Plato's Final Argument For The Imorality Of The Soul

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In the Phaedo, Plato provides several arguments in an attempt to prove the immorality of the soul. In this essay, I will focus on his Final Argument, which describes the Forms as causes, subject to destruction or displacement when the particular undergoes some change. Next, I will show how Socrates applies these ideas to argue for the immortality of the soul. Finally, I will present a few reservations I have about the validity of this argument. The Final Argument emerges from Socrates’ response to Cebes’ objection, which questions whether the soul is truly immortal and can exist after death. Socrates’ argument involves the Theory of Forms, and he begins by describing the Forms as self-predicated and as causes of sensible things. Plato is …show more content…
My objections target the deathless nature of the soul. The first deals with Socrates’ notion that the soul cannot be destroyed. Socrates takes the soul to be like snow, which brings with it a necessary predicate. Snow, for example, brings with it the Form of Coldness and cannot admit the Form of Hotness. However, when approached by heat, the Coldness of the snow must either retreat or be destroyed, resulting in the snow ceasing to be. Snow can be destroyed by the presence of heat. I feel we can make the same argument for the soul. Even though the soul cannot admit death, it seems that it should be able to be destroyed in its presence. There does not seem to me to be any reason why the same logic could not be applied. Socrates refutes this by suggesting that what is deathless is also indestructible; therefore, the soul cannot be destroyed. I do not, however, find this to be …show more content…
I believe that, by using Socrates’ own arguments, we can see that the soul cannot, in fact, be deathless. Socrates says that the soul is what gives the body life: “what is it that, present in a body, makes it living? – A soul” (Plato, Phaedo, 105d). So, it seems that, without the soul, the body itself would be lifeless. If the soul is the only thing that gives the body life, then how is it possible for us to die? Death can only destroy living things. For us to die, death would have to destroy the living part of us—namely, the soul. If the soul is deathless, then it seems impossible for us to die. Nevertheless, Socrates claims that “when death comes to man, the mortal part of him dies, it seems, but the deathless part of him goes away safe and indestructible” (Plato, Phaedo, 106e). The only way I can make sense of this potential inconsistency is by assuming that, when death approaches the body, the soul retreats and therefore removes what gives the body life. In that way, it seems as though human death might be possible. But Socrates does not explicitly account for this, so again I remain

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