Plato on the Parts of the Soul

To establish a tripartite division of the parts of the soul, Socrates in Plato’s Republic introduces a Principle of Opposites. The principle entails that only distinct parts of a soul can be simultaneously engaged in opposed actions directed toward the same intended object. Appealing to the principle, Socrates proposes to distinguish between rational, spirited, and appetitive parts of the soul. He describes two situations of opposed actions in a soul that both desires to drink but chooses not to drink, and desires to indulge in morbid voyeurism but is angry about doing so. Without a sound basis for dividing the parts of the soul in precisely this way, Socrates cannot adequately defend the dialogue’s main conclusion that justice in both city and soul is the proper harmonious hierarchical order of their respective parts. I argue that Socrates’ efforts to prove the division of the soul into three parts are inconclusive because it is possible to interpret his illustrations as involving unopposed psychological acts directed toward different rather than identical intended objects
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5840/epoche20038112
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,305
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Karel Thein (2012). A Much Disputed “Whole” at Phaedrus 270. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 12 (2):139-152.
Ronna Burger (2003). The Thumotic Soul. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 7 (2):151-167.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

59 ( #81,255 of 1,932,583 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #225,622 of 1,932,583 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.