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Now that you have read two dialogues of Plato and discussed philosophy for a few hours with me and your classmates, what do you think the Cave allegory means? The Allegory of the Cave is an incredibly versatile peace of literature which can take multiple interpretations. It is however foremost about enlightenment and freedom from an inferior reality. In Platos thinking there are levels or grades of truth. The process of moving to higher truths is painful because on obtaining higher levels of truth you become temporarily blinded by the light of this new wisdom. Once one has seen this higher world, the land of shadows seems week and somewhat irrelevant in comparison. In this sense, the allegory of the cave could be said to parallel the philosopher’s journey to the higher truths, namely Platonic Forms. Once the philosopher has obtained some knowledge of the true forms of things he realizes that the things she sees, though they reflect real things, are not the things themselves. Thus a chicken is a chicken but it isn’t Chickeness. That is to say it presents an outline or a shadow of what chicken is meant to be but it is not Chicken. Another interesting aspect of the allegory of the cave is to consider what the cave represents. That is, what is the prison that is keeping the prisoners from true reality? Like most aspects of this allegory it can legitmently take a number of interpretations. For example the cave could represent the institution of the state or the predominant philosophy of the day or the state religion. I think that is meant to represent anything that prevents people from whole hearted devotion to seeking truth. “Whether the Athenian Assembly had an obligation to execute Socrates for the sake of the common good of the city?” Objection 1: Socrates ought to have been executed for the good of the city because he was an advocate for the atheistic philosophy. 26d Objection 2: Socrates should be killed because he is a filthy sophist who makes bad arguments appear as if they were stronger. 23b Objection 3: Socrates deserves to die because he leads the youth astray, threatening the future of the Athenian states. On the Contrary: Socrates says that the true reason that the men of Athens want to kill him is because he sought out “those who had any reputation of knowledge to examine its meaning.” (21e) and in doing so he annoyed many of the aristocracy. I answer that: Socrates accuses ought to have been more honest about why they wanted Socrates dead. As is they come out looking quite silly as it give Socrates the opportunity to real grievances against him and tear down the accusations that were put forward. This isn’t an adequate explanation for why he should not have been executed. (-5)
pay money for the privilege. if the body is destroyed the soul ceases to exist. He backs up this claim by saying that if he had corrupted the young men of Athens they or their families would have come forward and witnessed against him. Thus if the instrument is destroyed so is the harmony. and be grateful into the bargain" (19e-20a) He also shows that he does not belong to the sophist school of thought by supposedly using plain language rather than formal court rhetoric for his defense. He claims that he can’t be a sophist because he doesn’t take money from people in return for lessons. In fact Socrates despises these men who claim to have knowledge and persuade young men "to leave the company of their fellow citizens. 92 Objection 2: It would seem that we cannot know whether or not the soul is immortal because even if the soul can be shown to go through a repeated process of death and rebirth it does not follow that this process is repeated indefinitely. He verifies this by asking the ‘men of Athens’ if anyone could verify this fact and no one did. That is these young men have been going around showing people that they are not as wise as they think they are. Perhaps although the soul out lives a single human body dies after . which they didn’t. The Harmony of strings only exists if the instrument is assembled in the right way. Also it is a well-known fact that Socrates was a stanch follower of Apollo who is a god and it makes no sense to live your life for pursuit of the gods if you don’t believe in them. which is not illegal. Even his accuses conced that he does. He goes on to point out that the reason that he is being accused of corrupting the young is that some of the young men who listen to his conversations in the marketplaces have adopted his methods and used them to annoy people.Reply to objection 1: The claim that Socrates is an atheist is absurd because he believes in spirits. with any of whom they can associate for nothing. It would be stupid for anyone to corrupt their fellows because then they will be living with corrupt men. He makes it unmistakably clear that he is only interested in speaking the truth and not fancy rhetoric 17b Reply to objection 3: If Socrates did corrupt the young he did so unintentionally. Spirits e the illegitement children of the Gods and it doesn’t make any sense to believe in the children of the gods and not the gods themselves. attach themselves to him. Likewise. 27c Reply to objection2: Socrates was not a sophist. This is likely to end in the corupter being harmed at the hands of the men he corrupted. A) “Whether the human soul is immortal?” Objection 1: It would seem that the soul is not immortal because the soul is like the harmony of the strings of an instrument.
Now. 92c Reply to objection 2: It is also important to think about whether or not the soul is the kind of things that is capable of dissipating at all. being awake comes from being asleep. so does being alive. In a human it is the soul that controls the body. belong to the former category. invisible and simple and things that are visible. we all know that Forms. Souls. Now. Therefore there are two kinds of things that exist.inhabiting a certain amount of bodies. But learning is recollection. Things that are unalterable. then. If this were not the case everything would soon be dead because if living things die and dead things do not come back to life then then the number of dead things would quickly overwhelm the amount of living things until there are no living thing left. However it is absurd to say that things that are simple (one part) could disintegrate. For if the soul only exists when the body is intact then then learning is not recollection because there was no before the body. which are simple are also invariable. we know that the only things that can disintegrate are things that are made up of multiple parts. Thus to employ this analogy is to misconstrue the situation. 71. Where as in an instrument it is the instrument which controls the harmony. invisible and can only be comprehended by the mind. Thus the process of learning is simply remembering what we already know from a past death. we have an inbuilt understanding of what Equality is. Firstly we know that everything that comes to be out of its opposite. I argue: that we can infer the immortality on three counts. For example. and can be altered and perceived with the senses. alterable and composite. 77b On the contrary Socrates says that the soul is immortal. Thus they must be simple and therefore do not disintegrate 78c B) “Whether there are Platonic Forms?” 65d .73 Reply to objection 1: the suggestion that the relationship between soul and body is the same as the relationship between an instrument and a harmony is to use a false analogy. Material things on the other hand are composite. Therefor it cannot be known if whether or not when or not when we die it will also be time for our souls to die.92b Also this view of the soul is inconsistent with the above argument from recollection. Therefore the soul is not a harmony. Since therefore we cannot have come to have this notion of the Equal through our senses. 72 Another reason for believing that the soul is immortal is that although there are no examples of perfect equality in the material world. it must be that we obtained knowledge of Equal before we were born. Then if living is the opposite from being dead it follow that just as being dead comes from being alive.
74ab Reply to objection 3: This objection makes the assumption that there is no teleology in evolution. not death is the greatest evil. Objection 3: The theory of evolution disproves Platonic form theory. The idea that Phaedo is primarily about combating Misology is persuasive for various reasons. Socrates goes on to claim that misology. This suggests that Socrates understands that the young men’s objection is actually about doubting the usefulness of reasonable discourse. Maybe each step in the evolutionary process leads horse kind toward the ideal Horse. Therefore there must be something called Beauty which is beyond the physical thing we experience. rather it is the product of DNA programed for survival. And it is to these recollections of platonic forms which we compare all other things we call ‘true’. Thus Phaedo is an attempt to dispel misology from the hearts of Socrates followers and his readers. 1) Explain. it seems that the turning point of the dialogue is when Phaedo explains Socrates is aware of the emotional impact the arguments are having upon the young men.Objection 1: it would seem that there are no such thing as platonic forms because Beauty or Truth or the Equal is not something that exist somewhere in the ‘ether’ but rather something that exists within thing itself. For beauty is in the eye of the beholder likewise with other platonic forms such as the Good and the Beautiful. using examples from the text. It shows that things have become the way they are through a process of constant change. A horse doesn’t reflect some higher idela Horse. Objection 2: It would see that concepts that are usually considered forms such as are not even objective. furthermore he suggests that we actually have a recollection of the forms from before we were born. Similarly . Perhaps evolution is a process that gradually carries species towards their form. For example even though we have never seen things that are truly equal we still have a concept of Equal which we remember from back when we were dead. b) Primarily about presenting persuasive arguments for the immortality of the soul: The notion that Phaedo is primarily about the immortality of the soul is quite persuasive because of the massive accumulative case presented for the immortality of the soul. For example. 75b Reply to Objection 2: It would seem that platonic forms do exist. Reply to objection 1: there must be platonic forms because we have concepts in our minds about things like beauty which are not contained within beautiful things themselves. how Phaedo might be interpreted as: a) Primarily about healing Socrates’ interlocutors and the reader of misology. How can there be forms when all the things we see in the world have changed so significantly over time? On the contrary Socrates believes that Platonic forms exist. ‘good’ or ‘beautiful’.
A soul that is attached to earthly things will make dying more difficult as the soul has become weighed down . 80e I think that it is quite possible that Plato intend Phaedo to communicate a range of different point. This is never more evident than when Socrates talks about how the true philosopher ought to be detached from earthly things to the greatest extent possible. 70b 2) c) Primarily about presenting both a philosophical defense and human model of the proper attitude towards death. 67c. . 78a. 67e.the fact that the hopes of the followers of Socrates appear to rely upon whether or not he is going to survive make it seem likely that this is what the dialogue was primarily about. It’s quite plausible that the purpose of this dialogue is meant to demonstrate the philosophical attitude one should have towards death. virtue and detachment from earthly things. 64a. Therefor I think that Plato would have had all the above interpretation in mind when he wrote the pheado. He argues that in this sense the job of the philosopher is to practice for death through seeking knowledge.
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