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οἶμαι ἔγωγε: sc. ὑπὲρ τοῦ παντὸς δεῖν ἐσπουδακέναι. Cf. I 336 E note and App. ad loc.

οὐκ ᾔσθησαι κτλ. ‘Have you not observed’ etc. The light and airy tone with which Plato introduces this momentous topic has often been remarked upon; and we can hardly help feeling that οὐδὲν γὰρ χαλεπόν is too audacious to be taken seriously, in spite of Plato's immoveable conviction of the immortality of the soul (see on VI 498 D). The doctrine itself had of course long been an article of the Orphic and Pythagorean creeds (see Rohde Psyche^{2} II pp. 1 ff. and Laudowicz Präexistenz d. Seele u. Seelenwand. in Gr. Phil. pp. 1—29), and we must not suppose (with Thomas Gray) that it is the novelty of the idea which occasions Glauco's wonder. Glauco regards the originally half-theological doctrine of the immortality of the Soul with the same sort of well-bred incredulity which it inspired in most of Plato's contemporaries (cf. VI 498 D with I 330 D, E and Phaed. 69 E, 70 A, 80 D), and is astonished that a well-balanced mind should treat it seriously as a philosophical dogma capable of being established by rational argument.

εἰ μὴ ἀδικῶ γε. See on IV 430 D.

608D - 611A Everything, which suffers destruction, is destroyed by its own peculiar evil or disease, and that which cannot be destroyed thereby is indestructible. Now the evil which is peculiar to the soul is vice, and vice is powerless to slay the soul. We must beware of supposing that the soul is destroyed by bodily disease, unless it can be proved that bodily disease engenders within the soul its own specific evil; and if any one has the boldness to assert that the souls of the dying do actually become more vicious, he must be prepared to shew that vice, alone and by itself, is fatal to its possessor, which is far from being true. Vice would lose its terrors if death were the end of all things. We conclude that the soul is immortal, since neither its own nor any alien evil can destroy it.

ff. Socrates has already expressed his belief in the immortality of the soul in VI 498 D: cf. also ib. 496 E and I 330 D, E. The proof which Plato gives here has been widely discussed and severely, though often unfairly and unintelligently, criticised by many critics, to some of whom reference is made in the course of the notes. Plato does not stop to define what he means by ‘soul,’ nor the different senses in which he employs the word ‘death,’ and the consequence is that superficial inspection of his reasoning often sees a fallacy where there is only an ellipse. The best preparation for a study of this argument is a careful examination of the proofs in the Phaedo, to which Plato himself appears expressly to allude in 611 B: see note ad loc. It will be easier to understand the reasoning of Plato if we bear in mind the following considerations. (1) The duality of soul and body is assumed throughout the whole discussion. (2) It is the individual immortality of the soul which Plato wishes to prove. (In his excellent monograph Unsterblichkeitslehre Plato's, Halle, 1878, Bertram appears to me to have conclusively and once for all established this point as against Teichmüller Die Plat. Fr. pp. 1—23. Cf. Simson Der Begriff d. Seele bei Plato pp. 126—143). (3) The conception of soul as the principle of life, though not expressly enunciated here, is present to Plato's mind (609 D note). The question whether immortality (in the fullest sense of the term) belongs to the entire soul, or only to part of it, is not raised in the course of the proof itself, but from 611 B—612 A, it would seem that the λογιστικόν alone is indestructible (611 B note). At each successive incarnation the λογιστικόν is defiled ὑπὸ τῆς τοῦ σώματος κοινωνίας, and (according to Phaed. 81 B ff.) the pollution frequently adheres even after death, causing the soul to seek re-incarnation. The ultimate aim is apparently to be delivered from bodily existence altogether, and live ἄνευ σωμάτων τὸ παράπαν εἰς τὸν ἔπειτα χρόνον (Phaed. 114 C), but even then the soul would not—so at least I think—seem to Plato to lose its essential individuality and become absorbed. See on the whole subject Simson l.c. pp. 144—154 and cf. 611 B note

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    • Plato, Phaedo, 114c
    • Plato, Phaedo, 69e
    • Plato, Phaedo, 81b
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