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Body and soul, Plato and Nietzsche

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Compare Plato's and Nietzsche's views on the nature of the soul and the body, as well as their ideas about the relationship between the.

Using The Republic and Thus Spoke

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In the Phaedo, Socrates was reported to have told the people who were sorrowful about his imminent death that the real Socrates was not the body that will be left after his demise. What changes, according to Socrates, is the body while the soul remains unchanged. So Socrates believed that his soul will survive death. The argument for the immortality of the soul is thus set out in the Phaedo, taken up later in the Republic. For Plato, then, man's real self is the soul which is in the body like in a prison and it is death that releases it from the body. It is this dualism that one finds in the Republic where two opposites are discussed. Everything is thought to have "its peculiar evil as well as its good" (The Republic, Part VI, Book X, 608 C-end, "Immortality and the rewards of Justice"). What is evil impairs what is good, in that way, the body impairs the soul, and it is its prison! So, man should distance himself/herself as far as possible from the passions of the body in order to maintain her true essence which is to "...apprehend and hold converse with the divine, immortal, and everlasting world to which she is ...

Solution Summary

Whereas for Plato the soul is the essence of the human being and is imprisoned in the body, for Nietzsche the soul is just a word for something about the body. How do these two philosophers argue for their divergent positions? This is what is discussed here.