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ἕως ἂν -- χωρίσῃ . θάνατον must here be understood of the soul's death, otherwise the parallel with ὥσπερἀφικνεῖται breaks down, and the reasoning becomes not merely fallacious, but absurd. We have, in fact, to distinguish between the death or dissolution of a the body (as described in C above ὥσπερ σῶμαεἰς τὸ μηδὲ σῶμα εἶναι), b the soul, c the σύνολον, or body plus soul. If the soul is mortal, the moment at which it is dissolved and perishes is when the σύνολον dies, i.e. (Phaed. 64 C, 67 D) when soul is separated from body (cf. Phaed. 70 A, 77 B, D, E, 80 D and 84 B). Plato reminds us of this by saying ἕως ἂν εἰς θάνατον ἀγαγοῦσα τοῦσώματος χωρίσῃ instead of merely ἕως ἂν εἰς θάνατον ἀγάγῃ. Cf. 610 D note

οὐδαμῶς -- τοῦτό γε. It is strange that Glauco should assent so readily. He is apparently thinking (as in 610 E) of the activity and vitality which wicked men so frequently display; but we may fairly ask ‘Why should soul be the only thing which is incapable of being destroyed by its own vice?’ It would surely be more true to hold that vice is able to kill the soul just because it is able ποιεῖν αὐτὴν κακήν (609 B), and Panaetius actually made use of a similar argument in order to prove the soul mortal (“nihil esse, quod doleat, quin id aegrum esse quoque possit. quod autem in morbum cadat, id etiam interiturum; dolere autem animos, ergo etiam interire” Cicero Tusc. Disp. I 79). Is ἆρα ἐνοῦσαχωρίσῃ intended as an appeal to experience? Even if we allowed that experience is the proper tribunal, our experience of the effect of injustice on a human soul is limited to a single life; and why should not one soul wear out many bodies and perish at last through its own vice καὶ αὐτὸ τοῦτο θάνατος, ψυχῆς ὄλεθρος (cf. Phaed. 87 B, 91 D. See also Deichert Plato's Beweise f. die Unsterblichkeit d. Seele pp. 46—48). These difficulties are serious, and possibly fatal: they have even led some critics to stigmatise the whole argument as a petitio principii (e.g. Brandt Zur Entwick. d. Pl. Lehre v. d. Seelentheilen p. 29). Plato does not attempt to solve them here; but a comparison of the present argument with Phaed. 93 A—94 B helps at all events to explain his position. Soul is always soul, and no soul is more a soul than any other (Phaed. 93 B); hence the soul which is made evil by vice retains its vitality unimpaired. It is in fact the conception of soul as the principle of life which explains (from the Platonic point of view) Glauco's emphatic οὐδαμῶς. Cf. I 353 D τί δ̓ αὖ τὸ ζῆν; ψυχῆς φήσομεν ἔργον εἶναι; Μάλιστά γ̓, ἔφη, with note ad loc. It is on the essential connexion between ‘soul’ and ‘life’ that Plato builds his crowning argument for the immortality of the soul in the Phaedo (100 B ff., and especially 105 C, D). Cf. Zeller^{4} II p. 827 and infra 610 D note

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  • Commentary references from this page (5):
    • Plato, Phaedo, 64c
    • Plato, Phaedo, 70a
    • Plato, Phaedo, 87b
    • Plato, Phaedo, 93a
    • Plato, Phaedo, 93b
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