Pre-Existence, Life after Death, and Atemporal Beings in Plato’s Phaedo

Rowett, Catherine ORCID: (2021) Pre-Existence, Life after Death, and Atemporal Beings in Plato’s Phaedo. In: Immortality in Ancient Philosophy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 93-117. ISBN 9781108832281

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I argue that the conversation in Plato’s Phaedo operates on two levels, and appeals to two different notions of immortality, one temporal (continuing life after death or before birth) and one atemporal (immunity from death, time and all sequential events). Socrates and his friends are concerned about whether the soul will survive beyond the present life, and whether it existed prior to birth. While this looks like a concern about temporal survival, I argue that Plato, as author, is identifying another kind of immortality, proper to the soul alone, as a being outside time, to which “before” and “after” do not apply. By examining exactly what is meant by its immunity to death (in a number of senses of ‘death’) and its association with life (in one sense of ‘life’), I consider in what sense the soul could have a kind of atemporal being akin to that which pertains to the Forms, and examine some puzzles about how such a being could enter into temporal experience in conjunction with a sequence of bodies.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: 4* ,/dk/atira/pure/researchoutput/REFrank/4_
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Wittgenstein
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Philosophy
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2020 23:31
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 10:44
DOI: 10.1017/9781108935777.005

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