Phaedo

Phaedo

PHAEDO 6

Plato,in ,attempts to discuss the theory of forms. In doing this, he presentsthe audience with a paradox of whether the soul is immortal ormortal. Plato provides the relationship amid the body and soul. Theaim of this paper will be to argue on the mortality and immortalityof the soul and the human nature brought in by the distinction of thetrue virtue and popular virtue. Besides, the relationship amid thebody and soul will be argued based on the Plato’s presentation onthe mortality and immortality of the two. Also, the view of humannature suggested by Plato’s use of myth, Socrates on the last daywriting poetry, dialogue style, myth of afterlife, and emotionalpersuasion alongside with the rational. I will argue that althoughPlato presented the argument that the soul is immortal, there isstill doubt of whether it exists in this form.

Inthe ,the issue of immortality of the soul has been immensely presented.According to Plato, there are four arguments that support the ideathat the soul is immortal. First, Plato argues the immortality of thesoul through presenting the idea that everything exists out of itsopposite for instance, he argues that one becomes tall because atone time he was short. Thus, following this suit, he indicates thatthere is a cycle that exists amid life and death (71c-d). In his second argument on the immortality of the soul, Platoargues from the theory of recollection point of view. According tothe theory, all learning occurs through recalling what is knowninitially. Plato also supports his idea through the affinityargument, where he classifies the soul in the group of immortalthings. In his fourth supportive point, Plato argues that the soul isimmortal because it possesses the quality of immortality through itsparticipation in this form.

Althoughthere are these four arguments presented in the defense of theimmortality of the soul, there is still reason to argue that the soulis mortal. From ,this argument has been claimed by Cebes and Simmias. Cebes arguesthat ones the soul leaves the body it does not exist anymore the daya man dies, the soul becomes destroyed and dissolved (70a).Simmias holds the same claim by arguing that the view of the majorityis that the soul constitutes a material thing and becomes destroyedas smoke or breath (70a).

Inthe ,there is a clear distinction between the true virtue and popularvirtue. Plato illustrates the importance of knowledge in true virtue,and clearly links his epistemological and ethical perceptions. Fromthe ,thepopular virtues of moderation and courage are linked with neitherwisdom nor knowledge. In ,Socrates describes the feature that characterizes true virtue wherehe indicates that there is real courage and moderation, as well asjustice in true virtue having wisdom however, without wisdom, truevirtue is only illusory appearance. Thus, the difference between thetrue virtue and popular virtue is based on the realm of truth truevirtue emphasizes on the realm of knowable truth while the popularvirtue is where knowledge is impossible. This can be learnt throughSocrates during his embodied (final) day. In his case, Socrates isnot really interested in seeking an understanding of the immortalityof the soul as it emerges when having philosophical discussion withhis friends. The moment his friends asks him why he accepts death soeasily, he defends himself and argues that the separation of the soulfrom the body, which is death, brings an opportunity for thephilosopher to gain pure wisdom (63e-69e). In this case, the human nature of Socrates can be seen,where he does not want to indicate that the soul is immortal, butindicates that as a philosopher, in seeking wisdom, it is critical toface death in understanding whether the soul is immortal. Here, humannature is indicated to possess both the true and popular virtue inone case, humans require to gain wisdom but in the other, knowledgeis not required.

Inthe ,Plato presents an argument that there is a relationship amid the bodyand the soul. In presenting the argument, it is apparent that the twopossesses different characteristics. In his argument from theopposites, where he claims everything is that everything hails fromits opposites, he portrays the body and the soul to have oppositeforms in their existence since when the body dies the soul does notdie. When it comes to the theory of recollection, Plato also depictsthat there exists a relationship amid the soul and the body since heclaims that the soul is in existence before birth. Alternatively, inthe affinity argument, Socrates is fast to draw that there is arelationship between the body and the soul because he points out thatthe two follow under two categories the soul falls under those itemsthat are immaterial, invisible, and immortal while the body fallsunder those items that are material, visible, and perishable. This isan indication that the body and the soul have an oppositerelationship to one another. From Plato’s argument on therelationship between the body and the soul, it is apparent that thetwo can either hold the notion of immortality or mortality. Theargument that Plato makes is that since the body is material and thebody immaterial, then the body is mortal while the soul is immortal.However, this argument cannot be held universally since it is noteasy to justify how the soul can continue being mortal once the bodydies and it is inside the body. Still, it is not clear how the soulcomes out of the body.

Theuse of different literary devices in helps in bringing out the perspective of the human nature. The use ofthe dialogue style rather than treatise is critical in helping tobring out the differences as well as similarities in human views. Forexample, through involving Cebes and Simmias in the dialogue, it hasbeen feasible to identify the views on which the characters havesimilar opinion and the ones that they have differing opinions. Theuse of treatise could have brought just the opinion of one characterwithout engaging others. By using Socrates on the last day writingpoetry, in the ,has depicted the human nature of philosophers. Being a philosopher,Socrates indicates his views on why his death came early. In hishuman nature, he does not want to indicate the immortality of thesoul, but he indicates that gaining wisdom in his death regarding theimmortality of the soul is important to philosophy (63e-69e). Alternatively, the myth concerning the afterlife in thetalks of the earth’s shape and its regions (108c-113c).It also talks of the reward of the philosophers that are pious aswell as the punishment of the wicked (113d-114c). The myth is critical in reinforcing the recommendation ofthe dialogue to the practice of philosophy that is, it emphasizesthe belief in the immortality of soul.

Conclusion

AlthoughPlato presented the argument that the soul is immortal, there isstill doubt of whether it exists in this form. In the four argumentspresented in the ,Plato is not seen to place much and equal weight on the four claims.As an example, the affinity argument does not in any way prove theimmortality of the soul, but only shows likelihood. Besides, therecollection theory only show that the soul existed prior to birth,but it does not prove how the soul will exist after death. On theother hand, the argument of opposites does not in any way support howthe immortality of the soul exists. Therefore, it is still difficultto settle on the idea that the soul is immortal. One of the questionsthat still remains to be addressed concerning the immortality of thesouls concerns how the soul can be immortal and body mortal since thesoul is inside the body. How then can the soul not die when the bodydies? Another question concerns the materiality of the body and thatof the soul, how is it that the soul is material and not immaterial?

References

Plato(2013). .Lanham: Start Classics.