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Many ancient Greek philosophers were concerned with the question of how to live well and what state

of the soul promotes well-being. On the path to answer these questions, it was necessary to determine the proper role of emotions in promoting the souls well-being, or, moreover, if emotions are beneficial or detrimental. Even before this, a concept of the composition of the soul was necessary to define emotions and speculate as to their relation to reason and desire. In Platos Republic and Phaedrus, and in Aristotles Rhetoric and The Nicomachean Ethics, both philosophers attempt to answer these questions by proposing two different conceptions of the composition of the soul. Plato conceives of the soul as a tripartite structure of different motivating sources--reason, passion/emotion, and desirewhere reason is the rational part and emotion and desire are irrational parts. Conversely, Aristotle conceives of the soul as a unified rational structure where reason is not distinct from, rather has a share in, emotion and desire. Both philosophers believe that emotions can be beneficial, but only if they come into line with reason by educating them with reason. Since both have different conceptions of the soul, Plato believes one can train their emotions by subjugating them to reason, whereas Aristotle believes that their education comes from rational reflection and habituation. In this essay, I will argue that Aristotles account of the educability of emotions seems more accurate than Platos account in regard to two analogies Plato utilizes in support of his account. First I must elaborate Platos and Aristotles accounts such that I may take issue with Plato in light of Aristotle. In Platos Republic, Socrates presents his concept of the tripartite composition of the soul, dividing it into three distinct parts based on their different motivations. Socrates first distinguishes reason from desire: one of which we can describe as rational, and the other as irrational and desirous (439d). This distinction rests upon Socrates top analogy, from which he concludes that the one thing cannot be at rest and in motion in the same respect, and thus cannot have conflicting motivations unless they come from different sources. Socrates then further distinguishes passion, or emotion, from desire and reason because they can conflict with one another, and therefore must be separate: the part which has thought rationally about what is better and worse rebuking the part whose passion is irrationally becoming aroused (Republic 441c). This quote exhibits Socrates belief that reason is rational and motivated by what is best for the whole soul, whereas emotion and desire are motivated by what appears to be best for them, i.e. satisfaction in the object of emotion or desire. Socrates conception of the soul is best illustrated in his chariot analogy. At Phaedrus 253d-254e, Socrates draws an analogy between reason and a charioteer, emotion and a biddable horse, and desire and an obstinate horse. The analogy consists of a charioteer who is in control of the horses pulling his chariot. At the sight of his beloved, the charioteers obstinate horse races forth to satisfy its immediate desire. The charioteer pulls back on the reigns as hard as possible, reason knowing that this would not be best for the whole. With the help of the biddable horse, the charioteer manages to stop the obstinate horse and beat it into submission. Socrates analogy suggests that the emotions are trainable, rather than educable, if and only if reason holds the reins. At Republic 441e-442a, Socrates claims that it is because reason is wise and looks out for

the whole that it deserves to rule the irrational parts, only after it has exercised fine discussions and studies to stretch and educate [it]. Thus it seems that, for Socrates, wisdom of knowing what is best is a prerequisite for training the emotions such that they enable reason to exert its will over desires. Once one has this wisdom, it seems that the emotions are immediately under reasons control. So when reason tells the soul to stop, the emotions obey making it harder for the desire to move and reason is then able to repress the desire. Consider the example of a thirsty woman presented with a poisonous beverage. She would most likely have the desire to quench her thirst, but her reason motivates her not to drink because it will harm her. If her reason is in control then she will be able to endure the pain of not drinking aided by the strength of emotion. The desire does not go away, but is repressed until it is appropriate by the reasons ideal of what is best for the whole enforced by emotion. While Socrates claims emotion is distinct from reason, Aristotle believes that the whole soul is rational and unified such that reason has a share in emotion and vice versa. At Rhetoric 1378a24-27, Aristotle defines emotion as having three aspects: pain or pleasure, or both, an object towards which the emotion is directed, and a belief or reason for having the emotion as such. For example at Rhetoric 1378a31-1378b29, Aristotle considers the emotion of anger; in order to feel angry, one must be slighted and believe they are slighted and slighted unjustly by the one who slighted them. It is reason that creates the belief of what slighting consists of and when it is unjust, so that when we feel angry it is due to a belief. Thus Aristotle believes that emotions are rational because there are reasons as to why we feel the way we do at who we do. It is precisely because emotions are rational that they can be informed by reason. If emotions were irrational they would require subjugation to control them, since they could not be informed by reason (assuming that the irrational cannot understand reason). With this conception of the relation of reason to emotion, Aristotle believes that by modifying the belief upon which ones emotion is predicated, one is able to educate the emotion. To modify ones belief requires rational reflection upon the three aspects ones emotion, which is exactly how Aristotle is treating the emotions in Rhetoric. Through rational reflection, Aristotle gains a rational understanding of why we feel the way we do under particular circumstances. Once one does and gains the same, then one is able to reason as to whether they are justified in feeling that way. If not, then ones belief as to why they should feel that way is unjustified and in need of education. Ideally, Aristotle believes it should be educated to feel differently under those circumstances, or possibly to feel that way under different circumstances. The process of education by which belief is modified is one of habituation according to Aristotle at The Nicomachean Ethics (*page number not provided in packet). That is, when one determines what their belief ought to be, it does not follow that they immediately believe what they ought to. Rather, Aristotle believes it is by following the example of experts who believe what one thinks they ought to, that one habituates oneself to feel how they ought to, at whom they ought to, and why they ought to. For instance, reconsider the example of the thirsty woman. Her initial belief is that all drink satisfies thirst, which predicates a pleasant emotion whenever she finds drink

and is thirsty. This emotion informs her judgment to drink it, until she discovers that it is poison. She then reflects upon whether or not it is good to have a pleasant emotion towards something that can harm her, and decides she ought to fear drink when it could harm her. Therefore she must modify her belief that all drink satisfies thirst, and are good, into drink which does not harm me satisfies thirst and vice versa. This modification can only come about if she habituates herself to what drinks experts consider harmful and copying their emotional response to those drinks.