Plato argues that the soul comprises of three parts namely rational, appetitive, and the spirited. These parts also match up the three ranks of a just community. Personal justice involves maintaining the three parts in the proper balance, where reason rules while appetite obeys. According to Plato, the appetitive part of the soul is the one that is accountable for the desires in people. It is accountable for the effortless cravings required to stay alive like hunger, thirst, and for pointless cravings like desire to over feed. The desires for essential things should be limited by other sections of the soul, while illegitimate desires ought to be limited entirely by other elements of soul.

The rational soul on the other hand is the thinking element in every human being, which decided what is factual and merely obvious, judges what is factual and what is untrue, and intelligently makes sensible decisions. Finally, the spirited soul produces the desires that love victory and honor. In the just soul, the spirit acts as an implementer of the rational soul, making sure that the rules of reason are adhered to. Emotions like indignation and anger are the impact of the disappointment of the spirit. Someone might respond to the claim that the soul comprises of three parts.


Plato argued that a community has three parts which are guardians, producers, and soldiers and each part performs a particular function. For a community to be just, every element has to perform the role to the best capacity, which is a good worth. The same characters and elements will materialize in the state; have to exist in every person. Someone might respond to Plato’s argument that if the good worth of a community were not in a person, it would be hard for the community to uphold itself. The understanding is that a community is just a collection of people who have formed a sense of laws on living collectively; thereby, every individual would introduce some elements, values and functions into the community. Since every person contributes to the community, those aspects that are present in the community, ought to have come from the person, thereby, souls have three different elements.

Moreover, Plato argued that there has to be at least two parts in the soul; one that stops an individual from undertaking action and another, which brings about the need for the action. The two elements cannot act in two differing ways, there has to be more than one force in the soul. Someone might respond to the claim saying that an action cannot be moving and resting at the same time except another force has been involved. Additionally, there is an element of logic which says that a thing cannot be itself, and also be its reverse.


There is a possibility that Plato has confused the difference between wanting to do something and not wanting to do it, which are reverses, with the difference between wanting to do something and wanting not to do it which is not apparently reverse at all. It is a natural state of human life that an individual desires both to undertake something, and not undertake it. For example, someone who is very hungry and so wants to consume the only food that is accessible, which is a cabbage; however, she hates cabbage. This means that this person wants to eat cabbage and does not want it at the same time. If this leads one to the conclusion that there are distinct elements of the soul, then one would be talking or thinking about a big number of such diverse parts.

Possible responses & final rebuttals

People show similar characteristics and perform similar roles that states do. Applying the equivalence in this way assumes that every person just like the state, is a complicated whole composed of various different elements, each of which has its own right responsibility. When faced with options concerning what to do, individuals feel the tug of various impulses drawing them in various directions at the same time, and the most innate explanation for this condition is to differentiate between discrete elements of human beings. For a community to be just; people have to be just and thus, the soul has to contain three discrete elements, which would match the three elements of community.


Plato argued that the spirit was the last part and important in bringing about balance between appetite and rational. The three parts of the soul reflects the three parts of the society. Therefore, there has to be three parts in the soul since man has fervent appetites, even if he does not follow through on the desires all the time. Spirit is the concierge that helps man in ensuring the two forces are in check, while offering the human beings vitality and life. Devoid of the three parts, the souls would fail to be just, and the community would fail to neither be unjust nor function.


Dorter, Kenneth. The transformation of Plato’s Republic. London: Lexington Books, 2006.