The relationship between platos theory of forms and the immortality of the soul

Socrates had been condemned to commit suicide by drinking hemlock, and a number of his friends and fellow philosophers had gathered to spend his last hours with him. Phaedo explains that among those present with him were Crito and two Pythagorean philosophers, Simmias and Cebes. The purpose of the philosophical life is to free the soul from the needs of the body.

The relationship between platos theory of forms and the immortality of the soul

The Cycle of Opposites The first argument is based on the cyclical interchange by means of which every quality comes into being from its own opposite. Hot comes from cold and cold from hot: Similarly, people who are awake are just people who were asleep but then woke up, while people who are asleep are just people who were awake but then dozed off.

But then, Plato argues by analogydeath must come from life and life from death. Phaedo 71c-d That is, people who are dead are just people who were alive but then experienced the transition we call dying, and people who are alive are just people who were among the dead but then experienced the transition we call being born.

This suggests a perpetual recycling of human souls from the realm of the living to the realm of the dead and back. If this is an accurate image of reality, it would certainly follow that my soul will continue to exist after the death of my body.

But it also supposes that my soul existed before the birth of my body as well. This may seem like an extravagant speculation, but Plato held that there is ample evidence of its truth in the course of ordinary human life and learning.

The Forms As Socrates had proposed in the Menothe most important varieties of human knowledge are really cases of recollection. Consider, for example, our knowledge of equality.

The relationship between platos theory of forms and the immortality of the soul

We have no difficulty in deciding whether or not two people are perfectly equal in height. By this standard, all of the examples we perceive in ordinary life only approach, but never fully attain, perfect equality. But notice that since we realize the truth of this important qualification on our experience, we must somehow know for sure what true equality is, even though we have never seen it.

Things of this sort are the Platonic Formsabstract entities that exist independently of the sensible world. Ordinary objects are imperfect and changeable, but they faintly copy the perfect and immutable Forms.

Since we really do have knowledge of these supra-sensible realities, knowledge that we cannot possibly have obtained through any bodily experience, Plato argued, it follows that this knowledge must be a form of recollection and that our souls must have been acquainted with the Forms prior to our births.

Immortality of the Soul Use of the dialogue as a literary device made it easy for Plato not only to present his own position in the voice of Socrates but also to consider in the voices of other characters significant objections that might be raised against it.

This doesn't mean that philosophy is merely an idle game of argument and counter-argument, he pointed out, because it remains our goal to discover the one line of argument that leads to the truth. The philosopher cautiously investigates every possibility and examines every side of an issue, precisely because that increases the chances of arriving eventually at a correct account of reality.

Thus, Simmias suggests that the relationship between the soul and the body may be like that between musical harmony and the strings of a lyre that produces it.

Ancient Theories of Soul (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

In this case, even though the soul is significantly different from the body, it could not reasonably be expected to survive the utter destruction of that physical thing. This is an early statement of a view of human nature that would later come to be called epiphenomenalism.

But Socrates replies that this analogy will not hold, since the soul exercises direct control over the motions of the body, as the harmony does not over those of the lyre.

Plato's suggestion here seems to be that it would become impossible to provide an adequate account of human morality, of the proper standards for acting rightly, if Simmias were right.

Plato: Phaedo | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Cebes offers a more difficult objection: Even though I continue to exist longer than any single article of my clothing does, there will come a time when I die, and some of my clothes will probably continue to exist. In the same way, even if the argument from opposites has shown that the soul can in principle outlast the life of any particular human body, there might come a time when the soul itself ceases to exist.

Even if there is life after death, Cebes suggests, the soul may not be truly immortal. In response to this criticism, Plato significantly revised the argument from opposities by incorporating an additional conception of the role of the Forms.

Each Form, he now maintains, is the cause of all of every particular instance that bears its name: But then, since the soul is living, it must participate in the Form of Life, and thus it cannot ever die.

Phaedo d The soul is perfectly and certainly imperishable, not only for this life, but forever.

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Despite the apparent force of these logical arguments, Plato chose to conclude the Phaedo by supplementing them with a mythical image of life after death. This concrete picture of the existence of a world beyond our own is imagined, not reasonedso it cannot promise to deliver the same perfect representation of the truth.

But if we are not fully convinced by the certainty of rational arguments, we may yet take some comfort from the suggestions of a pleasant story.Plato is the classical source of philosophical arguments for the immortality of the soul. By calling them ‘philosophical’ arguments I am distinguishing them from arguments which are based on empirical research, like research into near-death experiences, and from arguments which rely on premises taken from a particular religious tradition.

The relationship between platos theory of forms and the immortality of the soul

THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE SOUL AND BODY. IIIA. There is a metaphysical distinction between the essences/natures/forms of things and material things. The material things that we apprehend by the senses exists in space and the immortality -- say a view that when I die the ‘life force’ in me becomes absorbed in the life.

Plato’s Concept of the Soul and its Relationship with the Body Words | 3 Pages. Plato’s Concept of the Soul and its Relationship with the Body Plato’s theory of the body and soul originated from his earlier theories and dialogs, ‘the analogy of the cave’ and ‘the theory of forms’.

The soul, then, is immortal, although this immortality may take very different forms. A soul that is not properly detached from the body will become a ghost that will long to return to the flesh, while the philosopher’s detached soul will dwell free in the heavens. The conclusion of the second argument for the soul’s immortality extends what has been said about equality to other Forms as well: “If those realities we are always talking about exist, the Beautiful and the Good and all that kind of reality, and we refer all the things we perceive to that reality, discovering that it existed before and is.

PHAEDO: IMMORTALITY OF SOUL In the dialogue Phaedo Plato discusses the immortality of the soul. He presents four different arguments to prove the fact that although the body of the human perishes after death; the soul still exists and remains eternal.

Ancient Theories of Soul (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)