opinion, is vital to the tripartite soul theory and with that, I agree with it strongly.
Plato starts his argument by stating his principle of opposites. “It is obvious that the same thing will not be willing to do or undergo opposites in the same part of itself, concerning the same thing, at the same time. So, if we ever find this happening in the soul, we’ll know that we aren’t dealing with one thing but many.” (Republic IV 436b 7- 436 c1). This idea alone I believe holds enough merit to prove the argument. Humans go through back and forth ideas where they want to do something, although knowing it is wrong almost every day of their lives. If the soul was one part, this would be impossible. This is why the soul must be in multiple parts. The first two parts Plato mentions are Appetite and Reason. Simply putting it, the appetite part of the soul is what provides the human’s hunger, love, thirst, and avarice. These are more so wants rather than needs. The second part is the reason. The reason, or the rational part as described by Plato, is what deliberates the smartest path of action. The third part of the soul comes in when you realize that just having these two is combative. Plato claimed that there must be at least two sections in the soul; one that prevents a person from taking action, and the other that contributes to a need for action. There must be more than one influence in the soul. This is because those two components would not function in two diverse ways. Someone could object to the argument that an activity can not be concurrently flowing and resting except for when another force has also been involved. Furthermore, there is a part of logic that says a thing can’t by itself, and also be its counter. The third part of the soul is the spirited part. This part is associated with pride, anger, courage, and honor. “It isn’t difficult to show that it is different. Even in small children, one can see that they are full of spirit right from birth, while as far as rational calculation is concerned, some never seem to get a share of it, while the majority do so quite late.” (Republic IV 441a 7-9).
Plato uses the idea of a community as an analogy to describe his theories merits. Plato claimed that there are three components of a society that are rulers, soldiers, and the governed. Each of these components serves a specific function. Every element has to play the role of the best capacity, which is a good value, for a community to be just. In the world, the same characters and components that must materialize; will also occur in each individual. Someone might respond to Plato’s claim that if a community’s good value were not in an individual, the community might find it difficult to maintain itself. The idea is that society is merely a collection of people who have developed a concept of common living laws; therefore, every person would implement those characteristics, beliefs, and functions into the community. Because each person relates to society, the things found in the society should have originated from the individual. This is why Plato believes the soul has three different elements.
Plato argues that reason should rule over the other two parts of the soul. “Therefore, isn’t it appropriate for the rational part to rule, since it is wise and exercises foresight on behalf of the whole soul, and for the spirited part to obey it and be its ally?” (Republic IV 441e 3-7). This idea of the rational rule makes the most sense. The spirit and appetite lookout for a human’s wants, while rational rule looks out for its needs. Although it is okay to listen to your appetitive part, the rational side should be the part that is making the final decisions on if it is worth the risk. The theory has its counterarguments of course. One of which is the idea that the soul has many parts, not just three. Commonly, times will occur in human life that a person wishes to pursue, and not undertake something at the same time. For instance, someone who is hungry and wants to eat. The only available food though is broccoli, and she hates broccoli. That means this individual wants to eat broccoli, but at the same rate does not want it. If this brings one to the assumption that there are multiple different aspects of the soul, then many such different aspects would be spoken about or speculated. Of course, this idea is very plausible, but the idea that the soul is broken down into three branches holds more merit.
The Tripartite Soul Theory is very plausible and persuasive. Although the soul is a very confusing area in humans, this theory does a great job of making it seem simpler. With its comparison to a city and its power structure, it creates a simple image in the reader’s mind. The conclusion of Plato’s argument follows each premise and is built up in such a way that it makes the conclusion extremely strong.
Plato claimed that the spirit was the last, and yet most critical, aspect of managing appetite and reason. The soul’s three components represent the three faces of society. So, because man has appetites, there must be three sections in the soul even if he doesn’t necessarily carry through on the wants. Spirit is the helper who allows man to balance the two sides while giving strength and happiness to human beings. Also, Spirit is the soldier to the rational part, which dictates the right path to take. The souls would not be just without the three pieces, and the society would not be fair or functional.