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Plato. Born 427 BCLived in AthensFollower of SocratesFounded the AcademyTried and failed to influence politics in SyracuseDied 347 BC. The Dialogues. Plato wrote a number of dialogues between Socrates and his contemporariesThey are usually divided into three periodsEarly: concerning Socrates and his unsuccessful quest for an account of virtue (Euthyphro)Middle: developing Plato's own positions (Meno, Phaedo, Republic)Late: examining problems with Plato's views .

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1. Phaedo Philosophy 21 Fall, 2004 G. J. Mattey

2. Plato Born 427 BC Lived in Athens Follower of Socrates Founded the Academy Tried and failed to influence politics in Syracuse Died 347 BC

3. The Dialogues Plato wrote a number of dialogues between Socrates and his contemporaries They are usually divided into three periods Early: concerning Socrates and his unsuccessful quest for an account of virtue (Euthyphro) Middle: developing Plato’s own positions (Meno, Phaedo, Republic) Late: examining problems with Plato’s views

4. Philosophy and Death Socrates’s imminent execution sets the stage for the dialogue He maintains that one aim of practicing philosophy is to prepare for death Philosophy frees the soul from the body as much as possible in life So the philosopher is thought by the many as being close to death

5. The Body The body is a hindrance to knowledge There is no truth in sight, hearing, etc. Reasoning comes closest to revealing reality We reason best when the body is not troubling the soul The body gives rise to needs and desire, which in turn produce disruptive conflict

6. Imperceptible Reality There are such things as: The Just itself The Beautiful itself The Good itself Each of these is the reality which other things essentially are They should be tracked down using pure thought alone

7. Virtue The philosopher, the lover of wisdom, is contrasted with the lover of the body To face death “courageously” through fear of greater evil is inconsistent To be moderate in order to enhance pleasure is to be mastered by pleasure Only the philosopher can behave truly virtuously, by despising the body

8. Immortality The soul can attain true knowledge only if it is separated from the body True knowledge can be attained after death only if the soul continues to exist How can it be shown that the soul is immortal? This requires “a good deal of faith and persuasive argument”

9. Argument From Opposites Opposites come to be only from opposites Life is the opposite of death So, life comes to be through death Life can come from death only if the soul already exists without the body The soul exists without the body only due to the death of a previous body So, the soul exists after death

10. Recollection and Immortality The example of Meno’s slave supports the theory that all learning is recollection If the theory is true, then what the soul knows when in its present body it must have recollected from a time before it was in that body If the soul existed outside the body, then it is probably immortal

11. How We Recollect We recollect something when we are reminded of it by something else The reminding thing need not exactly resemble the thing of which we are reminded Seeing equal objects reminds us of the Equal itself

12. Perceptible Objects and the Forms Equal objects are considerably deficient with respect to the Equal itself They strive to be the Equal itself but fall short We cannot know of this deficiency unless we already know the Equal itself If we already know the Equal itself, then we recall it when we say that perceptible things are equal

13. The Nature of the Forms The Equal itself is the standard by which things are equal to each other It is one of the Forms, like the Beautiful, the Just, the Good, the Pious These things certainly exist Each one is simple Because they are simple, the Forms are not subject to change

14. Knowledge of the Forms The soul can know the Forms, but not through bodily experience So it either knew the Forms from birth, it acquired the knowledge at birth, or else it recollected them If the Forms were known from birth or were acquired at birth, we would always know them But many people do not know the Forms So, the Forms are known through recollection

15. Argument from Recollection The soul can only know the Equal itself by recollection Recollection requires existence before birth So, the soul existed before birth If the soul existed before birth, then it existed after death [from prior argument] So, the soul exists after death

16. Argument from Simplicity If the soul ceases to exist, it must be because it it has decomposed The Forms are simple and incapable of decomposition The soul resembles the Forms in its simplicity So, the soul is incapable of decomposition So, the soul cannot cease to exist

17. Purification The life one leads determines one’s condition after death Polluted souls will be unhappy Eventually they will be reincarnated into an animal suited to their vices Only the completely pure can join the gods and attain true knowledge This is why philosophy is training for death

18. The Harmony Objection The Pythagoreans conceived of the soul as a harmony and the body like a lyre The harmony ceases to exist when the lyre is destroyed, so the soul would cease to exist upon the death of the body But a harmony is formed after the lyre, so if the soul were the harmony of the body, recollection would be impossible And we could not explain virtue and vice in terms of harmony and disharmony So the harmony account of the soul is rejected

19. The “Cloak” Objection The soul is said to outlast many bodies because it existed before those bodies Similarly, a man exists before many cloaks he wears out, and yet the last cloak of a person survives after the person’s death So the soul might be wearing its “last body” (which survives as a corpse after death)

20. The Forms as Causes Answering the cloak objection requires an investigation into causes Physical explanations of causes are inadequate The Beautiful itself exists, and it is beautiful The cause of something’s being beautiful is explained by the thing’s sharing in the Beautiful itself

21. Admitting the Opposite Forms do not admit of their opposites E.g., the Odd can never be the Even What necessarily brings along a property does not admit the opposite of that property A triad can never become even

22. The Final Argument The soul can only bring life to the body into which it enters So, the soul does not admit the opposite of life The opposite of life is death So, the soul never admits death So, the soul is deathless What is deathless is indestructible So, the soul is indestructible

23. The Underworld When the soul leaves the body at the body’s death, it journeys to the underworld Socrates gives a detailed description (which he admits is not certain) of the underworld The wicked receive repeated punishment until they repent The virtuous are freed to live in the sunshine in beautiful dwelling places on the surface of the earth, and he hopes to join them soon

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