Free «Socrates-Difference between Soul and the Body» Essay Sample

The human being, in philosophy, is said have three dimensions: soul, body and spirit. The difference between the soul and body, is that the soul is said to be non-physical while the body physical and made up of matter.  It is believed that the soul exists before birth and exits the body when a person dies. It is held that the body grows, matures and then begins to age and finally decomposes after death. The soul is thought to be vital part of consciousness, intellect and it actually affects the personality of an individual. Sometimes the soul functions as a synonym for  spirit, mind or self, but the soul is said to be functionally distinct from mind and spirit and hence should not be used interchangeably. The body is deemed to be the physical framework in which the soul lives.

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According to Granger (1996), ‘the body serves as a subject or a thing that has a soul. The soul is not another thing in addition to its body, or some part of the body, but a ‘predicate’ the body possesses as a living thing.  Soul is not without body, yet it is not a ‘certain kind of body’, rather it is something that belongs to the body, or ‘something of a body’, what would appear, since it is not a body of any sort to be a property of the body in its dependence upon the body and not a thing subsisting in its own right apart from its bodily subject’. (p.18) .This means that the association of the body with the soul is critical. While a person is alive, the soul lives and is active in the body and uses the senses of the body.  Moore, (1845),agrees with Socrates’ and Granger’s view by acknowledging  that  the soul is an  individual intellectual being which inhabits the body but is capable of active existence independent of physical connection .Moore further points out that such  matters as understanding, will, sense, memory and imagination are but the diversified evidences of the same soul(p.1,2)

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These arguments bring about three areas: immortality of the soul; the relationship between body and soul; that is, which one is greater than the other, and how each one is critical to the existence of another. The soul, it is thought, is invisible and intangible or non-physical. The soul is also said to influence the personality if an individual. According to Jowett, the soul is in agreement with the affections of the body and not at variance with them. However, the soul at times opposes the desires of the body, for example, the soul subject the body, to medicine and gymnastics. Due to the idea that the soul is capable of existence without physical connection, and also that the soul is pure, rational and immortal, it is therefore believed, though not with absolute certainty, that the soul continues to live after death. Socrates’ view is that the purity of the soul at the time of death will determine the destiny of that soul. He says that the soul can be made impure by engaging in what is considered evil, for example stealing.

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Centrally, the differences between the soul and the body are markedly pronounced due to the fact that the characteristics that describe the soul are intangible. Such aspects as the will, memory or thinking are not as physical as the body. The issues that concern the origin of the soul, its influence on the living being, and its ultimate destination after death attract great criticism and attention. The fact that the answers to the questions that pertain to the soul have been scanty and unclear makes the differences between the soul and body more pronounced. On the contrary, the body is tangible and its origin and the changes that take place on it are visible. It is deemed that death occurs when the soul escape from the body.           

In conclusion, most philosophers agree that the body is the physical visible framework in which the soul lives. Upon death, the body decomposes and dissipates. It is argued that the soul of an individual exists before birth and lives on after death, indicating that it is capable of non- physical existence. The soul is said to have intelligence and virtue and its work is that of thinking, acting and willing. The soul is also responsible for determining an individual’s personality. Like Socrates’ time, the fate of the soul after death and the idea of the after -life remain unclear.

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