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phaedo   


existence after the man is dead, will you not admit that the more

lasting must also survive during the same period of time? Now I,

like Simmias, must employ a figure; and I shall ask you to consider

whether the figure is to the point. The parallel which I will

suppose is that of an old weaver, who dies, and after his death

somebody says: He is not dead, he must be alive; and he appeals to the

coat which he himself wove and wore, and which is still whole and

undecayed. And then he proceeds to ask of someone who is

incredulous, whether a man lasts longer, or the coat which is in use

and wear; and when he is answered that a man lasts far longer,

thinks that he has thus certainly demonstrated the survival of the

man, who is the more lasting, because the less lasting remains. But

that, Simmias, as I would beg you to observe, is not the truth;

everyone sees that he who talks thus is talking nonsense. For the

truth is that this weaver, having worn and woven many such coats,

though he outlived several of them, was himself outlived by the

last; but this is surely very far from proving that a man is

slighter and weaker than a coat. Now the relation of the body to the

soul may be expressed in a similar figure; for you may say with reason

that the soul is lasting, and the body weak and short-lived in

comparison. And every soul may be said to wear out many bodies,

especially in the course of a long life. For if while the man is alive

the body deliquesces and decays, and yet the soul always weaves her

garment anew and repairs the waste, then of course, when the soul

perishes, she must have on her last garment, and this only will

survive her; but then again when the soul is dead the body will at

last show its native weakness, and soon pass into decay. And therefore

this is an argument on which I would rather not rely as proving that

the soul exists after death. For suppose that we grant even more

than you affirm as within the range of possibility, and besides

acknowledging that the soul existed before birth admit also that after

death the souls of some are existing still, and will exist, and will

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