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Plato’s Phaedo

This is a translation of the book. In his first book, Herodotus gives the story of Solon and Croesus. Solon is a wise Athenian man who focuses on advising the Lydian dictator. According to the wise man, to determine if there is happiness and blessings in the life of human beings, one should focus at the end. The end here is the death of human beings. According to Brann, Kalkavage & Salem (1998), to determine the truth in the words of Solon, attention should be on Phaedo. This seeks to answer the question of who Socrates is and if he experienced blessings or happiness.

The book talks about the philosopher, Socrates, who finds his end. There is thus need to focus on the words of Socrates and his deeds on the day of his death. This seeks to answer Plato’s question on the true philosopher and if he was the person who enjoyed the most blessings and happiness.This is a Platonic dialogue and thus has settings, limits as well as circumstances. As is presented by Plato, Socrates is shifting in a continuous way and thus has varied conversations. This then presents Socrates as an unending mystery.
The Phaedo is a dialogue that has its own concealment, exaggerated, has some omissions as well as arguments that are not good. These serve the purpose of ensuring that the reader thinks and thus makes their own discoveries. This dialogue is further personal and touching. It is a conversation of life and death.Socrates, whose death has approached, takes the question of the occurrences during the time of death. Another moving issue in Phaedo is that there is an attempt by Socrates to change the worries that people have on death to reflect on life and thus there is a hymn that praises the philosophic life.
This is a puzzling hymn. Further, Socrates cites that there is another life even after the soul and body separate. Though this is an encouragement, it is not flawless. There is thus need to have a reconciliation between the strength in the encouragement of Socrates and the weaknesses in actual arguments. The question thus is the thoughts that Socrates holds on the soul’s fate at the death moment.The dialogue begins with Echecrates asking if Phaedo was present at the time of the death of Socrates. This then strikes thoughts in the minds of human beings.
For instance, in the dialogue, word like itself and himself are used and this makes one to think of what their meanings are. The word ‘self’ which is used by Phaedo makes one ask questions for example what the soul is and its relation to form. Questions like if ones identity makes sense in the absence of the body also arise. Therefore, the Phaedo is a form of a narrated or Platonic dialogue.There are various types of narrated dialogues. For example, those that no listener is identified and thus they are virtual soliloquies.
There are others which are set in conversations that are presented directly. According to Brann, Kalkavage & Salem (1998), other examples of narrated dialogues are Republic as well as those Socrates postmortem recollections which include Theaetetus and Symposium. The translation ends with the question on why keeping alive Socrates memory is important. This recollection is puzzling. For instance, it is a recollection in which logos and mythos are blended and also story and argument.


Brann, E., Kalkavage, P. & Salem, E. (1998). Plato's Phaedo. Indiana University: Focus Publishing/R. Pullins.

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