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Meno and Phaedo - Essay Example

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Pythagoras was a philosopher who was very influential on Plato. In the Phaedo, the notion of 'harmony' owes much to Pythagoras. Pythagoras discovered the octave and the roots of musical harmony by creating a lyre that had two strings at a size of 2:1, and the sound generated by this relationship of 1:2 represents an octave [Joost-Gaugier 172], both in Ancient musical systems but also in modern ones…
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Meno and Phaedo
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Download file to see previous pages The following will present three succinct (and related) arguments which defend the position concerning the immortality of the soul. The arguments in question, are as follows (1) ‘argument from opposites’ [69e-72e], (2) argument from recollection [73-78b], and finally, (3) ‘the argument from affinity’ [84c-88b]. The focus of this analysis will be on the above three sections, however, both a consideration of some of the objections will follow, and finally, the final or summary refutation provided by Plato’s mouthpiece (Socrates). The first position in question, is the argument from opposites. This is an argument which is based on an inference which is an extension of observation. What we perceive around us, is a process in nature where opposites turn into each other. In this section in question, Plato observes the following opposites which typify this process of “becoming” [72B], namely, the opposites of ‘small/larger’ [70E]‘faster/slower’, ‘waking/sleeping’[71D], and ‘hot/cold’[71B]. As mentioned, these are processes whereby opposites turn into one another. There are, however, some problems with this argument. First, the very notion of ‘opposite’ is problematic. ...
in Celsius) between ‘hot’ and ‘cold’, but they are not opposites in the contradictory sense of ‘life’ and ‘death’. In other words, ‘life’ and ‘death’ are binary opposites in the sense that a person is either ‘alive’, or they are ‘dead’. A difference in the sense presented by Plato with respect to ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ or conversely, ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ are not binary opposites – the admit of a middle ground, and moreover, they are united or related in some sense. They are related in the sense of being relative to another. While a tortoise is relatively slow when compared with a hare, a hare is slow when compared to the speed of light. Thus, is the ‘hare’ fast or slow? In normal logic, one cannot predicate real opposites of the same thing, this is the law of non-contradiction [Wagner 28] and this is actually that which brings into question some of what Plato is claiming concerning these opposites. This said, Plato is claiming that “all things come to be in this way, opposites from opposites” [71A]. Further, he infers that among “all” of these “things”, must also be the soul and the body. Thus, if everything turns into its opposite, then, the soul must turn into the body, and the body must turn into the soul. Phrased in terms of a syllogism, (1.) if it can be said “that to be dead is the opposite of being alive” [71D], and (2) “all things come to be in this way, opposites from opposites” [71A], then, (3) it can be inferred that the body and soul turn into each other. As has been noted, the form of this argument is an inference, and there are some problems, and second, his very notion of opposites includes ‘contraries’ and not just ‘contradictories’ – that is, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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