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Existence of the soul


There are a number of big philosophical questions that commonly interest philosophers. Chief among these questions is the life of the spirit. Exactly what will become of me whenever i die? Will I vanish or not? And if I do persist will I stay in my current form or that of another life form? They are questions which are frequently discussed when discussing the spirit. Plato's work on life after fatality is undoubtedly one of the extremely first bits of written philosophical focus on the lifestyle of the spirit. Plato's Phaedo can be an attempt to answer these questions; an attempt to demonstrate that the heart pre-exist the body which it is constantly on the live after loss of life. Plato's Phaedo must therefore be mentioned if a bottom line is to be reached on if the soul pre-exist your body. Much of Plato's work, unlike a great many other philosophical writings, is in dialogue. Plato's dialogues are called following the central identity, which in this case, is Phaedo. Besides Phaedo, other important people in the dialogue are Echecrates with whom the dialogue starts with, Socrates who is the main character in the dialogue, Simmias of Thebes, a follower of the philosopher Pythagoras and Cebes whom is a follower Pythagoras. Phaedo centres on the death of Socrates, who was simply sentenced to death in 399BC for corrupting the heads of the young ones and denouncing the gods. After the trial, Socrates is in prison hanging around to be condemned by consuming Hemlock and this is the idea of Plato's Phaedo which commences to look at life after loss of life. It really is clear that the introductory section of the dialogue occurs from (60a) whereby Socrates after massaging his leg states that pleasure and pain are directly related, despite the fact these are opposites. The point Socrates makes here seems reasonable as empirical experience shows that people cannot appreciate the ups of life with no the downs. Socrates then continues on to declare that anyone wise will observe him to fatality, as a sensible person or a philosopher long to be released from the body. That is an important point of Plato's dialogue as it ignites the discourse of the immortality of the heart and soul. Why would Socrates claim that those who find themselves wise should follow him to death quickly? For Socrates death is merely a release of the spirit from your body. Socrates believes that "firstly he'll be entering the business of good and wise gods and subsequently he desires to enter the business of dead people that are much better than those still alive, thus it is good to leave life" (Daniel Hill lecture records, 2008). Furthermore the body for Socrates is a hindrance for a philosopher seeking the reality. The body's demands such as food, drink and sex aren't the concerns of a genuine philosopher and more so your body cannot provide reliable information, our senses constantly deceive us. (An excellent example. . . maybe example). The simple truth is the real aspect of any given thing i. e. justice in itself, which includes never been identified by anybody. In order to reach the uncontaminated fact one must be real and uncontaminated. Socrates should go as far to state "the philosopher's profession consists exactly in the freeing and separation of the spirit from body" (Daniel Hill lecture records, 2008). However by arguing this aspect Socrates is presuming that life exist after death, something which provokes Cebes to raise an objection questioning Socrates line of thought by highlighting that it's widely accepted that "when one dies the spirit may be released from the body and dispersed like smoke therefore demolished" Cebes concern is one which Socrates must react to and he does so by producing four arguments to aid his declare that the heart is immortal. First is the Argument from Opposites which aims to show the cycle of fatality and rebirth must go on forever. Second of all is the Theory of Recollection which seeks showing that the reasoning area of the soul did exist before delivery, thus rendering it plausible to hold that it will exist after fatality. Third is the affinity debate, which concerns itself too with the reasoning part of the soul, specifically the type of the Forms and the control of dreams. The final argument Plato introduces considers the soul as the reason for life. The Discussion of Recollection is what must be mentioned in detail due to as explained above it concerns itself with the pre-existence of the spirit.

Theory of Recollection

The Theory of Recollection is released by Cebes, who quickly outlines the argument the following: "that learning is just really recollection which by recollecting it shows that we must have discovered sometime before; which is impossible unless our souls been around anywhere before they moved into this human form. So that it seems that the heart is immortal" (Daniel Hill Lecture Notes 2008). Simmias then asks Cebes to remind him the way the proof Socrates theory of learning as recollection runs and Cebes provides two reasons. First of all Cebes sets forth that "when people are asked questions, if the question is put in the right way they can answer everything correctly, which they cannot possibly do unless they were in possession of knowledge" (Daniel Hill Lecture Notes 2008); and second "if you confront people who have a diagram or anything like that, how they react provides the clearest substantiation that the theory is correct" (Daniel Hill Lecture Records 2008). Cebes argument is very vague; nevertheless the point he appears to be wanting to make can be recognized by by using a mathematical question. For instance if you were asked, what's 6+33? You would supply the answer of 39, yet it is improbable that you'll have learnt that exact total beforehand, therefore the undeniable fact that you recognized it demonstrates you'll want learnt it in a past life. Cebes answer for Simminas is allusive thus Plato introduces Socrates to give the argument completely aspect. In Phaedo Socrates starts with the recommendation that one may only recollect what you have learnt at some earlier point. Socrates too realizes that recollection is the procedure of being reminded of something and uses the example of lovers "who are reminded of the person they love, when they recognise a piece of clothing or any other private property owned by their fan" (Plato 2003). However to get prior understanding of all things gained from experience within the world would be absurd, thus Plato describes what he means is that people know about abstract entities or as Plato identifies the data of Forms. What does Plato imply by abstract entities or Varieties? Plato means entities such as justice, beauty, goodness and holiness etc. The example he offers is equality. Plato writes in Pheado "We say, I suppose, that there is any such thing as equality - not equality of adhere to remain and stone to stone and so on, but something beyond everything and particular from it - complete equality" (Plato 2003). Its seems what Plato's debate is trying showing is that there surely is a concept of equality which is recollected whenever we view certain items, such as two sticks of similar period or if we have the weight of two stones of similar weight and we know whether or not they are of similar weight because we understand the concept of equality without it ever before being shown. However what must be recognized is the fact that Plato is not expressing that equality is within the sticks and rocks themselves, as they could appear equal to me but unequal to some other; but rather by viewing the sticks and the rocks that people get the idea of overall equality. Socrates then is constantly on the highlight that people are aware that sticks and rocks do flunk of being identical, but to be conscious of the fact that they fall short means that we will need to have a the concept of what it is to be perfectly similar. However how do we know of the equality when Plato denies empirical knowledge as reliable? Socrates answers "That people must have experienced some previous knowledge of equality prior to the time whenever we first realised" (Plato 2003). Therefore Socrates deduces that we obtained our knowledge of equality before beginning. So if this is true with equality then it must carry true with all the abstract entities or Forms such as beauty and justice. However Socrates remains saying that "Each of us loses this knowledge at the moment of birth, but later by essential exercise of your senses, recover the knowledge which we once acquired before, Perhaps that people call learning" (Plato 2003). Hence Socrates concludes that all learning is recollection. Socrates then progresses to present an alternative solution explanation to aid his argument saying that "somebody who truly knows a subject ought to be able to make clear it to others, yet most people cannot explain the things that he (Socrates) has been trying to explain to Simmias" (http://www. sparknotes. com/philosophy/phaedo/section5. rhtml). Socrates points out that if someone can be taken to recollect knowledge of the kind he's explaining and then able to make clear that knowledge to others, then it goes to show that knowledge been around in a past life and it was ignored the at delivery. Simmias boosts an objection up to now stating that perhaps we gain knowledge at beginning, but Socrates simply reminds him that if we possessed it at delivery then surely it might be absurd to lose it at the same second we gained that knowledge. Socrates then concludes that the "lifestyle of the heart and soul before birth is really as certain as the lifetime of beauty, goodness, and all things in themselves that the heart and soul supplies knowledge of when we start to see the physical things that approximate to them"

Plato's argument

Plato's argument appears to be coherent and reaches a sound final result that the soul pre-exist birth. Nevertheless the discussion has been criticised by many philosophers because of the gaps within the argument. These spaces within Plato's debate must be explored in order to come quickly to a conclusion on whether the Theory of Recollection does indeed prove that the heart and soul pre-exist your body. A chief criticism of Plato's theory of recollection is due to the foundation of his discussion. Plato talks about two different kinds of knowledge; intrinsic understanding of the Forms (goodness, beauty and equality etc. ) and the recollection of knowledge, and this is where the condition is placed. In Phaedo Socrates is objective on displaying that what we know was present before labor and birth However Plato gives no description of when before birth we acquire this knowledge or how. Further, if we have enter into this world knowing of abstract attributes such as justice, holiness and equality etc, another thought would be that "when did we first come into contact with these abstract attributes?". Plato provides no time structure which is important as it evident that when we, as humans get to a certain era all of us have a tendency to know similar principles such as those of the Varieties detailed by Socrates in Phaedo. Further, Plato preserves that no true knowledge will come about from experience and this knowledge is innate; therefore experience from a previous life cannot have given us the data of the Forms, such as equality, beauty and justice etc. Alternatively in Plato's defence that maybe it's said that our very first heart and soul was created with such knowledge; that is our first soul was created with the data of Varieties. However there are the ones that object to the type of view saying that Plato will not offer an answer on "how the cycle of delivery and loss of life of the soul begin? And when it has a beginning how can it end?" (http://www. sparknotes. com/philosophy/phaedo/section5. rhtml). Owen Mcleod highlights this reality stating "When the soul cannot pass away, then the heart and soul is indestructible. The general principle being assumed here seems to be that if x cannot pass away, then x is indestructible. But. . . . If x is destructible, then x can expire. This is obviously false. Inanimate things of all types -- stones, shoes, organizations -- can be destroyed, and therefore are destructible, nonetheless they do not literally die upon destruction"More so is Plato's interpretation of equality. Plato advancements equality not simply as a relation to two items but as a property in itself. "Yet we wouldn't normally think of a single stick on its own of being able to have the house of equality etc"Further Plato's knowledge as talked about above is not that of future incidents or empirical knowledge but that of the data of the Forms. Therefore for the Argument from Recollection to work the Theory of Varieties must be accepted. That is as Hackforth claims: "the doctrine of Forms is with that of the soul's lifestyle before its incarnation: in other words, they stand and fall season together. Attempts to prove the idea of the Forms may succeed or are unsuccessful, but what the significance here is that Platonised Socrates will not explicitly establish or justify the Theory of the Forms" Another issue of Plato's discussion is "regarding the kind of view that Recollection of the Varieties leads us to make". If as Plato states that everything we understand on the planet, including those sense perceived judgments; are sustained by the Varieties, it would claim that all humans judgments are right, as the Forms are pure truth. Yet this finish would be generally inaccurate as human beings make many wrong judgments, the 'Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster' is a testament to this as it was individual errors which resulted in destroying the lives of thousands of people.


Plato's Theory of Recollection is a coherent argument and one that attempts to show that the heart does pre-exist the body. Plato Phaedo works on many grounds because of the fact that people as human beings can relate too much of what Plato has written. It is widely accepted that when humans look at an object we can be reminded of a person or event. Therefore it does not seem strange to think about abstract attributes such as equality in the same way. Nonetheless, the Theory of Recollection recovery after premises which once evaluated shows misgivings within the discussion. Plato Discussion from Recollection depends heavy on his Theory of Varieties which he assumes aren't doubtable and due to this the idea of Recollection automatically proves the lifetime of the heart and soul. Yet the Varieties are vunerable to doubt, as talked about before if human's decisions are imbued by the Forms then surely the Varieties are doubtable as humans decisions are inappropriate time after time. Further modern day idea has simply described Phaedo as "a religious doctrine reinforced by poets" (Hackforth 1992), recommending that Phaedo may have proven the pre-existence of the spirit in ANCIENT GREEK LANGUAGE, yet now in the present day period it is must be observed as no more than a spiritual doctrine which was widely accepted at that time. Against modern beliefs Plato's argument does not seem to be justified. "Karl Popper's 'falsification theory', for example, wants that any suggestion that is put forward must be achieved so in terms which allows it to be falsified. If the idea requires certain assumptions that are impossible to demonstrate, like the idea of the Varieties, then we can not consider it as being valid" Yet the context where the dialogue was written must be looked at when evaluating the idea of Recollection. Socrates is condemned to loss of life and his last hours are upon him, it is clear that Socrates goal in the dialogue is to clarify his views on loss of life to his friends. Socrates insufficient concern in the face of fatality surprises Cebes and Simminas which prompts Socrates to mention his views on the immortality of the spirit. Furthermore the period the dialogue was written, it was universally accepted that life existed after death. Thus Plato task is to link life after loss of life to life before death. Therefore a modern reader must bare this at heart when considering Plato's Theory of Recollection. Thus after examining Plato's Theory of Recollection it could be concluded that though the discussion is coherent, key premises are at the mercy of criticism which undermines Plato's argument. Furthermore with development of modern philosophy and improvements in science the idea of Recollection is at the mercy of further failings, thus to today's reader it would be difficult to accept the Theory of Recollection as fantastic confirmation for the pre-existence of the heart, yet at that time Plato wrote Phaedo the discussion could have been accepted by a lot of people.

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