Plato's Theory of Reincarnation: Eschatology and Natural Philosophy

Review of Metaphysics 75 (4):643-665 (2022)
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Abstract

This paper concerns the place of Plato’s eschatology in his philosophy. I argue that the theory of reincarnation appeals to Plato due to its power to explain how non-human animals came to be. Further, the outlines of this theory are entailed by other commitments, such as that embodiment disrupts psychic functioning, that virtue is always rewarded and vice punished, and that the soul is immortal. I conclude by arguing that Plato develops a view of reincarnation as the chief tool that the gods have to ensure that virtue is victorious over vice throughout the whole cosmos.

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Douglas R. Campbell
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

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