When discussing the Theory of Recollection, Socrates poses his stance to Simmias and Cebes. Socrates believes that the soul comes before the body in order for the recollection process to occur. Simmias raises the objection that the body and soul can be compared to an instrument being tuned. Through the reasoning of his objection, Simmias concludes that soul exists as a result of the body existing and functioning properly. After analyzing Simmias’ analogy, Socrates presents multiple objections to prove that this analogy is incorrect.
Socrates begins his objection to Simmias’ analogy by first acknowledging the fact that himself, Simmias, and Cebes all agree upon the fact that the soul existed before the body. Yet, if the soul was here prior to the body existing, then the attunement analogy presented by Simmias must be incorrect. Socrates states that when possessing a musical instrument, the tuning cannot come before the instrument, and Simmias agrees with this statement. When looking at a musical instrument, the tuning comes after the creation of the instrument so that the instrument can produce the best, most clear sound. Thus, if Simmias’ argument were to hold true, then the tuning of a musical instrument would have to be in place prior to the creation of an instrument such as the lyre. Due to the fact that the tuning indefinitely comes after the creation of the instrument and is also the first to perish when an instrument is destroyed, there is no way that the tuning could come before the instrument. Socrates then continues on to present three more arguments to show that Simmias’ objection is not correct.
The next argument raised states that if the soul were like an instrument, then just as an instrument can be more so or less so tuned, one soul could be more or less soul than another. When looking at musical instruments, some instruments can be perfectly tuned while others lack tuning completely. Souls do not have the ability to be more soul or less soul than another, as do instruments with tuning because there is no degree to which a soul is a soul. Since each soul is a soul to the same extent as every other soul, this argument also works to prove that Simmius’ objection is incorrect.
The next argument states that when analyzing a musical instrument, instruments have the ability to be in perfect harmony once tuned. Just as a soul cannot be more or less of a soul, a soul does not have the ability to be in harmony like a tuned musical instrument. Souls have the ability to be both good and bad, there is not one level to the virtue or wickedness of the soul. If a soul were able to be in harmony, like an instrument in tuning, all souls would have the same amount of vice or virtue, virtue being perfect tuning while vice is less or more tuning. Yet from our knowledge of beings and souls, we know that souls can have more or less vice known as more or less harmony, but all souls cannot be in harmony for all souls are not equally good or virtuous. If the soul, like a musical instrument was in perfect attunement, all souls would be equally good without vice or virtue.
The last argument Socrates uses to…