Last Updated 10 Jan 2022

Analysis of Phaedo by Plato

Category Belief, Plato, Socrates
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Critical Analysis of “Phaedo” by Plato Much of the Phaedo by Plato is composed of arguments for the nature of the physical world and how it relates to the after life, for example, the way our senses perceive the world and how indulging in those senses has negative consequences in our after lives. These arguments find basis in scientific analysis of the time as well as the mythos of the his age. One of the key talking points within the story is the theory of forms.

The aforementioned theory is formed from two beliefs, the first of which is that our senses deceive us and that there's an existential plane where perfect beings exist and the perfect ideas of the physical things in the world are there too. All of these concepts are intricately intertwined through out the story although Plato doesn't explain all of them in great detail. That leaves one to question whether he writes them to justify his life or if perhaps he's figured something out that we as the readers have not.

Despite how questionable some of Plato's hypotheses are there are a couple that provide an interesting perspective on our world. The theory of forms ps the entirety of the book and is the most important argument in the Phaedo. This theory is the basis for the classic cave metaphor as well as one of the most referenced beliefs through out the text. The theory of forms comes from the belief that there are two planes of existence consisting of the world we can see and that world that is “beyond” ours. Within the latter plane there are the perfect forms of all the things that we know.

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A “form” in the Phaedo is a perfect representation of the physical objects and ideas of our world they are also “divine, deathless, intelligible, uniform, indissoluble, always the same as itself. ”[1] For example, the form of a table is the perfect idea of what a table should be while an actual table is just the imperfect physical representation of that form. According to Plato it's not possible for us to ever build a table as strong as the form of table because our senses are flawed and they don't allow us to perceive the world perfectly.

The last point in the explanation of a form is another part to this argument. Plato makes it well known that he doesn't believe that people should trust their senses because we are naturally prone to deceiving ourselves. Such an idea isn't scientifically possible; but the concept really sticks when you look at it not as a[1] statement for reality but as a statement for the metaphysical. That is to say that when you apply this concept to our human world one could say that there's something beautiful hidden in the notion that we can never achieve perfect beauty.

There's no point arguing that which isn't plausible but there's a lot of value in applying it to other aspects of our mortal lives. The second belief that is prevalent through out the Phaedo is the belief that our senses deceive us. The most clear example from the text of this comes from a conversation between Simmias and Socrates in which Socrates asks “What again shall we say of the actual acquirement of knowledge? — is the body, if invited to share in the inquiry, a hinderer or a helper? I mean to say, have sight and hearing any truth in them?

Are they not, as the poets are always telling us, inaccurate witnesses? and yet, if even they are inaccurate and indistinc... ” This is belief finds scientific basis in things that occur naturally in the world. For example, a very common example for this belief is refraction in water. When this occurs one could argue that it is indisputable proof that our senses deceive us. The evidence presented in the Phaedo for this subject is not debatable. The case could be made though for the belief that we have scientific tools now that allow for us to understand our physical world quite accurately.

However, the Theory of Forms ps more than just the physical concepts in our world but it also extends in to the metaphysical such as our emotions and concepts such as beauty and perfection and none of these things are capable of being accurately perceived. Perhaps, despite what Plato has said earlier about our senses deceiving us, with all the technological advances we have to better understand our world there is the possibility that we have further skewed our ability to analyze the world.

All the tools scientists use in this day and age come from mathematical calculations and human senses. Plato at times conveniently talks about how the philosopher upon death is destined to live in Hades, a place where all souls go when they die. However, he also makes the claim that a philosopher doesn't just go to Hades but he is destined to spend time among the gods understanding the forms that they live among. “he who has lived as a true philosopher has reason to be of good cheer when he is about to die, and that after death he may hope to receive the greatest good in the other world. [2] This belief has an ulterior motive, Plato spends a great deal of time arguing that indulging in your senses in any way from eating food that you love to having an intimate relationship is wrong despite the fact he had a wife and kids. He also claims that only the common man fears death because they are obsessed with these physical responses from the things in our world. Thinking realistically as opposed to idealistically there's no reason that an individual can't indulge in the pleasures of the world and continue to gather knowledge.

Many philosophers would disagree with Plato's analysis of the human condition. That is to say that, many philosophers look towards expanding our experience in the physical world as an optimistic and healthy endeavor. Plato's belief that our experience in the physical world isn't as important as the afterlife is very dangerous and limited thinking because it encourages individuals to live their life with a very small frame of reference. If Plato's belief system was commonly accepted then we wouldn't have the chance to understand the complexities of emotion and our relationships with other people.

Nor would individuals understand the impact of drugs on their body and the life experience that comes from using those substances. As mentioned earlier, it's extremely limited thinking and damaging to the quality of life of most individuals in society. However, despite Plato's limited belief system I think a lot of what he said holds a lot of value in his time. It'd be hard in Plato's era for an individual to sort through the obvious mistruths communicated within the Phaedo due to the lack of science as it relates to our biological functions.

But what an individual can't take from Plato's Phaedo there's a lot they can. For instance, if one can't believe in Plato's Theory of Forms they can still appreciate the value of knowing that if there was a perfect form of beauty that humans could never understand then at least there's still things in this world that cause our hearts to stop for a moment in awe of their beauty whether it be a spouse, the ocean, or earth from from more than 12,000 feet in the air. Bibliography Eva, Brann, Kalkavage Peter, and Salem Eric.

Plato's Phaedo. Newburyport, MA: Focus Publishing. Roland, Jon. The Constitution, "Plato's Phaedo. " Last modified 2012. Accessed October 30, 2012. http://www. constitution. org/pla/phaedo. htm. --------------------------------- [ 1 ]. . Eva, Brann, Kalkavage Peter, and Salem Eric. Plato's Phaedo. Newburyport, MA: Focus Publishing. [ 2 ]. Roland, Jon. The Constitution, "Plato's Phaedo. " Last modified 2012. Accessed October 30, 2012. http://www. constitution. org/pla/phaedo. htm.

Analysis of Phaedo by Plato essay

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What is the philosophy of Plato?

One well-known aspect of the philosophy of Plato is the idea of forms, which Plato proposed as an explanation of the nature of universals. A universal is a characteristic that can be present in multiple particular objects at the same time.

What does Phaedo mean?

Phaedo. The Argument from Form of Life, or The Final Argument explains that the Forms, incorporeal and static entities, are the cause of all things in the world, and all things participate in Forms. For example, beautiful things participate in the Form of Beauty; the number four participates in the Form of the Even, etc.

Who is the author of Phaedo?

Phaedo was written in the year -400 by Plato. This book is one of the most popular novels of Plato, and has been translated into several other languages around the world.

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