Plato's Argument For The Tripartite Psyche

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In this essay, I will try to identify and explain a few problems with Plato’s argument for the Tripartite Psyche. Particularly I will critique his use of logic and reason rather than attack his argument from a modern day scientific perspective. In Plato’s Republic, it is asserted that the human psyche is divided into three notable parts: reason, will and appetite. It is argued, that depending on the person, one of these components dominate the others to a varying degree. The three parts of the psyche are likened to three types of people in Plato’s ‘Ideal City-State’. Reason dominates the ‘Guardians’, these are the leaders, the planners and the ‘heads’ of the society. Will dominates the ‘Auxiliaries’, these are the warriors and the police. Lastly,…show more content…
Though he believes that the mind is not a physical entity like the body, he reasons that because the mind is connected to the body, physical actions conducted by the body are attributable to the mind (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/dualism/#MinBodHisDua). It seems Plato is indicating that whatever is true for the physical world, must also be true for the mind and therefore, by his logic, jumps the ‘gap’ between physical and mental [437b]. This approach is again reminiscent of the ‘affirming the consequent’ fallacy and gives no real proof as to why the ‘gap’ could have logically been…show more content…
He reasons that a just psyche would contain all the qualities of a just city-state and that there would be order of the highest degree between the three aspects (will, reason and appetite). The notion of comparing a city to a mind shouldn’t be taken seriously. The workings of a mind and the workings of a city are worlds apart. Plato’s logic also cripplingly relies on the ‘affirm the consequent’ fallacy, far more evidence and reason is needed to ‘jump the gap’ between either the physical and mental realms, or the realm of the ‘just city’ to the realm of the ‘just mind’. Lastly, Plato’s argument is reliant on the principle of non-contradiction. It has been briefly shown that it doesn’t always hold true in society and in the
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