PhilosophyNotes1011 (PDF)

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Liam Nakagawa
Philosophy — Ms. Kudera
Notes on Selections From Plato’s Phaedo
Doctrines Concerning Body and Soul (80c-84b)
-The corpse can be preserved and some parts like bones are “practically indestructible”
-The soul cannot disappear upon death, never had a “voluntary connection” to the body

-Philosophy = Practice of death, soul gathering within itself

-Soul is invisible, departs to invisible world of rational divinity
-Soul is still “engrossed in the corporeal” lusts and bodily desires of humanity

-These vices can prevent a soul from ascending, condemned to haunt for eternity

-These bad souls absolve into animals like wolves and hawks, reflective of the type

of life they lived

-Only a philosopher who loves learning, who is pure, may “reach the gods”

-Practitioners of philosophy are aware that there souls are separate entities from their

-Soul perceives reality through “prison bars”

-Philosophy guides the soul to avoid the deceit of senses, to trust only itself

-Pleasure an pain occur when should is most “enthralled by the body”

-Sensations that “rivet” the should to the body

-But philosophers are “temperate and brave”

-Only follow reason, and not for the promise of future pleasure

-After death, a philosopher’s soul will be “scattered and blown away by the winds and be
nowhere and nothing”
Excerpt from the Phaedrus
-Soul is immortal, never ceases to move

-Only that which moves itself can be immortal

-Soul is “unbegotten,” and therefore must be indestructible

-Else all heaven would collapse, and “creation would collapse and stand still”

-Body moved from without: Soulless — within: Soulful
-Plato digresses, acknowledging the “more than mortal discourse” surrounding souls
-Describes the image of two winged horses and a charioteer
-Human drives a noble and an ignoble horse (immortal = would be both noble)

-Imperfect soul has an imperfect, mortal frame moved by soul

-Immortal = purely soul, self-moving

-Wing: “corporeal element which is most akin to the divine,” natural upwards tendency,
towards the gods

-Wing is nourished, grows by beauty, wisdom, goodness, etc.

-When feeds on evil, the wing falls away

-Cites greek mythology as the divine arbiter of souls
-The steeds of mortals drag the soul away from heaven
-Gods are able to rejoice in the higher realities for eternity

-Mortal soul longs to perceive upper reality, is prevented by the steeds

-Most souls are discouraged, fall down to “feed on opinion”

-The source of this longing is that reason is able to thrive in higher reality

-When soul falls from sky, she first goes into the body of man, not other animals

-First class: Philosopher, artist, musical and loving people

-Second: King, warrior chief

-Third: politician, economist, trader

-Fourth: athlete, physician

-Fifth: prophet or hierophant (mythicist)

-Sixth: poet, imitative artists

-Seventh: artisan, husbandman (farmer)

-Eighth: sophist, demagogue

-Ninth: tyrant

-These states are “probationary” can be improved

-Plato says that 10000 years must pass before the soul can return to heaven

-Wings cannot grow faster than that.

-Only the true philosopher can acquire wings in the 3rd of 1000 year cycles

-Distinguished from “ordinary good man” who gains wings in 3000 years

-After death, some souls receive judgement, are ascribed to hell or heaven

-Every 1000 years, the soul can adopt a new mortal form

-e.g. beast -> man, or man -> beast

-Must see truth to become man

-Only the mind of philosopher has wings, becomes truly perfect, loses earthly interests

-“Vulgar deem him mad, and rebuke him; they do not see that he is inspired”

-Those who are corrupted by the mortal world are unable to perceive beauty

-Beauty takes a godlike from, revitalizes the wings of the mind

-This process is painful, but once wings start to grow, the mind is refreshed

-This is a state of true love

-Plato cites Homer to support his divine definition of love

-Mortal love is a reflection of divine, godly love

-True philosopher will strive towards divine love over mortal love

-Return to the image of the 2 horses and charioteer

-One healthy, noble horse and one unhealthy, ignoble horse

-Emotion = noble, Appetite = ignoble
-True love is rational love of inner beauty

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