Socrates and Plato are the most widely known classics of Western philosophical thought. However, the ideas of these philosophers are ambiguous, because everything that we know about them comes from secondary sources. The source of information about Socrates are the dialogues of Plato, thus, the discussion of what Socrates actually thought and what Plato misinterpreted for him continues to the present day. Nevertheless, the issues raised by Socrates in his dialogues are fundamental. One of them is the question of differences and relation between the body and soul. According to Socrates, the human body and the soul are constants with opposite characteristics and the scope of the act.
The philosopher claims that the human body is just a restraining shell for the soul. In other words, the body prevents the possibility to see the real state of things and to obtain true knowledge. Therefore, he claims that the body is merely a source of unreliable sensory experience as it lacks clear thinking, and that is what needed to be able to learn the essence of things. The soul gives access to such thinking and allows to perceive things as they are, even though they are inaccessible to sensual perception.
Furthermore, in the dialogue “Phaedo” Socrates explains his relaxed attitude towards death. According to his point of view, death is a mere separation of the soul from the body, and each philosopher is going through the same process during their life, though in theory. It follows from this that death is depriving the souls of the body shell and frees them by allowing the understanding of the true state of things. Overall, the lack of fear of death philosopher clarifies through the non-existence of the claimed threat, as a mere separation of two cannot harm.
Another argument about relation and difference between the soul and the body is a concept of the immortality of the soul and mortality of the human body. It follows that the soul can get rid of its body shell because the body is mortal and the soul is undying. Adding to an idea, Socrates proposes the hypothesis that soul existed before our birth. In detail, sensual objects are not stable and, therefore, only able to create memories about themselves, but not the pure concept of essence. In other words, human souls as objects exist before the birth and they will exist even after death. Nonetheless, the main difference is that the body is not able to do the same due to its fragility.
It is worth saying that the soul and the body have opposite characteristics but, at the same time, they constitute a unity, one being, however, the soul is closer to the divine and the body is close to the mutable. It is vital to note that Socrates gives clear features for these two constants. Therefore, the soul is very similar to the "divine, immortal, intelligible, uniform, irreducible, constant, and invariable by itself", while the body has all the opposite properties. In such a way, one can see that even the perception of the two differs.
The transition of opposites is what the philosopher also presents to state the relation between the soul and the body. Its logical reasoning is based on the concept of formation or a constant transition of one into the other: if there are more, it means that there are less, in comparison with which that "more" can be. The same happens with changes of force, speed, separation, and connection, cooling and heating, sleep and wakefulness, and, consequently, to life and death, revival and death of the soul within the body and of that body afterward. Without the assumption of a constant transition of opposites into each other, everything would stay only in one state of the opposites. In this case, such state or stillness means the state of death. Therefore, the soul after death moves to another condition without the human body. The transition of opposites here is like a cycle, which illustrates the process of the continuous existence of the soul and the undisputed fact of mortality of the body.
Tracing Socrates in Plato's dialogues one can clearly understand that Socrates separates the human soul from the human body. He develops his concept of the separation by giving them clear opposite characteristics. The body, according to the philosopher’s theory, is mundane, mortal, and unable to comprehend the knowledge, but the soul is immortal, supernatural, and able to understand the truth of human existence. To put it another way, the body is just a source of unreliable sensory experience, which only prevents one from receiving a genuine, rational knowledge and constrains and limits the human soul. In such a way, Socrates gives the soul the value of the supremacy. The soul is thought to bring life into any matter because it is immortal and the body has a tendency to die. Only being free from the latter one can get a chance to find out the truth of their existence. All things to considered, the soul and the body are different constants with their own features.