Free The “Socrates Dialogues” Essay Sample
The nature of the Plato’s early dialogues in each case depends on the interpreter who imagines the nature and significance of the philosophy of Socrates. They describe the meaning of the life for a person, and put the emphasis on the knowledge of living in harmony. The dialogues of Plato already assume the task of human approach to something transcendent. Plato presents the essence of values of peace at “Meneksen” dialog, which is dedicated to the importance of a valor for humans. Plato underlines the need to live a life that requires mental effort, but people should not forget to be rational. Based on the praise of soul, Plato completes the argument answering the question where is the foundation of human`s soul. He also answers the question why the human being can think about his or her own nature. He does state the task to justify a special ontological meaning of soul; however, he does not put these questions openly. The relatedness of human life with a supreme world through the lenses of human soul is the essential point of his dialogues.
The definition of a phenomenon of soul does not mean its presentation as an element belonging to the cosmic order and occupying a certain place in it. Thus, the purpose of the Socratic dialogues is to prepare a person to what is human being and what is important to humans having similar existential education. The real problem is not to acquire certain knowledge and to exist in a certain way. In dialogue “Gorgias,” Plato shows the ways person should take care of his soul to see the true nature of everything, contribute to the well-being of others in order to be part of the cosmos. This condition leads to the harmony within the universe, not chaos.
In “Laches,” the reader finds the following argument of Plato, which expresses the nature of his method of philosophizing, when someone considers a question for the sake of something, he looks for the point why is it raised, and does not seek to look for something else. The reader see the dialog between two human beings, thinking about their purpose of living. Any subject discussed by the philosopher in the formulation of the question “for what?” is related to the fact that it acts as a basis for the further questions. Full and productive discussion of a science, according to Plato, is impossible without participation in the discussion of issues related to the soul and virtue. Everything that relates specifically to imply a supernatural. In “Laches” dialog, the question raises what is “courage”? Despite the seeming simplicity of the subjects of this dialogue, the correlation dimension of human existence with a higher being (which is enclosed and “virtue” is definitely existing, undisputed area) plays a big role in it. Firstly, it can be argued that human beings are participants in the dialogue, but also in something more significant, as the courage , prudence, justice, and all others in the same way, which refers to the virtues of Socrates. Courage is itself a part of a more general, overall exceeding human life education. Also in the “Laches” dialogue, Plato says that it is a virtue defined as the goal of human life: one should “buy it”. It is clear that virtue is something to do with the phenomenon of the macrocosmic nature.
In the “Meno” dialog, this question is discussed more precise. Goodness turns out to be good and belongs to our soul. Further, it is impossible to talk about the virtues, not mentioning the mind present in the soul. It is described by Plato as a phenomenon that has macrocosmic determining foundation. Another importance of human relatedness and higher being is the virtues which are permeated with intelligence. However, such reasonableness has the good nature as a pure phenomenon of the macrocosm, which is present in the human soul. The most important thing lies in the fact that the virtues are by no means states, producing a man; therefore, a person cannot learn virtue. Its clean appearance, according to Plato, refers (in the dialogue “Laches” and “Meno”) to unconditional good; hence it is an ideal state.
Thus, it becomes clear that the “virtue” is a phenomenon that has a direct relation to something supra existential. Therefore, the concept of soul is to be understood now as an element of ideas, to which a person has to be involved: in its pure form soul is excellent as well as courage. The source of the soul is in the heart. Plato says about the mind that the reason of living or the purpose of question will be a more significant event, which has the practical impact on the harmony within the space, because person gets the idea, filling the void with his or her questions. This follows from the fact that Plato speaks of human qualities, based on the reasonableness, and it refers to the cosmic mind, and soul to manifest the desire to achieve the idea of rationality. “Laches” cannot be dedicated to a simple definition of the quality of human behavior (or life); he is devoted to describing the relationship between those acts and the human qualities that are required of him. It is also clear that Plato is still at the stage of creating his concept. The separation of ideas and the hierarchy of ideas are typical for the late dialogues.
In the “Charmides” dialogue, discretion is undetectable due to its connection with the greater good that comes from the universe. In this dialogue, human judgment is associated with the area that exists above the world of man, the world of multiplicity, and the particulars of all physical beings, defining the world. This relationship of human knowledge with the greater good is one of the favorite ideas of Socrates, and, accordingly, the benefit must be understood Socratic. Human judgment is connected with the greater good, because it is the stepping stone for human development and of human existence. The indication of this truth is contained in the “hidden” philosophical sense of Plato’s words, because in the direct translation, the word “judgment” does not fir the word “good”.
In the “Symposium”, speaking about the idea of eternal beauty and its incarnation in bodies, Plato thinks about eternal appearance and destruction of the body in the presence of his eternal ideas. In the “Phaedrus,” soul and body of gods are interconnected in perpetuity, and the soul of people is constantly reincarnated in different bodies and is never disembodied; in “Gorgias”, soul in the underworld passes sentence on the basis of the actions of its body. Consequently, the liberation of the soul from the body, which is mentioned in the “Phaedrus,” is liberation from the earthly body, sick, vicious, and prone to die in every moment. The death of the body does not mean the death of the body in general, but only the passage of the soul in a new body. The doctrine of the circulation of the bodies and souls is a cornerstone of an ancient philosopher. Finally, in one of the later dialogues, Plato himself gives a withering criticism of the isolated presentation of ideas outside of things, and this criticism is irrefutable. The ideas of Plato are nothing other than the traditional Greek teaching, which is designed with the help of the dialectical method; and the whole Plato’s philosophy in general can be called the dialectic of mythology, though still in its original form, it is very far from the systematic development of neo-Platonism.
Next, Plato mentions another word, which also has a great importance for the understanding of his dialogues. This is the term “dialectics.” Prior to the “Phaedrus,” Plato explained this term not clear enough. This can be understood as the art of the interview, i.e. the art of asking questions and answering them. However, this word can be used in order to obtain the correct knowledge. As for “Phaedrus,” Socrates raised the question about the structure of the dialectical method. This is connected with our understanding in the sense that it is not connected to the opposing ideas. Dialectics is defined herein as the ability to build the entire individual`s mindset and gradually reducing it to a single and indivisible thing, even to the smaller elements for individual consideration. The overall idea that everything is composed of particulars, conceived here as an organic integrity, i.e., as a new quality, which is not yet connected and is not in isolation from the other things. Plato in “Phaedrus” mentions remarkable words that every speech should be composed, like a living creature. It must have the body with the head and legs, the trunk and limbs should approach each other and meet a whole audience`s expections. The term “dialectic” can be seen as a specific principle of unity of various opposites. Plato actually has undoubtedly enjoyed a real dialectical method. In addition, in all the previous dialogues, Plato mentions the dialectic, without using the term, but only in “Phaedrus,” the dialectic must be regarded as a coincidence of the ideal and the material in each of gods and men during their heavenly journey. Dialectic is necessary to consider also as the convergence shower on the lower level, where the coincidence of the ideal and the material still remains, albeit in imperfect form, and reverse the rise souls to heaven, and this is the whole cycle of souls and bodies, when every soul always remains immutable, but in conjunction with the volatile material elements. Finally, the doctrine of the self-movement of the soul is dialectical in Plato’s “Phaedo.” The concept of the soul requires human beings to profound criticism, because it is associated not only with a dialectics as a doctrine of the unity of opposites, but also with a certain kind of mythology, though constructed dialectically. Later, Plato use the term “dialectic” a few times, which was mentioned before, using it with different shades, but more often he uses the dialectical method without giving to it special name. Plato sees the dialectic of the soul as a self-movement, and it is shown for the first time in the “Phaedrus”. However, instead of talking about the self-movement of matter, Plato imagines this self-movement as a specific action independent from a substance, namely, in the form of the soul. The soul, according to Plato, is precisely what moves itself and move everything else. However, his ideas is connected with ancient mythology, which is not directly related to the construction of self-motion proposed by Plato. However, it is particularly important that Plato finally reached dialectically the concept of the soul, which is required from the basic position of objective idealism. “Phaedrus” and the “Symposium” provide such dialectic description of the soul, which makes the doctrine of the immortality of the soul in the “Phaedrus” proved and rational, and his doctrine of the limit in the “Symposium” justified too. There appeared for the first time possibility to give an idea of the self-movement, i.e., the first time identifying the structure of objective idealism, shaping it with the dialectics of the soul.
The original text on the hierarchy of Eros, which ends with the eternal idea of Beauty, also underlines the points of Plato’s philosophy, describing the higher purpose of love and its connection with the world of ideas. Abstracting from the Platonic poetry, mythology, rhetoric and drama, it formulates the basic logical content of “Symposium” where the reader may find something that does not have been mentioned in previous dialogues, or was in embryonic form. That concept of an idea is presented here as the cornerstone for for the future existentialists as well as was basis for Neo-Platonists. The teaching about the soul and the world of ideas has become one the leading paradigms in the world contrary to Aristotelian rational logic and the order of things. Platonic view on the nature described in the dialogs can be seen as an attempt to identify the meaning of life as well as the foundations human beings. The form of the dialogs focus the reader on the flowing thoughts, showing another concept, which was significant for Plato and his followers: the true nature of man can be found only through the intimate dialog. Therefore, this is one of the great achievements of Plato, which never dies, in what the reader would always find something mythological-poetic, symbolic and rhetorical-dramatic.
Dialogues of Plato have the character of metaphysical topics, raise questions on macrocosmic nature of man and ideal order. The reader should note that this theme is expressed in the early dialogues more like Plato`s own worldviews than a specifically posed theoretical problem. The doctrine of ideas was formed during the whole life of the philosopher, resulting in dialogues with Socrates and other heroes. He used Socrates as one of his main heroes because of his close relationship and mainly because of the same existential background with him. Referring to the various comments of Plato’s early dialogues, the reader can see the result of the early dialogues of Plato is not the definition of a phenomenon of soul, but rather the identification of what that phenomenon cannot be. It can be assumed that the dialogues of Plato are a demonstration of the fact that defined the phenomenon of soul with the universal state, defined as a preexisted condition. Plato tries to show ideas are ready for their perception and it is possible only by using a special method of consideration due to his philosophy and dialectic method.