Fear Of Existence In Plato's Apology

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In Plato’s Apology, Socrates defended his charges of corrupting the youth by saying he was only providing service to the god that acknowledged him of being wiser than anyone else. However, Socrates was eventually sentenced to death and his thoughts regarding death soon followed. He argues that death is not a bad thing – it is either relocation to a pleasant afterlife or the end of existence. One could easily reason that relocation to any form of heaven is considered good. On the other hand, it would be very reasonable to assume that death being the complete end of existence is an extremely bad thing. Socrates discusses his defense to his claim in depth, but with many assumptions. He first assumes that fearing death is ignorant because we do…show more content…
He assumes that both options, even the complete end of existence, are ignorant to be afraid of. He claims that the fear of death amounts to simply thinking one is wise when one is not. This is a huge assumption because it is perfectly rational to fear the unknown – we as humans do it all the time. There is a stigma of the unknown for the obvious reason that we do not understand the consequences. Psychology research suggests we generally like to be able to anticipate consequences, which is why the fear of death is a complete rational fear. Even though Socrates provides two options for what death is, no one knows what death truly is. Socrates simply assumes that we cannot fear what we do not know for certain; when in reality it is perfectly rational to fear death, even if it is a good thing. I found that he assumes that death, even including the complete end of existence, is not a bad thing because we do not know what it is – it is ignorant to fear the…show more content…
There could very well be a hell with eternal suffering which would be rational for a person to fear. However, Socrates assumes that if a pleasant afterlife did not exist, the only other option would be an endless night’s sleep. However, the reason we find “dead sleep” to be wonderful is because we awake from it. If we never awake from this sleep, we would assume it is simply nothing. This brings Socrates to his assumption that “nothing” is good because no harm can be done to you when you are nothing. He makes the assumption that you cannot be harmed outside of a physical sense, which we do not know to be true. So, if death is the complete end of existence like he claims it could be, there is no way we could be harmed because he is assuming we cannot be harmed mentally or spiritual. In reality, we as humans can easily defend that we can feel both physical and mental pain. Heartbreak, loss of a loved one, loneliness, etc. are all “harms” that we can admit to feeling. Socrates disregards this with his assumption of only physical harm being possible; therefore a complete end of existence would be harmless. He also states that nothing can harm a good man either in life or after death, and his fortunes are not a matter of indifference to the gods. However, in this world harms happen to good and bad alike. Only someone willing to question the notion of harms could suggest otherwise. Socrates uses his
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