The Soul Stays the Same in Plato

1270 WordsJul 16, 20186 Pages
“I think, Socrates, he said, that on this line of argument any man, even the dullest, would agree that the soul is altogether more like that which always exists in the same state rather than like that which does not” (Plato, Phaedo 79e) In this paper I will argue that the soul is not necessarily unchanging and eternal, as many of Plato’s arguments would suggest otherwise. The main reasons in support of this claim are that there are questionable conclusions that Plato had reached that challenge the validity of his theory on immortal souls. The Phaedo is one of Plato’s greatest dialogues addressing the essence of the afterlife through a discussion between Socrates and his students. Plato’s main argument within the Phaedo is that there is an…show more content…
“I mean such things as good and evil, just and unjust-and there are innumerable other opposites which are generated out of opposites. And I want to show that this holds universally of all opposites; I mean to say, for example, that anything which becomes greater must become greater after being less.”(Plato, 70d) In the dialogue Socrates established that everything is generated from its opposite so must have an opposite. However, it is valid to question this by interpreting the opposite argument. If to say everything has an opposite, would the opposite of existence be non-existence? Existence is created from non-existence and non-existence from existence. If this is true, than would not the existence of a soul suggest that at some point the soul did not exist? Thus, it may be that the soul had a previous existence but it does not definitively suggest that the soul is immortal and has no end. This is somewhat related to Cebes’ argument that that soul may have existed through many bodies but may eventually pass on. Plato fails to further explain the cycle of the soul. Socrates does not give detail on when the cycle of the soul begins or how it may have started. Furthermore, if one relies on the opposites argument for support of the immortal theory then one could consider that is there was a beginning to the cycle of the soul than there would be some sort of end. The Theory of Recollection also has some gaps in its logic
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