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Socrates Tripartite Soul View

Socrates Theory of the Psyche

Both Socrates, and his pupil and friend Plato, seem to have broadly accepted the view of the Psyche, (the psychological essence of a person), that prevailed in the Greek world into which they were born; which held that an individual's Psyche was composed of varying proportions of three kinds of endowment:

mental endowments, powers of perception and reason.

emotional, spirited endowments potentially imparting courage.

endowments which predispose towards stronger appetites and desires for food, and for wealth.

The acceptance of such a tri-vergence as to individual Human endowment of personal Psyche, or the existence of a Tripartite Soul in each person, is reflected in the piece of Dialogue which is attributed to Socrates (in conversation with others), and which appears in Book 9 of Plato's most widely celebrated work - The Republic:

  ...As there are three parts, so there appear to me to be three pleasures, one appropriate to each part; and similarly three appetites, and governing principles.

  Explain yourself.

  According to us, one part was the organ whereby a man learns, and another that whereby he shews spirit. The third was so multiform that we were unable to address it by a single appropriate name; so we named it after that which is its most important and strongest characteristic. We called it appetitive, on account of the violence of the appetites of hunger, thirst, and sex, and all their accompaniments; and we called it peculiarly money-loving, because money is the chief agent in the gratification of such appetites.

  Yes, we were right.

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Key Socratic Dialogues from
Book 4 and Book 9 of Plato's Republic

Plato's Ideal State       Plato's Chariot allegory      

Philosophy - Eastern and Western & 'Tripartite' Human Nature

FIVE major World Religions & 'Tripartite' Human Nature