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AbstractIn the Phaedo the character Socrates argues that suicide is morally wrong. This is in fact one of only two places in the entire Platonic corpus where suicide is discussed. It is a brief passage, and a notoriously perplexing one. In this article, I distinguish between two arguments that Socrates gives in support of his claim. I argue that one of them (what I call the Gods Argument) is not to be taken literally, while the other (what I call the Prison Argument) represents the deeper reason for the prohibition of suicide. I further relate the question of suicide to the overarching concerns of the Phaedo as a whole: the nature of our incarnate “imprisonment”, the nature and purpose of philosophy, the philosophical “purification” of the soul, the human pursuit of knowledge, and the nature of the divine.
Rhizomata – de Gruyter
Published: Nov 27, 2018
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