This is not necessarily the case. The body is a source of endless trouble by reason of its requirements of food, its liability to diseases, and filling our lives with loves, lusts, and fears: "For whence come wars, and fighting, and factions? This is the other half of the argument, the proof of which is still wanting and needs to be supplied. Socrates' reply to Simmias takes into account some of the more important differences between the soul and the harmony produced by a musical instrument. Taken as a whole, the subject matter of the dialog is Socrates' conception of the soul. It is in this respect that the philosopher dishonors the body, for his soul runs away from the body and desires to be alone and by itself. Essay Topics. Obviously, the slave has possessed this knowledge all the time but has been unable to recall it until appropriate questions had been put to him. The world may not be aware of it, but the fact is that the whole life of philosophy is but one long rehearsal of dying. That which is compounded, or made up of parts, is constantly changing, while that which is not compounded does not change but ever remains what it is. Just as the body of a man may outlast several coats, so the soul may outlast a number of bodies, but after a series of successive births, it seems quite possible that it may have become weary from these cycles of existence and at last succumb in one of the deaths and utterly perish. Phaedo is an ancient Greek philosopher and the narrator of Phaedo. Two of the chief arguments against belief in the immortality of the soul are brought into the discussion, and Socrates has a reply to each of them. He is familiar with what the mystery cults of his day have to say on this matter, and he makes use of the myths that they have employed to indicate something like what he thinks would constitute an appropriate doctrine of rewards and punishments for good and evil souls, respectively. It is, therefore, reasonable to conclude that souls, like the ideas that are present in them, are not subject to change. Nevertheless, he has often been criticized for his role as a husband and a father. Log in here. The jailer soon appeared and administered the poison. The dialog takes the form of a narrative because Socrates is described acting as well as speaking, and the particulars of the event are interesting to distant friends as well as to the narrator himself. In this paper I will give an in depth analysis of Socrates argument in Plato’s Republic and in Plato’s Phaedo. From this we may draw the conclusion that the "soul is in the very likeness of the divine, and immortal, and intelligible, and unchangeable; and the body is in the very likeness of the human, and mortal, and unintelligible, and multiform, and dissoluble, and changeable." Analysis. Life and death are opposites just as sleep and waking are opposites. They are simple rather than compound in nature, and for this reason they cannot disintegrate or cease to exist. bookmarked pages associated with this title. The narration takes place at Phlius, a town of Sicyon. It was a part of the teachings of the Orphic mystery cult, according to which a soul that is born into this world has come back from another world and will eventually return to it. Only those who are true lovers of wisdom and who are pure at the time of departing will be permitted to dwell with the gods. Particular emphasis is given to the deification, or divine character, of the soul in contrast to the human and mortal nature of the body. The reason is that we as human beings are in the hands of the gods. The soul is in one sense the permanent and divine element in a human being, while the body is a mortal and changing element. In addition, Phaedo 's account of Socrates's disposition is consistent with his previous attitude, which provides support for the view that Socrates was, through and through, committed to a philosophical life. Literary Devices. Souls of this nature, having become engrossed by the corporeal, will be compelled to wander about, prowling among tombs and sepulchers in payment of the penalty of their former evil way of life. She was weeping because this was the last time she could converse with her husband. The one that is often referred to as epiphenomenalism is introduced by Simmias, and the other one, which involves a mechanistic conception of life and the world, is presented by Cebes. These included Simmias, Cebes, Crito, Apollodorus, and several other people. It describes the philosophic way of life as Socrates and, consequently, Plato saw it, explaining how the philosopher, so unlike other people in many ways, differs also in being unafraid of death. This holds of all opposites. He was now hoping that Socrates would make it clear to him. The chief topic of conversation had been Socrates' conception of the soul. The Deathless Soul in Plato’s Phaedo In his dialogue, the Phaedo, Plato offers justification for the immortality of the soul. Phaedo is one of Plato’s most widely read works, second only to his Republic and Symposium. The weaker is generated from the stronger and the swifter from the slower. He believes, too, that the doctrine of reminiscence offers further proof of the thesis that Socrates has been ex-pounding. He is convinced, however, that after the soul is separated from the body, it will go to other gods and will be associated with the souls of departed people who are even better than those now living on the earth. With regard to the distinction between good souls and evil ones, Socrates recognizes that freedom of choice is given to each individual. Because he believes in the justice of God, he is confident that a different fate is in store for good and evil souls. It must have as little as possible to do with the body as it aspires to wisdom and a knowledge of ultimate reality. He means absolute equality. Those who have followed after gluttony, wantonness, and drunkenness will pass into asses and animals of that sort, while those who have chosen the part of injustice, tyranny, and violence will pass into wolves or hawks, or some other type of animal. Cebes remarks that one proof of the recollection theory can be established simply by asking questions. Anything that becomes greater must become greater after being less, and that which becomes less must have been once greater and then become less. Epiphenomenalism is the doctrine that souls or spiritual substances are the product of matter; with the destruction of the matter that produced them, they will cease to exist. ©2020 eNotes.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Socrates replied that his only wish was that they look after themselves properly and live in accordance with the principles that he has taught. You'll get access to all of the Since most of these people were probably still living when the Phaedo was published, any errors in the account would have been noted and brought to light. When it had begun to take effect, he uncovered his face and said, "Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius; will you remember to pay the debt?" If the soul is immortal, what manner of person ought we to be? Plato's dialog called Euthyphro relates a discussion that took place between Socrates and Euthyphro concerning the meaning of piety, or that virtue usually regarded as a manner of living that fulfills one's duty both to gods and to humanity.It is of particular interest in relation to the fate of Socrates inasmuch as … While it is true that the soul, when united with the body, may be influenced by the passions and desires of the body and in this respect we may speak of the souls that are evil, it is also true that in its real nature the soul is constantly trying to be free of the demands of the body. His concern for the welfare of his wife and children, his request that a small debt that he owed be paid, his kindly attitude toward the attendant who administers the poison, his faith in what lies beyond death, and above all the courage and nobility with which he accepts his fate, are all indications of his goodness. Nevertheless, the doctrine concerning opposites was useful for the purpose that Socrates had in mind since it was based on assumptions that were regarded as true by members of the group to whom he was speaking. He believes that Cebes is also convinced that this is true, but there is one further question concerning which both Cebes and Simmias are in doubt. At this point, Socrates warns against the dangers of becoming misologists, who have no faith in the reasoning process. In common with some of the mystery cults, especially the Orphic mysteries, the Pythagoreans had accepted the idea that the hardships of human life are punishments for evil deeds that were committed in some former existence. Although Cebes admits that the soul is superior to the body, he maintains it is impossible to know whether the soul, having worn out many bodies, may not perish itself, leaving its last body behind, which would mean death not only of the body but of the soul, for in the body the work of destruction never ceases. The pleasures of the body are experienced through the senses, but the acquisition of wisdom comes only through the intellect. Neither Cebes nor Simmias is satisfied with this statement, and Socrates proceeds to give additional reasons in support of his position. In elaborating this position, Socrates introduces the famous doctrine of forms, variously described as “essences,” “absolutes,” and “ideas.” For each class of objects and qualities (or at least for many classes), there is an absolute form or essence that is the true nature and reality shared by particular members of the class. Socrates admits that he has no positive proof of this, but he believes it to be true and is aware of no facts to indicate the contrary. Are there both good and bad souls, and if so, what constitutes the difference between them? Rather, the evidence is cumulative; taken together, it constitutes a strong case for acceptance of the belief. Plato (in Phaedo) and Aristotle (in De Anima) present two fundamentally different conceptions of the soul. Socrates examined the meaning and origin of self-knowledge in his speech in Phaedo by Plato. Phaedo, who for a long time had been a close and intimate friend of Socrates, was one of those who were present on that occasion, and he relates what had taken place, including the rather lengthy conversations as he remembers them. In a few moments, the attendants uncovered him and found that his eyes were set. While this might be true concerning the souls that were pure and uncontaminated by their contact with the body, what about those souls that had not remained pure? The soul in which the essences, or ideas, are present is uncompounded, changeless, and is not perceived by the senses. It is conceivable that the body is a composite thing, the parts of which are strung or held together by the elements of hot and cold, wet and dry, and that the soul is the harmony, or due proportionate admixture, of them. A summary of Part X (Section6) in Plato's Phaedo. Since the living come from the dead and the dead come from the living, it follows that the souls of the dead must be in some place out of which they come again. Thus, we are able to say of two objects that they are approximately equal, but insofar as their nature is revealed through the senses, they never reach perfect or absolute equality. At this point, Crito interrupts the conversation to inform them that the jailer has requested Socrates not to talk so much lest the heat generated by his talking might interfere with the action of the poison he must take and thereby make it necessary to have it administered more than once. Plato was not present at this meeting, having been kept away because of illness. He covers the important question of whether the “soul” continues after death whilst using various arguments to reiterate his theory. He then explained that he cannot make Crito believe that he is the same Socrates who has been talking. 9.1", "denarius") All Search Options [view abbreviations] Home Collections/Texts Perseus Catalog Research Grants Open Source About Help. One of the main themes in the Phaedo is the idea that the soul is immortal. There it continues to exist in bliss, being released from the error and folly of men, with their fears and wild passions and all other human ills, and dwells in the company of the gods. Phaedo is Plato’s literary and philosophical monument to the death, and to the life, of his master, Socrates. Socrates begins, as usual, the story by saying that suicide is wrong, because a true philosopher must wait for death and not cause it voluntarily. Now the essences, or ideas of which we have been speaking, such as justice, beauty, truth, and goodness, are simple and not compounded. The reason for this is that harmony cannot exist prior to the elements out of which it is composed. Essay Analysis. By having the proper questions put to him in the right manner, a person will be able to answer correctly about something of which he was totally unaware before the questions were asked. They are our guardians and we are their possessions. Now, the opposite of life is death, and since opposites are generated out of one another, we may conclude that life is generated out of death and death is generated out of life. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Phaedo and what it means. Of him it has well been said that he acquired the art of dying beautifully. When Simmias replies in the affirmative, he is reminded of the fact that this is not in agreement with the idea that the soul is a harmony that is made out of strings set in the frame of the body. Key Figures. eNotes.com will help you with any book or any question. For example, there are absolute justice, beauty, goodness, greatness, health, and strength. His wife, Xanthippe, was sitting by him, holding their child in her arms. He came to the conclusion that the physical sciences could provide no answers to the questions he had in mind. Socrates surprises his listeners by asserting that the philosopher is always pursuing death, and that it would therefore be most inconsistent, now that death is at hand, to shun it. Phaedo Plato. Are souls influenced by contact with the body? The truth is that the soul, which is pure at the time it departs from the body, contains no bodily taint and, being invisible, departs to the invisible world, which is divine and immortal and rational. The Phaedo is one of Plato's dialogs in which the dramatic form of art achieved its highest level of development. Socrates is pleased to observe that they have open and inquiring minds and are ready to think for themselves rather than accept what has been told them without subjecting it to the test of reasonableness. The soul that has become polluted by being the companion and servant of the body, having become fascinated by the desires and pleasures of the body, will, therefore, be impure at the time of departure. Now, a true philosopher is one who ought not to place the highest value on the pleasures of the body, such as eating and drinking or the acquisition of costly raiment. No one of these should be regarded as sufficient by itself to establish complete proof of immortality. The argument consists of two parts, each of which is designed to support belief in the continued existence of the soul following the death of the body. Crito answered that it would be paid. Socrates explored the various theories of immortality of the soul and tried to show that there is life after death in which the … He informs them that if they will state their questions, he will do his best to answer them. When a man dies, the body, which is the visible part of man, becomes dissolved and decomposed, but the same cannot be said of the soul. Life changes into death and death changes into life. At any rate, Socrates is able to make an adequate reply to opponents of the belief in immortality, including those who have advocated epiphenomenalism and a mechanical conception of nature. In this respect, the soul resembles the divine and the body that which is mortal. The wife and infant son are believed to have spent the last night of his life with him. After having mentioned the names of several of those who were present at the time of Socrates' death, Phaedo states that he will endeavor to repeat the entire conversation as he remembers the way in which it took place. The weaker is generated from the stronger and the swifter from the slower. Cebes and Simmias both express their satisfaction with the proof offered in support of the belief that souls exist prior to the birth of human beings, but neither of them is fully convinced that souls will continue their existence after death. He would be unable to do this if the knowledge had not in some sense been present within him. Certainly, there would be no justice in treating both good and evil souls in the same way. The dialog contains a whole series of arguments in support of belief in the immortality of the soul. At first, the slave appears to be entirely ignorant of the proof, but after he has been asked a number of questions, he sees it as clearly as anyone. The philosopher knows that the soul is superior to the body and should be its master rather than its slave. When asked in what way he would like to be buried, Socrates replied, "In any way that you like; only you must get hold of me, and take care that I do not walk away from you." Even though it is of an invisible and heavenly nature, it will perish sooner than what remains of the broken lyre and its cut strings. Summary. The reader of the dialog is bound to be impressed by the courage and fortitude that Socrates possesses in the face of imminent death. For I deem that the true discipline of philosophy is likely to be misunderstood by other men; they do not perceive that he is ever pursuing death and dying; and if this is true, why, having had the desire of death all his life long, should he repine at the arrival of that which he has been always pursuing and desiring?" Through an analysis of their frameworks and genre, and whether their methods are plausible, it can be concluded that Aristotle's formulation of the soul is more compelling than that of Plato. Plato planned a political career until 404 BCE, when Athens shifted to an oligarchy controlled by wealthy men. Then, too, it must be recognized that there are different degrees of harmony, but this is not true of the soul. How then is it possible for anyone to know what justice is or what equality really means? Although he believes that suicide is wrong, he has no fear of death so long as he is acting in harmony with the will of God. While it is true that one of the opposites in each pair is followed by the other, this does not mean that one of them is the cause of the other or that the nature of any one of the opposites has been changed in the least. It has to do with the continued existence of souls after death. Just how this will be accomplished he is not certain, but the doctrine of reincarnation as set forth in the teachings of the mystery religions offers a solution that he believes is at least something like what will take place. Was it not true that there are evil souls as well as good ones? The Immortality of the Soul in Plato's Phaedo 2878 Words | 12 Pages. He made inquiries about the growth and decay of animals as well as the origin of thought. He does not mean equality of one piece of wood with another or of one stone with another, but equality in the abstract, or apart from its application to particular things. Cebes admits at this point he is now convinced that the souls of the dead are in existence and what happens to the good souls is different from that of the evil souls. How then is it possible for us to know anything about this type of equality, which has never been experienced by any of our senses? It seemed to them that, while Socrates had presented good arguments in support of his position, Cebes and Simmias had been successful in refuting them. Socrates' reply to Cebes is somewhat longer since it involves the whole question of generation and corruption. The work consists of one dialogue within another: At the request of a friend, Phaedo recounts the conversation between Socrates and his companions and the final events of the day Socrates’ unjust death sentence is executed. That which becomes less must have once been greater and then become less. A stronger reason for believing in the survival of the soul can be found in the doctrine of opposites and the way in which they are related to one another. Because the world does not understand the meaning of dying, they accuse philosophers of being morbid, but in this they are mistaken, for death is nothing other than the release of the soul from the body. He is like the swan that sings its best song just prior to its final departure. They will continue to wander until the desires that haunt them have been satisfied, after which they will be imprisoned in another body. The place where this narration occurred is Phlius, a town of Sicyon, where Phaedo of Elis had stopped on his way home from Athens. The authenticity of the record is indicated by the fact that a list is given of the names of the people who were present. Socrates, Apollodorus, Simmias, Cebes, Crito and an Attendant of the Prison. Analysis Of Plato's Phaedo 1918 Words | 8 Pages. Each absolute is pure or self-identical, unique, eternal, and perfect in its kind—because ultimately it is the kind in reality and not simply by definition for the sake of classification. And this … If Socrates can convince him that the soul does continue to exist after death, he would like for him to present the evidence on which his opinion is based. An excellent way to begin the study of philosophy is with this account of the end of the first member in the great trio in Greek thought, as written by the second. Evil souls will be reincarnated in the bodies of different kinds of animals and insects and always with the possibility of entering into higher forms of life. He talked to them and gave them a few instructions in the presence of Crito, after which he dismissed them and returned to the members of the group. As the body desires pleasures of the flesh, so the soul desires wisdom. He then proceeds to answer each of the arguments presented by Cebes and Simmias. If the soul existed before birth and in coming to life and being born can be born only from death and dying, it follows that it must continue to exist since it has to be born again. To regard material things as the cause of thought would imply that Socrates is sitting where he is because he is made up of bones and muscles rather than giving the true reason, which is that he is sitting here because the Athenians thought it good to sentence him to death. These questions, along with others closely related to them, are discussed at some length as Socrates attempts to present his ideas in a manner that is both clear and convincing. It was in existence prior to its entrance into a human body, and after it departs from that body it will be born again in some other body. In a similar manner, we may say that actions of a legal nature may approximate justice, but absolute justice cannot be achieved, although it is an ideal toward which one may strive. Granting that it is wrong for one to put an end to his own life unless commanded to do so by the gods, Socrates then goes on to explain why it is that a true philosopher, or lover of wisdom, has no fear of death. This, for him, is all the proof that is needed to establish the existence of souls prior to the birth of human beings. Phaedo, visiting Socrates on the day of the philosopher’s execution, cannot feel happy about the circumstances, but Socrates’s serenity in the face of death takes much of the pain out of the occasion. Phaedo's final tribute to him is apparently well deserved. Sense experiences serve as a stimulus to the mind, causing it to remember or recollect that which is already present within it. It is told by Phaedo himself, a friend of Socrates who encounters Echecrates —a fellow philosopher—after having watched Socrates drink poison hemlock. Apparently, it belongs to the middle period of his literary career, when his maturity as a writer had reached its highest stage. That would be the greatest service that they could perform for him. Title In Plato’s Phaedo, Plato works to prove the immortality of the soul by creating a dialogue that takes place after Socrates is sentenced to execution, moments before he is put to death. Ideas such as justice, beauty, truth, goodness, equality, and others are acknowledged to be real, and it is possible for individuals to know what they mean. Plato wrote approximately thirty dialogues. He also described something of his own feelings as he witnessed the death of his very dear friend. The ideas that we recover in this way constitute the standard in comparison with which we judge the accuracy of that which is revealed through the senses. He says, "And now I will make answer to you, O my judges, and show that he who has lived as a true philosopher has reason to be of good cheer when he is about to die, and that after death he may hope to receive the greatest good in the other world. 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