The Human Person Midterm Paper
Plato was an extraordinary philosopher estimated to born around the time periods of 428 and 427 BCE and dying around the time periods of 348 and 347 BCE. Plato has many great and well known writings. One of which is called Phaedrus. In Phaedrus, Plato does an excellent job of explaining the human self. Although the full purpose of this reading wasn’t based on that specific topic, it still covered the human self in a gist, like what exactly is “self”, how is the self structured (including illustrations) and his own recommendations of how people should live.
Plato uses many analogies to help him explain himself and for his readers to better understand. I am going to further explain some of Plato’s points for those who are not familiar with Plato and his writing, Phaedrus. After I am done reiterating a variety of his points, I will pick one point and
I will address my own thoughts on this topic and whether or not I agree or disagree with it. To explain the essence of the soul, Plato first starts off by simply explaining that every soul is immortal. This is because anything that is ever moving is immortal. Plato claims that the soul is the original source of all movement (27). This source is “ungenerated” because since it is the original source and there is nothing for it to be generated from. Plato also explained that the soul is imperishable. This is because the soul is a selfmover and a selfmover cannot perish. If this was to happen, Plato claimed that the whole universe and the whole of creation would shut down (28). Plato believed that the job of the soul in general was to look after all that is inanimate. Souls circle the universe in different forms and at different periods of time. Plato
defined a complete soul as “a soul that is winged, and journeys on high and controls the whole world” (28). Plato believes that soul that has lost its wings is supposed to take control of an earthly body and now is a “mortal” or a “living creature”. Wings are supposed to carry things to the sky and with that being said, the natural goal of the soul is to be carried abroad by the wings
(29). For this to happen, the soul must participate in things that are divine because these things are good. These “good” things are the best source of nourishment and growth for the souls wings. If the soul has bad and evil, the wings continue to shrink and perish. Therefore, the natural goal of the soul is to be carried abroad by the wings (29). This is the essence of the soul.
Now, one might ask how the soul is structured. Which brings us to Plato’s analogy of the structure of the soul. Plato starts the analogy by saying “a soul is like an organic whole made up of a charioteer and his team of horses” (28). The Gods have these same horses and charioteer’s also, but the difference with theirs is the fact that they’re always good. Human’s horses and charioteers are a mixture of good and bad. So for us humans driving, will be inevitably very difficult because we have two horses pulling in opposite directions. Plato says “any charioteer who has trained his horse imperfectly finds that it pulls him down towards the earth and holds him back, and this is the point at which the soul faces the worst suffering and the hardest struggle” (30). The untrained horse is what is holding back the soul from reaching the heavens and becoming immortal once again. As the souls continue to try and fly into heaven, they sometimes get crippled and have their wings severely damaged. After all these charioteers continuously attempt to reach the heavens, many eventually give up and realize they need to return back to earth, fall back into the forms of a body and nourish its wings once again by seeking the divine and or the truth. When these wings once again fall back to earth, those who
have “lived a moral life will obtain a better fate, and anyone who