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Program in philosophical studies
Fourth Class - Handout


Philosophy as “Training for Dying.”

The Human Soul. The Meaning of Life:



Human soul and religion

v     Myth in Plato

v     Religion and philosophy – faith and reason

v     Orphism and the myth of Dionysius

v     Religious roots of dualistic account of the human beings: soul as the divine element trying to free itself from the earthly prison of the body; but also soul as the principle of goodness as opposed to the body as the principle of evil.



soul as an ambiguous term

v     Meaning of soul in Plato’s proofs (Phaedo)

v     Meaning of soul in Aristotle’s proof (On the Soul, III, 4, 429a10-429b9)

v     Meaning of soul in Aquinas’s proof (Summa Theologiae, I, q. 75, a. 2 c)



Philosophy as “Training for Dying”

v     Philosophy as search for wisdom

v     Philosophy as ancilla theologiae



The Soul and Plato’s Theory of knowledge

v     In the Phaedo, Plato’s theory of knowledge is meant to support his proofs for the spirituality and immortality of the soul

v     Theory of knowledge, some basic principles:

-          Knowledge as possession of a form

-          Similarity between the knower (of which the known object is part) and the thing known

-          Not a destroying change in the knower

-          Simultaneous actuality of the knowing faculty and the known thing

-          The act of the known object “as known” and of the act of the knower “as knowing it” are one and the same act


Plato’s proofs in the Phaedo

v     From the life-to-death and the death-to-life cycles

v     From the Theory of recollection

v     Affinity argument

v     From the ideal opposites (or from the form of life)



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