Why Does Plato Think That the Soul Is Immortal? Is He Right? Discuss with Close Reference to Phaedo 102a-107b.

1609 Words Nov 23rd, 2010 7 Pages
Why does Plato think that the soul is immortal? Is he right? Discuss with close reference to Phaedo 102a-107b.

The Phaedo is Plato’s attempt to convince the reader of the immortality of the soul using four main arguments. These include the argument of affinity, recollection, Forms and the law of opposites. In the final passage of the Phaedo, (Grube, 2002:102a-107b), Plato provides his ‘Final Proof’, despite seeming like the most conclusive argument it is not necessarily the most convincing. Plato has some good points and fair reasoning to believe in the immortality of the soul, however his arguments often seem to make large assumptions without any concrete backing. In this essay I will attempt to expose the flaws in Plato’s argument
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Opposites imply that nothing can exist as a one off. Thus is follows that the same is with life and death and the two are reversible stages. In the final proof, Plato extends this law of opposites to say that Forms cannot admit their opposite (102a-103). The largeness in Simmias cannot itself be small and although Simmias admits smallness and tallness, the smallness and tallness will never admit each other, this is because Socrates distinguishes the character of largeness from the subject in which the character exists. Simmias is not by nature larger then Socrates, rather he is so in the virtue of the largeness he happens to possess. Conversely in the numerical example, 3 is by nature odd and therefore of necessity is odd, never even. Similarly, the soul is by nature alive, and therefore of necessity alive, never dead. The following considerations give a clear distinction between accidental (Simmias and largeness) and essential (three and odd) properties. However Plato makes an assumption that the soul’s possession of life is essential. This is one of the major questions surrounding Plato, as he continually makes the assumption that soul brings life to the body; however I will come to my explanation to why I think this is a major assumption of Plato’s behalf later in this essay. At 102e to105e Plato asserts his claim the opposites can never admit each other. He uses the opposite of hot and cold and fire and snow to prove that fire is characterised by hotness so

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