What Is a Soul?

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What is a soul? Is it part of our body? Does it even hold any significant importance? These are all great questions that nobody can be quite sure about. Through this essay, I’m going to dissect the powerful theories on the soul from Plato’s Phaedo and offer insight on how the soul may hold the ultimate key to happiness. In Plato’s Phaedo, Plato speaks on his theories on the existence of the soul through the voice of Socrates. In this dialogue, Socrates has been sentenced to death and talks to two fellow philosophers. On Socrate's last day on earth, instead of being sad, as one would expect, he is actually in a very happy mood. Why is that? It's because Socrates believes in the existence of the soul and its immortality. He believes the soul will survive past his death. Aside from that, Socrates is also excited and pleased with himself because he's so sure that when he dies he's going to go to a realm populated by gods and philosophical souls. Basically, he is certain he will reach heaven. To understand why Socrates believes that he will go to this heavenly realm it's important to also understand his arguments on the existence of the soul. According to Socrates, soul and body have two separate functions. The body takes care of bodily sensations that include desires, wanting, cravings, emotions and feelings. Those are all bodily passions. What the soul does is take care of all the thinking. The soul is rational. The soul thinks about concepts and ideas. It thinks on pure concepts like that of beauty, or goodness, or health. The problem is that as our soul actively attempts to rationalize these concepts, the desires and cravings our body imposes distracts from that. The lusting after sex, food, money gets in the way of the important philosophical thinking that the soul does. [1] Socrates firmly believes that once death comes, the separation of body and soul occur. According to Socrates, a good philosopher attempts to separate his mind from his body...
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