Plato's affinity argument for the immortality of the soul

Plato's Affinity Argument for the Immortality of the Soul DAVID APOLLONI VROM Phaedo 78b to 8od, Socrates attempts to answer Simmias' fear that, even if the soul has existed eternally before birth, it might be dispersed and this would be the end of its existence . His answer is an argument which attempts to show that the soul is incomposite because it is similar to the Forms and dissimilar to physical objects. To date, this argument -- the so-called Aftin- ity Argument -- has not received much sympathy from Plato's commentators, who universally consider it the weakest of Plato's arguments for the immortal- ity of the soul? The lack of sympathy and enthusiasm for this argument is not difficult to understand. Just consider the following outline of the argument. The soul is invisible, therefore the soul is more similar to the Invisible, i.e., the Forms, which are always the same, than are bodies, which are visible and which are constantly changing, and which are more similar to the Visible than is the soul . Further, the soul is more like the Always the Same in that when it uses the body to see or hear or perceive, it is "dragged" by the body into the Never the Same, and the soul "wanders and is confused and whirls as if intoxicated" insofar as the soul has come in contact with such things . Whereas when the soul considers by itself, it goes to the realm of the Forms, and ceases its wandering. Therefore the soul is more like the Always..
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DOI 10.1353/hph.1996.0010
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