The Soul is Distinct from the Body: Plato's Dualist View

Good Essays
Topics: Soul
‘Evaluate the claim that the soul is distinct from the body’ (35 marks)
Plato- A dualist View
Plato suggests that the soul is distinct from the body. The soul is immortal whereas the body is mortal. At the end of life the soul is set free from the body. Plato writes that a human person is a soul ‘imprisoned’ in a body. For Plato the goal of the soul is the world of Forms, which can only be seen indirectly in the physical world.
Plato argues that real knowledge of the forms comes from the soul. He suggests that when we learn, what we are actually doing is recalling back to mind the knowledge about the Forms that the soul had before it was incarnated in the body.
Plato’s view of the body is rather negative, as the body distracts the soul from seeking knowledge of the world of Forms.
Plato’s description of the soul
Plato describes the soul as ‘simple’ and ‘without parts’. This means that the soul cannot be divided up or split into different sections. However, when Plato talks about the soul in the body he describes it as ‘complex’. By this, Plato means that there are different aspects of the soul. When Plato talks about the complexity of the soul, it is still ‘simple’ and ‘without parts’. Plato identified three important aspects of the soul when it is incarnate.
The evidence for the different aspects of the soul comes from conflict between the aspects of the soul. Anthony Kenny gives a helpful example to explain this idea: think of a young child (who has not reached the age of reason) throwing a tantrum. Kenny suggests that this illustrates Plato’s lack of harmony in the soul. The child throwing a tantrum shows that spirit and desire are not being directed by reason.
Plato argues that harmony of the soul is a virtue. One way to understand this is to think of what it means to be healthy- health is concerned with all parts of your mind and body working as they should do, together. If you lack health it means some part or other of your mind or body us not functioning

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Satisfactory Essays

    An important fact about Plato is that he was a Dualist. This means that he saw the world comprised of two sorts of things. One subject where this belief especially comes together, is his view on human beings. Plato believed that a human was comprised of a body, which is physical, and a soul, which is spiritual. His ideas on the subject, although not originally his, became the first fully developed ideas in Western Philosophy of human beings consisting of two parts. Like his teacher, Socrates, Plato…

    • 299 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    paper June 2011 Philosophy 2. Evaluate the claim that the soul is distinct from the body. There are many different views that the soul is distinct from the body of which appose this claim but at the same time there are those who agree with it. A famous Greek Philosopher named Plato was a duellist who believed that the soul is indeed distinct from the body. Plato believed that the soul is more important than the body as the body is apart of the empirical world and like all objects is subject…

    • 698 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    View of the Soul

    • 1283 Words
    • 6 Pages

    3-8-13 Aristotle vs. Plato: Views on the Soul The happening which took place in the sixth and fifth centuries in how the Greeks thought and spoke of the soul resulted in a very complicated notion that comes out as one as outstanding close to conceptions of the soul that we find in philosophical theories, especially Plato’s and Aristotle’s theories. In doing so they changed the ways that we look at the soul, and how we view philosophy. But when looking at their views, are they really the same in…

    • 1283 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    solution to the problem that although there is underlying stability in the world (sun comes up every morning), it is constantly changing (you never step into the same river twice). An old theory about this is problem is that we gain all knowledge from our senses empirically. But Plato disagreed with this and described that because the world is constantly changing, our senses cannot be trusted. So, he was actually advocating that we do not learn new things, we remember them or in other words, knowledge…

    • 2584 Words
    • 11 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Dao Le Prof. Mark Cronin HU 102 - HD April 2, 2012 The Immortality of the Soul in Plato’s Phaedo Among Plato’s dialogues, which serve to honor the realm of philosophy in general and Socrates’s life in particular, the Phaedo dramatically and poignantly portrays the death scene of Socrates. The Phaedo evokes such tragic sentiments of pity and fear while at the same time glorifies Socrates as the martyr for the truth. He dies because of human’s injustice yet faces his own death with extraordinary…

    • 2893 Words
    • 12 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Socrates’ passage is formulated by the knowledge that the soul consists of three parts that are predisposed by our own desires. He is fundamentally attempting to disprove the notion that the soul is one. Throughout Plato’s Republic, Socrates formulates an argument that is cohesive with the notion that one’s soul consists of three parts. He begins this argument by alluding to the fact that we need to determine whether or not the parts of our soul are similar, or different. “The same thing will not…

    • 193 Words
    • 1 Page
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    body and soul

    • 1050 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Body and soul You are running, eating carrots and checking your BMI all the time. This “being healthy” thing is starting to be annoying. But for being healthy you need to suffer... Right? Everyone wants to be healthy and you should, but some take it too seriously and won't enjoy life with full strength. And some don't give a damn and just eat anything they like and they don't exercise almost at all. What should you do then? Well I think the best way is mix of both. Eating habits are…

    • 1050 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Body and Soul

    • 804 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The Dying Generation The body is a material thing. Over time it becomes incapable to continue in the physical world. The soul is trapped within the body, and when the body can no longer continue in the physical world the soul wants to transcend to an otherworldly plane. In William Butler Yeats’s poem “Sailing to Byzantium” the speaker describes the journey to release the soul from his ageing body. The poet uses imagery of life such as birds, trees, salmon, and mackerel crowded seas. These images…

    • 804 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    pleasure that he experiences from being released from his chains is directly related to the pain that he experienced from being enchained. b) 67b: Death is the separation of the soul from the body. We shall be closest to knowledge (in live) if we refrain as much as possible from association with the body and do not fall to bodily pleasures but live a purified life. Philosophers are only concerned with the well-being of their souls and the best kind of wisdom comes from reason alone,…

    • 992 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    “There is no soul that outlasts the body” Some people, also known as dualists, disagree with this statement, as they believe in the existence of soul in human beings. NDE is one their main arguments. They claim that NDEs show there must be a part of us that can exist without our bodies, because a patient once heard the conversation of the surgeons during her operation of the brain where her senses should be numb. This also proves that the soul is free from the body. Moreover, some dualists feel like…

    • 334 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays