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September 18.docx

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Philosophy 2073F/G
Chris Sheriff

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September 18, 2012 Phaedo: Philosophers, Death and the Immortality of the Soul Plato (424/423-348/347 BCE) - Student of Socrates - Mentor of Aristotle - Laid the foundation for all western philosophy - Commonly said that all philosophy is “footnotes to Plato” - Plato and Socrates: o Although a mentor to Plato and other philosophers, Socrates never wrote anything down. Worked in a purely oral tradition o One theory claims that Plato’s early work is mostly recording Socrates’ ideas, moving to his own theories in his middle/later work o This theory is debated - Citing Plato: o Cited by referring to the Stephanus numbers, not the page number in the anthology o Universal method of citing Plato o Eg. Phaedo is from 57a-118a o Allows for easy consultation of text across different anthologies - Theory of Forms (very roughly) o All things perceived by the senses are mere representations/limitations o In a separate realm are the Forms, which are the ideals of all things  Both objects and ideas (eg. There is a form of chair, and a form of beauty  We recognize objects as having some quality (beauty, being a chair, etc.) by the resemblance they bear to the form - Background to Phaedo o Final Platonic dialogue narrating the trial and death of Socrates o Preceded by the Apology, which recounts Socrates deal o Apology: One of the early dialogues. What Plato remembered of what Socrates said at his trial  Socrates’ defense against accusations of corrupting the youth of Athens  A defense of the role of philosophy, and value or truth and inquiry over rhetoric  Socrates is ultimately sentenced to death for doing philosophy (and being a pretty huge jerk) o Crito: A piece in the early work representing Socrates beliefs. Plato writing Socrates thoughts  Socrates, no imprisoned, is given the chance to escape prison and flee Athens by Crito, another student0  Socrates refuses, arguing that by voluntarily choosing to live in Athens, he has tacitly agreed to abide by its laws o Phaedo:  Socrates’ execution by hemlock, surrounded by his students  Socrates argues for two major points:  The true philosopher has nothing to fear from death  The soul is immortal/indestructible - How Philosophy prepares us for death: o The ideal/ “true” philosopher is not concerned with material matters or physical pleasures o The philosopher “frees the soul from association with the body as much as possible” (65a) o The senses are inaccurate, and get in the way of true understanding o The soul is separated from the body - Death is not bad (for a philosopher) o If all your life you’ve been waiting to die, then why run away and fear it o Death represents the separation from the body which has been the philosopher’s main concern during life o The philosopher aims to in as close to death as possible. Should not resent death when it arrives o Death is a sort of “purification” for the philosopher o Foolish to run from the gods, because you’re a servant of them. Don’t die before they want you to o BUT:  If the soul is not immortal, and dies along with the body, none of this applies  Plato needs to prove that the soul will still be around and able to do all tof the great things dea
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