Essay by MabLCollege, Undergraduate May 2011

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Socrates makes the care of the soul the centre of the philosophical life.

Explain this. What does he think the soul is? Is there justification for this ?

I will discuss Socrates notion of the soul and what he believes. Using the discussion of his four major arguments for the existence of the soul as well as his discussion with Simmias I will cover Socrates discussion of the soul and its legitimacy. Socrates argument for the existence of an immortal soul is distinctly separate from the body. As a premise, Socrates believed the soul was eternal. Common man couldn't harm it; only one's owner could hurt or improve his soul with his deed.

Socrates explains in his early years, that he was fascinated with Natural Science, and sought to "know the causes of everything, why it comes to be, why it perishes and why it exists."[96a] The methods used in order to answer his questions he found were ultimately unsatisfactory.

He was then introduced to Anaxagoras and the theory of the Mind, however Socrates felt eventually let down by his teachings as they weren't what he anticipated. Socrates originally assumed that Anaxagoras would explain truths in life by stating the best reasons for them to exist in such a manner, and directed by a Greater Mind seeking justice and harmony in the world. Unfortunately Anaxagoras completely ignored his preliminary statements on the Mind and did not follow this theory at all, but went on to argue points using substances such as air and ether. So Socrates began a process of deep thinking which culminated in his theory of the soul.

This incident is illustrated by Plato's "The Men in the Cave". The story begins in a cave, where a tribe of people are assumed to have been trapped there for...