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Recollection. Socrates - Essay Example

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In Phaedo, which the final dialogue that Socrates had, Plato details the views which Socrates had about the soul. His views perpetrate the dualism of the mind of body theory by placing forth an argument that shows that the mind, soul, and body are separate and that the soul existed before the body was formed. …
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Recollection. Socrates
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Recollection. Socrates

According to Socrates, the body acts as a prison confining the souls. In this state, the soul is limited in its quest to explore knowledge which is unchanging, unpredictable, and eternal. This is because when the soul is imprisoned within the body, it is forced to explore truth through the reception organs of the body which has its deficiency that prevents the soul from seeing what is real (Plato and Jowett 70). This article presents a critical response of the argument that Socrates puts forth for supporting his premise - since learning is a by-means of recollection, the soul must have existed separately before being joined to the body. Step in Socrates Argument Socrates shows that it is possible for the soul to exist before the body. He explains this through the theory of recollection. He bases his argument on the fact that it is possible for a person to give a correct answer when asked a question which he may not have had prior knowledge about the issue. This implies that people are born with some knowledge within them, and this means that the soul or the mind existed before birth. He illustrates this in a number of steps. First, he gives his opinion on how it would be wonderful if the soul is dissipated to nothingness in death. This is because death would be an eternal sleep undisturbed with worrying dreams; death would be a big blessing to humankind. But he argues that this is not the case. He illustrate that the soul is immortal existing before birth, and it continues to live even when the mortal body dies. He says that the belief in dispersion of the soul is a childish belief. He initially shows the immortality of the soul by outlining the cynical argument. He asserts that if it is true that the living originated from the dead, then it must be that the souls of people live in the other world. If they did not, then it would not be possible for them to be born again. He further gives examples of how opposite originates from the opposite (Plato and Jowett 71). For example, hot from cold, awake and asleep, up and down. One has to fall asleep in order to wake up, cold things can become hot and vice versa. This means that opposite must come from the opposites. This means that for the life to come from the dead there should be some aspect of life in the dead. He thus concludes that the dead are generated from the living through the process of death. The living, on the other hand, is generated from the dead through the process of birth. It is therefore prudent to conclude that the soul of the dead must exit somewhere when the person dies and they come back to the living when a new child is born. From this Socrates affirms his theory of learning through recollection. This is due to the fact that the soul has been reborn several times and has lived in this universe for many years; therefore, it has amassed a lot of knowledge. He concluded that all learning is just but recollection and no new knowledge is added to the mind since the soul knows it all. He further illustrates this through the use of the Mono slave boy who showed to have geometric knowledge even though they had not had this kind of learning before. He thus asserts that the body and soul are two separate entities. The body, he says, is mortal and after death is seen as the corpse. The soul, on the other hand, is divine, immortal and invisible; therefore, it outlasts the body. During the period when the soul is separated from the body (after death before rebirth), the soul is able to see life in its fullness without being limited by the body (Plato and Jowett 72). Socrates therefore sees death as a form of liberation which, for a philosophical mind, is a major ... Read More
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