Phaedo (Plato), Immortality (Philosophy), Philosophy


The Phaedo comprises one speech. This speech is delivered in the form of a war; a war that wonders about and is fought over the existence of the soul after the death of the body. Does the soul here perish, or is it truly immortal? The life or death of the soul becomes in this sense the prize of the war-the underlying cause, the quest for knowledge of the Truth. Thus, the side that presents the prevailing theory of the soul receives, not only the honor of possessing the answer to this long and much-sought after question, but also the further honour of possessing the truth about reality, and therefore, an overall hold on Truth itself. At the end of the Phaedo, and thus also this paper, the prize of war-the human soul-remains elusive: whether shackled somewhere within the confines of the flesh, dispersing into nothingness, groaning in the underworld, or blowing gaily through paradise; whatever the soul's future or true nature is, one sure aspect of its existence is well evidenced: the bloody trail of words, corpses, and ennui which litters the history of man. The hero of the comedy, like his tragic counterpart, proceeds to awareness, in his case, an awareness that comes from sensuality.

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