Chris Oliver Essay

1105 words - 5 pages

Plato’s famous theory of “The Concept of the soul” can be found within his book The Republic. Here Plato responds to the Sophists on why one should live morally. At the time Sophists were men who used Philosophy for profit they did this by inventing moral loopholes to get people out of obligations. Or excuse peoples of wrong doings or immoral behavior. They questioned Plato by asking, ”Why should one ought to be moral when morality is apparently a social device for maintaining order”. He responds by saying, Morality is a direct cause of happiness, ones happiness directly responds to ones moral behavior. Therefore an immoral person would be moral if they wish to become happy. The already happy person, According to Plato, is the just person. He describes this with a sort of chart. If “X’ is happy, then “X” is just and if “X” is just, then “X” is happy. Plato goes further into detail by dividing the human soul into three Meros, or parts: Logos (reason), Thumos (spirit/emotion) and Eros (appetite). Reason is given the greatest value, while Emotion and especially Appetite are regarded as the "lower passions". Plato believes that the soul is governed by reason. Therefore ones appetites and ones emotions must fall under control of reason; in other words they follow the dictates of reason. Plato believes that the soul should be the state of society, or in his words dikaios (just). He bases his three-parts-of-the-human-soul thesis on the common experience of internal confusion and conflict that all humans share. He discovered that there are three basic activities going on within a person. First, being awareness of a value or a goal. Second, all persons have a drive toward an action which is neutral at first but responds to the direction of reason. Third, all persons have a desire for one thing of the body, the appetites. Plato made these assumptions because he believed the soul was the principle of life and movement. He believed that the body was inanimate, and, therefore when it acts or moves, the principal of life, a person’s soul, must move it. Plato illustrates this in the Phaedrus(one of Plato’s dialogues). He portrays a charioteer diving two horses. One of these horses, Plato describes, to be ‘good’ and, “ …Needs no touch of the whip, but is guided by word and admonition only.” On contrary the other horse is a ‘bad’ horse, (the mate of insolence and pride…) hardly obeying to whips and spur. The charioteer knows where he must go and the ‘good’ horse is on course, allowing him to do so. The ‘bad’ horse runs away, giving all sorts of trouble to his companion and the charioteer. Plato illustrates both horses going opposite directions, and the charioteer standing hopeless in the middle. The charioteer, being the one in charge, has the duty and right to guide and control the horses. As in the same way the rational part of a persons soul has the ability and right to rule the spirited and appetitive parts. Being that the charioteer cannot get anywhere...

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