Pheddo: The Affinity Argument In The Phaedo

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[Step 1] In the Phaedo, Socrates makes an argument that the soul must be immortal (78b-84b). This argument is referred to as the Affinity Argument. It begins at 78b in the Phaedo, when Socrates asks to which class of things the soul belongs. What Socrates means by the “soul” is the self; the mind (Phaedo 65c & 66e). What Socrates means by “class” is class of existence. This is best illustrated in another of Plato’s accounts of Socrates, The Republic, where his standard of measurement of existence is represented by a vertical line (509d). The line is divided into two halves; the visible and invisible (Phaedo 79a). Each of these halves are also divided, to make four total levels of being – the bottom two for the visible, and the top …show more content…
If the soul is the self, the mind, and it can know things – including the forms and itself – then how can it exist without a brain? And is the brain not material? And doesn’t the brain perish? The soul depends on the physical body, which implies mortality rather than immortality. And if the soul must be immaterial because it knows the forms, then the knowledge of the object must also be like the object in essence. But how can the brain be identical with what it knows? The brain is not playdough. [Step …show more content…
For instance, the mind can know an object like a knife, which is physical, but what of sharpness? How long is sharpness? What does sharpness taste like? How much does it weigh? Sharpness (like numbers – to name another non-empirical thing) is real; yet it is not physical and can only be grasped by the mind. The point here is that if the object of knowledge is immaterial (sharpness) then the knower (the mind/soul) is immaterial too. I do not

think Socrates would jump to this defense initially, but rather would first ask for clarification: is the objection with his argument (the brain) an objection of a cause/effect relation between the soul and the brain – or is the point the objection trying to make that the two are really not two different things, but rather the same thing (brain). [Step

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