Plato’s Phaedo “Arguments on the Immortality of the Soul”

In the argument: the opposites from the opposites, Plato’s Phaedo’s arguments on the immortality of the soul are dependent on his beliefs on the form revealing that life and death are opposite.

The second argument of Phaedo (opposites from opposites) states that things that have contrary traits were once in their opposite form. For example, something that is big was once small; it just became big because it had been small before. Socrates argues that it is from the first opposite that the second opposite emanates. He, therefore, holds that life and death are opposite states of the body and hence through death, the body attains life and through life, the body dies (Stanford 89). Thus, the soul inhabits the body to keep it alive and when the soul leaves the body, the body dies. From the above explanation by Socrates, it, therefore, goes without saying that life and death are opposite, since opposites are generated only from opposites, and with death comes life but only if the soul already exist before the body and the soul exist before the body if the body had died before. This depicts that the soul continues to exist even after the death of the body. The inference drawn is that through birth, the dead generate the living and the souls of the dead must be existing for them to recover life (Stanford 120).

This argument might be applied in my personal life since I am made up of the body and soul. Thus, I am persuaded to believe that I shall live again after my death since my soul shall not be destroyed with death. As the argument suggests, death is the opposite of life and that they are cyclical which means that I came from the dead to live and since I live, I shall die and after death, I still shall come back to life. This is possible because the soul does not change form and it’s the one that brings life when it enters a body and when it leaves the body, the body dies. For example, I was named after my grandfather who died long before I was born. This means that my grandfather lives in me and therefore to our family his soul never died. When I too die, my lineage will be named after me and the cycle shall continue with the belief that it’s the same soul that is changing bodies.

This argument might be applicable in the third argument that the soul never ceases to exist even after the death of the body. That the soul is like forms since it is invisible and metaphysically superior and forms continue existing as they are not composed of parts. This argument postulates that the soul can only cease to exist if it decomposes but forms do not decompose and the soul resembles the forms. Therefore, the soul always exists. Since the soul never ceases to exist, then this argument can easily be integrated with the first argument that when the soul leaves the body, that body dies and the soul goes to another body to give it life. This creates a cycle where the soul moves from one body to another. It therefore follows that indeed it’s the soul which rule and lead the body since the body has no control over the soul (Stanford 140). Thus the body operates under the mercy of the soul which is like divine. Since the soul never dies, it implies that it does not change its state and hence it’s able to control the body which always changes its state, thus making the body to live and die.

Works Cited

Stanford C. Stuart, Plato. Phaedo: or, the immortality of the soul. Hurst, 1993.

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