Why does Plato think that the soul is immortal? Is he right? Discuss with close reference to Phaedo 102a-107b.
The Phaedo is Plato’s attempt to convince the reader of the immortality of the soul using four main arguments. These include the argument of affinity, recollection, Forms and the law of opposites. In the final passage of the Phaedo, (Grube, 2002:102a-107b), Plato provides his ‘Final Proof’, despite seeming like the most conclusive argument it is not necessarily the most convincing. Plato has some good points and fair reasoning to believe in the immortality of the soul, however his arguments often seem to make large assumptions without any concrete backing. In this essay I will attempt to expose the flaws in Plato’s argument
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At first glance, this is a very appealing argument, as an opposite approaches its opposite, it will either flee or perish. As cold approaches fire, the fire either perishes, is not fire anymore or flees, gets away from the cold to remain fire. However, this argument seem less plausible when relating it to the immortality of the soul. Plato uses his law of opposites, to explain that although Simmias is both large and small, the Form of largeness within him is never small. Therefore this same logic can be applied to the theory of fire. The Form of fire cannot perish, hotness but an individual fire can. Therefore the Form of the soul; life, cannot perish but what is to say an individual soul cannot perish while the Form of life remains? Plato combats this question using his idea of Forms. We have already been introduced to Forms earlier in the Phaedo (78c-79e), (Affinity argument) where it is established that they are of one Form only, not liable to change and therefore eternal. Therefore the Form of life will remain but the soul also remains as the soul always brings life with it. However, this brings us back to Plato’s main assumption, that the soul always brings life with it, that the souls possession of life is essential which I referred to earlier. Seemingly an unquestioned argument, yet the basis for all of them. Frede offers solutions for this argument, however I will aim to express why these are not conclusive. The first is that ‘the soul always quickens the body