Socrates' Death and the Nature of the Soul

Introduction: Phaedo recounts the last conversation and death of Socrates to Echecrates (57-59d).

  1. The Philosopher desires death 61c:
    1. The body is the prison of the soul (62b)

    2. . Suicide is forbidden (62c)

  2. Death is not the end of consciousness - The First Argument (63c-69e):
    1. Death is a separation of soul from body (64c)

    2. Virtue is purification from desire (68ff)

  3. Death is not the end of consciousness - The Second Argument (70c-77):
    1. The argument from opposites (70d)

    2. The argument from recollection (73)

  4. Death is not the end of consciousness - The Third Argument (77b-84b):
    1. The atomic nature of the soul (78c-79e)

    2. The divine nature of the soul (80-84b)

    NOTE: Pleasure and pain are the central connection to the corporeal world. 83d

  5. Death is not the end of consciousness - The Fourth Argument (92b-107):
    1. The soul is not a harmony (92b-95)

    2. The soul is indestructible (95c-107)

    NOTE: Socrates gives a critique of Anaxagoras' notion of mind (i.e., nous) as material causation at 97cff, and an account of the hypothetical dialectic at 100, 101e

  6. The Death Scene (115b-118):
    1. The disposition of Socrates' body

    2. Socrates drinks the hemlock

    3. A cock to Asclepius

FINAL NOTE: We should compare the arguments of the Phaedo with the argument concerning the soul's destination at Apology 40c - 41d. Are these arguments compatible? Is it likely that the same person would have held both of these views? If not, how can we account for the seeming discrepancy?

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