Essay on Platos Thoughts

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824 words
University of California, Santa Barbara
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Critical thinking
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In Phaedo, Socrates talks to his friends about a real philosopher and the qualities that he or she posseses. He argues that a true scholar must be able to look forward to death. The primary goal of the philosophical life is to ensure that the soul is freed from body needs. Given that the time of death is the ultimate separation of body from the soul, it must be perceived as the achievement of this goal. The soul is immortal as opposed to the body. Thus it will overcome death. However, there is a major objection to the claims presented by Plato. It is the fact that the soul could be immaterial just like the attunement of a musical tool or instrument. Also, it is not in doubt that the soul can be invisible. However, a major objection to Plato's argument is that the attunement of the musical tool can only exist when the instrument is in existence. In the same vein, it is emphasized that the soul could overcome death. However, Socrates has only confirmed that the soul lives longer compared to the body and not that it is immortal. This argument can be countered by Plato. In his submission, he would hold that those objecting to his claim do not understand the theory of recollection. He would maintain that the soul cannot be compared to the attunement of a musical tool given the fact that the soul was in existence long before the body did. There are different arguments offered by Socrates in corroborating the claim that the soul is immortal.

One is the recollection theory. This theory posits that learning is importantly an act of recalling things people knew before birth, though forgotten. He argues that real knowledge is that of the eternal form that characterizes perceptible reality. For instance, people can see that two books have the same length, but different widths are given that they have a natural knowledge of the form of equality. In other words, people have an innate understanding of what it implies for something to be equal although no two things are perfectly the same. Given that people grasp this kind of reality although never experience it, their knowledge of it should be a recollection of eternal knowledge they had but forgot before birth. The implication of this argument is that the soul could have existed before birth. In summary, the life of any soul goes beyond the life of the body. This theory has two theses. One is the epistemological thesis which holds that some knowledge is an integral component of reason and the soul. It is impossible to eradicate this knowledge in eliminating inconsistency. Ontological argument regards existence of the soul and underlying connection with the body. The soul is considered a persistent object whose presence does not depend on the body. Before getting into the body, the soul was in existence and will remain the same after death.

Another argument is that of affinity. This case differentiates between those things that invisible, eternal and immaterial and those which are perishable, can be seen and material. The soul is classified under the former group while the body comes in the latter. Therefore, the soul is immortal despite the fact that this immortality could assume various forms. Also, Socrates argued that a soul which is not well detached from the body could end up being a ghost which might desire to return to the flesh. On the other hand, the detached soul of the philosopher will freely reside within the heavens.

A major objection to the argument on affinity is the fact the soul could be stronger compared to the body, in the same way as a heavy jacket that lives longer that many people. However, the jacket will wear out in the end, and this makes Socrates' argument very weak. In other terms, everything in this world has a duration of life after which its dies or wears out. Therefore, it would be right to argue that the soul according to Socrates is not immortal. The only difference is the reasoning that it can outlive the body.

However, there is a counter-objection to the above objection as regards the argument on affinity. It is not in dispute that a heavy jacket as presented above can outlive most of the people. One issue that should be taken into reasoning is the fact the soul is immaterial and invisible. It implies that it is not subjected to conditions that can hasten its destruction like is the case with material things like jackets. The soul, as a matter of fact, exists on its own. This response is favorable for one primary reason. It is the belief that there is life after death. When one dies, the soul detaches from the body and goes to a different world. It cannot be said for material things like jackets. It explains the presence of ghosts in the current life.

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