Plato's argument of the divisibility of the soul from his dioloque, "The Republic".

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Plato's Divisibility of the Soul

A soul is not a simple entity. The soul has structure and divides into three parts. Plato is the first to give the soul this complexity and does so in his dialoque, Republic. According to Plato, the soul possesses reason, spirit, and appetite. Plato proves that the soul has three parts so that the virtues he's applied to the city will apply to individuals. In this essay, I will first explain the three parts of the soul, next I will explain the virtues Plato assigns to the city, lastly I will explain why Plato needed to prove the divisibility of the soul in order to make his city reflect the individual.

The soul has three parts; these parts are reason, spirit, and appetite. Plato discovers a structural component to the soul by realizing that an individual can have multiple feelings towards a single situation.

Because of the principle of non-contradiction, which states that a thing can not both be and not be in the same respect at the same time, Plato argues that these multiple feelings ascend from a soul that has structure (437 a).

Plato proves the structure of a soul as follows: It is possible to both desire and not desire something simultaneously; but, desire and not desiring are opposite (437 b). To wanting something is different from knowing what we need; therefore, an appetite is not the same thing as reason, yet our appetite (desire) can contradict our reason in respect to one thing (it is possible to both want something and know that we should not have it) (439 b). Emotions (spirited part) can conflict with appetite and are not the same thing. Plato gives an example of seeing dead corpses: one may want to look at the dead...