The Thumotic Soul

In book IV of the Republic, Socrates offers an analysis of the tripartite structure of the soul as a perfect match-up to the class structure of the city. But the deeds that produce those speeches reveal the fixed relation among three independent parts to be the result of a dynamic process of self-division. This self-division is the work, more specifically, of thumos or spiritedness, which first cuts reason from desire, then separates itself from each in turn. By following this “plot,” one uncovers the roots of the devotion to justice that animates the construction of the best city in speech. The psychology of Republic IV proves to be a striking model in miniature of what Seth Benardete called “the argument of the action.”
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