What we know is that we know nothing. Is there life beyond death? That is a ceaseless question that almost all people ask themselves at some point of their life on earth. Do we die and become worm food or should death be described as the separation of the soul from the body? Plato's Socrates proposes that after death the soul exists by itself, apart from the body, while the body, for its part, remains by itself, apart from the soul. .
Socrates contrasts body and soul in terms of their respective desires: the contrast is in the eudaemonist ethical key, for it focuses on where body and soul, respectively, place their happiness. The body longs principally for the pleasures of eating, drinking, and sex, he observes, whereas the soul-which, I begin to detect, is being considered almost exclusively as a mind-soul, sets its desires on attaining wisdom. Socrates is assuming that readers will agree that these two desire registers are in opposition to each other, pull against each other, so that the soul of the philosopher who is earnest in his quest for wisdom must turn away from the body and its desires, turn toward the soul, and indeed set the soul free from involvement with the body. .
At this point I realized that Socrates" view of the relationship between body and soul here, in the Phaedo, has turned out to be dualistic. The view satisfies the two criteria historians of thought lay down for any genuine dualism: first, most of the time there are two members involved, each of them being viewed as a reality capable of existing on its own; and, second, those members, even when joined to each other, remain opposed to each other. Hence, the ethical antagonism, the pull of one against the other, on which Socrates has just laid such heavy emphasis. .
Then he goes on to show that this dualistic antagonism operates in the epistemological sphere as well: it shows up in the way the body interferes with the soul's quest for knowledge and wisdom.