Question

Philosophers have often wondered whether the soul can exist without the body and, if this is the case, whether the soul, even without the body, can possess cognitive capacities, such as sensation and knowledge.
Analyze Plato’s and Epicurus’ answers to these questions.
Which approach, if any, is ultimately more convincing?

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Plato and Epicurus on the Mind/Body Problem in Philosophy

Philosophers have often wondered whether the soul can exist without the body and if this is the case, whether the soul, even without a body, can possess cognitive abilities, such as sensation and knowledge. Analyze Plato’s and Epicurus’ answers to these questions. Which approach, if any, is ultimately more convincing?
In this paper, I shall argue that Plato’s argument is the better one (compared to Epicurus) on whether or not the soul can exist separately from the body, and if it can possess cognitive capacities, such as sensation and knowledge even if independent of the body. First, Plato makes it matter that the soul should be taken care of, and second, it makes more sense to think of philosophy as a discipline to help us learn how to die.
Epicurus is similar to Plato in that both theorize that there is an unseen and a seen world. For him, reality is composed of an infinite number of unseen, indivisible corporeal entities that make up reality as we know it; atoms are constantly in motion, and material reality is infinite (Herodotus 193-194). The body is finite. Epicurus’s philosophy gives primacy to atoms. While I think Epicurus is right about his theory of atoms (it is true that material reality is made up of essential microscopic particles), it is very tempting to think what he means by it is the same thing that physicists understand by atomic science today. For one thing, Epicurus thought that atoms were indivisible (which we know today is false — think about the atomic bomb if you need an empirical example)....

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