PHIL 001 Lecture 1: Phaedo (Philosophy)

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PHIL 001
andreja Novakovic

● TOPICS OF THE PHAEDO ○ Philosophy is the art of dying: ■ “I am afraid that other people do not realize that the one aim of those who practice philosophy in the proper manner is to practice for dying and death.” (p. 101) ○ Immortality of the soul: ■ Socrates gives 4 arguments for the immortality of the soul ● PRACTICING THE ARTS ○ Socrates has been having dreams telling him to practice the arts ○ Initially, he thought that this meant he should continue doing philosophy, since philosophy is the “highest kind of art” ○ Should practice more popular arts as well ● SUICIDE ○ Socrates tells his pupils they should pass on his farewell to Evenus (Sophist teacher) and that Evenus should follow him to death as soon as possible (though not to commit suicide) ● SOCRATES’ ANSWER ○ We belong to the gods (are their possession) and we cannot take our lives into their hands without offending them ○ Cebes’ challenge: but wouldn’t this imply that we should try to stay alive in order to remain in the service of the gods ○ Socrates proposes to “make a defense” of his view, hoping this defense will be more persuasive than the one put forward during the trial ● PHILOSOPHY AS THE ART OF DYING ○ Philosophers should rejoice when he dies b/c he’s been preparing for this moment his whole life ○ Death = separation of the soul and body ○ Philosophy teaches us to​ devalue the body​ (value the state of our soul higher than that of our body) ○ The body is an obstacle to philosophical insight ● DEATH AS SEPARATION OF BODY AND SOUL ○ Soul​- principle of life, that which makes a thing alive ○ Body-​ is a prison in which the soul is trapped ○ Death is ​liberation​ of the soul from the body ● WHY IS THE BODY AN OBSTACLE? ○ The needs of the body are distracting to the pursuit of knowledge ■ Hunger, thirst, etc. ■ pleasure/pain ■ Philosopher seeks to lessen the influence of these ○ The knowledge we get is not real knowledge ■ Sense-perceptions are inaccurate, don’t give us access to things we want to know ■ Attainment of knowledge requires the purification of the soul from the body ■ Purification = preparation for death ■ Philosopher should look forward to death, because then he will probably attain the knowledge he has been seeking his whole life ● “FORMS” VS. PARTICULARS ○ Forms- beauty, virtue, piety ○ particulars - imperfect manifestations of forms, less than ideal ■ ex) beautiful people, virtuous actions, pious rituals ○ Rid himself of the body so he can know the “forms” ○ What our bodies give us access to ● CEBES’ RESPONSE ○ What if the soul dies? ● PROBLEM FOR SOCRATES ○ Must be able to prove that the soul is immortal ○ If the soul is NOT immortal, the philosopher has no reason to think that death will allow him to achieve what he’s been striving for his whole life ○ If the soul dies with the body, the philosopher will never know the things he’s been preparing to know ● IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL ○ Socrates gives 4 arguments for the immortality of the soul ○ NOTE: Socrates at the end of the Apology does not give such arguments ● CYCLICAL ARGUMENT ○ Socrates wants to show that, just as the dead come from the living, the living come from the dead ● THE ARGUMENT ○ Everything that can change comes from its opposite ○ If something gets bigger, it must have been smaller before ○ Between two opposite states are two opposite processes ■ ex) growing/shrinking ■ ex) waking up/falling asleep ○ If the two opposite processes did not balance, everything would be in the same state ■ CHANGE WOULD COME TO AN END ○ Since being dead and being alive are two opposite states, dying and coming-to-life must balance each other out ○ Therefore, everything that dies must come back to life again (72a). ● WHAT ARE OPPOSITES? ○ Opposites that differ in degree: ■ Growing and shrinking ■ Heating up and cooling down ○ Opposites in contraries: ■ Falling asleep and waking up ■ Dying and coming back to life ● SOME PROBLEMS ○ Is he shifting between these two senses of opposite? Is change in matters of degree the same as change between contrary states? ○ Why couldn’t life eventually die out? ○ Why not think that new beginnings are coming into the world? Old souls die and new souls are born into the world? ● HE NEEDS ANOTHER ARGUMENT ○ All arguments take on the form of proof 1/25/17 ● BODY IS PRISON ○ Socrates argues philosophy is the art of dying ○ Philosophers are trying to liberate themselves from the effects of the body ○ Body is a burden b/c it distracts us from the pursuit of knowledge ○ What philosophers want to know are the forms (ideals), and yet everything particular (which is available to bodily sense) is less than ideal ● THE “FORMS” ○ The ideal exists (beauty, justice,etc) ○ Just does not exist in the visible
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