Why does Plato think that the soul is immortal? Is he right? Discuss with close reference to Phaedo 102a-107b.
The Phaedo is Plato’s attempt to convince the reader of the immortality of the soul using four main arguments. These include the argument of affinity, recollection, Forms and the law of opposites. In the final passage of the Phaedo, (Grube, 2002:102a-107b), Plato provides his ‘Final Proof’, despite seeming like the most conclusive argument it is not necessarily the most convincing. Plato has some good points and fair reasoning to believe in the immortality of the soul, however his arguments often seem to make large assumptions without any concrete backing. In this essay I will attempt to expose the flaws in Plato’s argument whilst showing how the conclusion may still be plausible. Plato begins with the argument that opposites come from each other and continues to explain how Forms can never admit their opposite. Plato makes a distinction between accidental and essential properties; to finally show that the soul is immortal by the fact that life is its essential property, therefore cannot admit its opposite, death. In the first passage (102a-103c), Plato seems to be returning to an earlier theory of the law of opposites. At 70c to 72a, Plato makes the argument that all opposites come from each other; ‘when something comes to be larger it must necessarily become larger from having been smaller before’ (70e). This analogy expresses that living must come from being dead, so the souls of the dead must be somewhere so they can come back (72a). I find the following passage convincing despite attacks against Plato. Frede claims things do not necessarily come from their opposite, for example, someone healthy has not necessarily been ill or someone rich has not necessarily come from being poor (Frede, 1978:32) However I disagree with this statement. Seemingly Plato is saying this is what happens, we can only perceive health in terms of illness and illness...
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