Philosophy~Socrates paper

Philosophy~Socrates paper - Capturing Socrates in his final...

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Capturing Socrates in his final chapters of his life, Plato’s Apology and Phaedo relate his philosophy on death. In both discussions (which were undoubtedly prompted by his immediate and unfortunate situation), Socrates stresses the importance of preparing for and fearlessly facing death. However, the tensions between his deathbed preachings and his earlier philosophies severely undermine his arguments. As contradictions to Socrates’ earlier explanations of knowledge and passion began to surface, human instinct and society became the practical, alternative approach to understanding death. Socrates’ speculations on death were presented at a very reasonable time in his life-a time when there was no doubt that he would soon be killed. Socrates first discusses death in the Apology . Initially, his defense addresses the allegations brought against him by both Meletus and the citizens of Athens. However, realizing he may not effectively triumph over the envies and slanders of many people, he confidently proclaims he would have chosen the same path of defying and disclaiming the proud and self-proclaimed “wise men,” even if he had known the consequence would be death. This is seen when an accuser questions whether he was ashamed to have followed an occupation that led him to death; Socrates responds “You are wrong…if you think that a man who is any good at all should take into account the risk of life or death. Wherever a man has taken a position that he believes to be best…there he must…remain and face danger, without a thought for death or anything else, rather than disgrace.” In this powerful dialogue, Socrates opens his discussion about the importance of sticking to one’s beliefs and not fearing death. He strengthens this by ascertaining that no one knows whether death will be a curse or a blessing; thus, we cannot know what to expect. On this accord, he boldly
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proclaims that he will never fear things of which he does not know. Critical readers have often viewed Socrates’ flippant regard of death as an attempt to trick the jury into thinking a death sentence would not be an effective punishment. Unfortunately, his attempt at reverse psychology left his jury with hardly any guilt as they emotionlessly declared him guilty and denied his requests for a monetary fine. Socrates’ second discussion of death is revealed in Phaedo only moments before drinking his poison. The majority of this reading covers Socrates’ belief with regards to the immortality of the soul. Assuming there is some sort of afterlife in which the soul separates from the body and lives on, Socrates introduces “the practice of dying” that smart men-specifically philosophers-should engage in.
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course PHI 100 taught by Professor Hanson during the Spring '07 term at Vanderbilt.

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Philosophy~Socrates paper - Capturing Socrates in his final...

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