The essays have to be exponential. We can agree or disagree. Nicomachean ethics. Aristotle moral theory. Plato Argumentation for the immorality of the soul found in phaedo.The length is not an important issue as long as the essay is well supported. Personally, i would like that you make it really easy when it comes to word choices and ideas. Plz ask me if u have any questions.Kindly, deliver it as soon as possible since ill have to practice them all.Plato’s
Life & Times
Bio: Plato was a student of Socrates and born to an Aristocratic
family, who regarded the existing Athenian Constitution and
Democracy with discontent. Remember, it was the Athenian
Democracy that put Socrates to death.
Plato thought that democracy was like a “mob” that is driven by
the passions/appetites; thus, irrational and easily swayed by the
rhetorical skills of the Sophists.
This leads Plato to the conclusion that the average citizen,
lacking in the virtues(wisdom, courage and temperance), is
incapable of forming a just society within a democracy. The trial
of Socrates demonstrated for Plato the consequences when
justice is detached from wisdom.
Plato’s Theory of Knowledge
and Metaphysics
Plato needed what he called an “Anchor” in order to
overcome/refute both skepticism(that arose from Pre-Socratic
disagreement) and Relativism(that the Sophists advocated).
Plato thought that knowledge must be 1. Infallible, without error,
and 2. Corresponded to what is Real.
Plato will agree with Protagoras that all ‘knowledge’ derived
from the senses is relative(and not free from error) to the
individual. This leads him to conclude that the world of sensory
experiences will not provide him with the anchor/foundation for
his epistemology.
True belief alone is not knowledge
For Plato, a belief that happens to be true alone does not constitute
If John thinks that 2×5=11, then John, even if he believes that it is true,
is not in possession of a true belief.
If Jane thinks that 2×5=10, then Jane has a true belief. But if asked to
explain why 2×5=10, she replies that her teacher told her so/because it
has always been so(tradition), then Plato thinks that Jane does not
possess knowledge. For Plato, Jane has a true belief but she is unable
to give an account/explanation why something is the case. She does
not understand the meaning of numbers, production and equals.
Plato sets the conditions for knowledge as 1. Justified 2. True 3. Belief
Plato’s Dualistic Solution
• Two ways that we may come to understand/know:
1. Senses, the ability to see, hear… the actual physical
world/objects in which we live.
2. Reason, the ability to comprehend truths of math, logic and,
for Plato, the universal or essential nature of a thing.
For Plato, the world of the senses is always in a state of
“Flux”(Heraclites)/ Realm of becoming and not a suitable place
for his criteria for knowledge.
“True Knowledge” is the knowledge of the Universal/Forms.
Why? This provides Plato with a rational explanation of how
knowledge is possible. Reason alone will give Plato the “Anchor,”
and this is the Realm of Being(Parmenides).
Plato’s Republic
In the Republic, Plato describes how 1. the human mind achieves
knowledge and 2. what knowledge consists of in:
(1) The divided line
(2) The Simile of the Sun
(3) Allegory of the cave.
Plato’s Doctrine of the
The divided line gives us Plato’s theory of knowledge and
metaphysics of hierarchy. A simile is a comparison that is made
to illuminate how two different things are alike. For Allegory,
think back to the Parables found in the Gospels: A story designed
to convey a greater/hidden truth.
Plato’s Divided Line
Plato’s “Four Stages of Cognition”
Intell/ Pure reason
Actual Phy. Object/
in the Sun
In the Cave
Plato’s Doctrine of the Forms
Divided Line: IV Republic
In the process of discovering knowledge the mind moves thru 4 stages
of cognitive(Intellectual) understanding/development.
*At each level, there is a parallel between the kind of object presented
to the mind and kind of thought this object makes possible. I will
present the level of knowledge and object from lowest level to the
highest level:
Beginning with the world of the Senses: 1. Imagination(level of
knowledge) to images(object is shadows/images like pictures) 2.
Belief(level of knowledge) to the actual physical objects(the particular
Plato’s theory of the visible world
In the Cave=Shadows/Ignorance
Visible Realm
Mode of Thought(Knowledge)
I. Imagining
Images (shadows, pictures)
Imagining occurs when images(shadows/pictures) are taken as
the highest level of reality. The mind does not know that the
image is a shad/pic and takes it for the real thing. Plato considers
the images created by the artist/poet as deceptive. In class we
discussed how images generated by media(mag. covers, video
games…) distorted our opinions and thereby our notions of what
is real. For Plato, poetry and rhetoric are the most serious
sources of illusion.
Plato’s theory of the Visible World
In the Cave=Shadows/Ignorance
Visible Realm
Mode of thought(Knowledge)
II. Belief/Percep.
Actual phys. Obj./Particular
Belief is the state of mind when we actually see the physical object. Plato says
seeing only constitutes believing since the visible objects depend upon their
context for many of their characteristics. Remember, a belief even when true
does not meet the criteria for knowledge(according to Plato). Think back
about our discussion when two different artists sketch the same desk from
two different perspectives(How a pencil appears broken in water).
*Believing even if it is based upon seeing, is still in the stage of opinion/not
knowledge. State of mind produced by the actual object is at a higher level
than imag. Since it is based upon a higher form of reality-but it is not knowing
Plato’s Theory of the Intelligible World
In the Sun=Good/Knowledge
Rational Realm
Mode of thought(Knowledge)
III. Reasoning
When one moves from believing to reasoning/thinking, one
moves from the realm of opinion(cave) to the realm of
*The state of mind Plato refers to as thinking is the activity of the
scientists. We look at a particular triangle(physical triangle) then
move to the theory of abstraction: that the interior angles of all
triangles =180 degrees. Aristotle says, “Math is between the
form and sensible things”.
Plato’s Theory of the Intelligible World
In the Sun=Good/Knowledge
Mode of Thought(Knowledge)
Rational Realm
IV. Pure Understanding/Intell.
Forms and The Good
According to Plato, the mind does not rest as long as it must still ask for a
fuller/further explanation of things. In prefect knowledge, the mind wants to
grasp the relation of everything to everything else:*Unity of the whole reality.
At this level, the mind is completely released from the sensible object(the
particular dog or human).
Mind is dealing directly with the forms. *Forms are intelligible objects, such
as the prefect triangle/trianglness, Round/Roundness, Human/Humaness that
has been abstracted from the actual imperfect “copy “or object: the physical
triangle, round ball, human…
Allegory of the Cave
The Good
Sun= The Good and the * idea of the Good is the highest ‘form’
of reality and knowledge. Plato says that “the forms are the
cause or essence of all things(the physical/particular dog,
human…), and the one[Good] is the cause of the forms.”
The Good is also the “universal cause of all things right and
beautiful”-the source of truth and reason.
Like the sun gives light to see life and heat to sustain life, the
good gives reason to understand the forms and essence that
preserves the forms.
The cave is the world of the senses and when taken as the
highest level of reality, the cause of shadows and imagining:
Allegory of the Cave
The allegory makes it clear that the “ascent” of the line is a
progress which needs effort and discipline: the importance of
education. For Plato, this educ. is most important for the
philosophers kings. Remember, Plato does not think that most
citizens have the ability(intell.) to ever rise to the level of
understanding the forms thus leave the cave.
The fire in the cave then stands for the sun in the visible realm.
Shadows on the wall the images/pics that we confuse for the
real. The actual artifacts carried by the people that create the
shadows then are the actual physical object that we see in the
world of the senses i.e. actual tree, triangle, human….
Plato’s Doctrine of the Forms
What are the Forms?
Forms: (are those)
i. Changeless
ii. Eternal
iii. Non-material
Essence/patterns of which the actual visible objects we see are
only poor copies.
In the Republic, when a plurality of things have a common name,
they also have a corresponding Form.
Plato is arguing that “knowledge is absolute, without error,
because the “true object of thought (what the mind takes for
knowledge or reality) is not in the sensible realm, ( the sensible
is always changing), but the i. changeless and ii. eternal Forms.
Relation of Forms to things(particulars)
The Forms can be related in three ways:
i. Form is the cause and essence of a thing.
ii. Thing may be said to participate in a Form.
iii. Thing may imitate or copy a Form.
• Remember, the Forms for Plato have independent existence
from the physical things. They don’t exist in the realm of the
senses the way the particular dog, tree or human does. They
are also more than just a concept of the mind.
• That is, they transcend the realm of the senses though they
are the cause of essence of the things we see.
How we come to know the Forms
We can come to know the Forms in three ways:
Recollection: soul exists before its material body and was in
some way in the presence of the Forms. Visible things
remind us of the forms once known. Education then is a
process of reminiscences/remembering.
ii. Dialectic: power of abstracting the essence of a thing. We
come to understand the underlying characteristics that
things have in common.
iii. Eros: step by step process of love of the beautiful object to
love of the concept of beautiful to finally love of the Form of
Plato’s Tripartite Condition of the
Plato divides the Soul into three chief components:
1. Reason
is awareness of a Goal/ seeking a value(rational
element of measure).
2. Spirit/Will
drive towards action(seeks glory and honor)
3. Appetites
desires especially for things of the
body.(pleasure food, sex…)
Plato’s analogy found in the Phaedrus, the soul is like a
charioteer and two horses. 1st Charioteer is reason, the 2nd is the
horse/will and needs no touch of the whip. The 3rd horse is
appetites, and it is obstinate, he says, “It is the mate of
insolence” and needs a firm hand.
The Virtues
If the soul is divided into three activities, then there will also be
three virtues that will fulfill a function, guided, the different
parts of the soul.
Reason’s chief concern is with the Virtue of Wisdom. Without
wisdom the rational element of the soul would be rudderless.
Spirit’s chief concern is with the Virtue of Courage. Without
courage the will is impotent, unable to act.
Appetites chief concern is with the Virtue of Temperance
(moderation). Without temper. pleasure will control our lives
and we will live irrationally.
“Man Writ Large”
Plato says that there is a reciprocal relation between the
individual citizens that make up the state and the state that is
comprised of its citizens. Like the division of the soul, the ideal
state can also be divided into three classes/activities with
corresponding virtues:
The person
The state/classes
1. Reason
1. Phil. Kings
2. Spirit/will
2. Warriors
3. Appetites/desires
3. Merchants
“Man Writ Large”
Phil. Kings
As reason should govern the individual person, the philosopher
kings in the ideal state should govern over the warrior and
merchant class. If reason, think back to the horse analogy, is in
control of the soul guided by wisdom( in conjunction with the
other virtues), then the soul is in a harmonized state i.e. Justice is
realized. Likewise, if the phil. Kings are in control of the state, then
justice as the over arching virtue will be realized.
Bio: Aristotle is sometimes referred to as the father of logic and
biology. He was born to an aristocratic family and studied under
Plato. Eventually he left Plato’s academy to form his own school.
Aristotle was less interested in mathematics than Plato & more
interested in empirical data(facts that can be measured by the
If Plato’s phil. thought was aimed towards the world of Being:
(reason alone gives knowledge of the Forms), then Aristotle’s
phil. thought will focus on the world of Becoming(the senses will
give us insight into the physical world and change).
Aristotle’s Metaphysics
Remember, Plato separated the Forms from the particular things: the
phys. dog is a poor copy of the perfect Form of the dog.
-Aristotle says that “if the forms are essences of things how can they
exist separated from things”. Further, If the “forms are the cause of
things, how can they exist in a separate realm?
Aristotle says that the “Form is distinguishable in thought but not
distinguishable in fact.
That is, the forms can be separated by the mind(abstract thought) but
are never found in nature as separated from the actual thing: the
reason we can think of the bulldog as belonging to the universal/class
of dogs is because the form is part of the bulldog.
Aristotle’s Form & Matter
Aristotle says that the forms are not separate from the entities;
that is, they are embedded in the actual physical
“For anything to exist, it must have both”
1. Form: what Aristotle calls its “Whatness”
2. Matter: what Aristotle calls its “Thingness”
-Form is what gives a thing it’s nature/essence. A thing’s form is
what is universally shared with other classes of the same thing.
The form of the human is what allows all humans to be classed
-Matter as a thingness is the principle of individualization:
composite that accounts for differences among the same class.
• When form and matter come together, Aristotle says that a
particular thing (horse) has substance. This is not something
grasped by the senses; rather, understood through reason.
To understand substance, it may help to think of it in terms of a
subject of a sentence. When we say, “The man is tall.” Substance
can be understood as the subject of the sentence. The adjective
“tall” predicates the sentence; that is, it tells us something about
the substance “man” that he possesses the property of tallness.
-For Aristotle, there are two types of properties:
1. Essential
2. Accidental
Essence and Accidents
1. The Essential property is that property possessed by a thing
that makes it what(-ness) it is( this is determined by the form).
So, part of what makes us human is that we share in the same
form. Aristotle says that “Man is a rational animal.” (Yes he was a
sexist)but rational is the essential property that is shared by all
humans and sets us apart from other animals.
2. The Accidental property are those properties related to the
“matter” that makes us different. They are called accidental,
because they are not necessary to our fundamental nature.
The Categories of Thought
Aristotle says that the starting point of reason is the Categories.
*The Categ. explains how we think about things and when we
think about them: in the terms of substance(subject) and
properties (predicate).
Aristotle has 9 Categ.(predicates) that connect:
I. Substance to its II. Properties
1. Quality
5. Date
9. Passivity
2. Quantity
6. Posture
3. Relation
7. Possession
4. Place
8. Action
The Categories in Nature
• Aristotle says that a thing is more than the sum of it’s particular
qualities. That there is a substance(like sub/beneath) that all
qualities adhere to.
Think of the categories as the filter that allows us to understand what
we experience. Without them we would have a ‘sensory overload’.
But the categories to include substance are not just concepts of the
mind: they also exist in nature as properties.
Aristotle says that the “mind has better knowledge of the things closer
to the senses.” The mind through the faculty(ability) of abstraction
comes to understand the universal properties that all classes
share(Human beings). By abstract we come to learn what the essential
nature of a thing is.(For human beings: essential property is reason).
Though the accidental properties change over time, the
substance and form remains the same.
Aristotle says, “a thing has the power to become what its form
has set as its end”: Telos
The acorn has the potentiality of becoming the oak tree. The
form of the oak tree is presented within the acorn but the right
conditions must be met: fertile soil/light…and if these conditions
are met then the oak tree will be the actuality of the acorn. The
“form is the operating cause.” That is, the form of the tree is the
internal design of the acorn. The acorn can’t become a maple
tree or a rose, because the form sets the design.
The Process of Change
Four Causes
I. Material cause: the material out of which the thing exists. A table’s material
cause is the wood/a statue’s material cause: marble slab. Matter is inert:
potential/ category is passive.
II. Formal Cause: the form in which the thing is arranged/what a things
essential nature is: “formed matter”. A table’s formal cause is the “idea” of an
elevated flat surface. For the sculptor: the form of a beautiful women. The
form of a B.W. must exist first in the mind of the sculptor before he can give
form to the marble slab: Form is always actual/categ. action
III. Efficient cause: “proximate mover” that causes the thing to be/happen.
The table’s efficient cause is the carpenter/the statue of the beautiful woman
efficient cause is the sculptor.
IV. Final cause: purpose for which the thing exists. This will also be related to
the form. A table’s F.C. is to be used to place things on/Statue to decorate the
Parthenon. This is also the Telos.
Striving for Self Actualization
• Entelechy is Aristotle’s attempt to explain the whole of
nature: things just don’t happen they unfold/develop
according to a nature design/ purpose.
-The “acorn” lacks the power/ability to actualize itself, become
the oak, since it is dependent on external conditions, rain, fertile
soil…there is a bit of luck needed.
-All life is striving for self actualization but,
-Human beings have “agency”(the ability to direct the self)
towards their self actualization: full development.
Aristotle says that there is a Hierarchy of Being, 3 different ways/
that living things can be classified according to their capacities.
Aristotle’s Biology:
Hierarchy of Being/Soul
• Aristotle divides reality into three different classes dependent upon
a thing’s capacity:
1st Vegetative/ with a nutritive capacity: tree, plants have the ability to
absorb nutrients.
2nd Sensitive/Sentient is the capacity to take in information, aware of
the environment. This higher level ability helps animals survive.
3rd Rational soul/ is the unique capacity of humans that allows us to
make rational decisions/deliberation.
Remember, the progression of the capacities: 1st alone/2nd plus 1st/ 3rd
all three.
Humans as Rational Animals
Humans are unique in that they have the cognitive capacity for
higher level thought: abstract thinking/ deliberation. Though all
things have form/ soul/psyche, humans’ form has more
potentiality thus what Aristotle calls more “Being”.
Humans then consisted of
All life is striving towards “Self Realization/Actualization” Also,
for Aristotle, soul does not have the same meaning in JudeoChristian teachings.
The Prime Mover
Aristotle thinks that for anything to exist there must be a
principle of “pure actuality”. This is Aristotle’s answer to why
there is something rather than nothing.
-Also, you can think of change as a kind of motion. *For
something to change it must have the potential, but potential
itself is not in motion(think back to the material cause, matter as
That is, things are potentially in motion but must be moved by
something that is actually in motion.
Aristotle postulates that there must be a Prime Mover, pure
actuality that is logically necessary, to explain all contingent
Prime Mover
• The Prime Mover for Aristotle then is the “reason for”/
“principle of” motion. Accordingly, “actuality must take
priority over potentiality…there could be no movement from
potentiality if there was no pure actuality”.
-Aristotle(metaphorically) says that it is like the “beloved who
moves the lover just by being the object of love”.
The prime mover can be interpreted as the final cause that all
life strives towards.
It is important to remember that the prime mover is not the
Creator of the universe in the same way as the Judeo-Christian
God is.
• Aristotle’s theory of morality is built upon the notion that humans, to
include all life, have an essential nature which relates to a thing’s unique
end/ Telos or a function to fulfill.
Aristotle says if “Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and
pursuit, is though to aim at some good…” then, “What is the good at which
Human Behavior aims”?
For Aristotle, the good(of H.B.) will coincide with the essential nature of the
Aristotle warns however, that ethics is not an exact science and we can’t
expect more than “the subject matter will admit”.
Every act (art, medicine, science and morality) aims towards something, then
Aristotle will distinguishes between two types of ends.
Two Types of “Ends”
• If all action aims towards an end, then, for Aristotle, there are
two kinds of ends:
1st Instrumental ends, which are done for the sake of something
2nd Intrinsic ends, which are acts that are done for their own
sake(final and self-sufficient).
Many students go to college to gain a degree in hopes that it will lead to a job,
and a job that will lead to the ability to obtain material things. These ends are
instrumental in that they are means to obtain further goals/ ends. Aristotle
thinks that the true end/ ultimate end however, is happiness: desired for its
own sake.
Rational Principle and the Eudaimonia
• What is the Good of humans? The end that is the highest good is
happiness, and it is final and self-sufficient.
-The eu(good) daimonia(spirit) is sometimes translated as flourishing.
This happiness, for Aristotle, is not the same thing, as many believe,
simply pleasure. He says that a life devout solely to
pleasure(hedonistic) is fit only for animals and not rational beings: not
living to our full potential as human beings.
-Like Plato, Aristotle says that human soul consists:
1. Irrational
2. Rational
component’s, and the irrational represents our more base desires(sex,
food…) than the rational will be the foundation for practical wisdom
and moral excellence: “proper function of man, then, consists in
activity of the soul in conformity of the *rational principle”.
Two Type of Virtues
• Aristotle says that there are two types of virtues:
1st Intellectual Virtues: are acquired thru a combination of
inheritance(nature)/education(nurture). Chief concern is theoretical
2nd Moral virtues: with are acquired from imitation, practice and habit.
Habits that are developed result in “States of Character,” and the
habits are virtuous if the act are in accordance of the “Golden Mean”.
The virtues help us realize our fullest potential; that is, they are a
fulfillment of a function/ what it means to live a full life.
Rational Principle
• Aristotle’s rational principle, practical wisdom, is what guides
our moral actions-without reason, like the animals, we would
not have any moral capacity.
Remember, unlike Plato/Socrates, though we have the capacity
for right behavior, Aristotle does not think that to know the good
is the same as doing good.
Reason, for Aristotle, is a principle of measure: understanding
the mean between extremes. Rational deliberation implies
choice and responsibility. That is, when we act our actions can be
either 1. involuntary/ 2. voluntary.
Voluntary actions are those that we can assign “praise and blame”.
These acts are the ones in which moral responsibility arises.
“Golden Mean”
Intell. Virtues
Moral Virtues
(Develp. Habits/practice)
Resulting in “States
of Character”
i.e. propensities to act in
accordance with a mean of
“Virtue of Character is a Mean”
• Aristotle says that “Virtue of character is mean…it is a mean
between two vices: 1. Excess and one of 2. deficiency”.
• Virtue is then a mean(balance) because it aims at the
“intermediate condition in feelings and actions”. The golden
mean is a rational/ right attitude towards the feelings and
For example, courage, as a virtue, is a mean between cowardice
and foolhardiness. The good act “hitting the mark” is a life
according to the golden mean, the person who does not go to
the extremes “vices” in action but finds balance. The virtues
shape our character, and the person of good character is driven
by their own volition.
Virtue and Choice
• Aristotle says, “Virtue is a disposition, or habit,
involving deliberate purpose or choice, consisting in
a mean that is relative to ourselves, the mean being
determined by reason, or as a prudent man would
• According to Aristotle, the highest and fullest
happiness comes from a life of reason and
contemplation. The good life must be lived fully; it is
a process, an activity, a becoming, not a static
Ethics Summary
• Aristotelian moderation is based on the concept of
wisdom as hitting the “mark” between too much and not
enough. Virtue consists of hitting the mark of
moderation, and vice consists of being off by too much
(excess) or too little (deficiency). Virtue is the mean
between either extreme.
• Aristotle taught that happiness requires activity and the
happy person must develop good habits and learn
practical wisdom. Knowing what is good cannot make us
happy unless we have the character (habit) of acting
wisely and moderately.
Plato and the Immortality of the Soul
• In the dialogue Phaedo, Socrates is in prison awaiting the final resolution
of the death sentence, which was carried out by drinking hemlock. As you
may or may not remember, Socrates was found guilty of corrupting the
youth of Athens and impiety. The dialogue’s primary focus is on the nature
of the soul.
• Socrates is very composed and stoic in the face of his impending death but
some of his friends are very distressed. Plato is going to give us his
argument for the immorality of the soul.
• I will give a brief outline of some of the arguments( there are four
arguments for the immortality of the soul) found in Phaedo.
• The arguments that concern us (for the test) are the called the argument
form the Theory of Recollection of the Forms once known and the
argument from Affinity.
• Brief outline of the main points, questions and arguments in Phaedo:
I. Why philosophy prepares one for death/philosophers shouldn’t fear
i. Why suicide is not morally permissible
ii. What is death? A separation of the soul from the body and the body as a
hindrance to knowledge.
iii. Theory of the Forms
I. If the soul survives the destruction of the body (The three arguments).
i. The argument from Recollection (remembering what the soul once
knew i.e. the Forms).
ii. The argument from Affinity.
Plato Theory of the Forms
A brief Summary
• Plato’s metaphysical dualism divides reality (to include the self) into two
distinct parts; namely, the visible realm that is known thru the senses, and
the intelligible realm that is known thru pure reason. The doctrine of the
Forms are given to us in the Simile of the Sun, the Divided Line and the
Allegory of the Cave. What are the Forms? There is no simple answer.
Maybe, we can say that the Forms are those eternal patterns in which all
things are said to derive their essential nature from.
• That is, all the particular things we see in the visible world, dogs, trees,
people…, are poor copies of, participate in, or derive their essence from
the Forms.
• The nature of the Forms are eternal, changeless and immutable. If this is
the case, then it is easy to understand that the Forms are nothing like the
particular things( the actual dogs, triangles and men) that they exemplify.
Forms relationship to
the things we see

To these ideals (Ideal Human, Dog or Triangle), Plato calls the “Forms.” Again, Plato
says that separate Form exists for each kind of thing. E.G. things that are good,
there is a one Form of Goodness; for things that are human, there is the Form of
Humanness; for things that are triangular, there is the Form of Triangle.
The Form of a certain class of objects consists of those characteristics that make
those objects be the kind of objects they are. That is, the visible tringles that we
see in the world are triangles because they are imperfect copies of the Form of a
But the visible objects in our world never perfectly embody their Forms: Visible
objects are only imperfect and changing reflections of the invisible, perfect, and
unchanging Forms.
Each of the many dogs in our world, for example, are an imperfect duplicate or
copy of the one perfect Form of Dog, just as each Human is a copy of the one
perfect Form of Human Being.
Summary of the Arguments

The 1st argument is the Theory of Recollection. This theory suggests that all
learning is a matter of recollecting what we already know. We forget much of our
knowledge at birth, and can be made to recollect this knowledge through proper
questioning. That we had such knowledge at birth, and could forget it, suggests
that our soul existed before we were born. In this case, it is remembering the
Forms that were once known.
The 2nd argument is from Affinity. Socrates draws a distinction between those
things that are immaterial, invisible, and immortal, and those things which are
material, visible, and perishable. The body is of the second kind, whereas the soul
is of the first kind. This would suggest that the soul ought to be immortal and
survive death.
When considering these arguments, it will help to refer to the question I assigned
on the reading of Phaedo. If you read the assignment and answered those
question, then you should already be familiar with the essay question.
Argument from Recollection of the Forms
1. What is recollection? How does it explain how we know things?

Plato say that there are three ways that we come to know the forms, and the one
that concerns us in Phaedo is recollection. Before the Soul was united with the
body, the soul was familiar with the Forms. People now recollect what their souls
knew in their prior state of existence. This is why Plato calls learning a recalling of
what was once know.
That is, one the body dies the soul is released and resides in the direct presence of
the Forms. This is the Platonic doctrine of the Transmigration of the Soul.
What Plato is saying is that certain types of Knowledge that we have could not
have come from anything that we learned form our experiences; that is, we have
knowledge of perfection and nothing in the visible world, the world that we live in,
is ever perfect.
Therefore, we must have gained this type of knowledge from something other
than our senses. The knowledge must have come from a prior time when our soul
was not imprisoned in the body. Since our souls have this knowledge the soul must
be immortal ( must have exists in a prior time). Ignorance then is a type of
forgetting what the soul had once known.
A Simplified Argument for the Forms
• Some possible ways we can come to understand Plato’s argument for the
Forms is the argument from perfect and abstract things like numbers.
From Perfection
-We can talk about certain ideas(Forms) like justice, beauty, goodness… and
by comparison judge certain acts( as in the case of justice) as being just or
unjust by how they measure up to the ideal. A good example, a beautiful
person is a copy ( albeit imperfect) copy of Beauty. We can say about a person
that she is beautiful because we know the idea of beauty and recognize that a
person shares more or less in this Idea.
-Another way to understand the Forms is to think about geometrical truths
and mathematical entities i.e. the interior angle of a triangle is 180 degrees
and numbers.
Recollection and the Forms
2. Consider the example of equality. When, according to Socrates, did we get
knowledge of it?
• By comparison, we can judge an actual concrete straight line or a triangle
by how they measure up to the ideal of triangleness or straightness; that
is, the Form. The question Plato asks is how is it possible that we can make
these judgments when perfection is not something to be seen in the
visible world. That is, you will never see a perfectly straight line even
though we say that it is the shortest distance between two points. Plato
thinks that these templates are only grasped by reason. But these Forms
don’t only exist in the mind(and this is an important point); rather they
exist in the realm of the intelligible.
• Numbers also seem and maybe are just like the Forms. Example of two
pencils: The pencils are two but they are concrete things; however, if you
destroy the 2 pencils you don’t destroy the number two. The numbers
written on a board are only symbols that stand in for the real numbers.
Argument form Affinity
4. Is the soul compound/composite?
5. When the body and soul are together, which rules?
6. Why is the body described as a prison? What is the prisoner? What is the jailer?

The body according to Plato is a compound or composite thing. The body is made
up of various parts e.g. cells comprise the tissue and tissue comprise organs…
Things that are composite, like the body, are visible and subject to change i.e. they
get old, break down and die.
The Soul must be more like the Forms. Only things that alike can understand (have
an Affinity ) one another. The Forms are unchanging, immortal, invisible and
simple or non- composite.
Therefore, things that are invisible and non-composite are immortal e.g. the Forms
and the Soul.
The Argument for the Immortally of the Soul
1. There are two kinds of existences: (a) the visible world that we
perceive with our senses, which is human, mortal, composite,
unintelligible, and always changing, and (b) the invisible world of
Forms that we can access solely with our minds, which is divine,
deathless, intelligible, non-composite, and always the same (78c79a, 80b).
2. The soul is more like world (b), whereas the body is more like
world (a) (79b-e).
3. Therefore, supposing it has been freed of bodily influence
through philosophical training, the soul is most likely to make its
way to world (b) when the body dies (80d-81a). (If, however, the
soul is polluted by bodily influence, it likely will stay bound to
world (a) upon death (81b-82b).)
How we come to know the Forms
We can come to know the Forms in three ways:
Recollection: soul exists before its material body and was in some way in
the presence of the Forms. Visible things remind us of the forms once
known. Education then is a process of reminiscences/remembering.
Dialectic: power of abstracting the essence of a thing. We come to
understand the underlying characteristics that things have in common.
Eros: step by step process of love of the beautiful object to love of the
concept of beautiful to finally love of the Form of beauty.
-In Phaedo, the argument for immortality of the soul is based on recollection.

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