Plato shows that belief in the soul can be justified.’ Discuss

Essay by sparkycharlieHigh School, 12th gradeB+, October 2014

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Charlie Gilhooley

'Plato shows that belief in the soul can be justified.' Discuss.

During this essay I am going to outline Plato's arguments for his belief in the soul, then put forward a number of criticisms against these arguments. Finally, I will conclude with why I believe Plato doesn't provide sufficient evidence for belief in the soul and how the materialistic view, as held by Richard Dawkins, and supported by the development of neuroscience (the study of the nervous system) provides evidence as to why Plato fails to justify belief in the soul.

The 'spiritual or immaterial part of a man, held to survive death' is the official definition of 'soul,' as found in the dictionary.

Plato believed that each person has a soul, which lives on after the body dies and wanted to demonstrate that this belief is reasonable and can be justified through logical argument. His dialogue Phaedo is mainly concerned with these arguments; Cebes, the person who is in dialogue with Socrates, suggests that perhaps the soul just disappears, like smoke, into nothingness when the body dies, and he asks for some kind of persuasive argument to justify Socrates' belief in the immortality of the soul: 'The soul of man is immortal and imperishable.'

Plato's first argument depends on the idea that every quality comes into existence from its own opposite. It relies on the existence of its opposite, or it would not exist at all. Plato argued that it followed that death must come from life, and life from death: people who are dead are just people who were in the past alive but then experience the change we call dying, and people who are alive are just people who were among the dead but then experienced the change we call being born. Plato's argument supports...