Lesson 2 Plato
Transcript Lesson 2 Plato
Lesson 2: Plato: A dualist view
From your AS knowledge, Explain to the person next to you, what might
1 believe about the soul?
Consider two ideas of Plato
• The Allegory of the Charioteer – the soul is
simple yet complex
• The Phaedo – the soul is immortal and exists
before the body
• Extension work – you could look at The Myth
• Dualist approach
• Made distinction
between the two
• Physical – can only
• In a constant state
of change and
be a source of
• Knows the truth through
• Capable of understanding the
forms as they really are
• The soul can hold this
knowledge and therefore
must be unchanging and
• Not only does it exist after
death but pre – existed
• People’s inner mental life is
the most important thing
• Hopes, motives, opinions,
• Referred to it as
• The real part of the person
just temporarily attached
to a physical body
• Immortal and destined to
live on after death
• A guiding force, helping
the mind and the body to
Plato distinction between body and
• Made distinction between the soul and the body – took a dualist
• Body and soul almost opposites
• Soul has ability to know the truth and to understand the Forms as
they really are through reason
• Body in contrast is physical and can learn only through physical
• Knowledge gained this way is inferior to knowledge gained through
reason – the senses can often be mistaken
• The body is in a constant state of change and therefore cannot be
the source of knowledge
• The soul is capable of certain knowledge - the soul must therefore
be unchanging and it is therefore immortal – not only existing after
death but also pre existing before birth.
Desire for what
is necessary, like
Searches for the truth
Rules the soul
that can be
trained such as
In the Republic, Plato describes the soul as ‘simple’ and without parts’. This
means that it cannot be divided or split into different sections. However, he also
described it as complex. If you think of a diamond, it is simple and without parts,
yet still complex. Plato identified three parts of the soul.
Three basic instincts which animate
us into action.
Reason is the highest and superior
of the three elements. It allows us
to gain knowledge, distinguish from
right and wrong and understand the
Allows us to love, inspires us to act out of
courage – needs to be kept in check or we
become reckless and conceited
Encourage us to look after the physical
needs of our body – need to be kept in
The allegory of the charioteer
Without looking at your notes,
answer the following questions
1.What type of approach did Plato take?
2.How did Plato believe the body gained
3.What did he believe the soul was capable
4.The three parts of the soul are…
5.What analogy did Plato use to illustrate
his idea of the way the three parts of
the soul work together?
Disharmony of the soul…
• Plato suggested that the soul consists of various
aspects: spirit, reason and desire. How could the
following crimes be explained in terms of
disharmony between the aspects of the soul?
• Plato puts into the mouth of Socrates his beliefs about
the immortality of the soul
• Aimed to show that Socrates had not failed in his mission
to educate people, even though he had been executed –
his soul would continue to immortality after death
• Soul continues to live on in a state where it still has
thought and intelligence – after death it is undisturbed
by the distractions of bodily demands so it can reach it’s
• It is the soul that gives people life and so the soul must
continue to live after death
Argument from opposites
The physical world
The opposite of alive is ….
For death to be a thing rather
than ‘nothing’ the soul must
exist so it is possible to talk of
life and death as opposites.
Since life must become death
and death become life, Plato
suggests reincarnation: In
Phaedo, he gives examples of
tyrants being reincarnated as
wolves and drunkards as
donkeys, whereas the souls of
philosophers who see the
Forms enjoy the company of
Argument from Recollection
Plato suggests that learning is
just a matter of remembering.
He suggests that there are
things we know a priori, such
as 2 + 2 = 4. However, we also
know other things, like if we
see two sticks of approximately
equal length, we know that they
are approximately equal in
length because we have seen
the idea of ‘equal’ in the WoF.
Is learning really a matter of
True knowledge is
innate, a priori.
This is why we
know the forms
Argument from Affinity
Sort these words into two columns
There is a
Argument from Affinity
Plato argues that the soul is immortal, but
immortality can take different forms. A soul that is
not properly detached from the body will become a
ghost that will long to return to the flesh, while the
philosopher’s detached soul will dwell free in the
Simmias suggests that the soul may be immaterial
and invisible in the same way as the attunement of
an instrument. The attunement of the instrument
can exist only as long as the instrument itself
Socrates, pointing out that his objection conflicts
with the Theory of Recollection. The soul is not like
the attunement of an instrument because the soul
existed before the body did.
Look up the word ‘affinity’ what
does it mean?
There is a
Theory of Forms
That concept suggests that the soul is
intimately connected to the Form of Life.
Since the Form of Life does not in any way
include its opposite—death—the soul cannot
in any way be tainted by death. Thus,
Socrates concludes, the soul must be
Socrates illustrates his conception of the
soul by means of a compelling myth that
describes the earth we know as a poor
shadow of the “true earth” above us in the
What do you think of Plato’s ideas?
Which ideas are plausible to you?
The soul is eternal,
Peter Geach rejects Plato!
1) What can it mean for
disembodied souls to see the
Forms since seeing is a
process linked with experience
through the senses?
2) Is existence without a body
really ‘human existence’?
Evaluate Plato and Geach. Who
has the better argument? Why?
Plato has it wrong!
Write down everything we have
You have 2 minutes!