Did Plato think the human body was intrinsically evil?

This is the first irreconcilable argument I had with my classmates in college. (freshman year)

They said so; I said not.

Your position?

And would you cite text?

un chevalier mal fet

what keeps humans from reaching the forms?

their body

what is perfection for plato? the ultimate good? the forms…

simple argument actually…


There is a difference between something that is a hindrance and something that is evil. Evil implies intent, or design, or some form of will… ‘will’ which Plato would argue could be directed towards the Good. So, Evil… no. Pain in the neck, yes.

design? the forms are “designed” to be experienced not by the body but only by the “soul”

the body cannot be intended to enjoy the “good” of the forms…

even socrates thought that life was a disease…

“we owe a cock to asclepios, remember to pay the debt” - socrates in crito


And yet he spent ten books trying to build the perfect political system for all the evil bodies? If all men seek the good, and any wrong they do is by mistake, why the assumption that the body is evil, per se? Can it not just be…

flawed ?

And the quote is from the end of the Phaedo I believe.

sure, evil is nothing more than human flaws on the search for goodness…

I don’t think so… plato spent all his books trying to build the perfect philosophical system for bodies that could never reach it by his own arguments… plato is very contradictory…

yes it is, my mistake… at the end of phaedo spoken to crito


If we speak about “evil”, we speak about a christian idea. Plato didn’t have a word for this.