The Republic is an examination of the "Good Life"; the harmony reached by applying pure reason and justice. The ideas and arguments of Plato center on the social settings of an ideal republic - those that lead each person to the most perfect possible life for him. Socrates was Plato's early mentor in real life. As a tribute to his teacher, Plato uses Socrates in several of his works and dialogues. Socrates moderates the discussion throughout, as Plato's mouthpiece. Through Socrates' powerful and brilliant questions and explanations on a series of topics, the reader comes to understand what Plato's model society would look like. The basic plan of the Republic is to draw an analogy between the operation of society as a whole and the life of any individual human being. In this paper I will present Plato’s argument that the soul is divides into three parts. I will examine what these parts are, and I will also explain his arguments behind this conclusion. Finally, I will describe how Plato relates the three parts of the soul to a city the different social classes within that city.
Plato supposed that people exhibit the same features, and perform the same functions that city-states do. Applying the analogy in this way presumes that each of us, like the state, is a complex whole made up of several distinct parts, each of which has its own proper role. But Plato argued that there is evidence of this in our everyday experience. When faced with choices about what to do, we commonly feel the tug of many different impulses drawing us in different directions all at once, and the most natural explanation for this situation is to distinguish between distinct elements of our selves.
In addition to the physical body, which Plato compares to the land, buildings, and other material resources of a city, Plato held that every human beings soul includes three parts. Plato said that One part of us thinks, another part of our soul does things, and another part of our soul desires things. He states that we cannot do all these with just one part of our soul, or as a whole soul. For example, If a man is standing in one place, moving his arms, and moving his head at the same time, then we would not say he is standing still and moving at the same time. However, we would say that his head is moving, while his arms are moving, and while his head is moving. This helps Plato present the idea that there may be one part of the soul functioning while another does. Plato presents the story of Leontius, the son of Aglian. One day Leontius walked by an execution, and saw a pile of dead bodies on the ground. When he saw them, part of him wanted to look at them, and part of him wanted to turn his head in disgust. Eventually, his inner appetite to look took over, and he looked at the bodies. He became very angry and yelled at the executioner. Plato explains that the anger sometimes makes war against the appetites. Sometimes, when these “inner wars” take place, we do not act rationally. The result was Leontius yelling at the executioner. Thus, the yelling was a result of his thinking about the dead bodies, having an appetite to look at them, and finally breaking down, looking at them and reacting in the way he did.(pg. 120) Thus, Plato argues that the human soul is divided into three parts, reason, desire, and emotion.
Here is Plato’s exact argument: Acceptance and pursuit of one thing are opposite to rejection and avoidance of that same thing (ln 437b). Appetite (e.g. hunger or thirst), willing, and wishing for a thing are acceptance and pursuit of that thing (ln 437b-c). Refusal, unwillingness, and non-appetite are rejection and avoidance of that thing (ln 437c). For example, sometimes we both have an appetite to drink and refuse to drink (439c). Therefore, since these states are opposites, they cannot belong to the same part of the soul, they must belong to different aspects of the soul (ln 439d). A person "must harmonize the three parts of himself…