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Plato’s “Phaedrus”: “The Allegory of the Chariot and The Tripartite Nature of the Soul”:

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In the dialogue “Phaedrus”, Plato presents the allegory of the chariot to explain the tripartite nature of the human soul or psyche. 

The chariot is pulled by two winged horses, one mortal and the other immortal.

The mortal, black horse is deformed and obstinate. Plato describes the horse as a “crooked lumbering animal, put together anyhow… of a dark color, with grey eyes and blood-red complexion; the mate of insolence and pride, shag-eared and deaf, hardly yielding to whip and spur.”

The inmortal, white horse, on the other hand, is noble and game, “upright and cleanly made… his color is white, and his eyes dark; he is a lover of honor and modesty and temperance, and the follower of true glory; he needs no touch of the whip, but is guided by word and admonition only.”

→In the driver’s seat is the charioteer, tasked with reining in these disparate steeds, guiding and harnessing them to propel the vehicle with strength and efficiency. The charioteer’s destination is the ridge of heaven, beyond which he may behold the Forms, Truth and absolute Knowledge. These essences nourish the horses’ wings, keeping the chariot in flight.

The charioteer joins a procession of gods, led by Zeus, on this trip into the heavens.

The ride is turbulent. The white horse wishes to rise, but the dark horse attempts to pull the chariot back towards the earth. As the horses pull in opposing directions, and the charioteer attempts to get them into sync, his chariot bobs above the ridge of heaven .

If the charioteer is able to behold the Forms, he gets to go on another revolution around the heavens. But if he cannot successfully pilot the chariot, the horses’ wings wither from lack of nourishment, or break off when the horses collide and attack each other, or crash into the chariots of others.

 When the chariot plummets to earth, the horses lose their wings, and the soul becomes embodied in human flesh. The degree to which the soul falls, and the “rank” of the mortal being it must then be embodied in is based on the amount of Truth it beheld while in the heavens.

The degree of the fall also determines how long it takes for the horses to regrow their wings and once again take flight. Basically, the more Truth the charioteer beheld on his journey, the shallower his fall, and the easier it is for him to get up and get going again.

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The Tripartite Nature of the Soul and the Allegory of the Chariot

 Plato conceives of the soul as having (at least) three parts:

  1. A rational part (the part that loves truth and knowledge, which should rule over the other parts of the soul through the use of reason)→ The Charioteer represents man’s Reason
  2. A spirited part (which seeks glory, honor, recognition and victory) →The white horse represents man’s spirit (thymos:θύμος).
  3. An appetitive part (which desires food, drink, material wealth and sex) →The black horse represents man’s appetites.

Worth noting: In the dialogue “The Republic”, Plato states that justice will be that condition of the soul in which each of these three parts “does its own work,” and does not interfere in the workings of the other parts (Check out this post: “Plato’s “The Republic”: “On the Concept of  Justice”).

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Plato’s “Phaedrus”:

Click on the image above to read the dialogue "Phaedrus" by Plato.-

Click on the image above to read the dialogue “Phaedrus” by Plato.-

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Slideshare: Plato’s “Phaedrus”: “The Allegory of the Chariot and The Tripartite Nature of the Soul”:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Links Post:
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ancient-soul/#3.2
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chariot_Allegory
http://outre-monde.com/2010/09/27/platos-metaphors-the-chariot-allegory/
http://www.english.hawaii.edu/criticalink/plato/guide6.html
http://www.john-uebersax.com/plato/plato3.htm
http://www.scandalon.co.uk/philosophy/plato_tripartite_soul.htm

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♠Plato´s Dialogue “Phaedo” (Φαίδων):

“Four Arguments to Prove the Inmortality of The Soul”:

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The dialogue Phaedo, which depicts the death of Socrates, is also Plato’s fourth and last dialogue to detail the philosopher’s final days, following EuthyphroApology, and Crito.

In the dialogue, Socrates discusses the nature of the afterlife on his last day before being executed by drinking hemlock. Socrates has been imprisoned and sentenced to death by an Athenian jury for not believing in the gods of the state and for corrupting the youth of the city. The dialogue is told from the perspective of one of Socrates’ students, Phaedo of Elis.

Socrates explains to his friends that a true philosopher should look forward to death. The purpose of the philosophical life is to free the soul from the needs of the body. Since the moment of death is the final separation of soul and body, a philosopher should see it as the realization of his aim. Unlike the body, the soul is immortal, so it will survive death.

Socrates provides four arguments for believing the soul is immortal.

1) →The first one, known as the Argument from Opposites, is based on the observation that everything comes to be from out of its opposite. As the body is mortal and is subject to physical death, the soul must be its indestructible opposite. Plato then suggests the analogy of fire and cold. If the form of cold is imperishable, and fire, its opposite, was within close proximity, it would have to withdraw intact as does the soul during death. 

The Argument from Opposites absorbs a line of thinking that was popular among earlier philosophers such as Heraclitus and Pythagoras. By following their lead in seeing the world as being divided into opposites, Plato presents an initial argument that would be sympathetic to his contemporaries.

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2) →The second argument, known as the Theory of Recollection, asserts that learning is essentially an act of recollecting things we knew before we were born but then forgot. True knowledge, argues Socrates, is knowledge of the eternal and unchanging Forms that underlie perceptible reality. For example, we are able to perceive that two sticks are equal in length but unequal in width only because we have an innate understanding of the Form of Equality. That is, we have an innate understanding of what it means for something to be equal even though no two things we encounter in experience are themselves perfectly equal.  Since we can grasp this Form of Equality even though we never encounter it in experience, this argument implies that the soul must have existed prior to birth.

The Theory of Recollection introduces the idea of Forms and, in associating knowledge with the immortal soul, suggests that the soul that survives death is not just an empty life force but includes the intellect.

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3) →The third argument, known as the Argument from Affinity or from Scattering, distinguishes between those things that are immaterial, invisible, and immortal, and those things that are material, visible, and perishable. The soul belongs to the former category and the body to the latter. The soul, then, is immortal, although this immortality may take very different forms. A soul that is not properly detached from the body will become a ghost that will long to return to the flesh, while the philosopher’s detached soul will dwell free in the heavens.

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4) →The Final Argument is known as Argument from Form of Life. Socrates 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 soul, by its very nature, participates in the Form of Life, which means the soul can never die. The final argument based on Forms is the only one Plato deems truly definitive, refuting the doubts of Simmias and Cebes (See The Objections by Simmias and Cebes & Replies to Simmias and Cebes).

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Click above to read Plato´s “Phaedo”.-

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♠Links Post:

http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/plato/section3.rhtml

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaedo

http://www3.nd.edu/~jspeaks/courses/2006-7/20208/plato-immortality.html

http://guweb2.gonzaga.edu/faculty/calhoun/courses/201s/201phd.html?lookup=aristoph.+eccl.+1

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♠Last But Not Least:

Thank You Angie for sharing the Shine on Award with me:

Click above to check out the nomination and to visit "Family Answers Fast".-

Click above to check out the nomination and to visit “Family Answers Fast”.-

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