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Plato Questions - Concept of the Soul

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Plato Questions a) Explain Plato's concept of the soul and its relationship to the body. Plato was a dualist. He believed that we are dual creatures, the soul is distinct from the body and vice versa. The body has extension (it takes up space) and is impermanent: it has a beginning and will have an end. The soul takes up no space and is immortal: it pre-existed our body and will live forever. Plato believed that the soul was immortal; it was in existence before the body and it continues to exist when the body dies. Plato thought this to be true because of his Theory of Forms. Plato thought we had such ideas as a 'perfect circle', not because we have seen one before or that it had been described to us, but the image was already known to us through the world of Forms. Plato was also a rationalist. He believed that you only have true knowledge and understanding of reality through reason. The physical world is inferior, or course, to the realm of Forms. ...read more.


The spirited or emotional part seeks honor and dignity. Finally, the intellectual part seeks truth and knowledge. However, Plato also believed that the mind and the body are often in opposition. The mind wants to understand ideas, to gain real knowledge of the Forms; but the body is interested in sense pleasures, and it has needs such as eating and sleeping which are constantly getting in the way of intellectual persuits, because the keep interrupting. Often, the demands of the body are so great that they take over completely, cluttering the mind with thoughts of what might be for lunch, or whether we are looking our best, or whether we are too hot or too cold. He thought that the intellectual part or power must be in control, or otherwise our bodily desires will wreak havoc in its reckless striving for its own fulfillment (Plato uses the metaphor of a many-headed beast, which devours itself in self-consumption). An example of Plato's writings: "The body is the source of endless trouble to us by reason of the mere requirement of food; and is liable also to diseases which overtake and impede ...read more.


It is connected with Plato's view that all real knowledge is remembering, recollection. As a person discovers different elements of the physical world, this begins a process of remembering. The soul, or psyche, begins to remember the world of Forms which it once inhabited, and it longs to return to this unchanging world; it has become dissatisfied with the limitations of the body and the world of appearances. b) To what extent is Plato convincing in his views on the soul's 'innate knowledge'? Plato's views on the soul's 'innate knowledge' is that the soul has the knowledge of the world of Forms, but when it enters the body at birth, it forgets its knowledge and understanding of its natural realm, because it is in the body. Plato believes that as we live our life, the soul gradually 'wakes up' as we see particulars, which remind it of the ultimate Forms, of which the particulars are mere reflections of. The soul wants to return to the world of Forms, and be free of the body. ...read more.

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