In his theory, Plato perceived a soul to be an important aspect of human life. In particular he indicated that it determines human behavior and vital decision making. According to him, a soul occupies the human body until eternity. Thus in case a body dies the soul assumes the body of another being. In other words, he ascertained that unlike the body, the soul does not die; rather it is reborn in other bodies. He indicated that the soul is made up of three distinct parts that include the logos that is represented by mind or reason, the thymos that constitutes masculine, spiritedness or emotion and eros that represents desire and is feminine and appetitive. The three functions share an intricate and augmenting relationship in that, in order for the soul to be peaceful, each one of them needs to be in balance.
Essentially, the logos play a critical role of providing direction and guidance to the spirit. It optimizes the balance between the three aspects and enhances the use of logic. The thymos on the other hand is comprised of emotion and feelings upon which human bravery and glory is anchored. However, it needs to be continually checked by the logos to ensure that it avoids incidences of fatal flaws. Finally the eros is represented by an internal drive, also referred to as the appetite. Essentially, this enables an individual to search for and attain basic bodily needs that are fundamental for survival. Just like the thymos, it needs to be frequently kept in check as imbalances can make it control the entire actions of the body and lead to various problems. In particular, this can culminate in hedoism that is considered undesirable (Pojman, 2006). Fundamentally, a peaceful soul according to Plato needs to be ordered and guided by reason, as opposed to emotion and appetite.
Plato’s conception of the soul can be illustrated through governance. In this regard, it is indicated that leaders who are guided by reason lead happy lives due to the fact that the uphold morality and justice. However, those that are ordered by emotion and appetite tend to be corrupt and their mode of governance is usually compounded by various flaws. Usually, emotions such as fear make them to amass wealth ad enforce policies that are geared towards protecting them rather than their subjects.
I agree with the fact that the soul is made up of three parts that share a mutual relationship. However, I do not agree to the fact that failure to control emotion can have far reaching implications. It is because some emotions are geared towards furthering the good as opposed to evil. Therefore, morality in this regard needs to be defined by the purpose of the emotions and appetite.
Aristotle considered the soul to be at the core of human existence. He contended that without a soul humans can not exist and engage in daily activities. He indicated that the soul does not exist separately from the body. In this regard, he considered the soul to be the living aspect of an individual. In his perception, ‘activity’ defines the life of the soul. He illustrates this by indicating that a soul can be considered an eye due to the fact that it performs the activity of seeing. He likens this example to the functions of a knife. In this, he argues that a knife can not exist independent of cutting. Without the activity of cutting, the knife would basically be worthless. In this regard therefore, cutting can be considered to be the soul of a knife.
Further, Aristotle believes that since the soul plays a fundamental role of actualizing the body, it is also mortal. In this regard, he argues that regardless of the fact that the soul does perform other functions like nutrition and sensation, the capacity for life is the primary role. It is because without performing this, the other secondary activities would not be fulfilled. He points out that since it is the first actuality of the body, its removal brings life to a halt. Using the example of the knife, he ascertains that when the knife is destroyed, the activity of cutting can not be undertaken anymore.
Aristotle perceives the body to be an aid to the soul, just like the handle is to the knife. Without the soul, he argues that the body is unlikely to perform various activities.
The characteristics of the soul as presented by Aristotle can be exemplified through movement of humans and objects. At this juncture, it is worth acknowledging that he perceives the body and the soul of objects to be different independent entities but whose functions are intricate. In his regard, it can be argued that irrespective of the fact that the body is an autonomous entity, its functioning is entirely dependent on the soul. Thus a person can not perform any activity and is usually motionless without the soul. A classic example in this regard is exhibited by a dead body that is posited to be devoid of a soul. Likewise, the soul can not be beneficial without a body. This is due to the fact that it does not have the capacity to carry out physical activities.
Notably, the concept of mortality of the soul has been a bone of contention since time immemorial and has raised various controversies. Nevertheless, I agree with this philosophy for various reasons. To being with, it can not be disputed that the soul is actually a representation of life. In addition, it is clear that the soul becomes worthless when the body dies because of its inability to perform any action. Since activities largely define life, it can be argued that failure to perform the same implies that the soul is mortal.
Freud’s theory of personality contends that human behavior is a complex phenomenon that is made up of three mutually reinforcing elements that include the id, ego and super ego. The id according to him is the most fundamental element because of the fact that it provides an individual with psychic energy. Furthermore, it is usually the only component that is present from the time an individual is born and it is solely unconscious. It is driven by the principle of pleasure that requires for instant gratification of all the wants, desires and needs. Failure to satisfy them accordingly culminates in a state of tension or anxiety. This attribute is well exemplified in instances where an infant feels hungry or thirsty. Usually, this prompts the need or desire for food and water respectively. Failure to provide these in a timely manner makes the infant cry until it is fed. Notably, the cries tend to make the care taker uncomfortable. However, Freud acknowledges that immediate satisfaction of the needs is not usually possible. The principle of pleasure in this regard enables an individual to attain satisfaction by forming the mental image of the given desire.
The ego on other hand is responsible for actualizing the impulses of the id. In particular, it makes sure that the respective id impulses can be effectively expressed in a way that is acceptable in the actual world. Its operations are based on the principle of reality and it functions in the unconscious, conscious and preconscious states of the mind. Essentially, the principle of reality seeks to provide satisfaction to the needs and desires of the id through realistic as well as socially acceptable ways. In particular, it performs a cost benefit analysis of the impulses before deciding whether to pursue the elative desire or not. In some cases, the impulses of the id are satisfied through delayed gratification. In this the impulses are satisfied only when the right time comes and at an appropriate place. Further, the ego addresses the unmet tension through the secondary process that allows it to search for and find a viable object in the actual world that is similar to the mental image that is created by the id during the primary process (Pojman, 2006).
Then, the super ego is associated with morality and is basically responsible for holding the fundamental internalized moral ideals that are acquired from the society and the parents. It is made up of two parts that include the ego ideal and the conscience. The former has the rules and basic standards that define good behavior. These are usually approved by authority figures like parents and obeying them contributes to feelings of value, pride and accomplishment. The latter entails information regarding the aspects that are considered by the authorities as being bad.
They are usually forbidden and discouraged and engaging in them leads to severe consequences, feelings of remorse and punishment. Thus the role of the super ego is to perfect the behavior of an individual and make the same civilized. In particular, it seeks to suppress the undesirable urges that are generated by the id and ensures that ego bases its actions on idealistic standards and not realistic principles. Just like the ego, it is found in the conscious, unconscious and preconscious states of the mind. I agree with Freud ideas because the presented model is real and in fact has been successfully employed in treating various mental disorders related to personality.
Pojman, P. (2006). Who Are We? Theories of Human Nature. Oxford: University Press.
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