In The Apology, Socrates states that philosophy calls on us to care for the soul. What does he mean by that? Why is care of the soul "philosophical"?

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Socrates searches for this answer due to a meeting with the Oracle at Delphi. The Oracle tells him that there is no one in the world that is wiser than Socrates, who is confused by this revelation. After all, it was Socrates who paradoxically stated that all he knew was...

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Socrates searches for this answer due to a meeting with the Oracle at Delphi. The Oracle tells him that there is no one in the world that is wiser than Socrates, who is confused by this revelation. After all, it was Socrates who paradoxically stated that all he knew was that he "knew nothing." However, it is for this reason that Socrates is considered to be the wisest. This revelation is fraught with existential dread to the average man. The dread in particular is that the universe is simply chaos and that there is no order in the days of men, this idea is so terrifying that Socrates is put on trial for spreading it.

Socrates, however, finds this fear to be very detrimental. While he knows that it is wise to admit that he knows nothing and to admit that there is no rigid, all-encompassing philosophy on how best to live ones life, he realizes that true "care for the soul" is having faith that there is some intrinsic meaning to life, even if human beings cannot fathom it. This intrinsic meaning may be evidenced by our very pursuit for higher knowledge and morality. Socrates cares for his soul because, even though he does not know the answer or claim to, he still will spend his life pursuing it.

Socrates accepts the verdict of his death by maintaining that he has "cared for his soul" far better than those who have sentenced him because they have assumed that they know all the answers. Socrates instead chooses to face his death without fear.

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Socrates believed that the soul is the most important thing about you. It's what makes you who you are; it comprises your whole identity. That being the case, it's essential to take good care of it. For Socrates, the soul is essentially trapped inside an imperfect human body. All too often, we concentrate on the material things of this world—including the desires and needs of the body—instead of attending to the welfare of the soul, which is what really matters in life.

Care of the soul involves keeping its various elements in an appropriate relation to each other. The rational element, which for Socrates is the most important, must always predominate. For it is reason that provides us with the greatest insights into our lives, allowing us to pursue the examined life of the philosopher, which Socrates prizes so highly. All too often, however, we don't take good care of our souls, and we don't live our lives in accordance with reason. Instead, we allow the appetitive element of our souls to gain the upper hand, making us pursue the things of this world that don't really matter, such as fame and riches.

The balance between the soul's elements is a delicate one, and it must be maintained through a lifelong process of training and self-discipline. It is precisely such an overriding concern with the good health of the soul that allows Socrates to face up to an unjust death with calm and equanimity.

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Before starting to analyze Apology, note that the accounts by Plato and Xenophon differ considerably, and that neither is likely to be a verbatim transcription.

The theme of care for the soul isn't, in Platonic philosophy, precisely about the "feeding of the soul" in a 21st century sense. If we read Apology along with Crito and Phaedo, it refers to cultivating the rational aspect of the soul, and preparing for the separation of soul from body. Love for other may work anagogically in Plato as a step towards return to the divine (e.g. Diotima`s speech in Symposium), but it is not an end in  itself, but rather a step to be passed through on the way to something more important.

Note that intellect (and especially mathematics) is crucially important in developing the soul, as it is through reason that we understand the forms, while the sense only perceive the particulars.

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The Athenians were a blind-following people, Socrates was one of the world's greatest thinkers. He offered questions, challenged people's thoughts, and treated life with the great question of a 4 year-old: WHY?

Socrates idea that philosophy calls on us to care for the soul is an important one for us to even consider today. Philosophy is the investigation of truth or principles. If the soul is merely pleased by entertainments it is a shallow soul. If the soul is not exercised because a man's work is rote or merely brain work, it remains a shallow soul. If the soul is given opportunity to know, to explore the truth of a principle, to understand then there is room for growth, and growth is good.

The soul is that which finds something to believe in. If we don't cultivate that, we lose our humanity.

I spent my last summer in Haiti. It is dirty, disgusting, gross, and I didn't like my enviornment. But, I got to teach English to school children and just love on them. This fed my soul. It didn't feed my physical need of comfort. It didn't feed or stimulate my brain for my own learning of new information. I wouldn't have gone to feed my soul had I not believed I could be of service and help to those kids.

Hope this helps. That is a great piece to read and registering the difference between mind, body and soul is always difficult.

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