Plato's Apology Analysis

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In Plato’s Phaedo, Socrates is preparing for his death following his trial in Plato’s Apology. He engages in an discussion with Simmias and Cebes about why death should be important to all philosophers. When he begins this discussion, Socrates compares the relationship between the soul and body to a person being imprisoned. He builds upon this analogy as he identifies the soul and body as two separate entities. The soul being divine, immortal, and pure, while the body is compository, susceptible to death, and impure. His interlocutors take issue with the assumption that the soul continues to exist after death, but I will not. Upon making these distinctions, Socrates explains that the pursuit of knowledge, or wisdom, should be the life goal…show more content…
He describes how it is “better at certain times and for certain people to die than to live . . . those from whom it is better to die . . . must wait for someone else to benefit them” (62a). In this description, Socrates alludes to death not being a choice for ourselves to make, but a choice that our “owner” (the gods) has to make. The example Socrates provides is humans beings belonging to the gods, thus we must carry out their wishes and wait until they are ready for us to die. In short, suicide and self-violence are not the ways a true philosopher should die. This dialogue introduces why death is significant. If one assumes that there is such a thing as death, then “[death is] . . . the separation of the soul from the body” (64c). At this point, it is agreed by Socrates, Simmias, Cebes, and myself that the soul and body are two separate entities and can be separated. The distinctions that Socrates makes between the two will be discussed further on in this paper, and the effect those distinctions have on Socrates’ and my arguments. Before death occurs, the soul is “in a kind of prison, and that one must not free oneself or run away [from]”, which is what Socrates considers the body to be, a prison (62b). During a human life, the body and soul are together with the soul providing the body life and the body imprisoning the soul. Socrates…show more content…
Despite their being an extensive argument on whether or not the soul is immortal, I will agree with Socrates that the soul exists after death. The objection presented by Cebes and Simmias asserts that the soul scatters with the wind, but Socrates explains how the body dies while soul continues existing in an “In-Between” state, as I will call it. It is during that time, he claims, that the soul gains knowledge and is in its purest form. Now, the issue is not whether the soul exists after the destruction of the body, but if the soul is capable of actively acquiring knowledge during this time. Although he presents several arguments to show the soul is learning after death, he does not definitively prove that soul is learning during this “In-between” state nor does he entertain other plausible reasons for how the soul acquires
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