Monday, 6 June 2011

Plato and the soul

Plato's view on the soul, the slave boy example, analogy of the cave, the myth of err, cycle of opposites, charioteer example and perfect circle.

Plato and the Soul

For Plato, the soul is made up of three parts; reason, emotion and appetite. The reason is the most important element which controls the appetite and emotion. 

In terms of importance, reason is first because it provides knowledge then emotion because it determines much of our behaviour and lastly is appetite because that simply sets out our physical needs.

Plato and Slave Boy as Evidence that the world of the form exists

Plato observes that a slave boy even without education or prior experience can solve a maths problem with an intuitive idea of mathematics. This demonstrates that the soul has all the knowledge from the world of the Forms and it is simply about remembering it.

Plato and the Myth of Err

- This is a fictional story to demonstrate that philosophy is an important aspect to the development of our lives.
- Err, who this story is about, was a solider who died on the battlefield.
- But on the 12th day Err came back to life and told people what he had experienced.
- He told them once he had died he went on a journey in which he encountered judges who rewarded and punished the souls of those who had died.
-Souls were then reborn into a new life on earth which they themselves chose.
- In conclusion, only the philosophical, who understand the importance of choosing a new life of peace and justice benefitted from the cycle of life.

Western tradition of thought essentially are all foot notes on Plato.

Test yourself...

1. Does Plato believe the soul survived death? What is this category of thought called?
2. What does Plato say we are doing when are what we would call 'learning'?
3. When we encounter something why we are able to recognise it?
4. What is the true home of the soul?
5. What is meant when Plato describes the soul as simple?


1. Yes, dualism.
2. Remembering information from the world of the forms
3. Because before birth we have experienced it in the world of the Forms
4. World of the forms
5. Unchanging and indivisible

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