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Socrates On Why Death Is A Blessing

1458 words - 6 pages

Plato's Apology discusses the trial of a philosopher from Athens named Socrates. During the trial Socrates is accused of rejecting the gods of the city and creating his own, as well as corrupting the youth of Athens. He unsuccessfully attempts to persuade the jury of his innocence, and is bestowed a verdict of 'guilty.' In response to the jury's decision, Socrates attempts to illustrate why death should be considered a blessing. I will argue that although Socrates presents possibilities that might await one after death, he does not exhaust all of these possibilities. Additionally, I will argue that the theories Socrates claims await after death cannot necessarily be considered blessings. To prove these points, I will explain the argument and go on to show counterexamples which demonstrate the flaws in Socrates' argument. Last of all I will show that although the argument presented by Socrates may have its shortcomings, it is ultimately a crucial step for Socrates in preserving his reputation and validating his life goals.Upon receiving his verdict of 'guilty' and being sentenced to death, Socrates presents a speech to show why one should not fear death. He explains to the jurors they have helped him become a martyr and shows them how death will be a positive thing. "What has happened to me may well be a good thing, and those of us who believe death to be an evil are certainly mistaken" (Apology 40b). Socrates then goes even farther and argues why death is a blessing, as death must consist of one of two things: "either the dead are nothing and have no perception of anything, or it is, as we are told, a chance and a relocating for the soul from here to another place." He argues "if it is complete lack of perception, like a dreamless sleep, then death would be a great advantage" (Apology 40c). Else Socrates explores death as being a "change from here to another place" and upon relocating to this other place being able to question the great minds of Orpheus, Musaeus, Hesiod and Homer. If the latter is true, Socrates states this will bring him great happiness and he is "willing to die many times."We can enhance our perspective on the argument by forming it into logical statements.(1) Death is one of two things: either the dead are nothing and have no perception of anything, or death is a relocation of the soul.(2) If death is a complete lack of perception, then death is like a dreamless sleep.(3) A night of dreamless sleep is better than most days and nights in one's life.(4) Thus, if death is a complete lack of perception, it is a blessing. (from 2 and 3)(5) If death is a relocation of the soul, then I (Socrates) will get to spend my time talking with and examining the great figures of history and all others who have died.(6) Talking with and examining the great figures of history and others would an extraordinary happiness.(7) Thus, if death is a relocation of the soul, it is a blessing. (from 5 and 6)(8) Therefore, death is a blessing. (from 1, 4,...

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