Among ancient philosophers, Plato’s musings on the question of the human soul are dominant as he developed theories and dialogs that were concerned with the life of the soul. As a dualist, Plato held that human reality or existence can be divided into two parts, which are the body and the soul. To Plato, the soul is a real substance, one that is distinct and not subject to natural laws since it is separated from the body. This view, which is supported by other philosophers like Socrates and St. Augustine, revealed that the soul is special as a factor that separates humanity from other creatures. Essentially, the soul is the “home” of human consciousness; playing a significant role as major drivers of our will, emotion, and intellect. In The Republic, Plato presents the idea of the tripartite soul as he divided the soul into 3 major parts that include the logical, the spirited, and the appetitive part.
The first part of the soul is logistikon or the logical part, located in the head region, where our rational thinking, thought, and of course logic thrive. As an Athenian, this part was important to Plato who felt that his society showed a love for thinking and logic, stemming from the examples of many thinkers who questioned ordinary practices and values. Logistikon’s purposes in humanity is to discern reality, and help us to make the difference between right and wrong since at the root, we are all attracted to doing “good.” Individuals with a dominant logical part can distinguish between reality and fantasy, with an enhanced ability to make just decisions. The understanding of various aspects of justice is a major outcome of the logic part of the soul, something Plato felt was strongly present in kings and rulers. For a ruler, the deep access to the logical part of the soul helps them make reasonable and just decisions that maximize good for their people.
The second part, thymoeides, or the spirited, which is the fieriest compared to the other parts. Located near the chest region, the spirit part is where the ability to feel strong emotions comes from, and people with high spirits tend to get angered or tempered quickly. However, while high spirits can often go contrary to the logical part, when both are aligned, the individual can resist the desires of appetite. Such an individual, therefore, will not fall to anger or temper but instead will get ignited with a special courage to do and be good. A partnership with logic gives the individual favor to tackle justice and find righteousness. However, in the unjust soul, the effect is equally severe since the spirited easily dismisses the logistikon to embrace the appetitive part of the soul. Such an individual easily falls for the pleasures of the body but satisfying them becomes a tough goal to pursue.
The third part of the soul is epithymetikon or the appetitive part. Located near the stomach, eros is most dominant in eccentic people who cannot rests human appetites such as power, food, and sex. This part of the soul plays a huge role in the enjoyment of erotic love, satisfaction of hunger and other desires that sometimes go against the logistikon. For individuals with a high affinity towards the appetitive part, ignoring the impacts of the logistikon, meaning that actions can be most alogical. The primary goal of epithymetikon is the seeking and production of pleasure and the acquisition of money as a means of achieving various pleasures. If epithymetikon goes contrary to the goals of logistikon or thymoeides, there can be disharmony or imbalance in the individual. In an ideal human being, the 3 regions are balanced since these different regions work together.
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