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 Class Forums - Spring 2013
 PHIL 200-001 - Sokrates and Plato
 Philosophers' Lack of Fear in the Face of Death
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Sergio Cerrillo

38 Posts

Posted - Feb 20 2013 :  10:53:13 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's said in the Phaedo that philosophers should not fear death because, in a way, they have been preparing for death as long as they have been philosophizing. They want to be able to separate their immortal souls from their mortal bodies for apparent reasons. The only way in which the soul can be completely separated from the body is through death, so once they die they will never have to worry about the bodily distractions again and will be able to focus their attention entirely on the forms, which is something they have been trying to do throughout their lives.

The questions I want to pose to get a fuller understanding of this are these:
  • Does the fact that we are philosophers mean that our souls are automatically "good" ones rather than "evil" ones because we have chosen the life of wisdom?
  • If so, does that mean that we are above those who have chosen lives other than the life of the philosopher?
  • What is Sokrates' position on these questions?
[Lightly edited to enhance readability -TT]

Nate Natale

2 Posts

Posted - Feb 24 2013 :  2:44:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don’t think a philosopher or at least a Socratic one would necessarily think of the soul in terms of “good or evil.” I think Socrates viewed the soul as either choosing or acting in ways that are right or wrong. He believed that no rational person or soul would willingly choose to do wrong (evil) because harm would always come upon him or her from doing so. If people do something that is wrong, they do it out of fear and ignorance.

Socrates claimed to live a good or right life. I think he did it to purify his soul in order to break away from the reincarnation cycle where doing/thinking wrong just keeps you trapped in. So if we choose to live a life pursuing wisdom and the knowledge of what is true and right, we then can all eventually break free. That’'s my interpretation of what Socrates believed about good, evil, and the soul.

[Very lightly edited to enhance readability -TT]
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Shanay Hadd

2 Posts

Posted - May 07 2013 :  7:34:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Do the terms "good" and "evil" in your question refer to morality? I agree with Nate in thinking that Socrates bases his decisions not on considerations regarding good or evil but on considerations related to his project of obtaining knowledge. You ask a good question concerning whether one achieves a better or higher life in being a philosopher though. Overall, when I think about philosophers I think of them as deserving of respect as they are known to be wise. But maybe in terms that are just knowledge-based...not based on morality seeing that as humans we all make mistakes and are all flawed. Philosophers would not be exempt from mistakes. That's just human nature...which perhaos could be seen as 'evil.'

[Edited to enhance readability -TT]
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