Platos ideas about the soul were revolutionary and intensely advanced for his time, much like the majority of Platos philosophies, yet on the other hand they look like both self-conflicting and flawed. In this article I will check out justify this statement.
Plato was a Greek philosopher numerous views on life and existence. Plato's views on your brain body distinction have been the target of many criticisms since his time. In the republic, he formulated ideas on the allegory of the cave and the theory of the forms. He believed that our existence on earth was only a shadow of an increased spiritual plane, our bodies just a vessel, or even looked after as a cage trapping the soul and restricting it from this higher plain. Plato was a dualist and so believed that whenever the material body dies the soul lives on. He believed that we are dual creatures; the soul is distinct from your body and vice versa. Your body has extension (it requires up space) and is also impermanent: it has a beginning and can have an end. The soul takes up no space and is immortal: it pre-existed our body and will live forever. Plato will not really believe the soul "lives" but that there is a part of existence that exists outside time. Plato's views, are best described in his analogy allegory of the cave where it depicts a "prisoner" that escapes the cave - metaphorical because of this life- and continues on to find everything he once believed in was only a fraction of the truth: - Plato's main philosophy stemmed from the cave and was about knowing the theory of the forms. Here, he thought that the soul is immaterial and is also immortal, however the body- being physical- could be doubted as it was area of the empirical world.
Plato believed that the soul was immortal; it was around prior to the body and it is constantly on the exist when the body dies. Plato thought this to be true because of his Theory of Forms. Plato thought we'd such ideas as a 'perfect circle', not because we have seen one before or that it turned out described to us, however the image was already recognized to us through the world of Forms. This theory also explained the way the soul was generated; the soul already lived a life in the wonderful world of forms, a world that can't be destroyed as the body can be destroyed. Once you die, the soul is free for a short while before being entrapped once more in another body. Plato was also a rationalist. He believed that you merely have true knowledge and understanding of reality through reason. The physical world is inferior, or course, to the realm of Forms. Any knowledge we've of the physical world is through our senses and is subjective and inexact.
Plato's idea of the soul is his dualist position, believing that body and soul are fundamentally distinct. His theory on the soul was produced in his publication Phaedrus. In it Plato was most worried about demonstrating the immortality of the soul and its ability to survive bodily death. He proposed the idea that, like Aristotle's idea of motion, whatever is the source of its motion or animation must be immortal. Plato was writing at the same time in Greek philosophy where popular thoughts and opinions believed that the soul didn't survive death, and this it dispersed into nothing, like breath or smoke. Plato believed that the soul must be immortal by the very nature to be the source of its animation, for it is only through a psyche that things can be living rather than dead. The souls are both animated and at the same time the foundation of its animation. Plato also states that the soul is an intelligible and non-tangible article that can't be destroyed or dispersed, much like his ideas about kinds of non-tangible realities; such as beauty or courage. In a far more simplistic sense, the soul is an application and is outside amount of time in that way.
The argument from affinity, as Plato posited in Phaedrus, states that because the soul can be an invisible and intangible entity, instead of a complex and tangible body; both must be distinct and separate. Plato believed whatever is composite must be divisible, sensible and transient; and whatever is easy must be invisible, indivisible and immutable. Forms bear a resemblance to the simple, immutable entities, such as beauty; however a beautiful painting is transient and palpable. The body shows an affinity to the composite naturally of its mortality and mutability; just like the soul shows a similar affinity to immortality and indivisibleness. To further emphasise the idea, Plato writes ". . . when the soul investigates alone it passes into the realm of what is pure, ever existing, immortal and unchanging, and being comparable to this, it always stays with it whenever it is alone and can do it; it ceases to stray and remains in the same state as it is in touch with things of the same kind" (Phaedo, 79c-d). He argues that just like your body's prime function is to comprehend the material and transient world, the functioning of the soul as an entity of rational and self-reflective thought demonstrates its affiliation with a simple and immutable world; showing that the two are distinct. However Plato does not explore the criticisms of the argument that just because an entity portrays an affiliation, does not necessarily require it to be as whatever it affiliates.
Plato believed that the soul, if it were to be the animator of most living things, must be accountable for a person's mental or psychological activities and responses. For the soul can't be the reason behind life, yet at exactly the same time limited in its influence within the bodies where it animates. However this gives one of the very most serious and potentially defeating criticisms of Plato's views on the soul. He fails to address the issue of the interrelationship between body and soul, if they are indeed distinct. He doesn't mention if the soul act as controller of any lifeless body, or will there be more to the body than the material. Moreover the argument from affiliation would suggest that your body can be involved with the material, composite world whilst the soul can be involved with the invisible and simple world. If this is the case then the soul cannot, following from Plato's argument, have any interaction with the material, bodily world; for then it ceases to be simple and immutable.
An argument from recollection, which Plato first put forward when discussing his theory of the world of the forms, also serves his theory of the soul. Perfect forms, such as equality, are knowable a priori; we've no need for experience to tell us whether two lines are equal length. We must, therefore, know these exact things through recollection of the perfect forms. Therefore, the soul will need to have pre-existed the body to learn these facts a priori.
Plato's argument from opposites was predicated on his proven fact that everything in the observable world has an opposite effect. As Plato writes in his work Phaedo; "If something smaller comes to be it will result from something larger before, which became smaller" (Phaedo, 270d). Quite simply everything we can know comes with an opposite; asleep and awake; hot and cold. Similarly they are really reversible, being an goes from circumstances of sleep to a state of being awake, one can do the contrary. Plato argued that if this were the situation, then the same should connect with life and death. Being an can go from life to death, one must have the ability to go from death alive; of course, if this statement is correct, then the soul must survive this transition and as a result possess immortality and separation from the body. He believed that animation and life was integral to the notion of the soul, just like heat is a part of fire; thus it can't be destroyed and is eternal.
A separate argument from his theory of opposites was that of a similar theory of the forms and their opposites. He explained that no entity can consist of contradictory forms, and therefore one form must necessarily exist and the other not in any particular entity. The quantity five cannot have both the form of even and odd; with the addition of or subtracting one; the proper execution of odd is displaced by even. Plato wrote: "so fire as the cold approaches will either disappear completely or be destroyed; it will never venture to admit coldness and remain what it was, fire and cold" The soul must share in the form of life, for we know that those living have a soul. Therefore, it cannot support the form of death also, for this would be in direct conflict of life. The soul must ontologically necessarily exist, and must therefore be immortal.
Contemporary analysis of Plato's views on the soul produces many criticisms; there is a clear chronological confusion as his work progresses; with the soul starting as an intelligible and non-tangible item, yet progressing to where the soul becomes a complex tripartite entity that is trapped in the material body, yet still longing to enter the world of the forms. Plato demonstrates a contradictory and muddled way of thinking that attempts to find resolutions for flaws in his thinking. The thought of an imperfect entity entering the perfect realm of the forms is one particular logical fallacy in his argument; and he does this by seeking to find reason and justification for his conclusion, rather than seeking a conclusion predicated on most of his own logic.