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Plato's philosophy of human nature

1. natural human goal: eudaimonia
2. three parts/capacities of the soul


"having a good guardian spirit"; happiness, flourishing, the "good life"

three parts/capacities of the soul

1. appetite
2. thumos
3. reason/intellect


desire for things we need to survive or thrive physically, things which are usually pleasant -- food, water, warmth, sex, etc.


energy, drive, ambition, aggression, get-up-and-go


ability to analyze facts, evidence, and arguments in a detached and unbiased way

three classes in the Republic

1. working class
2. military
3. rulers

analogy between classes of the Republic and parts of the soul

1. working class -- appetites
2. military -- thumos
3. rulers -- reason/intellect

cardinal virtues

1. temperance (moderation)
2. courage (strength)
3. wisdom (prudence)
4. justice


an attitude of moderation toward pleasure, especially physical pleasures of food, drink, and sex


an attitude of strength in the face of danger or in situations that cause fear or confidence


the ability to recognize the best possible goal or result in a given situation and to figure out what actions to take to get to that goal


fairness; giving people what they deserve; treating people equally

cardinal virtues in the Republic

1. working class -- temperance
2. military -- courage
3. rulers -- wisdom
4. the whole city/state -- justice

cardinal virtues in the soul

1. appetites -- temperance
2. thumos -- courage
3. reason/intellect -- wisdom
4. the whole soul -- justice

questions Plato leaves us with

1. will having the soul in harmony really make us just?
2. will being virtuous really make us happy?

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