• The body is an instrument of perception to the soul.
  • This is also characteristic of the speech of Socrates.
  • Query: the Apology, Socrates, health of the body.

The third chapter examines the relationship between Plato's doctrines of psychic immortality and tripartition.

Even when death is upon us, the soul of a human being never dies.

The purpose of this process is to achieve an immortal soul.

It begins with a Socratic conversation aboutbut proceeds directly to  ofthe  (Gk.
In favor of Aristophanes as a source is that Xenophon and Plato weresome forty-five years younger than Socrates, so their acquaintancecould only have been in Socrates’s later years. One may reasonablydoubt that the life and personality of Socrates was so consistent thatPlato’s characterization of a man in his fifties and sixties shouldutterly undo the lampooning account of the younger Socrates found inClouds and other comic poets. More to the point, the yearsbetween Clouds and Socrates’s trial were years of war andupheaval, so the Athenian intellectual freedom of which Periclesboasted at the beginning of the war (Thucydides 2.37–39) had beeneroded completely by the end (see §3). Thus, what had seemedcomical a quarter century earlier, Socrates hanging in a basketon-stage, talking nonsense, was ominous in memory by then.

The soul is the organ that connects the body and the divine.

Towards the end of his Republic Plato turned his attention towards the immorality of the soul.
If it were possible to confine oneself exclusively to Plato’sSocrates, the Socratic problem would nevertheless reappearbecause one would soon discover Socrates himself defending oneposition in one Platonic dialogue, its contrary in another, and usingdifferent methods in different dialogues to boot. Inconsistenciesamong the dialogues seem to demand explanation, though not allphilosophers have thought so (Shorey 1903). Most famously, theParmenides attacks various theories of forms that theRepublic, Symposium, and Phaedo develop and defend. In somedialogues (e.g., Laches), Socrates only weeds the garden ofits inconsistencies and false beliefs, but in other dialogues (e.g.,Phaedrus), he is a planter as well, advancing structuredphilosophical claims and suggesting new methods for testing thoseclaims. There are differences on smaller matters as well. For example,Socrates in the Gorgias opposes, while in theProtagoras he supports, hedonism; the details of the relationbetween erotic love and the good life differ from Phaedrusto Symposium; the account of the relation between knowledgeand the objects of knowledge in Republic differs from theMeno account; despite Socrates’s commitment to Athenian law,expressed in the Crito, he vows in the Apology thathe will disobey the lawful jury if it orders him to stopphilosophizing. A related problem is that some of the dialogues appearto develop positions familiar from other philosophical traditions(e.g., that of Heraclitus in Theaetetus and Pythagoreanism inPhaedo). Three centuries of efforts to solve the Socraticproblem are summarized in the following supplementary document:


A friend of Socrates, Xenophon also produced the valuable (or ).

Until relatively recently in modern times, it was hoped thatconfident elimination of what could be ascribed purely to Socrateswould leave standing a coherent set of doctrines attributable to Plato(who appears nowhere in the dialogues as a speaker). Manyphilosophers, inspired by the nineteenth century scholar EduardZeller, expect the greatest philosophers to promote grand,impenetrable schemes. Nothing of the sort was possible for Socrates,so it remained for Plato to be assigned all the positivedoctrines that could be extracted from the dialogues. In the latterhalf of the twentieth century, however, there was a resurgence ofinterest in who Socrates was and what his own views andmethods were. The result is a narrower, but no less contentious,Socratic problem. Two strands of interpretation dominated views ofSocrates in the twentieth century (Griswold 2001; Klagge and Smith1992). Although there has been some healthy cross-pollination andgrowth since the mid 1990s, the two were so hostile to one another forso long that the bulk of the secondary literature on Socrates,including translations peculiar to each, still divides into two camps,hardly reading one another: literary contextualists and analysts. Theliterary-contextual study of Socrates, like hermeneutics moregenerally, uses the tools of literary criticism—typicallyinterpreting one complete dialogue at a time; its European origins aretraced to Heidegger and earlier to Nietzsche and Kierkegaard. The analytic study ofSocrates, like analytic philosophy more generally, is fueled by thearguments in the texts—typically addressing a single argument orset of arguments, whether in a single text or across texts; itsorigins are in the Anglo-American philosophical tradition. Hans-GeorgGadamer (1900–2002) was the doyen of the hermeneutic strand, andGregory Vlastos (1907–1991) of the analytic.

Socrates argues that to give such explanations while ignoring the critical role of Mind is like explaining why a man is sitting in terms of the arrangement of his body.

Query: care for the soul is all that matters. Socrates.

In fact, Plato argued that since knowledge of the most important matters in life is clearest to the soul alone, its customary attachment to a mortal body often serves only as a distraction from what counts.

Query: care of the soul. Plato.

Faced with inconsistencies in Socrates’s views and methods from onedialogue to another, the literary contextualist has no Socraticproblem because Plato is seen as an artist of surpassing literaryskill, the ambiguities in whose dialogues are intentionalrepresentations of actual ambiguities in the subjects philosophyinvestigates. Thus terms, arguments, characters, and in fact allelements in the dialogues should be addressed in their literarycontext. Bringing the tools of literary criticism to the study of thedialogues, and sanctioned in that practice by Plato’s own use ofliterary devices and practice of textual critique (Protagoras339a–347a, Republic 2.376c–3.412b, Ion, andPhaedrus 262c–264e), most contextualists ask of eachdialogue what its aesthetic unity implies, pointing out that thedialogues themselves are autonomous, containing almost nocross-references. Contextualists who attend to what they see as theaesthetic unity of the whole Platonic corpus, and therefore seek aconsistent picture of Socrates, advise close readings of the dialoguesand appeal to a number of literary conventions and devices said toreveal Socrates’s actual personality. For both varieties ofcontextualism, the Platonic dialogues are like a brilliantconstellation whose separate stars naturally require separatefocus.

Query: how is philosophy a way of the soul in the Apology?

Beginning in the 1950s, Vlastos (1991, 45–80) recommended a set ofmutually supportive premises that together provide a plausibleframework in the analytic tradition for Socratic philosophy as apursuit distinct from Platonic philosophy. Although the premises havedeep roots in early attempts to solve the Socratic problem (see thesupplementary document linked above), the beauty of Vlastos’sparticular configuration is its fecundity. The first premise marks abreak with a tradition of regarding Plato as a dialectician who heldhis assumptions tentatively and revised them constantly; rather,