Plato on soul and body.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This thesis examines the development of Plato's thought on the subject of the soul-body relation. I will not attempt to cover everything that Plato says about the soul - for example I will discuss 'proofs' of immorality only in so far as they have a bearing on the interpretation of soul and body. In this life at least human beings have both a soul and a body; as a result, the soul by necessity interacts with the body. This interaction, though, is not simply an interrelation between two completely different and separate entities; rather the relation between soul and body is far more complicated.
The purpose of the introduction is to present a preliminary view of the soul, in that way we could better understand the background that Plato had to take under consideration. Within the introduction the Apology is used so as to show the importance of the idea of the soul in Socratic ethics, and to indicate that the Socratic idea that we should care for the soul rather than the body, becomes crucial within Plato's philosophy. The dialogues that follow, the Gorgias and the Meno, provide early indications of the complex relation required between soul and body, for Plato's moral, metaphysical and epistemological concerns. Thus, although Plato, in these dialogues, does not give us a clear definition of the soul's nature and its relation to the body, the perplexity and ambiguity concerning the soul's nature leads to the more detailed analysis of it in later dialogues.
The Phaedo appears to offer a view of the soul as a simple immaterial entity wholly distinct from the body. Even within this dialogue, though, there are signs that this simple view of the soul is not adequate for Plato's moral and metaphysical concerns, this becomes evident as well in the Symposium.
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