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phaedo   


differently about that.

But, rejoined Socrates, you will have to think differently, my

Theban friend, if you still maintain that harmony is a compound, and

that the soul is a harmony which is made out of strings set in the

frame of the body; for you will surely never allow yourself to say

that a harmony is prior to the elements which compose the harmony.

No, Socrates, that is impossible.

But do you not see that you are saying this when you say that the

soul existed before she took the form and body of man, and was made up

of elements which as yet had no existence? For harmony is not a sort

of thing like the soul, as you suppose; but first the lyre, and the

strings, and the sounds exist in a state of discord, and then

harmony is made last of all, and perishes first. And how can such a

notion of the soul as this agree with the other?

Not at all, replied Simmias.

And yet, he said, there surely ought to be harmony when harmony is

the theme of discourse.

There ought, replied Simmias.

But there is no harmony, he said, in the two propositions that

knowledge is recollection, and that the soul is a harmony. Which of

them, then, will you retain?

I think, he replied, that I have a much stronger faith, Socrates, in

the first of the two, which has been fully demonstrated to me, than in

the latter, which has not been demonstrated at all, but rests only

on probable and plausible grounds; and I know too well that these

arguments from probabilities are impostors, and unless great caution

is observed in the use of them they are apt to be deceptive-in

geometry, and in other things too. But the doctrine of knowledge and

recollection has been proven to me on trustworthy grounds; and the

proof was that the soul must have existed before she came into the

body, because to her belongs the essence of which the very name

implies existence. Having, as I am convinced, rightly accepted this

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