Plato - Mo‘s WEN) PM: For: Tag Imam-m O; “mam W) Tim...

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Unformatted text preview: Mo‘s WEN) PM: For: Tag Imam-m O; “mam W) Tim Kemfl'om 7b €95on 13mm a?“ VIM ’Loay QM L- CqébLSON Wuraoof {Ohms umemfi— Tm £3 The Phaedo is set up dramatically as a scene of recollection. Phaedo recalls to Echecrates the final moments of Socrates' life. All of Socrates friends are distraught at the imminence of his death. Socrates responds to his friends who, having gathered in his cell to bid him farewell, lament his "misfortune"(84d) contrary to his wishes. Socrates argues that bodily death will not mean his death, for he is his soul and souls are immortal. I will first examine the relationship Socrates draws between soul and personal identity. I will then proceed to examine the various arguments and their implications forwarded by Socrates concerning the immortality of the soul. It is clear throughout the dialogue that Socrates equates his personal identity with his soul, although it is never proven. The bodies existence is ephemeral and its influence on the soul is adverse. Purification of the soul involves distancing it as far as humanly possible from the ill affect of the body. Bodily senses admit an inferior kind of knowledge. Indeed the body serves only to impede the soul in its quest for truth and wisdom. "If we are ever to have pure knowledge, we must escape from the body and observe matters in themselves with the soul by itself.“(66d). A W? tau-2 2 philosopher, maintains Socrates, must learn to despise the body and the pleasures it craves. It is clear from what has been said that Socrates identifies himself with his soul and not with his body. The body is nothing more than a prison, which hinders the experience of its prisoner and from which the prisoner longs for Subsequently I3 Socrates' only concernvwith the immortality of his escape. soul for that would mean his immortality. What are the possible alternatives to this view that ones personal identity is equivalent to the soul? A materialist would contend that all cognitive activity is nothing more that the twitchings of neurons in the brain\‘ and that the division between mind and body is an artificial one. For a materialist, then, personal identity is equivalent to ones body. The first obvious implication of this View is that the entire question a: of immortality is made equally Vfanciful as the division between body and mind(soul). For although the body may be preserved by freezing for an indefinite time the cessation of all cognitive spell the death of the person. activity would Personal identity is equivalent to cognitive activity whether those activities emanate from a immaterial source. Furthermore the material or 3 bodies existence could be organic, for the organic f is immutable, divisible and therefore destructable. What then is it that distinguishes a live person form a corpse. The materialists will simply answer: the activity of the neurons. But the activity of 4m Em’fié wfiwmu the neurons are merely an attribute of this in ewe a umw a something . This something is very difficult to REELHIM. r7 3 Affinit- 7% mm WMIWJNEV describe, but this is no reason to deny its n>FEfig, existance. You can call it "life"; or you can call .it "soul". But it is something that transcends the twitchings of the neurons; it is that something on which the neurons depend for their continued twitching. But what does this something have to do 7 with personal immortality. Perhaps a person is inextricably both a body and this something. And if death is the seperation of this principle of life from the body then death is also the destruction of the person. F'Wfiflfifl‘m“flw&“”“ 1 What Socrates has not proven is that it is this 7mm; war 11,“; me x - amen-ma) *WQ‘W 7"" u , - . . . . . . gawyoflmmm wm MWWLRPrinclple of life that IS an intelligence, that 1t 7% :nnepmu PM” "*5 . . . u u . . «1 mwumwwt §1s mind. Perhaps mind 15 the inextricable union xmm1 meamww ‘ 0‘ 1m manor”? between material, brain, and immaterial, principlelnmmwm MM ‘sfl’fim W2: {mp-5‘: E of life. The difficulty with this notion that intelligence emerges from this union is the difficulty of explaining how a material something 4 affects a change in an immaterial something and vice versa. The central question is how. We do know that bodily pleasure or pain affects changes in the mind; we also know that the mind affects bodily movement e.g. my mind is now causing my hand to grip my pen and move it in a particular fashion across the page. But the answer to how they affect these changes in each other seems as though it will forever elude the dualist. The first argument put forth by Socrates to support the immortality of the soul is what is now called the "Cyclical Argument"(C.A.). The first premise is that opposites "necessarily come to be from their opposites"(70e). For example, dark comes form light and light from dark. The opposite to life is death gidiizing; and conversely the opposite to being dead is living. From this, concluded Socrates, we should see that the soul must leave the body in death and go somewhere until the return to life through birth,and therefore the soul is immortal. The weaknesses in this argument are manifest. The initial premise that opposites come from their opposites is not always the case. As has ,(‘QJ “EMF” awe @ flow cmfik M~WVMWW_M_WM~._~. an we . . . ’I been pelnted out to mé:}unr1pe may come from r1pe}mmmfin NWWQ. but ripe does not come from unripe. Furthermore,: the argument assumes what it is trying to he prove, C)?DDTNG75 5 namely that the soul has seperate substantiality. Enumd The soul is assumed to leave the body in death; but, it is this that Socrates is trying to prove. . Wmfifié‘vmagf The second argument, or "Recollection Argument" 1W5EQfiJfiTW ‘ ftrfi (R.A.)f, has as its initial premise the recognition that recollection occurs. I look up from this page and see my Miles Davis "Kind of Blue“ CD. and immediately the strains of "So What"(one of the songs from the CD.) come to mind; I also remember that it was Miles Davis who gave John Coltrane his first break subsequently John Coltrane's image comes to mind. Recollection occurs with respect to forms as well. Two similar objectst decide, are equal. wmfiJ3 fik ,1 But the form of equal by which I determine equality is not the same as the two equal things. My nub“ knowledge of Equal is brought to this particular wmxfi yayfiflwu we? instance of equality. The knowledge of equality is mmcég %KFMEV in me before I ever experience an instantiation of Wme (flu. me am: elm-k WM‘ {q x K I . ‘4 rfi seawa") ,equality. But because I began to experience “from the instant of my birth, the knowledge of the Equal must have been acquired prior to my birth. In order for this to be, my soul must have existed prior to the coming into existence of my body. Socrates points out that the necessary existence of the soul prior to the existence of the body is contingent on the necessary existence of the forms. For it is the am; auw ’ - Am (a, me cwnwsm WNW WW. The want; nmxwma aeffr z E 6 forms, their reality, which I recollect and which subsequently proves the pre—existence of my soul. The "R.A." succeeds in proving the pre—existence of the soul (from the body >and consequently its seperate substantiality. But what remains to be proven is the post—existence of the soul from the body as well as the immortality of the soul. soul is not proven immortal because I could say that it existed for a finite period of time prior to any body and that in that time it gained knowledge of the forms which are later recollected while in the body. Socrates introduces the “Affinity Argument“ in order to approximate the nature of the soul and to distinguish it from the body. The soul is not a composite and is indivisible. In contrast the body is a composite and eminently divisible. Insofar as the forms are immutable so too is the soul, which alone is able to perceive their reality, likewise immutable. The senses are only able to perceive the changeable world. Those things which do not change, namely the forms, are only perceivable by the "reasoning power of the mind"(79a). Soul and mind whereas the the are synonymous body is corporeal and therefore visible, soul is incorporeal and subsequently invisible. By comparison the soul more The :Agemuu i alumna 1 (Uva M i FAMV/f fiwflu A Quail“? an nfifi 7 , 13M? \‘ a _ a‘é WQVL A 1w closely approaches the divine whereas the body is W“yyj human; the former forever escapes death whereas the nwwtflg latter is mortal land will eventually die. If, during life, the soul has successfully kept a distance between itself and the body then death would see the eventual destruction of the body and the now liberated soul amongst the good, pure and unconfused. Simmias makes an objection to the immortality of the soul by way of an analogy. The body is compared to a lyre and the soul becomes the harmony. Harmony too is invisible, incorporeal with the lyre being v/// bodily and therefore mortal. But when the lyre is destroyed so too is harmony destroyed. Perhaps it w E is the same for the body and soul suggests Simmias. (VNWNM \ K «:6’ Socrates easily rebuffs Simmias' reputation by (EQM‘ pointing out that the lyre and its strings, until ff they are tuned, pre—exist the harmony and will exist after its demise. Whereas the "R.A.“ had already proven the pre—existence of the soul to the body. « g 4:: The relationship of the soul to the body is not AwflfiiELfififl analogous to the relationship between harmony and 2?:72 J the lyre. Cebes refutation to the immortality of the soul is more sophisticated than Simmias'. Cebes grants that the pre—existence has ben successfully proven; but, he contends, this does not prove its indestructibility and therefore its immortality. Cebes draws the analogy between a weaver and the cloaks he weaves and the soul and the bodies it inhabits. The weaver may outlive many cloaks but eventually he will die and the cloak that is with him when he dies can be said to have outlived him. A soul may travel through several bodies but eventually it too will decay and be destroyed. The final body as corpse will then exist beyond the destruction of the soul. Cebes' contention is that we never know if death will mean not only the eventual destruction of the body but also of the soul. What emerges from Socrates' response to Cebes criticism is known as the "Exclusion of Opposites Argument" (E.O.A.). Particulars are as such k en“ according tovnature of the Form in which it shares. Those particular instances of beauty are beautiful according to the form of Beauty. Forget for a moment your peculiar criteria of beauty, Socrates urges. Forms exist and particular instances are described according to thggwbecause they share in 7 MWw—w—w them. Thin is thin because it shares in the form of 7 1L QM mub £43,%mi v: aim». ,fig‘smld m ' ' 1 (L M in berg/«ll was aw u it? 9 Thinness; similarly, fat is fat because it shares in the form of Fatness. The C.A. instantiated come.from each other: fat comes from thin and thin comes from fat. But this argument contends that the opposites cannot become each other and still remain what they are: thin cannot become fat and still be thin. The form of Thin excludes the form of Fat. Even if the particulars are not showed that opposites m we “agenda-'7‘ amwmmfi fiwfi vzmd‘,“ opposites, such as two and three, if the forms they fjikxa bring, Even and Odd respectively, are opposite they }» ‘would be forced to exclude each other. Opposite to \ ,‘NQ life is death. Life, then, is "deathless“(105) That which brings life to a body is the soul. According to the "E.O.A.", opposites do not admit of each other. And that which carries and/opposite will not be admitted by the opposing opposite. Therefore the soul will not admit of death because it carries death's opposite, life. The soul, then, can be described as deathless and subsequently indestructible. (106d) And thus, if the soul is deathless and indestructible, it can be described as immortal. Lets say that I identify myself with my soul, which is my mind as I know it. And lets W say that this soul is indeed immortal. How true is it to say that it is I who am immortal? The soul when it mm mm mm WWW “was r: mu 7”? Wm? 11K Nome by a. (5 mm: with?” rum-ml “Ami we“ mag; «é Sorder ‘be a part of our memory. 10 newly enters a body does so with out memory of particular instances. The soul does bring with it a latent understanding of the forms which can be uncovered through recollection. The nature of the recollection is such that as the mind comes into contact with particular instances, as perceived through the senses, knowledge is recalled and 'becomes a part of the memory of this life. For in for knowledge to be called knowledge it must How else do we identify ourselves but by the uniqueness of our memory and what is stored therein. Those items or bits of knowledge which are unique in this memory is knowledge of particular instances. Knowledge of the forms we all have. But we each have our own particular experience of which forms we encounter as instantiation. If knowledge of particulars is wiped away the instant the soul enters a new body then so too is the person wiped away who was defined by those memories. Therefore, although Socrates may have proven, for the time being, the immortality of the soul, he has not proven personal immortality. And how could we feel anything but indifference for that which has no connection to, or bearing on, who we are. \ t w 53: “Mng is mmwfl ‘ ...
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This note was uploaded on 06/12/2008 for the course PHI 312F taught by Professor Morrison during the Summer '97 term at University of Toronto.

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Plato - Mo‘s WEN) PM: For: Tag Imam-m O; “mam W) Tim...

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