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Phaedo: Greek, Latin and English PDF, ePub eBook Subtitled On the Immortality of the Soul. Socrates discusses life, death and the soul in conversation with some fellow philosophers on his last day of life.

30 review for Phaedo: Greek, Latin and English

  1. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    Celebrity Death Match Special: Plato's Phaedo versus Philip José Farmer's To Your Scattered Bodies Go [Riverworld. Night. Numerous people are gathered around a campfire, including RICHARD BURTON, ALICE PLEASANCE LIDDELL, PLATO, BENJAMIN JOWETT, DANTE, DAVID HUME and FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. BURTON is addressing the others.] BURTON: ... And for tonight's entertainment, as a unique favor, Plato has consented to perform for us Phaedo, his justly celebrated account of the death of Socrates. Professor Jowe Celebrity Death Match Special: Plato's Phaedo versus Philip José Farmer's To Your Scattered Bodies Go [Riverworld. Night. Numerous people are gathered around a campfire, including RICHARD BURTON, ALICE PLEASANCE LIDDELL, PLATO, BENJAMIN JOWETT, DANTE, DAVID HUME and FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. BURTON is addressing the others.] BURTON: ... And for tonight's entertainment, as a unique favor, Plato has consented to perform for us Phaedo, his justly celebrated account of the death of Socrates. Professor Jowett, with some little assistance from Alice and myself, has undertaken the task of helping the great philosopher render his immortal words into English. Over to you, Plato! PLATO: Thank you, my friends. I will begin at once. Echecrates: Were you yourself, Phaedo, in the prison with Socrates on the day when he drank the poison? Phaedo: Yes, Echecrates, I was... [His audience listen spellbound as PLATO tells the story. Finally he concludes] PLATO: ... he said - they were his last words - he said: Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius; will you remember to pay the debt? The debt shall be paid, said Crito; is there anything else? There was no answer to this question; but in a minute or two a movement was heard, and the attendants uncovered him; his eyes were set, and Crito closed his eyes and mouth. Such was the end, Echecrates, of our friend; concerning whom I may truly say, that of all the men of his time whom I have known, he was the wisest and justest and best. [A moment of silence. Many people are weeping unashamedly. Then rapturous applause.] PLATO: Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are all too kind. A MAN IN THE CROWD: Hey, wait a minute. BURTON: Who are you? THE MAN: [his hood is over his face, muffling his voice] We'll talk about that later. What I want to know is, can we rely on this tale? BURTON: My dear sir, are you presuming to doubt the word of Plato? THE MAN: I am. He says he wasn't even there to witness the death of his great teacher and friend "because he was sick". Is that correct? PLATO: I, uh, yes... THE MAN: And what was wrong with you? PLATO: Never been certain... really wasn't feeling at all well that day... perhaps some bad shellfish... THE MAN: A likely story. BURTON: This is an outrage. How dare you address the greatest philosopher of antiquity - indeed, of all time - in these terms? Once again, who are you? THE MAN: [throwing back his hood] If you want to know, I'm Socrates. And the piece you have just heard is nothing but a concoction of embellishments, half-truths and outright lies. Young Plato, you should be ashamed of yourself. [General consternation] BURTON: Plato, is this true? Do you recognize him? PLATO: I, uh, I'm not sure... been a long time... THE MAN: Honestly, Plato. Well, let me explain the absurd nature of my former student's claims. First of all, this disquisition on the nature of identity and comparison. Does that sound like something I would say? In your dialogue Euthydemus, you correctly report me as making fun of the sophists who enjoy this kind of argument. NIETZSCHE: Eet is true. I haf always vundered... THE MAN: Thank you Fred. Nice to see I have some supporters here. Second, your long demonstration of the immortality of the soul. I still can't believe you had the nerve to do this. I always say I know nothing and doubt everything. Suddenly, I'm telling people I have proof - proof, I ask you! of these things which obviously no one can ever be certain about. HUME: Well said, sir! THE MAN: Thank you David. Third, that description of the underworld, complete with all major geographical features and a ridiculously detailed account of which people will end up where. Words fail me. Is it likely that I would be spouting this nonsense? DANTE: Prego, signore. I like-a thees part very much, I make it da basis of great-- THE MAN: Sure, sure, sure. Dante, your epic is fantastic. Best thing since Homer. But the point is, it's poetry. I'm a philosopher. If anyone here doesn't understand the difference, they should leave right now. DANTE: Ah, scusi. Scusi. THE MAN: It's okay Dante. This is between me and Plato, right? So finally, my enigmatic last words. Why do you suppose I asked Crito to sacrifice a cock to Asclepius? NIETZCHE: On zees too, I haf much vundered. Perhaps, you are zanking zee god for curing you of zee sickness of life-- THE MAN: It's much simpler. I just thanked the jailer for getting the dose right and not cocking it up. But as usual, Plato couldn't resist the urge to improve my words. PLATO: I-- THE MAN: Yes? PLATO: You are Socrates. I recognize you now. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I-- I meant well, you understand. SOCRATES: I know you did, Plato. I shouldn't have given you such a hard time. Come here. [They embrace] SOCRATES: But don't do it again, okay? PLATO: I won't. I promise. And I am truly sorry. SOCRATES: Apology accepted. [He digs PLATO in the ribs] "Apology", geddit? [They both laugh uproariously] SOCRATES: Now let's find a tavern. We've got two thousand years of drinking to catch up on. Match point: Philip José Farmer

  2. 5 out of 5

    B. P. Rinehart

    "Such was the end of our comrade...a man who, we must say, was of all those we have known the best, and also the wisest and the most upright." [March, 2013] The grand finale of the wise man of Athens. This was Plato's account of Socrates last hours before his death. One has to say that while the Apology is the most "pop-friendly" of the Socratic dialogues, Phaedo is the greatest, personal, and most human of them all. We are taught two things in this dialogue that have both set the tone of western "Such was the end of our comrade...a man who, we must say, was of all those we have known the best, and also the wisest and the most upright." [March, 2013] The grand finale of the wise man of Athens. This was Plato's account of Socrates last hours before his death. One has to say that while the Apology is the most "pop-friendly" of the Socratic dialogues, Phaedo is the greatest, personal, and most human of them all. We are taught two things in this dialogue that have both set the tone of western philosophy (I think) to this very day. We learn what the ultimate goal of philosophy is and in learning that we are introduced to Plato's Theory of the Forms. I believe, as others said, that all philosophers in the western school have basically responded to one or the other. I won't get into an in-depth explanation of the philosophy for like Socrates I know my limits and I would never be able to do it quite the bit of justice it deserves. Now what is the goal of philosophy according to Socrates [and /or Plato]...preparing oneself for death. This had been strongly implied by Socrates during his trial in Athens but here it is the prime subject. "...the one aim of those who practice philosophy in the proper manner is to practice for dying and death." This explains his calmness and pleasantness at his imminent demise; his almost annoying bewilderment at his friends and family's grief. This also sets up the dialogue of why he has nothing to fear as he will be moving to a much better state of being and we see him spending the remainder of the dialogue trying to convince every one that he will be fine as he lived his life the right way (practicing philosophy) so he will go to the underworld and live with "the God". During the conversation he explains the immortality of the soul, the world of the Forms and why said Forms are eternal. I'm not gonna try to explain it all but one is always marveled at the Socratic questioning method and it is on good display here. I did have one thought that occurred to me, though I am not really troubled by it. In Apology, Socrates said that he started undertaking philosophy when the Oracle at Delphi said he was the wisest man in all of Athens. He disputed that and devoted his life to finding someone smarter than him. I simply wonder when it donned on him that philosophy was "practice for dying and death." I wish that had been explained. Another thing of significance is Socrates (or Plato) prefiguring Immanuel Kant in the theory of the "ding an sich" or thing-in-itself. As he says, "When then, does the soul grasp the truth? For whenever it attempts to examine anything with the body, it is clearly deceived." He is more direct (and Kantian) when he says, "if we are ever to have pure knowledge we must escape from the soul and observe things in themselves with the soul by itself." Wow you can't get any pre-Kantian than that. So you see that this is my favorite Socratic dialogue because of its prophesying of aspects of Kant and existential philosophy. I will definitely be reading this over again for years to come until "the God" says otherwise. This was read as a part of The Trial and Death of Socrates.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    Phaedo is widely, and rightly, considered to be one of Plato’s masterpieces. Here we witness the noble death of Socrates, perhaps the most iconic moment in the history of philosophy. As any proper philosopher should, Socrates dies in discourse, reasoning up until the very end. The subject of his arguments is, appropriately, what happens after death. By now we no longer find the skeptical Socrates of the early dialogues; here he is propounding the Platonic theory of forms. Plato's hatred of the r Phaedo is widely, and rightly, considered to be one of Plato’s masterpieces. Here we witness the noble death of Socrates, perhaps the most iconic moment in the history of philosophy. As any proper philosopher should, Socrates dies in discourse, reasoning up until the very end. The subject of his arguments is, appropriately, what happens after death. By now we no longer find the skeptical Socrates of the early dialogues; here he is propounding the Platonic theory of forms. Plato's hatred of the real and love of the ideal leads him to conclude that the soul escapes the corrupting body into the pure understanding of ideas. Immortality is the natural conclusion. And with that comforting thought, Socrates drinks the poison and passes, if not into actual immortality, into the closest literary approximation. Several things are likely to strike the modern reader. As in many Platonic dialogues, the arguments employed by Socrates can seem absurdly flimsy and faulty. Thus it is frustrating when Socrates’ interlocutors inevitably agree with his conclusions; surely real people would be able to see through these bad arguments. However, we have had a long time to develop our logical faculties, in large part thanks to the tradition initiated by Plato; so the occasional sycophantic tone we detect may have sounded quite differently not so long ago. Another striking aspect of Plato’s middle dialogues—and this one in particular—is the strong resemblance their theories have with Christian doctrine. This is no coincidence, of course, since Platonism was a strong influence on the early religion. Consequently, to a later-day reader in a Christian world this dialogue must have seemed eerily prescient and pious for a pagan writer. As masterful as is this dialogue, in the context of Plato’s preceding dialogues it is quite discordant with Plato’s characterization of Socrates. The philosopher is transformed from a skeptic into a mystic, and even ends the dialogue with a description of the world beyond. And it must be said that convincing oneself that there is life after death is not, perhaps, the most philosophical way of facing death. But who knows what Socrates actually did and said that day? Plato himself admits that he was not present.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Phaedo is the final part of Plato's (427-347 BCE) trilogy about the trial and death of his teacher, Socrates (469-399 BCE), and is preceded by the Apology and Crito . The Apology is a riveting account of Socrates' defense against the charges, his reaction to the verdict, and then his reaction to the sentence. Crito is a moving account of his reaction to an opportunity to escape his sentence. (I've written reviews for these in GR, if you're curious.) In this dialogue Plato has a young fr Phaedo is the final part of Plato's (427-347 BCE) trilogy about the trial and death of his teacher, Socrates (469-399 BCE), and is preceded by the Apology and Crito . The Apology is a riveting account of Socrates' defense against the charges, his reaction to the verdict, and then his reaction to the sentence. Crito is a moving account of his reaction to an opportunity to escape his sentence. (I've written reviews for these in GR, if you're curious.) In this dialogue Plato has a young friend of Socrates, Phaedo, recount to acquaintances what happened in the final hours of Socrates' life, surrounded by friends and family and philosophizing up until the final draught of poison. Potentially, Phaedo could have been at least as moving as Crito . However, in my view this potential was wasted in a most regrettable manner. Once again, as in Crito , Plato was not present at the event described. Though the conversation in Crito had to be, either partially or wholly, Plato's invention, it stayed true to the reports made about Socrates' manner and thought by Plato himself and other authors, such as Xenophon. But in this dialogue Socrates is largely Plato's sock puppet in a rather transparent and, to my mind, unacceptable manner. This ventriloquism even strikes me as disrespectful. By all other reports, including Plato's, Socrates refused metaphysical and physical speculation, preferring instead to occupy himself and his collaborators (as he claimed to see them) with ethics and politics. But in this dialogue Plato has Socrates waxing eloquent about Plato's metaphysical speculations concerning ideal forms. Moreover, in the Apology , written relatively soon after Socrates' death, when Socrates speaks about death he considers only two options: (1) complete annihilation and (2) the standard ancient Greek view of all the dead gathered together in Hades, a bleak and somber place where family and old friends can be together eternally, if not joyfully. But in this dialogue Plato has Socrates "proving" the immortality of the soul and talking about souls of the dead returning in the newly born. Also damaging to the credibility of Phaedo is the fact that the chain of "certainly", "true", "of course", blah blah, responses of Socrates' listeners to Plato's words is more than just faintly ridiculous ( Crito is not entirely free of this). What a shame. So, is there something positive to say about this dialogue? Well, if you are interested in Plato's body-and-pleasure-rejecting idealism, his views on ideal forms, the immortality of the soul, as well as why death is a good thing for a philosopher - most of which became sources of Christian theology - then all these find what is said to be their clearest expression in Phaedo . Plato: But you don't think any of those things are positive. Me: True Plato: Even an unfortunate like yourself can recognize something positive to be said about my work. Me: Certainly. Plato (waits with brows raised and arms crossed) Me: --- Plato: Well? Me: OK, but it wasn't the tedious sophistry concerning the existence of degrees of the soul. Plato: Surely. Me: And it wasn't the total rubbish about all knowledge being the recollection of an earlier, noncorporeal contact with ideals. Plato: Quite so. Me: My ears have always had a kind of wistful predisposition to perk up at your idea that the souls of the dead are recycled in the newly born. But I know you need that to get your crazy theory of knowledge to work. Plato: Very true. Me (eying Plato warily): I suppose I must put my cards on the table. Plato: That is quite true. Me: You should have cut everything between Crito passing along the message from the prison attendant and the stroking of Phaedo's hair. You could have saved that rubbish and put it in someone else's mouth in another dialogue. Then the Christians could still have gotten what they wanted and the spotlight in this dialogue could have been focused on Socrates' calm nobility during his last day on Earth, which is where it should have been. Plato: What you say has a wonderful truth in it, Steve. Me: Thanks for the props, man. And give me a buzz if you need some help with the next one. (Re-read in Benjamin Jowett's translation.) Forgotten surprise to stow away for later: Socrates is said in this dialogue to have written poetry in prison! And, once again, this was done at the behest of a vision in a dream.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brad Lyerla

    Socrates died with quiet dignity. He was sentenced to drink a fatal dose of hemlock before nightfall. But first, he spent the day with friends and family discussing philosophy. PHAEDO is Plato’s account of that day. In PHAEDO, Plato recounts Socrates’ arguments for the immortality of the soul. These arguments are not impressive to modern readers. We easily see flaws in Socrates’ logic. This begs the question, did Socrates genuinely believe his arguments for the existence of the soul? Or was there Socrates died with quiet dignity. He was sentenced to drink a fatal dose of hemlock before nightfall. But first, he spent the day with friends and family discussing philosophy. PHAEDO is Plato’s account of that day. In PHAEDO, Plato recounts Socrates’ arguments for the immortality of the soul. These arguments are not impressive to modern readers. We easily see flaws in Socrates’ logic. This begs the question, did Socrates genuinely believe his arguments for the existence of the soul? Or was there another motive for sharing these arguments with his family and friends? His first argument is drawn from the ancient belief among Greeks that souls reside in Hades after death. This is a confusing argument that seems to reduce to an assertion that death does not annihilate the soul. This must be so, reasons Socrates, because souls cannot be created from nothing and, therefore, must be cycled over again or eventually nature’s supply of souls would be exhausted. The second is Socrates’ argument from reminiscence. Since knowledge preexists us (as in the case of arithmetic or abstractions such as beauty), our souls must have lived before. How else could that knowledge already reside in our understanding? His third argument begins as a refutation. Socrates refutes the assertion that upon death, the soul is dissipated by the wind. He argues that to dissipate, a soul would have to be divisible into smaller constituent parts. But souls are indivisible. Socrates also demonstrates that the analogy to a lyre is false. The soul is not like harmony produced by a lyre that cannot be attained ever again after the lyre is destroyed. Socrates then responds to the objection that souls may wear out over time. Wherever the soul is found, argues Socrates, there is life. Contraries cannot co-exist in the same thing. Therefore, the soul cannot admit of death. And that which does not admit of death is immortal. Accordingly, a soul is immortal. Having demonstrated that the soul is immortal, Socrates also wants to demonstrate that the immortality of the soul implies that there is a duty upon a man to Live virtuously so that his soul will reside in a good place after his death. Socrates attempts to demonstrate this by imagining the various regions of the underworld to which good and bad souls go after death. The souls of the virtuous go to pleasant regions. Socrates bathes, dismisses the women and children and, though it is early, he drinks the poison. He declines to delay further because he is ready and it would be undignified to quibble or wait any longer. Socrates remains present and engaged in life, including until the very moment before death, when he reminds a friend to repay a small household debt for him. And thus, Socrates dies in a fashion plainly intended to be exemplary for philosophers. It is a seminal moment in the western canon comparable even to the passing of Jesus. Everyone should read the PHAEDO.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hirdesh

    Lovely read. Philosophical Drama, story of Socrates before his death. So descriptively he had explained the virtue of Death with several enumerations. I guess, each line one can takes as a quote of this book. So amazing book and Highly recommended to all readers. Some of Finest Quotes are "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." (Socrates) "For whenever it attempts to examine anything with Lovely read. Philosophical Drama, story of Socrates before his death. So descriptively he had explained the virtue of Death with several enumerations. I guess, each line one can takes as a quote of this book. So amazing book and Highly recommended to all readers. Some of Finest Quotes are "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." (Socrates) "For whenever it attempts to examine anything with the body, it is clearly deceived by it." (Socrates) "when men are interrogated in the right manner, they always give the right answer of their own accord, and they could not do this if they did not possess the knowledge and the right explanation inside them." (Cebes) "These equal things and the Equal itself are therefore not the same?" (Socrates) "Then before we began to see or hear or otherwise perceive, we must have possessed knowledge of the Equal itself if we were about to refer our sense perceptions of equal objects to it, and realized that all of them were eager to be like it, but were inferior." (Socrates) "If then one wished to know the cause of each thing, why it comes to be or perishes or exists, one had to find what was the best way for it to be or to be acted upon, or to act." (Socrates)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Genni

    ---Update 2017--- I did a quick read-through of this while traveling a couple of days ago. What stuck out to me this time was Simmias's analogy of the soul to the attunement of a lyre. One of Socartes's objections is that the attunement theory is inconsistent with the theory of recollection, itself not established, but also that the attunement theory does not explain the soul's rule of the body. I am wondering: if the soul rules the body, is this not rather proof that the soul and body are inextr ---Update 2017--- I did a quick read-through of this while traveling a couple of days ago. What stuck out to me this time was Simmias's analogy of the soul to the attunement of a lyre. One of Socartes's objections is that the attunement theory is inconsistent with the theory of recollection, itself not established, but also that the attunement theory does not explain the soul's rule of the body. I am wondering: if the soul rules the body, is this not rather proof that the soul and body are inextricably linked and not separate entities? ---------------- Good stuff. What I find interesting here are some of the thoughts that melded so well with Christianity later on. Denying the physical pleasures of the body to discover spiritual truths is a wonderful ideal, yet if not tempered by the message of grace from the New Testament can lead to extremes in self-denial. The final point of the dialogue was to prove the immortality of the soul. After several attempts by argument, he resorts to mythology to explain his belief. Indeed, it is difficult when discussing things metaphysical to stay purely in the realm of reasoning, so no blame there. I love wandering around in his arguments to and from contraries. At what point does hot become cold and cold become hot? I have no idea, but as an argument for his point this fails because it depends on the shaky premise (that his companions seem to accept without question) that our souls existed before in hades, which is as difficult to prove as that they exist after death. Great, thought-provoking dialogue.

  8. 4 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    Plato on life after death 26 October 2012 I have noticed that a number of people consider that this text is the crowning piece that defines the Western philosophical method. In a way I agree and in a way I disagree. In one sense one can see how the idea of the separation of the body and the soul has come down to us and which has formed a major part of Western spiritual thought and in turn forms one of the bases of what I tend to term as our civil religion. However there are two things that it is Plato on life after death 26 October 2012 I have noticed that a number of people consider that this text is the crowning piece that defines the Western philosophical method. In a way I agree and in a way I disagree. In one sense one can see how the idea of the separation of the body and the soul has come down to us and which has formed a major part of Western spiritual thought and in turn forms one of the bases of what I tend to term as our civil religion. However there are two things that it is not. First of all it is not Christian, and secondly it is not Socratic. I will deal with both in turn and I will outline my argument about how it is not Socratic first and then how it is not Christian secondly. Before I go on, one of my primary sources of the fact that it is not Socratic is my Classical History lecturer David Hester (who is now retired). Secondly, since this not an academic essay to be handed up to a university to be marked I will not be referencing or sourcing my arguments. However, if anybody wishes to debate either point I more than welcome them, since that is what the comment section below the commentary is for. Anyway, the first thing that stood out when I read this work was that it differs from a lot of other Socratic dialogues as it is a second hand account. Most of the Socratic dialogues come across as first hand accounts, and we know that Plato was present at the trial because we are told that he was (and I also suspect that he was present when Crito visited Socrates on the night before his execution). However, this particular work is based around a conversation that occurred months, or even a couple of years, after the event. We are told that Plato was not present at the execution (apparently he was sick), so we are relying not just on Plato being present at this conversation, but also on the accuracy of Phaedo, who claims to have been present at the execution. As such we see that Plato appears to be distancing not so much himself, but rather Socrates, from the philosophy that is being outlined. Secondly, the theory of forms is being discussed in this work (I am hesitant to call it a dialogue because it is not actually a dialogue in the way that the other Platonic works are dialogues). The theory of forms, as my lecturer explained, was purely a Platonic idea and not a Socratic one (and I will give my reasoning below). The theory of forms, though, is the idea that everything in our reality is flawed, however they are shadows of a much greater reality. Therefore a table that we see is not a perfect table but rather a shadow of the real table. We see this argument developed elsewhere, and in particular with the cave analogy that Plato expounds in The Republic. Thirdly, this particular dialogue deals with what I would term as pseudo-scientific speculation, in particular the nature of the body and the soul, and what happens to the soul after death. We note that the Socrates in this dialogue talks about the purpose of life is to pursue knowledge, or gnosis. However, and while I have not read the Socratic dialogues in Greek, I get the idea that Socrates is not so much interested in gnosis, but rather in sophos, or wisdom. In the dialogues of Socrates that I have read and commented on I have noticed that Socrates' main focus is on how were are to live in society, which is the idea of wisdom, as opposed to gaining knowledge of things, which is gnosis. Finally, we have Socrates, for a large part, lecturing, which is something that Socrates simply does not do. Granted, in the Apology, we do have him providing a defence, but even in his defence we see him falling back on what we call the Socratic method, that is taking the position of ignorance and asking a series of questions that tend to guide the person in the argument around to your point of view. However, it is interesting to note that there are a lot of spurious arguments and questions that seem to come from nowhere only to try to bring the point around to what Plato wanted to prove. Now, I make the statement about it not being Christian. Most of you, I hope, would look at me oddly and say 'of course it is not Christian, idiot, it was written by an Ancient Greek five hundred years before Christ walked the Earth'. However, while this text may not be Christian, it has had a tremendous impact upon Christian thought (along with other Platonic works). The first and main thing that has influenced Western thought is the idea that the body and the soul are connected but not the same. Many of us, and it has permeated the church for centuries, believe that when we die our body rots in the ground and our spirit goes to heaven or to hell. Just take a look at Dante where we see him travelling through hell and seeing it full of spirits. That, my friend, is Platonic. However, here is an extract from 1 Corinthians chapter 15: Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain ... but in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. So, as you can see from this passage (which has been truncated a bit, but can be found in its entirety here), the biblical position on life after death is not a spirit drifting around a spiritual realm, but a restored and resurrected physical body in a restored and resurrected physical world. Oh, and there is also discussions and proofs on reincarnation in the Phaedo as well, which as we all know, it pretty much not a Christian belief (but was, in fact, an Ancient Greek belief). Now, the other interesting thing I noticed is that I recently read a book called Gospel and Wisdom, and in that book it tries to identify what it is that the bible terms as worldly wisdom. The writer suggested that it was attempting to determine biblical truths through human reason and logic. Pretty much as soon as I began to read this text it struck me that this is probably what he was referring too. Here we have a discussion on the idea of life after death from what effectively is pure speculation. Remember that, according to Christianity, the only person that can actually comment on life after death is Jesus Christ and that is because he died and rose again. As such, according to the bible, he is the only person with authority to speak on the subject because he is the only historical person that has ever travelled there (in an identifiable historical period) and come back to talk about it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy Ele

    Being 33, and in a mood which is due to my weariness with the world, I can definitely sympathize with Socrates' character in this. As I scroll though face book, seeing as I am kind of addicted to anything that resembles social media, I see so many injustices calling out to me for my sad emoji face and/or anger emoji face. So many causes of injustice one could stand against.....for what though? So that I can be put on a list as a troublemaker only to be executed later on when I get too big for my Being 33, and in a mood which is due to my weariness with the world, I can definitely sympathize with Socrates' character in this. As I scroll though face book, seeing as I am kind of addicted to anything that resembles social media, I see so many injustices calling out to me for my sad emoji face and/or anger emoji face. So many causes of injustice one could stand against.....for what though? So that I can be put on a list as a troublemaker only to be executed later on when I get too big for my britches? To be or not to be? To watch the world slowly kill itself as it is undoubtedly being run by maniacs into a future which is looking more and more like a cross between 1984 and the Terminator dystopia? The other day I saw a polar bear die of exhaustion. It was a horrible sight to behold. I wonder what Socrates would say? Either way, they put Socrates to death for something other than causing the death of a human being. This is what this world does to those who dare to question the purported "wisdom" of the time. So, really it doesn't surprise me at all that the world is the way it is today. It has kind of been leading up to this, like the last dying exhausted breath of a polar bear. I just wonder, if when it comes my time, will I remain on the sidelines not participating in the tragic comedy of human existence, watching like a man outside of a fishbowl, disinterested and unattached to all the insanity, or will I act and thereby earn myself a cup of good ole poison hemlock? DISCLAIMER: THIS WAS NOT AN ACTUAL REVIEW OF THE TEXT, BUT MORE LIKE A POETICAL EXCURSION INTO THE ARTIST'S MOOD WHILE READING THE TEXT. THE ARTIST FINDING PARALLELS WITH THE INJUSTICE OF SOCRATES' DEATH AND THE INJUSTICE IN OUR OWN WORLD AND TIME.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

    Actually, I read the Grube translation and found it excellent. This is the dialogue containing the description of Socrates’ last discussion with his disciples and of his death. It is related by Phaedo, who was with Socrates during these events, to Echecrates, who was not. The discussion begins with Socrates’ reflections on opposites, such as pleasure and pain, that define each other. This reflection is used to initiate a discussion on the nature of the soul and the nature of death, it being Socra Actually, I read the Grube translation and found it excellent. This is the dialogue containing the description of Socrates’ last discussion with his disciples and of his death. It is related by Phaedo, who was with Socrates during these events, to Echecrates, who was not. The discussion begins with Socrates’ reflections on opposites, such as pleasure and pain, that define each other. This reflection is used to initiate a discussion on the nature of the soul and the nature of death, it being Socrates’ conviction that the soul, or mind, is immortal and survives the death of the body. He makes the famous assertion that the practice of philosophy is to practice for death and dying. In claiming that the soul and body are separate, he asserts that true knowledge does not come via the senses, thus leading to his assertion of the existence of the Forms, those immutable and eternal Ideas that exist independently of material reality. (He does not assert that it is via the body that we gain our first intuitions of what the Ideal must be, feeling that this knowledge is innate – as later he reviews his understanding that knowledge is recollection of what is already known but not at first available to our understanding). As I was reading this I was reminded of the work of the 20th century psychologist Jean Piaget and his work on the learning and understanding of basic concepts by young children. I am also reminded of the current controversy about whether mind (or what Socrates would call soul) is an epiphenomenon of the brain (ie, the body), or whether it does or can exist independently, in which case it must have pre-existed or have occurred de novo, which seems somehow illogical. Socrates argues that the soul cannot be scattered or dispersed at the time of the body’s death because it is not composite, and he argues why it cannot be composite. He further argues that the invisible always remains the same, and since the soul is invisible it must remain unchanged. At one point he says that “philosophy sees that the worst feature of this imprisonment [in the body] is that it is due to desires,” and in this sense his understanding is not all that different from the teachings of the Buddha. His extended discussion of opposites such as tallness and shortness shows that he is not talking about terms that come into being by mere contrast or comparison, but rather the concepts of these that are eternal and innate. Using this discussion, he asserts that the soul is deathless and indestructible. Rounding out this whole discussion, Socrates describes a temporary existence after the death of the body that bears some likeness to the Roman Catholic idea of Purgatory, although he admits that this is not to be taken literally and is simply a metaphor for something that we cannot really know before death. The dialogue ends with Socrates drinking the hemlock and dying. This is truly a marvelous work. Whether or not the reader finds it convincing in all its details, read carefully and thoughtfully it cannot but precipitate deep thought and fruitful reflection, enlarging and deepening the reader’s own understanding.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Phaedo would have been much easier to understand if he communicated with someone who had more brain capacity than a chestnut. In summary: Socrates: Bla bla bla! Cebes and Simmias: But why do you think that!? Socrates: Poop bla bla bla! Cebes and Simmias: Oh.....but what about goop de floop? Socrates: No! No goop de floop! Poop bla bla bla! Cebes and Simmas: Oh.... okay. Socrates: Do you understand? Cebes and Simmas: No...we don't want to offend you because you're about to die. Socrates: I WANT to talk abo Phaedo would have been much easier to understand if he communicated with someone who had more brain capacity than a chestnut. In summary: Socrates: Bla bla bla! Cebes and Simmias: But why do you think that!? Socrates: Poop bla bla bla! Cebes and Simmias: Oh.....but what about goop de floop? Socrates: No! No goop de floop! Poop bla bla bla! Cebes and Simmas: Oh.... okay. Socrates: Do you understand? Cebes and Simmas: No...we don't want to offend you because you're about to die. Socrates: I WANT to talk about this. Cebes and Simmas: Well....if you're sure... Socrates: I love talking about this!!! Poop bla bla bla! Cebes and Simmas: Ok......... Cebes and Simmas (aside): I don't understand him.... Socrates, who can we talk to about this when you die? No wonder Socrates thought death was a cure for life.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Socrates is dead. Phaedo has witnessed Socrates's death, and happens to run into a friend or acquaintance named Echecrates a few days later in the Greek city of Phlius. Socrates having had a reputation as an exceedingly wise man, Echecrates would like to know exactly what he said before his death. "Let's do this"... no, my mistake, I think that was Gary Gilmore. Where were we? Yes, that's right- Phaedo, apparently a reservoir of stamina, obliges Echecrates by reciting everything that Socrates sa Socrates is dead. Phaedo has witnessed Socrates's death, and happens to run into a friend or acquaintance named Echecrates a few days later in the Greek city of Phlius. Socrates having had a reputation as an exceedingly wise man, Echecrates would like to know exactly what he said before his death. "Let's do this"... no, my mistake, I think that was Gary Gilmore. Where were we? Yes, that's right- Phaedo, apparently a reservoir of stamina, obliges Echecrates by reciting everything that Socrates said verbatim, if you can believe that, as well as the interjections from the others who were there. The subject of their discussion, at least in the beginning, is why Socrates seems so unnaturally solicitous of death- or whether it really should be unnatural to think of death solicitously. In Crito, Socrates has even refused an attempt by his friend to help him escape from prison before his execution.  Socrates proposes the existence of a soul that throughout life is shackled to a corrupting body; the body leads the soul away from the path of wisdom and towards vice, desire and pettiness. For a philosopher, who should value wisdom above all else, death is an opportunity for the soul to exist, finally, unfettered by eating, drinking, sleeping, pissing, shitting, sexual desire, etc. This is asceticism, sainthood. Or it's dread, which is where I think a lot of my early interest in Buddhism came from. Socrates's view seems in line with the Buddha's Noble Truths (not the only similarity this dialogue has with Buddhism)- that life is suffering, that suffering is caused by attachment, etc. A modern view might disregard the concept of a soul altogether; but if 'mind' has taken the place of 'soul' to describe that which is unseen, that general modern view would probably hold that real wisdom is in finding harmony between the the mind and the body and recognizing their inseparability; that real wisdom has to account for pissing, shitting, drinking and fucking, as well as getting sick and shopping in the grocery store while terrible music plays- both the pleasures and burdens of having a body in the only world we know. Socrates's view is unlike, say, Descartes's mind-body dualism, because Socrates acknowledges that the body has an influence on the soul- he is just disgusted that the soul must toil on earth, gradually habituated to corruption.  I think that some of George Orwell's comments on Gandhi seem applicable to Socrates's view here: Gandhi's teachings cannot be squared with the belief that Man is the measure of all things and that our job is to make life worth living on this earth, which is the only earth we have. They make sense only on the assumption that God exists and the world of solid objects is an illusion to be escaped from.  The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, that one is sometimes willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty, that one does not push asceticism to the point where it makes friendly intercourse impossible, and that one is prepared in the end to be defeated and broken up by life...No doubt alcohol, tobacco, and so forth, are things that a saint must avoid, but sainthood is also a thing that human beings must avoid.Satisfied with Socrates's answer? No, Socrates's interlocutors weren't, either. That's all well and good Socrates, says either Simmias or Cebes, I'm afraid I can't remember at this point (these are two of the guys, presumably Socrates's friends, sitting with Socrates and Phaedo), but surely you must be aware that many people fear that the soul is simply extinguished upon the death of the body. Socrates makes a little joke about those who are unlucky enough to die during gales- oops, there goes your soul. Then he moves into the first of his arguments for the immortality of the soul, which I would have called the Argument from Opposites but which the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy informs me is known as the Cyclical Argument. The idea as I understand it is that all things come from their opposite states: that which is larger had to have been at one point smaller, for example. Furthermore, there are opposite processes that exist between these pairs: the process of increase and the process of decrease. If we take the opposites of being awake and being asleep (to choose the example that seemed clearest to me, although yes, through Socrates's slight-of-hand we've moved from a pair of comparatives to a pair of actual opposites), it's clear that we can only awaken from the state of sleep, and that we can only fall asleep from the state of having been awake. Therefore, since life and death are also opposites, the same relation must hold true- there must be a certain place where the souls of the dead congregate, waiting to be born into new bodies (unless, Socrates suggests, they've achieved a philosophical purity that presumably brings the cycle to an end- another similarity with Buddhism). The purpose of our lives therefore, as in plural, is a gradual process of refinement and attunement, to prepare us for when we move on to...well, something, or maybe nothing. Socrates gets to that at the end, actually. In his next argument, the Argument from Recollection, Socrates suggests that a certain kind of knowledge is in reality recollection. Two sticks held side-by-side, for example, may seem equal, but fall short of true Equality. Certain things may be beautiful, but only because they share in the Beautiful. A verdict in court may be just, but only because it is one of many possible representations of Justice, which is nonphysical and thus inaccessible to us in this world. This, again according to the IEP, is arguably the first mention in Plato's writing of his theory of Forms. How can we have knowledge of true Equality, or Beauty, or Justice, if these things don't exist in the world we inhabit? It must be that we recollect them, from a time before we were born; hence, the soul exists before birth.  Great. Problem solved. Are we ready to die without trepidation now? Well...okay, sure, get back to me on that. Fix yourself a stiff drink and come back to this review. Not to fear, though; Socrates still has two more arrows in his quiver, which I am not going to get into here because, frankly, it would involve a lot more writing, but which you can read about in the IEP entry, http://www.iep.utm.edu/phaedo/ ...or in Phaedo itself. But I'm finding the experience of going back to Plato strange, and Phaedo is particularly strange. I appreciate it the way one might appreciate a dream, or an acid trip, or a tropical depression, or a séance. While Socrates makes claims here that are entirely unfalsifiable, Phaedo is moving. First of all, the subject matter is inherently moving. Secondly, Plato is the beginning of formal logic; listening to Socrates speak with his interlocutors, you become aware that these humans, our brothers, are learning to argue, exploring this thing called logic, testing out, like a bicycle, what it can do and what it can't (and we still haven't quite mastered it, have we?). None of the speakers are trying to satisfy their own egos; rather, they want to see if it's possible to discover the truth of the matter. The problem, as Phaedo reports having worried about halfway through the discussion, is that "...these matters are inherently obscure." Uh yeah, you can say that again.   Then again, I have to admit that I may be very wrong about what's going on here. Socrates says something towards the end that I found extremely odd. No, not the part about the concentric rings of water, where he speculates on the precise geographic location of the place where the souls of the dead reside, waiting to be born again; or that those who are set free from the cycle of, well, let's call it metempsychosis, end up on the earth's true surface, which to us is as accessible as what we regard as the earth's surface to fish. No, it's after all this that Socrates says,Of course, no reasonable man ought to insist that the facts are exactly as I have described them. But that either this or something very like it is a true account of our souls and their future habitations- since there is certainly evidence that the soul is deathless- this, I think, is both a fitting contention and a belief worth risking; for the risk is a noble one. We should use such accounts to enchant ourselves with...This echoes a statement Socrates makes towards the middle of the dialogue, after Cebes asks him what to do about the "child" inside each of us who fears death. Socrates responds, "What you should do...is to pronounce an enchantment over him every day until you have charmed his fears away." "We should use such accounts to enchant ourselves with." Maybe Socrates is right. Maybe we should, and maybe the occasionally tortured logic in Phaedo is all an attempt to lend that enchantment the guise of truth. Or maybe we shouldn't. If someone like Ernest Becker is correct, there is nothing more important than how we choose to deal with the fear of death. Either way, these are odd words coming from a man whose reputation is of a skeptic, committed to wisdom above all else.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    The Phaedo, though on the surface concerned with the immortality of the soul, also contains a very interesting explication of the theory of recollection, first brought forward in the Meno, as well as the closest Plato ever gets to both explaining his theory of forms and saying that God is an immaterial mind. The theory of recollection tells us that, when we see two equal objects, we know that the two are equal not in virtue of their actual equality, since they aren't actually equal, but in virtu The Phaedo, though on the surface concerned with the immortality of the soul, also contains a very interesting explication of the theory of recollection, first brought forward in the Meno, as well as the closest Plato ever gets to both explaining his theory of forms and saying that God is an immaterial mind. The theory of recollection tells us that, when we see two equal objects, we know that the two are equal not in virtue of their actual equality, since they aren't actually equal, but in virtue of the idea of Equal, with which we are comparing this particular instance of approximation to equality. Where did we get this idea of Equal? We cannot have learned it, since nothing in our experience can demonstrate the notion of equality: you either have the notion or you do not. Hence, it follows that we either were born with this idea, or possessed it before we were born; the former is dismissed because Socrates thinks it unlikely that we would instantly know something and just as quickly forget it; so we must be trying to remember something we knew before we were born but forgot in the process of being born. Regardless of how you feel about that, it lays down a bit of the groundwork for the theory of forms. Socrates was very upset how something that we call tall could be tall by means of shortness: exempli gratiae, 10 feet is taller than 8 feet by two feet. That seems so wrong-headed and contradictory that, if we are interested in being clear, we will want to say, 10 feet is taller than 8 feet not in virtue of shortness but in virtue of tallness. This is all preliminary to the great final argument, which, in truth, is nothing short of astounding: Socrates, after maintaining that if his material bones and sinews were in control, he would have left the Athenian jail a long time before, and therefore having proved the existence of the soul, which possesses free-will, tries to show that the soul cannot be subject to destruction by means of the theory of forms. It goes a little something like this: we have the idea of Three, not in virtue of any three we see, and this idea will be instantiated in any group of three we come across; now this idea carries along with it a quality which has an opposite quality, namely, Oddness. Three, it will readily be admitted, will never admit Evenness, and so it has been shown that certain ideas carry with them qualities whose opposing qualities the idea itself will not admit. In the same way, then, the soul brings with it the quality of life to the body, and the opposite of life is death; now, we know from the above that even though soul is not a direct opposite of death, it, in virtue of bringing life, cannot admit the opposite of the quality it brings. Therefore, soul, which will not admit death, in the same way that 3 will not admit Evenness, is un-dying. Now, what is immortal must be indestructible. Therefore, the soul is both immortal and indestructible. Apparently, Plato, not having the benefit of Bram Stoker, did not realize that immortality and destructibility can co-exist within the same being. Only vampires, it seems, then, could've brought Plato back to reality!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra Kay Silva

    Thank goodness Plato idealized Socrates so much otherwise so much about him would have been lost. I kind of put off reading this one because I knew that it dealt with death and the human soul, which is a subject that hangs over my head on occasion. Big mistake! This was as wonderful as Plato's other works, I always give Socrates this kind of saucy attitude in my mind, he is so quick! I wonder how much of this was actually said or what just carried over from other discussions with Socrates during Thank goodness Plato idealized Socrates so much otherwise so much about him would have been lost. I kind of put off reading this one because I knew that it dealt with death and the human soul, which is a subject that hangs over my head on occasion. Big mistake! This was as wonderful as Plato's other works, I always give Socrates this kind of saucy attitude in my mind, he is so quick! I wonder how much of this was actually said or what just carried over from other discussions with Socrates during his lifetime. I actually found a lot of relief at the onset of the great ending, if a man like Socrates can go down in this style (ok so poison is not terribly heroic, but at least he had a lot of great last lines) then maybe I shouldn't be so afraid as well. Wonderful dialogues on the soul, absolutely wonderful.

  15. 5 out of 5

    On the Road

    Phaedo is probably one of the most significant and iconic episodes of philosophy history. In this dialogue, we are given the opportunity of grapple with Plato’s theory of forms and his inquiry of the sources of knowledge, in the process of defending his fearlessness and pleasantness in the face of Socrates’ imminent demise. There are a few questions that should confuse a modern reader: what is the significance of this piece besides that its main character is the founder of philosophical reasonin Phaedo is probably one of the most significant and iconic episodes of philosophy history. In this dialogue, we are given the opportunity of grapple with Plato’s theory of forms and his inquiry of the sources of knowledge, in the process of defending his fearlessness and pleasantness in the face of Socrates’ imminent demise. There are a few questions that should confuse a modern reader: what is the significance of this piece besides that its main character is the founder of philosophical reasoning? What we should appreciate from this book besides it is rightly considered as a masterpiece? The first thing I would say is Socrates as a lover of knowledge demonstrates powerfully what is it like to be genuinely inquisitive about the truth and how one should use rationality to justify his fate when it is determined by the external. Although this is not Socrates’ intention, I do view that to a certain degree, Socrates tries to convince his companions he is indeed at peace with himself knowing death is to be put upon him. Some of his logic is clearly faulty and arbitrary – for instance, to argue the immortality of a soul he uses the example of the immortality of God to justify that a soul can be imperishable so long as humans deem gods as imperishable – and from the standpoint of an atheist this does not stand still. I truly admire the spirit he possesses in search of virtue and beauty. Also, if we look at this dialogue from the whole picture of human intellectual history, this is a very inspiring book. Let us imagine, at some point in our record of time, humans truly broke free of the limit of the survival instinct of hunting, power and mating and started to ponder about the meaning of wisdom, virtue, the universe and philosophy. How can we not say that humans are not superior to animals? Hence, to appreciate Plato’s ideas, readers need to have a sense of mega-awareness to the significance this piece holds for humans in seek of questions – what happens after death, the separation of body and soul and human virtues – that are so abstract, so difficult, and so remarkable.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marts (Thinker)

    Socrates' last discussion before being executed as recorded by Plato from the perspective of Socrates' former students, Phaedo... The discussion expounds on the afterlife and the soul's immortality to which he presents four arguments: 1. Argument from Opposites - i.e. a perpetual cycle of life and death, when we die we do not stay dead, but come back to life after a time. 2. Theory of Recollection - i.e. learning is actually recollecting what is already known 3. Argument from Affinity - i.e. there Socrates' last discussion before being executed as recorded by Plato from the perspective of Socrates' former students, Phaedo... The discussion expounds on the afterlife and the soul's immortality to which he presents four arguments: 1. Argument from Opposites - i.e. a perpetual cycle of life and death, when we die we do not stay dead, but come back to life after a time. 2. Theory of Recollection - i.e. learning is actually recollecting what is already known 3. Argument from Affinity - i.e. there is a distinction between things which are immaterial, invisible, and immortal such as the soul, and things which are material, visible, and perishable such as the body. Therefore the soul is immortal and survives death. 4. Form of Life - i.e. all things possess qualities which prove that they are part of some unchanging and invisible form. This Form of Life is a property of the soul, therefore the soul is anything but alive.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    A very readable and reliable translation from Brann, Kalkavage and Salem. Terms are translated consistently, and the glossary is a useful guide to understanding both the etymology of the words translated and the ways in which Plato uses the terms, as well as related terms. (Explaining in a succinct way the relation and differences between Being [ousia], beings [ta onta], the Forms [eide], and "looks" [idea] is not easy, and here it is necessarily over-simplified, but the glossary entry can be he A very readable and reliable translation from Brann, Kalkavage and Salem. Terms are translated consistently, and the glossary is a useful guide to understanding both the etymology of the words translated and the ways in which Plato uses the terms, as well as related terms. (Explaining in a succinct way the relation and differences between Being [ousia], beings [ta onta], the Forms [eide], and "looks" [idea] is not easy, and here it is necessarily over-simplified, but the glossary entry can be helpful when applied in context.) The introductory essay is very good as well, and can be read on its own (after having read the dialogue) or as a mini-commentary while reading the dialogue itself. Phaedo is more than just philosophy, so it deserves a translation as mindful of the narrative as it is of the technical aspects. The final scene, in which Socrates dies, is one of the most powerful in western literature and this translation does it justice.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    Phaedo is one the Platonic dialogues that must have given a great deal of comfort to the Christian Apologists of Late Antiquity. In it Christ argues for the existence of a human soul and an immortality. In the after-life, those of who have lived justly will be allowed to dwell in a comfortable place with other "just" souls (who are more frequently referred to as philosophers.) There will be a kind of purgatory for those who committed minor sins and can be redeemed as well as a Hell for the unred Phaedo is one the Platonic dialogues that must have given a great deal of comfort to the Christian Apologists of Late Antiquity. In it Christ argues for the existence of a human soul and an immortality. In the after-life, those of who have lived justly will be allowed to dwell in a comfortable place with other "just" souls (who are more frequently referred to as philosophers.) There will be a kind of purgatory for those who committed minor sins and can be redeemed as well as a Hell for the unredeemable. Phaedo is a work that supports thesis that reason produces a vision of man's conditions that is consistent with Christianity. Philosophy missed only some minor points which were completely by Christ's divine revelation. In the twenty-first century it is still the Christian reader who will most enjoy Phaedo. Atheists will cringe and try to acknowledge Plato's skill without agreeing with any of his conclusions. Phaedo also contains a discussion of ghosts that will please neither Orthodox Christians nor atheists. Plato appears to believe in ghosts and proposes that some sinners have souls that they are so strong that they are able to stay in the physical world to which they are profoundly attached if they feel that they have unfinished business to resolve. The souls of the just never stay. Like Socrates they will serenely leave our world for the better one that awaits them. This is a myth that remains in the twenty-first century as strong as it ever was. Two thousand years of Christianity have still not killed it off. In terms of the sequence of events Phaedo is the last of the four dialogues that Plato wrote about the trial and death of Socrates. The other three being Euthyphro, the Apology, and Crito. Euthyprho and Crito are quite short and do not stand up very well on their own. Phaedo and the Apology which are both much longer can be read on their own. All four benefit tremendously from being read together. The idea of group the four as a set however appears to be an idea of either the nineteenth or twentieth century. Plato wrote them at different stages in his career and does not seem to have regarded them as a set.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    What I like about Plato’s dialogues is how accessible they are. Much of Western thought is based on Plato's writings, so you can’t get much more academic than that, but at the same time, Plato isn’t hard. You don’t have to have special skills or been formally trained in philosophy to enjoy and understand Plato. Pheado is one of Plato’s later dialogues so it, probably, represents Plato’s own viewpoints rather than Socrates’. As for the philosophy itself, I like the proofs for the pre-existence of What I like about Plato’s dialogues is how accessible they are. Much of Western thought is based on Plato's writings, so you can’t get much more academic than that, but at the same time, Plato isn’t hard. You don’t have to have special skills or been formally trained in philosophy to enjoy and understand Plato. Pheado is one of Plato’s later dialogues so it, probably, represents Plato’s own viewpoints rather than Socrates’. As for the philosophy itself, I like the proofs for the pre-existence of the soul and even the existence the soul after death. Some ideas Plato seems to take for granted and just doesn’t offer any explanation, like re-incarnation. I enjoyed Pheado. I think that Plato's dialogues is a great place to start for someone who has an interest in the origins of western philosophy. It is all about the classics this year: http://lindasclassicschallenge.blogsp...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sookie

    I am mostly annoyed at how unmoving Socrates ordeal is dealt with. This dialogue falls quite short with respect to its predecessors - Apology and Crito. Plato tediously explains death, after death, soul and man's perpetual search for immortality. The narration is bleak, which isn't unexpected but makes Socrates irritatingly opaque.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sylvain

    Socrates is a dick. He likes to hear himself talk even more than I do. That's probably why they killed him. It was the only way to get him to shut the fuck up.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel Congdon

    ATTA BOY, PHAEDO! Alright! The final panel in my platonic quadriptych! It’s been a great ride through antiquity and I thank everyone who's joined me on this jaunt. It all started with my salacious review of the Symposium. Then a quick < ja accuse / > for the Trail and Apology, what did I say about Apology? Hmm, it eludes me. And now, the fightin' Phaedo! Again, again I think of the Renaissance scribe. (I’m a Renaissance fiend “But I am doing much better, thank you for asking”). I think of t ATTA BOY, PHAEDO! Alright! The final panel in my platonic quadriptych! It’s been a great ride through antiquity and I thank everyone who's joined me on this jaunt. It all started with my salacious review of the Symposium. Then a quick < ja accuse / > for the Trail and Apology, what did I say about Apology? Hmm, it eludes me. And now, the fightin' Phaedo! Again, again I think of the Renaissance scribe. (I’m a Renaissance fiend “But I am doing much better, thank you for asking”). I think of the monks, and lawyers turned poets, those scribe hunters who discovered these writings. Cause, Phaedo, this Plato stuff, it clicks with Christian mythology. That the soul is eternal and outlives the body? That a pure life leads to heaven? So and on and such forth? IT SINGS! Having an Original Edition Plato must have been even better than digging up the Lacoon. It must have been beneficent. A weird finite form of proof, this philosophy. The monks did have copies (Aristotle was the philosopher preferred of the late church until about 1439-or-so when Plato would practically become a god) but they were so thoroughly annotated as to render them useless. They had to go to Spain and Turkey to find a good version. And when they did… Humanist: Why would you mess with this? This is gold I tell you, < pure gold! / > I think we’ll be able to sneak these bad boys into the Bible. Easy as you please! “Socrates and Plato” Will Durant say in his book on the Renaissance, “had expounded a monotheism as noble as that of the prophets. They too, in their minor way, had received a divine relation.” And “They had thought they had found in Plato—clouded with Plotinus—a mystical philosophy that would enable them to retain a Christianity that they had ceased to believe in, but never ceased to love.” That’s the point I’m angling to line: It would have been so easy to screw these stories into the bible (around Ecclesiastics, when the vibe’s getting funky). Why not? What a grab that would have been. It could have spared us the Reformation! Last point: That Socrates though, he's a cool cat (would have condemned him) for sure. His friend asked him what he’d like his children to be when they were older and he responded: Socrates: I just hope they aren’t assholes who care only about vanity and money. I think that would be pretty fly. Socrates, Patron Saint of Outsiders.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    Far from being abstract speculation, this dialogue is immediately relevant to us all, as Socrates winsomely argues for the immortality of the soul on the day that he knows he is to die. It fills me with the desire to attain wisdom and virtue through practicing philosophy--the true philosophy, Christianity--so that I too can die well.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alex Garbotei

    I rated not the ideas that were presented, but the way of thought. Plato teaches us to think. What a transformative read!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Definitely one of my favourite dialogues. I got teary eyed at the end. I could talk about souls and immortality and opposites and ways of knowing for hours and this dialogue made me feel like I was right there with Socrates, Phaedo, Plato, Thebans, Cebes and Simmias. Highly recommend.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Adam Balshan

    3.5 stars [Humanism] Philosophical Method: 4.5. Philosophical Conclusions: 2 and 5. Plato's Phaedo deserves its status as a classic. Typical in its lively, Socratic dialectic that I love so much, Plato delivers some strike-outs, and one shining jewel in the rough. The Socratic method is almost flawless. It is based upon the idea of collectively asking questions about an idea, working through the logic of it via assenting or dissenting examples, and basing any conclusions only from the standpoints 3.5 stars [Humanism] Philosophical Method: 4.5. Philosophical Conclusions: 2 and 5. Plato's Phaedo deserves its status as a classic. Typical in its lively, Socratic dialectic that I love so much, Plato delivers some strike-outs, and one shining jewel in the rough. The Socratic method is almost flawless. It is based upon the idea of collectively asking questions about an idea, working through the logic of it via assenting or dissenting examples, and basing any conclusions only from the standpoints of shared assertions, and logic. Its only flaw--though it is huge--is that an ignorance on the part of both the defender and skeptic can allow a fallacious argument to spiral on forever, its false axiom undetected by all involved. Thus, the conclusions in Phaedo are mostly wrong. Notably so in his defense of the bizarre cosmology known to the Greeks, an afterlife of the River Styx, Acheron, Tartarus--the works. Momentously, Socrates defends: reincarnation very similar to that of the Hindus (we can come back as a human or a donkey, for instance), the body/soul distinctions and legalism of Gnosticism, and a description of the modern idea of Purgatory. In fact, the former of the three may have been borrowed from India, but the latter two might have been the first two recorded instances of these philosophies! Do Gnosticism and the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory stem from Phaedo? He gets right (unintentionally) that life should be about daily dying (correct in the Christian sense, not in the Gnostic sense which advocates celibacy, among other things). He calls nihilism "a child's foolishness." Nominalism he says is a "sloppy use of language," "groping around in the dark," and intentional confusion, pegging those such as Derrida millenia before their time. However, the most sensational topic in Phaedo is Socrates's dealing with formal causes. Even though his treatment is not long enough to draw out many of its implications, he is likely the first philosopher (and who, of import, do we know of before Socrates, anyway?) to lay down this analysis. It formed part of the basis of Edward Feser's magnificent refutation of nominalism in The Last Superstition. Socrates's discussion of this topic alone is worth reading the book, for anyone interested in what is likely the first refutation of nominalism extant.

  27. 5 out of 5

    S

    Kind of a grab-bag of genres: philosophical dialogue, theosophical and theological discursion, geographical thesis, dramatic tragedy. The literary aspects here are great, but the philosophy is crippled by the mindset of its day: "I am assuming the existence of an absolute beauty and goodness and magnitude and all the rest of them. If you grant my assumption and admit they exist...". A simple 'No' from the typically sycophantic Platonic bobbleheads that make up Socrates's death-entourage would ha Kind of a grab-bag of genres: philosophical dialogue, theosophical and theological discursion, geographical thesis, dramatic tragedy. The literary aspects here are great, but the philosophy is crippled by the mindset of its day: "I am assuming the existence of an absolute beauty and goodness and magnitude and all the rest of them. If you grant my assumption and admit they exist...". A simple 'No' from the typically sycophantic Platonic bobbleheads that make up Socrates's death-entourage would have derailed the whole thing. Socrates does, granted his assumption, of course deliver his promise and proves, among other things, that the soul is immortal. He then he describes the Oceans of Fun that is the afterlife, with souls whipped by rivers and streams down into Tartarus or to a rough equivalent of purgatory, back to earth's surface or even above it. This is where the most holy find themselves, and where, Socrates implies, he expects himself to arrive. The whole thing smacks of a certain smugness that seriously undercuts the scene, and undercuts Socrates as a great and humble man devoted to learning for its own sake, or to create better lives. Socrates dies a good and noble death not because he's stolid, or out of a Stoic "it is as it is" kind of mentality, or out of a duty to die well, but because he expects a reward, or at the very least continued life in some form. If he were convinced that he was going to simply not exist in any form, that he was going to undergo total and irrevocable ego death, it would be interesting what his attitude, and actions, would be.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Svalberd

    Plato writes so beautifully. I like how this one was set up starting far away, talking about Socrates's death from the beginning... this does get a tad more complicated, more about death and such. However, Socrates brings up good points regarding the soul versus body, the soul being more important, and that all who are wise should welcome death. Maybe death is thought and literature... Who knows? I feel sad that such a wise man is convicted for death when he did not do anything wrong, yet he has Plato writes so beautifully. I like how this one was set up starting far away, talking about Socrates's death from the beginning... this does get a tad more complicated, more about death and such. However, Socrates brings up good points regarding the soul versus body, the soul being more important, and that all who are wise should welcome death. Maybe death is thought and literature... Who knows? I feel sad that such a wise man is convicted for death when he did not do anything wrong, yet he has good justifications for his death. Some of Phaedo is a tad unrealistic regarding philosophy. Socrates talks of the soul, and attunement and the relationships between a variety of things... I now have to take it a piece at a time. Overall, my review of Apology, Crito, and Phaedo: An odd, confusing, and fantastic collection of dialogues by Plato. I found myself greatly enjoying these dialogues, which is surprising, as I thought it would not be a fun journey for me. What Goodreads Groups can do for you! I would never have picked this up without the Peregrinations group. Socrates ventures to thoughtful, complex concepts in Apology and Crito which were just enough to be able to be understood. However, Phaedo got much more philosophical and confusing, and was harder to move through, although the last mythological part regarding Hades was very interesting. Socrates certainly has a thoughtful outlook on life, and takes death with no pain because of his thoughtful ideas regarding the soul... I recommend to all. It made me think differently about life and death...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Anna Dale

    Well, I read it. It was really tedious for me. I wish I understood more of it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Zac Sydow

    good one

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