E and died at the age of eighty or eighty-one at B. These dates, however, are not entirely certain, for according to Diogenes Laertius D.
Within the middle dialogues, it is uncontroversial that the Phaedo was written before the Republic, and most scholars think it belongs before the Symposium as well. His most famous theory, the theory of Forms, is presented in four different places in the dialogue.
Plato draws attention at 59b to the fact that he himself was not present during the events retold, suggesting that he wants the dialogue to be seen as work of fiction. Socrates himself challenges his listeners to provide such defense at 84c-d. How seriously does Plato take these arguments, and what does the surrounding context contribute to our understanding of them?
While this article will concentrate on the philosophical aspects of the Phaedo, readers are advised to pay close attention to the interwoven dramatic features as well. Outline of the Dialogue The dialogue revolves around the topic of death and immortality: The text can be divided, rather unevenly, into five sections: The former asks the latter, who was present on that day, to recount what took place.
He agrees to tell the whole story from the beginning; within this story the main interlocutors are Socrates, Simmias, and Cebes.
Some commentators on the dialogue have taken the latter two characters to be followers of the philosopher Pythagoras B. They go in to the prison to find Socrates with his wife Xanthippe and their baby, who are then sent away.
Socrates, rubbing the place on his leg where his just removed bonds had been, remarks on how strange it is that a man cannot have both pleasure and pain at the same time, yet when he pursues and catches one, he is sure to meet with the other as well.
Cebes asks Socrates about the poetry he is said to have begun writing, since Evenus a Sophist teacher, not present was wondering about this. He then asks Cebes to convey to Evenus his farewell, and to tell him that—even though it would be wrong to take his own life—he, like any philosopher, should be prepared to follow Socrates to his death.
The discussion starts with the question of suicide. If philosophers are so willing to die, asks Cebes, why is it wrong for them to kill themselves? As Cebes and Simmias immediately point out, however, this appears to contradict his earlier claim that the philosopher should be willing to die: The thesis to be supported is a generalized version of his earlier advice to Evenus: Socrates begins his defense of this thesis, which takes up the remainder of the present section, by defining death as the separation of body and soul.
This definition goes unchallenged by his interlocutors, as does its dualistic assumption that body and soul are two distinct entities. First, the true philosopher despises bodily pleasures such as food, drink, and sex, so he more than anyone else wants to free himself from his body 64da.
They are best approached not by sense perception but by pure thought alone. These entities are granted again without argument by Simmias and Cebes, and are discussed in more detail later. All told, then, the body is a constant impediment to philosophers in their search for truth: To have pure knowledge, therefore, philosophers must escape from the influence of the body as much as is possible in this life.1.
Preliminaries. If ethics is widely regarded as the most accessible branch of philosophy, it is so because many of its presuppositions are self-evident or trivial truths: All human actions, for example, serve some end or purpose; whether they are right or wrong depends on an actor’s overall aims.
In addition to its central role in conveying Plato’s philosophy, the Phaedo is widely agreed to be a masterpiece of ancient Greek literature. Besides philosophical argumentation, it contains a narrative framing device that resembles the chorus in Greek tragedy, references to the Greek myth of Theseus and the fables of Aesop, Plato’s own original .
Plato is perhaps the most influential philosopher of all times. This page conatins his biography and some weblinks for further study.
I quote his biography from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Plato’s politics, like everything else about Plato’s thought, follow from his epistemology.
He writes about an independently existing world of Forms that is the only proper object of human cognition. Critic Allan Bloom, for instance, reads the book first and foremost as a defense of philosophy—as Socrates’s second “apology.” Socrates was executed by the city of Athens for practicing philosophy.
As this overview makes clear, the philosophical life is best, and if one lacks knowledge, one should prefer to learn from an expert. But the Republic characterizes philosophy differently.
First, it goes much further than the Socratic dialogues in respecting the power of passions and desires. Bloom, A., , The Republic of Plato.