The Platonic and Aristotelian Conception of the Soul

Essay by neomkzUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, June 2004

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The concept of the soul has long been open to many interpretations. The meaning of Soul in modern times differ significantly from its meaning many years ago. Two great philosophers Plato and his pupil Aristotle offer interesting insights into the idea of the soul in ancient Greek times. Although both philosophers existed in the same time period, both offered different perspectives towards the definition and the functions of the soul. Many areas of their theories are quite similar in theme, however, Aristotle seemed to have adjusted or perhaps refined many of the Platonic theories on the soul. Themes such as immortality, functionality, and knowledge are all present in both philosophical works but each philosopher offers a different perspective. Plato's conception of the soul is an integral part of works, The Republic, and Phaedo. The microcosm and macrocosm analogies between an individual and the state are evident throughout the books of The Republic.

Plato examines the theory on the soul and the interrelations between the soul and justness. In his other dialogue Phaedo, Plato examines the immortality of the soul and its relationship with the body. Aristotle's book On The Soul examines many of the topics addressed by Plato and offers new insights and opposing theories on Plato's conception of the soul. One may perhaps view Aristotle's work as a progression or refinement of his teachers work. The theory of the soul is an ageless matter and many of the best thinkers have speculated on its identity, property, and functionality. Plato and Aristotle, two of the great thinkers of their time have attempted to address this issue and have definitely affected the way future scholars view the matters of the soul.

Plato shares his idea and conception of the soul in his dialogues The Republic and...