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A coherent account of Plato's concept of the body/soul distinction.

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Introduction

Scott Bissett L6Du A] Give a coherent account of Plato's concept of the body/soul distinction. B] Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Plato's Dualism. A: Plato believed that humans could be broken down into 3 parts: the body, the mind and the soul. The body is the physical part of the body that is only concerned with the material world, and through which we are able to experience the world we live in. it wants to experience self-gratification. It is mortal, and when it dies, it is truly dead. The mind is directed towards the heavenly realm of Ideas, and is immortal. It is with our minds that we are able to understand the eternal world of the Forms. ...read more.

Middle

B: Plato's dualism was a combination of the key ideas from both Materialism and Idealism. His theory that we had both a physical body, and a soul/mind and that the soul/mind is a thinking being, complete in itself, and capable of living without the body. A strength of Plato's Dualism is that it says there is more to living than just what we are always aware of, as just because the physical world seems hard, there are other ways of living. Another strength is that he doesn't deny the existence of the physical world as an idealist might, but just says that the physical world isn't as importance, that we should be seeking to understand the world of Forms. ...read more.

Conclusion

Modern neuroscience can show the dependence of the mind on the soul empirically, which Plato's theory of a simple immortal soul cannot be verified. If, as Plato claims, the mind is a non-material body that cannot affect the body, then there is no explanation for why footballers chase after a ball. The body has no reason to do this, except that it is told to do so by the mind. The body is not entirely dependant on the mind, as after death the body can continue to work for a few seconds, until the muscles etc stop receiving electrical impulses. Plato says that a person's mind is what creates their identity, however people recognise each other by their body, not by their mind. ...read more.

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