Glaucon Analysis

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In Book four of Plato’s Republic, Socrates makes the argument to Glaucon that there are three key elements which act as motivation for the soul. Socrates asks Glaucon, “Do we learn with one part, get angry with another and with some third part desire the pleasures of food, drink, sex, and the others that are closely akin to them? Or when we set out after something do with act with the whole of our soul, in each case?” (436a). Without any discussion Glaucon not only agrees that there are three parts of the soul, but that those are the three parts. Socrates and Glaucon then decide that they should investigate whether or not these aspects of the soul are actually the same or three distinct categories, but in order to do this they first must define…show more content…
The appetite portion of spirit is easily shown by someone who is “seeing red” they are not thinking, only acting on their anger. This short term acting in the moment only is very close to the appetite as described by Socrates. However, the entirety of spirit cannot be lumped into this category. Socrates brings up the story of Leontius who noticed a pile of corpses, “He had an appetite to look at them but at the same time he was disgusted and turned away” (439e). This demonstrates that the spirit does not always agree with the appetite. Leontius has an appetite to look at the corpses, but feels that it is wrong, and as spirit is the pursuit of justice he does not want to look as it was wrong. Socrates only shows the spirit at times is not the appetite, and at other times is not rationality, however this still leaves the possibility that spirit can be divided into two groups, spirit as a part of appetite, and spirit as a part of rationality, which would show the soul is only two groups. However, upon further examination an example can be made to show that spirit is indeed distinct from both. If someone was hungry and stole a loaf of bread and ate it, the next thing done based purely on appetite would be to steal and eat another he was still hungry, or go on to his next want if he was not. The rational thing to do would be to not steal any more as he may be caught and punished. In contrast, the spirt aspect of the soul would not want to steal any more as it will guilty and not want to preform unjust acts. While this shows that the three parts of the soul as described by Socrates are distinct, however it still doesn’t prove that there are only three aspects to the
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