Date of Award

Spring 1959

Document Type




First Advisor

Rev. Achilles Edelenyi


Down through the centuries mature, thinking men of all races have puzzled themselves with the problem of man and his nature. The conclusions that these men reached were not always the same. Aside from the teachings of the Jewish religion, the conclusions of the ancient thinkers were largely a mixture of myth and reason. They all had this point in common, however, in that each one tried to answer these basic questions: 1) What is man? 2) Where did he come from? 3) Where is he going?

Turning toward Greek philosophy, which was the most highly developed in the ancient Western civilization up to that time, it is noted that Aristotle regarded man as the most important part of the universe.

Holding as we do that knowledge is a good and honorable thing, yet that some kinds of knowledge are more so than others, either because they are more certain or because they deal with subjects more excellent and wonderful, we naturally give a primary place, for both these reasons, to an enquiry about the soul.1

Aristotle's view of the importance of the soul is shared by Plato and Socrates. This paper, therefor, as the title suggests, will deal with the teachings of Plato and Aristotle on the soul of man, particularly with respect to the question of the soul's origin and immortality.

The method used in each of the following chapters is designed to coincide with the basic questions mentioned above. For that reason each chapter may be more or less divided into four parts: 1) background and influential factors, 2) the nature of man's soul, 3) the origin of the soul, and 4) the immortality of the soul. Two chapters will be spent in considering the doctrines of Plato and of Aristotle separately, while the third chapter will be by way of comparison and contrast.

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