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Is Plato's Republic, Section 439a-441d, guilty of any fallacies?

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lifeinlove | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted November 3, 2011 at 12:42 PM via web

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Is Plato's Republic, Section 439a-441d, guilty of any fallacies?

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 31, 2012 at 9:40 AM (Answer #1)

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Section 440-441: One could argue that in 440 and 441 the comparison of the human soul to a city with three parts or classes is a faulty analogy. The makeup of a city is tangible and observable, but one cannot truly observe the human soul. Similarly, a society or city is made up of many souls; so it would be difficult to logically argue that every individual soul in society is the same. Perhaps cities or societies have "three classes" because of the differences among the individual "souls."

Later in the section, Plato writes of a man who is part of the "model of justice,"

"He doesn't let each part in him mind other people's
business or the three classes in the soul meddle with each other, but really sets his own house in good order and rules himself; he arranges himself, becomes his own friend, and harmonizes the three parts . . ."

The belief that one can have such control over himself and separate parts of his soul is an example of begging the question and dogmatism. In trying to prove that man's soul has three classes, Plato makes the assumption that humans innately recognize those three classes and are able to keep them isolated from one another. However, he provides no evidence to demonstrate that those three classes exist in all humans or that the soul is limited just to three sections.

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