phil paper - Rachael Ropeik Philosophy 196 Phaedo Analysis...

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Rachael Ropeik 2/13/08 Philosophy 196 Phaedo Analysis In the beginning of Plato’s, Phaedo, Socrates is sitting in jail, accused of corrupting Greece’s youth. Soon he is going to be sentenced to death by drinking Hemlock, and his friends Cebes and Simmias are upset this imminent death; however, Socrates is unafraid of his death because he believes his soul is immortal and that he is going to a better place. To appease them he starts with three main questions; is there life after death, does the soul exist before birth, and are we immortal – thus making our soul immortal. Key assumptions in this text include: that the human being consists of a conjunction of body and soul (brain), that anything that is deathless is indestructible, and that anything that is indestructible is immortal. When analyzing this text, it is important to remember that the body has matter and takes up space which ultimately is destructible, and death is only believed to be the separation of the soul from the body. First Plato discusses the idea of the forms; the forms are perfect with respect to a model – examples are beauty, truth and justice. Plato’s epistemology is the theory of knowledge, “knowledge involves the apprehension of the forms”, his ontology is the forms. Everything in our world imitates the perfect forms; therefore, the physical world is in a constant state of becoming. According to Plato, true knowledge is apprehending the forms, and philosophy is simply an attempt to know the forms. Philosophers lead an aesthetic life, only eating what is necessary and spending all their time mediating to understand the forms. A true philosopher is nearly dead, thus the soul’s desire for separation. The goal of the dialectic is to make that separation further; a philosopher’s main goal is to die so he can completely understand the forms.
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Socrates was a true philosopher, so why didn’t he kill himself earlier? Plato says the soul is the
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This note was uploaded on 04/14/2008 for the course PHIL 196 taught by Professor Mcpherson during the Winter '08 term at University of Michigan.

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phil paper - Rachael Ropeik Philosophy 196 Phaedo Analysis...

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