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Plato And The Soul Essay

1621 words - 7 pages

Plato's final argument in Phaedo for the immortality of the soul is one of the most interesting topics of all time. It goes hand to hand with the application of the theory of forms to the question of the soul's immortality, as Plato constantly reminds us, the theory of forms is the most certain of all his theories. The Phaedo is Plato’s attempt to convince us of the immortality of the soul by using several main arguments. These include the argument of forms and the law of opposites. In the final passage of the Phaedo, Plato provides his final proof, although it may be his last attempt to give his reasoning, it is not very convincing. Plato has some good points and reasoning to believe in the immortality of the soul, but his arguments often seem to make large assumptions without any concrete evidence. In this essay I will attempt to expose some flaws in Plato’s argument while showing how the conclusion can still be convincing for some.
According to Plato talking through Socrates, whenever a soul occupies a body, it always brings life with it. This means that the soul is connected with life, and so cannot admit its opposite which is death. If it does not admit the form of evenness and is uneven, according to Socrates, then it follows that the soul, which does not admit of death, cannot die. It must either withdraw or disappear at the approach of death. If the soul is undying, it cannot disappear and perish. All it has to do is simply run away at the approach of death. Socrates concludes that the soul does not die with the body, but simply leaves it, living on, eternal and indestructible. Cebes admits in Phaedo that he is entirely convinced by Socrates' argument. Some important premises throughout Phaedo within Socrates’ argument are:

1. “In the same way, the short in us is unwilling to become or to be tall ever, nor does any of the opposites become its opposite while still being what it was…” For example, tallness cannot become shortness while still being hot. (102d-103a)

2. “Not only does the opposite not admit its opposite, but that which brings along some opposite into that which it occupies; that which brings this alone will not admit the opposite to that which it brings along. For example, fire and snow are not themselves opposites, but fire always brings hot with it, and snow always brings cold with it. So fire will not become cold without ceasing to be fire, nor will snow become hot without ceasing to be snow. (103c-105b)

3. “Whatever the soul occupies, it always brings life to it? - It does.” (105c-d)

4.”Is there, or is there not, an opposite to life? It does. What is it - Death. So the soul will never admit the opposite of that which it brings along as we agree from what has been said.” (105d-e)

5. “Must then the same not be said of the deathless? If the deathless is also indestructible, it is impossible for the soul to be destroyed when death comes upon it” (105e-106d)

6. “If the deathless is indestructible, then the soul, if it...

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