Philosophy of Plato

Topics: Plato, Virtue, Platonism Pages: 4 (1429 words) Published: December 3, 2013
By studying Plato’s views on the soul, virtues, and forms, one can understand his outlooks on the individual and natural purpose, or telos. Plato had a teleological worldview, so he believed everything in nature had an end, or purpose. In his famous Allegory of the Cave, along with the Sun and Line analogies, Plato outlines the spiritual and intellectual journey of a human from ignorance into goodness and knowledge, which symbolizes a human reaching his or her purpose. This essay will evaluate Plato’s teleological view regarding humans by analyzing his Allegory of the Cave with relation to his views of the tripartite soul, virtues, and forms; in addition, I will determine if Plato’s views of virtue and happiness are feasible or not. Plato had an interesting view on the soul and its relation to the body. He believed that the soul had three parts: the appetitive, spirited, and rational. In his famous work the Republic, Plato argued that the soul must be tripartite because “the same thing cannot at the same time with the same part of itself act in contrary ways about the same” (Republic, IV, 1). This argument makes sense, for if the soul was just one part, it would contradict itself when it desires a thing at one time but does not desire it at another time. Plato related the soul to virtue by comparing the tripartite soul to the ideal city-state. He emphasized that, in order for one’s soul to remain good and orderly, its parts must not “interfere with one another [and not] do the work of others” (Republic IV, 5). This is what Plato calls justice, and it relates to an individual in one class not doing the business of another in another class. Accordingly, wisdom is the virtue of the rational part of the soul, relating to teachers, and courage is the virtue of the spirited part, correlating with soldiers. Finally, moderation occurs when the parts of the soul work together cooperatively, making the soul unified and complete, similar to a unified and flourishing...
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