Plato was one of the outstanding Ancient Greek philosophers. Most of his teachings were based on his conception of the ideas, which explained human nature, life, soul, relationships, and the state. Plato expressed his philosophy in the dialogues, among which the Phaedo and The Republic take a very important place. The aim of this essay is to explain the ideas of Plato reflected in his dialogues.
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The Concept of Soul
The concept of the soul plays a crucial role in Plato’s teachings. The philosopher explains it as the reflection of human ideas. According to Plato, the soul is similar to the winged chariot with two horses, one of which is beautiful, patient, and kind, whereas another one is its exact antithesis; it is driven by its feelings and emotions (Phaedo n.pag.). In the context of man’s existence, the soul means that life does not end after death as the soul continues to live separately from the physical body.
Plato says that the soul is derived from the unseen world, the world of ideas. Therefore, life on the Earth is only the stage in the soul’s existence. The philosopher states that the soul is immortal. During the physical life, it develops and changes as it is liable to the thinking, without which its spiritual development is impossible. According to Plato, death is the judgment of the man’s life and his actions. If he is not faithful and does not hearken to the voice of his conscience, his soul is covered with scars. In contrast, if he is faithful and honest, his soul remains pure.
Plato’s Reasons for Soul Immortality
Plato explained the immortality of the human soul by giving the four arguments. One of them is based on his theory of recollection. Plato says that the body of the man is something visible and complex, and, thus, prone to die and dissolve. In contrast, the soul and ideas are unseen, simple, and cannot be disintegrated, and, therefore, they are eternal. I agree with this argument. I think that it is logical that the soul, which is represented by the minds and ideas, never dies, as the minds and ideas are separate from the physical body. The soul develops during physical life and it reflects the human perception of reality. It represents the inner world of man. It exists but cannot be seen, thus, we cannot say that, when the man dies, his soul ceases to exist.
The Allegory of Cave
Plato presented his famous allegory of the cave in his dialogue The Republic. The cave embodies the sensual world of the man and restrains his ability to go beyond the frameworks of his perceptions and emotions. The soul develops when the man does break the limits of the cave when he tries to analyze and is anxious for knowledge and learning. People, who live in the cave, destroy their souls as they learn by the physical experience, not the spiritual one.
In order to summarize all the above mentioned, it should be said that the philosophical teachings of Plato are based on his concept of ideas. The soul is the reflection of the man’s thinking. According to Plato, the soul is immortal and it derives from the highest good or the unseen world. In the allegory of the cave, the philosopher argues that people cannot achieve a higher level of spiritual development until they go beyond the frameworks of the sensual perception of the world.
Plato n.d., Phaedo. Web.
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