Exegesis of Phaedo by Plato

Topics: Soul, Socrates, Immortality Pages: 2 (663 words) Published: October 28, 2013

Plato’s “Phaedo” is a dialogue between Socrates and his friends, Cebes and Simmias. These two men have asked Socrates to prove to them that the soul survives after death due to its immortality. Socrates gives them several arguments, which ultimately lead to his conclusion that proves the soul’s immortality and furthermore its perishability. Socrates proves that soul lives despite the body’s death by showing that if an entity has a certain characteristic, it will not accept the characteristic that is the opposite to its own. Socrates believes that the soul and the body are two entirely different things; the body is created to disappear after death and the soul is created to exist forever after death. The first argument that Socrates uses to explain the soul’s immortality uses snow and fire. He explains to Cebes and Simmias that snow possesses the characteristic of cold, whose opposite is heat. When snow, “…is under the influence of heat… the snow will either retire of perish… And the fire too at the advance of cold will either retire or perish” (Plato 1). Socrates clarifies that snow cannot accept the opposite of its characteristic, cold, which is heat. When heat approaches the snow, the entity that possesses coldness, this entity must either retire or perish. It is not possible that snow can remain the same even when being approached by heat because snow is cold. The same is true for when cold approaches fire, which possesses heat. When cold approaches the hot fire, the fire cannot exist anymore and must either retire or perish. Socrates’ second example consists of odd and even numbers. He explains that due to the number three’s oddness, it can never be even. Socrates states that entities will, “… reject the idea which is opposed to that which is contained in them, and when it approaches them they either perish or withdraw” (Plato 2). He clarifies that as long as three remains the number three, it will possess oddness and can therefore never be even, as “…the...
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