Excerpt from Phaedo about Socrates Ideas of Afterlife

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In this excerpt, it was discussed that Socrates (speaking to Simmias and Cebes) thoroughly believed that death should not be feared by anyone because there is an afterlife. Also, he added that the soul will continue to exist even after a man has perished and that it possesses intelligence and capability. Socrates also acknowledged that he is a firm believer in the cycle of life which composes of our birth and death - he was convinced that the souls of the dead go to the underworld and then come back and are born from the dead. For Socrates, it appears that the living never come from any other source than from the dead. However, Cebes and Simmias doubted that the soul would continue to exist after death.

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For Cebes, he believed that when a man dies his soul is dispersed or thrown away and that signifies the end of its existence. For Simmias, he stated that there is nothing more evident than the sentence of beauty and goodness and for him, it is all the proof needed to establish the existence of souls prior to birth. In this, both (Simmias and Cebes) recalled a theory - the Theory of Recollection. First, what does the term ‘Recollection’ mean? Recollection is when knowledge comes to behind; it is the learning of our own knowledge and is also recovering the knowledge we have acquired before birth but lost at birth. Moreover, in this theory, it is believed that the soul is immortal or that the soul can never die. In addition, what exactly is the meaning of ‘soul’? Soul is the intangible facet of a human person -- appraised to be associated with the mind and self of one’s humanity or individuality. As Socrates argues about the immortality of the soul, he provided different arguments to reiterate that there is really what you call an afterlife of the souls following the death of the body. These arguments were used to show his sentiments concerning the relation and principle of the link between the body and soul.

One of the arguments presented in the Theory of Recollection, which interprets how learning is rediscovering the knowledge that already exists within us. In other words, the theory implies that all learning is just a matter of recollecting or remembering what we already have knowledge of. This knowledge is supposedly recollected through proper inquiry. To further convince Simmia and Cebes with his theory, Socrates then provided another argument, which explains the soul’s relationship to the body. According to him, there are two kinds of existence: the visible and the invisible. The body is visible, the soul is invisible. The invisible persists, while the visible changes. In this conception, it can be surmised that physical bodies will die and rot while the soul will endure. Another argument forwarded by Socrates is his theory that the soul is divine, deathless, intelligible, and always the same as itself, while the body is human, mortal and never consistently the same.

Plato’s Phaedo may be faced with criticisms. Just like how Simmias and Cebes reacted with objection to some of the arguments forwarded by Socrates, some of us might also be skeptical. Socrates” theory is close to pushing the idea of reincarnation. If it is indeed true, then we should be able to recall any previous lives. Without any memory of previous lives, how can we assert that the soul which is in our body today is the same soul that is once inside a different body in another lifetime?

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Excerpt from Phaedo about Socrates Ideas of Afterlife. (2020, December 01). WritingBros. Retrieved May 27, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/excerpt-from-phaedo-about-socrates-ideas-of-afterlife/
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Excerpt from Phaedo about Socrates Ideas of Afterlife [Internet]. WritingBros. 2020 Dec 01 [cited 2024 May 27]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/excerpt-from-phaedo-about-socrates-ideas-of-afterlife/
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