Notes on The Republic, by Plato, 434d-441c Human Soul

Human Soul

Thesis: The soul has wise, courageous and moderate forms in it because the very same forms and dispositions as are in the city are in each of us. The soul consists of calculation, desire (irrational) and spirit. And these three different things of soul act in each of the different ways.

Structure of human soul

I. The very same forms and dispositions as are in the city are in each of us.

The spiritedness came into the cities from those private men who are just the one’s imputed with having this character.

II. The three parts of the human soul act in each of the different ways. People learn with calculation, become spirited with another, and desire with a third.

1. Something that is the same, at the same time, with respect to the same part and in relation to the same thing, could ever suffer, be, or do opposites.

a. It is impossible that the same thing at the same time and with respect to the same part stand still and move.

Eg: People stand still and move his hands. One part of him stands still and another moves.

Tops as wholes stand still and move at the same time when the peg is fixed. The straight stands still while the circumference move.

b. Opposite things include acceptance to refusal, longing to take something to rejecting it, embracing to thrusting away and desires–willing and wanting (being thirsty and hungry)—the soul desires or embraces that which it wants to become its own to not-wanting, not-willing and not-desiring—soul’s thrusting away from itself and driving out of itself.

2. Each particular desire itself is only for that particular thing itself of which it naturally is.

3. All things are to be related to something. Those that are only themselves are related to things that are only themselves. Those that are related to things of a particular kind are of a particular kind.

4. Calculation and desire are two different forms of one’s soul (The desire of a thirsty person is to drink. However, there are some men who are thirsty but not willing to drink. Here, calculation forbids desire. There are two different parts in the soul: the calculating and the irrational/desiring)

5. Spirit is the third thing in the soul.

a. Spirit is different from desire. Anger sometimes makes war against the desires as one thing against something else.

b. Spirit is different from calculation. Spirit could be judged by calculation.

Conclusion: This part presents the three components of human soul. The same classes that are in the city are in the soul of each one severally and that their number is equal. They are calculation, spirit and desire. And they act in each of the different ways in human soul.

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