‘A disembodied existence after death is entirely possible’ Discuss.
Plato takes a dualist view and therefore believes that a disembodied existence is entirely possible and the soul is distinct from the body. At our death, the soul is set free from the body where it has been ‘imprisoned’ and it is now able to achieve its ultimate goal and reach the world of the forms. The soul is the only immortal part of the body and survived the world of the forms before it came entrapped in the body, thus when we learn we are simply recalling what our soul knew before. Plato holds a negative view of the body as it distracts the soul from seeking the forms with its trivial worldly desires such as sex. If we want to be true philosophers we need to avoid distractions and concentrate on gaining knowledge of the forms. In order to further explain this Plato uses the chariot analogy in which the mind and body are out of control horses and the soul is being driven by the in the chariot so needs to reign them in and control them. The soul outside of the body is simple and without parts yet the soul inside the body is complex and has different aspects such as reason, spirit and desire. Peter Geach disagreed with Plato and questioned what is can mean for the disembodied soul to see the forms, given that seeing is a process linked to the body and the bodies’ senses.
Plato has two main arguments to prove the existence of the soul; the first is the argument from knowledge which argues that learning is simply remembering what the soul has previously known in the world of the forms. We just need to remember it, and this shows that things exist before we learn them for example; gravity existed before we knew it. However, many people argue that learning is not a matter of remembering, but instead is a matter of acquiring new knowledge. The second is the argument for opposites in which Plato argued that the physical world consists of opposites such as big and small, light and...
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