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I outline several arguments against taking Plato literally concerning reincarnation here:

Did Plato Believe in Reincarnation

Arguments include (1) Plato's general reluctance to merely speculate (as opposed relating philosophical truths one may verify by contemplative experience); (2) his allusions to human-to-animal transmigration -- which is both a priori implausible and something many ancient philosophers expressly reject; and (3) the parallel between progressively lower reincarnations in his myths and the "Tyrant's progress" section of the Republic, which posits a succession of progressively worse states of mind. The most important argument against literalism here, however, is this: understood allegorically, Plato's discussions about reincarnation supply an extremely insightful and practically valuable psychological model for progress/retrogression in personal moral development. So we must ask: isis it more likely Plato is using a helpful allegory to address one of the most significant aspectsissues we face in our moral life (maintaining our mind on a virtuous level, and avoiding it'sits 'descent'), or that he's relating 'wives tales'old wives' tales?

I outline several arguments against taking Plato literally concerning reincarnation here:

Did Plato Believe in Reincarnation

Arguments include (1) Plato's general reluctance to merely speculate (as opposed relating philosophical truths one may verify by contemplative experience); (2) his allusions to human-to-animal transmigration -- which is both a priori implausible and something many ancient philosophers expressly reject; and (3) the parallel between progressively lower reincarnations in his myths and the "Tyrant's progress" section of the Republic, which posits a succession of progressively worse states of mind. The most important argument against literalism here, however, is this: understood allegorically, Plato's discussions about reincarnation supply an extremely insightful and practically valuable psychological model for progress/retrogression in personal moral development. So we must ask: is it more likely Plato is using a helpful allegory to address one of the most significant aspects we face in our moral life (maintaining our mind on a virtuous level, and avoiding it's 'descent'), or that he's relating 'wives tales'?

I outline several arguments against taking Plato literally concerning reincarnation here:

Did Plato Believe in Reincarnation

Arguments include (1) Plato's general reluctance to merely speculate (as opposed relating philosophical truths one may verify by contemplative experience); (2) his allusions to human-to-animal transmigration -- which is both a priori implausible and something many ancient philosophers expressly reject; and (3) the parallel between progressively lower reincarnations in his myths and the "Tyrant's progress" section of the Republic, which posits a succession of progressively worse states of mind. The most important argument against literalism here, however, is this: understood allegorically, Plato's discussions about reincarnation supply an extremely insightful and practically valuable psychological model for progress/retrogression in personal moral development. So we must ask: is it more likely Plato is using a helpful allegory to address one of the most significant issues we face in our moral life (maintaining our mind on a virtuous level, and avoiding its 'descent'), or that he's relating old wives' tales?

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I outline several arguments against taking Plato literally concerning reincarnation here:

Did Plato Believe in Reincarnation

Arguments include (1) Plato's general reluctance to merely speculate (as opposed relating philosophical truths one may verify by contemplative experience); (2) his allusions to human-to-animal transmigration -- which is both a priori implausible and something many ancient philosophers expressly reject; and (3) the parallel between progressively lower reincarnations in his myths and the "Tyrant's progress" section of the Republic, which posits a succession of progressively worse states of mind. The most important argument against literalism here, however, is this: understood allegorically, Plato's discussions about reincarnation supply an extremely insightful and practically valuable psychological model for progress/retrogression in personal moral development. So we must ask: is it more likely Plato is using a helpful allegory to address one of the most significant aspects we face in our moral life (maintaining our mind on a virtuous level, and avoiding it's 'descent'), or that he's relating 'wives tales'?