This question focuses on why there is something rather than nothing. Socrates uses the theory of recollection as evidence to prove his theory of creation. This theory of creation introduces that our souls have an existence before this earthly life. Socrates believes that, “…the living have come from the dead no less than the dead from the living” (72a Phaedo). He then takes the previous statement and concludes, “…that if this was so, it was a sufficient proof that the souls of the dead must exist in some place from which they are reborn” (72a Phaedo). Socrates believes that souls are in preexistence and that each individual receives theirs shortly after birth.
The question of condition focuses on what is wrong with humanity. Information from the readings reveals that ignorance is the basic problem and that people are ignorant of their own ignorance. In the apology, Socrates suggests “that the difficulty is not so much to escape death; the real difficulty is to escape from wickedness…” (39a Apology). In other words, humans have a natural propensity towards evil or injustice and Socrates points it out. Socrates goes on by saying how viciousness will hit a person quicker than death. He describes himself, an old man, to be hit by the slower of the two and the younger accusers to be hit with the faster. Socrates later states in the Phaedo, “So long as we keep to the body and our soul is contaminated with this imperfection, there is no chance of our ever attaining satisfactorily to our object, which we assert to be Truth” (66b Phaedo). This is a condition of bodily detachment between our body and our soul. Socrates believes that when the soul is not pure, we will not be able to reach the truth. The soul may not be pure because of the body. Socrates claims that the body fills us with desires, fears, and loves. These distract and interrupt us from getting to the truth. The body is also to blame for our need to have wealth. This is because we our slaves to our bodies.
In the readings, Socrates uses education as a solution to ignorance. He states that “…no soul which has not practiced philosophy, and is not absolutely pure when it leaves the body, may attain to the divine nature; that is only for the lover of learning” (82b-c Phaedo). If we educate, we may realize our ignorance and perhaps this could lead to a soul that is uncontaminated and pure. By favoring our soul over our body, we are practicing philosophy. This can be related to an example of a cardboard box. We are not interested in the box itself; we are interested in what the box contains. In this case, the cardboard box represents our body, and the potential contents in the box are our soul. Socrates also offers a solution to bodily detachment. In the Phaedo, Socrates says, “It seems that so long as we are alive, we shall keep as close as possible to knowledge if we avoid as much as we can all contact and association with the body, except when they are absolutely necessary; and instead of allowing ourselves to become infected with its nature, purify ourselves from God himself gives us deliverance” (67a Phaedo). By avoiding the contaminants of the body, we can gain direct knowledge of all that is pure and uncontaminated, of truth.
The question of purpose focuses on why people are here. From the readings, we are here to pursue a virtuous life. Socrates views are follow laws and have obedience to higher powers. •
In Crito, he states, “…you must do whatever your city and your country commands, or else persuade it that justice is on your side; but violence against mother or father is an unholy act, and it is a far greater sin against your country”(51b-c Crito). His strong following of the laws was evident; however it is ironic that he was sentenced to death for breaking a law. His answer to this is that he serves his leaders, but he claims that he owes a greater...
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