It is the final episode in the series of dialogues recounting Socrates’ trial and death. ECHECRATES: On the way back home to Elis, one of his intimates, Phaedo, who was with him then, stops off at Phlius, in the Peloponnese. Very true, he replied. That is also true. Why, said Socrates,—is not Evenus a philosopher? Certainly not. And therefore, previously? And that is what I mean by saying that, in a sense, they are made temperate through intemperance. For I could not imagine that when he spoke of mind as the disposer of them, he would give any other account of their being as they are, except that this was best; and I thought that when he had explained to me in detail the cause of each and the cause of all, he would go on to explain to me what was best for each and what was good for all. And I rejoiced to think that I had found in Anaxagoras a teacher of the causes of existence such as I desired, and I imagined that he would tell me first whether the earth is flat or round; and whichever was true, he would proceed to explain the cause and the necessity of this being so, and then he would teach me the nature of the best and show that this was best; and if he said that the earth was in the centre, he would further explain that this position was the best, and I should be satisfied with the explanation given, and not want any other sort of cause. By all means, replied Socrates; what else should I please? 0 (0 Reviews) ... You can also read the full text online using our ereader. And were we not saying long ago that the soul when using the body as an instrument of perception, that is to say, when using the sense of sight or hearing or some other sense (for the meaning of perceiving through the body is perceiving through the senses)—were we not saying that the soul too is then dragged by the body into the region of the changeable, and wanders and is confused; the world spins round her, and she is like a drunkard, when she touches change? No indeed, replied Cebes, not very well. Yet a person may say: ‘But although the odd will not become even at the approach of the even, why may not the odd perish and the even take the place of the odd?’ Now to him who makes this objection, we cannot answer that the odd principle is imperishable; for this has not been acknowledged, but if this had been acknowledged, there would have been no difficulty in contending that at the approach of the even the odd principle and the number three took their departure; and the same argument would have held good of fire and heat and any other thing. Yes. And what do we call the principle which does not admit of death? And now, O my judges, I desire to prove to you that the real philosopher has reason to be of good cheer when he is about to die, and that after death he may hope to obtain the greatest good in the other world. But do you mean to take away your thoughts with you, Socrates? Often, Echecrates, I have wondered at Socrates, but never more than on that occasion. Whence come wars, and fightings, and factions? And do you further observe, that after a man is dead, the body, or visible part of him, which is lying in the visible world, and is called a corpse, and would naturally be dissolved and decomposed and dissipated, is not dissolved or decomposed at once, but may remain for a for some time, nay even for a long time, if the constitution be sound at the time of death, and the season of the year favourable? What do you say? Phaedo (Full Text) Lyrics PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: Phaedo, who is the narrator of the dialogue to Echecrates of Phlius. Phaedo by Plato, part of the Internet Classics Archive. Then before we began to see or hear or perceive in any way, we must have had a knowledge of absolute equality, or we could not have referred to that standard the equals which are derived from the senses?—for to that they all aspire, and of that they fall short. No, Socrates, that would not become them, said Cebes. I may describe to you, however, the form and regions of the earth according to my conception of them. True. No, they were said to be in Aegina. This text-based PDF or EBook was created from the HTML version of this book and is part of the Portable Library of Liberty. Socrates, Apollodorus, Page 3/14. He was quite beside himself; and I and all of us were greatly moved. Well, and is there not an opposite of life, as sleep is the opposite of waking? and is not the soul almost or altogether indissoluble? Simmias said laughingly: Though not in a laughing humour, you have made me laugh, Socrates; for I cannot help thinking that the many when they hear your words will say how truly you have described philosophers, and our people at home will likewise say that the life which philosophers desire is in reality death, and that they have found them out to be deserving of the death which they desire. Must we not, said Socrates, ask ourselves what that is which, as we imagine, is liable to be scattered, and about which we fear? True, he said. And must we not allow, that when I or any one, looking at any object, observes that the thing which he sees aims at being some other thing, but falls short of, and cannot be, that other thing, but is inferior, he who makes this observation must have had a previous knowledge of that to which the other, although similar, was inferior? Then one soul not being more or less absolutely a soul than another, is not more or less harmonized? There is nothing new, he said, in what I am about to tell you; but only what I have been always and everywhere repeating in the previous discussion and on other occasions: I want to show you the nature of that cause which has occupied my thoughts. That, replied Cebes, is quite my notion. Not so, if you will take my advice. Then a harmony does not, properly speaking, lead the parts or elements which make up the harmony, but only follows them. Plato – Phaedo (Full Text) | Genius PHAEDO: It is the ship in which, according to Athenian tradition, Theseus went to Crete when he took with him the fourteen youths, and was the saviour of them and of himself. PHAEDO: Yes, an equal harmony. Do you know of any? or are they each of them always what they are, having the same simple self-existent and unchanging forms, not admitting of variation at all, or in any way, or at any time? Again, would you not be cautious of affirming that the addition of one to one, or the division of one, is the cause of two? My feeling is that the argument is where it was, and open to the same objections which were urged before; for I am ready to admit that the existence of the soul before entering into the bodily form has been very ingeniously, and, if I may say so, quite sufficiently proven; but the existence of the soul after death is still, in my judgment, unproven. But she will calm passion, and follow reason, and dwell in the contemplation of her, beholding the true and divine (which is not matter of opinion), and thence deriving nourishment. And is not all true virtue the companion of wisdom, no matter what fears or pleasures or other similar goods or evils may or may not attend her? But I do say that, inasmuch as the soul is shown to be immortal, he may venture to think, not improperly or unworthily, that something of the kind is true. The full text is available online . This commentary is now available for $14.95 on ECHECRATES: Socrates looked at him and said: I return your good wishes, and will do as you bid. ECHECRATES: Yes; some one told us about the trial, and we could not understand why, having been condemned, he should have been put to death, not at the time, but long afterwards. Certainly not. There is no escape, Socrates, said Cebes; and to me your argument seems to be absolutely true. To be sure. But most men do not believe this saying; if then I succeed in convincing you by my defence better than I did the Athenian judges, it will be well. And there are many other examples: would you not say, for example, that three may be called by its proper name, and also be called odd, which is not the same with three? Some are happier than others; and the happiest both in themselves and in the place to which they go are those who have practised the civil and social virtues which are called temperance and justice, and are acquired by habit and attention without philosophy and mind. On the other hand, Cebes appeared to grant that the soul was more lasting than the body, but he said that no one could know whether the soul, after having worn out many bodies, might not perish herself and leave her last body behind her; and that this is death, which is the destruction not of the body but of the soul, for in the body the work of destruction is ever going on. Yes, that is very likely, I said. Phaedo by Plato Phaedo by Plato This etext was prepared by Sue Asscher€ PHAEDO by Plato Translated by Benjamin Jowett INTRODUCTION. What you say is most true, said Simmias and Cebes, both speaking at once. Purchase a copy of this text (not necessarily the same edition) from This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License . And there is no difficulty, he said, in assigning to all of them places answering to their several natures and propensities? Very true. The fourth river goes out on the opposite side, and falls first of all into a wild and savage region, which is all of a dark-blue colour, like lapis lazuli; and this is that river which is called the Stygian river, and falls into and forms the Lake Styx, and after falling into the lake and receiving strange powers in the waters, passes under the earth, winding round in the opposite direction, and comes near the Acherusian lake from the opposite side to Pyriphlegethon. Phaedo by Plato - Full Text Free Book File size: 0.3 MB What's this? No indeed, he replied; and therefore they who have any care of their own souls, and do not merely live moulding and fashioning the body, say farewell to all this; they will not walk in the ways of the blind: and when philosophy offers them purification and release from evil, they feel that they ought not to resist her influence, and whither she leads they turn and follow. Seeing then that the immortal is indestructible, must not the soul, if she is immortal, be also imperishable? And what is that? Then now mark the point at which I am aiming:—not only do essential opposites exclude one another, but also concrete things, which, although not in themselves opposed, contain opposites; these, I say, likewise reject the idea which is opposed to that which is contained in them, and when it approaches them they either perish or withdraw. The earnestness of Cebes seemed to please Socrates. Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. No; there were several of them with him. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. The man answered: We only prepare, Socrates, just so much as we deem enough. wars are occasioned by the love of money, and money has to be acquired for the sake and in the service of the body; and by reason of all these impediments we have no time to give to philosophy; and, last and worst of all, even if we are at leisure and betake ourselves to some speculation, the body is always breaking in upon us, causing turmoil and confusion in our enquiries, and so amazing us that we are prevented from seeing the truth. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. Very true, said Cebes. What do you mean? No other proof is needed, he said; for if the immortal, being eternal, is liable to perish, then nothing is imperishable. Yes, that is quite true, Socrates. Certainly not. The Text which has been mostly followed in this Translation of Plato is the latest 8vo. For if the soul exists before birth, and in coming to life and being born can be born only from death and dying, must she not after death continue to exist, since she has to be born again?—Surely the proof which you desire has been already furnished. For there are pleasures which they are afraid of losing; and in their desire to keep them, they abstain from some pleasures, because they are overcome by others; and although to be conquered by pleasure is called by men intemperance, to them the conquest of pleasure consists in being conquered by pleasure. What do you think? Plato. Then the soul is immortal? And the difference between him and me at the present moment is merely this—that whereas he seeks to convince his hearers that what he says is true, I am rather seeking to convince myself; to convince my hearers is a secondary matter with me. English translation with separate commentary that focuses on the dialogue’s argumentation. I dare say that the simile is not perfect—for I am very far from admitting that he who contemplates existences through the medium of thought, sees them only ‘through a glass darkly,’ any more than he who considers them in action and operation. I had a singular feeling at being in his company. And so you think that I ought to answer your indictment as if I were in a court? Yes. When he had done speaking, Crito said: And have you any commands for us, Socrates—anything to say about your children, or any other matter in which we can serve you? Then we must have acquired the knowledge of equality at some previous time? Then if a person were to remark that A is taller by a head than B, and B less by a head than A, you would refuse to admit his statement, and would stoutly contend that what you mean is only that the greater is greater by, and by reason of, greatness, and the less is less only by, and by reason of, smallness; and thus you would avoid the danger of saying that the greater is greater and the less less by the measure of the head, which is the same in both, and would also avoid the monstrous absurdity of supposing that the greater man is greater by reason of the head, which is small. I have nothing at all to do, and will try to gratify your wish. That soul, I say, herself invisible, departs to the invisible world—to the divine and immortal and rational: thither arriving, she is secure of bliss and is released from the error and folly of men, their fears and wild passions and all other human ills, and for ever dwells, as they say of the initiated, in company with the gods (compare Apol.). And will he think much of the other ways of indulging the body, for example, the acquisition of costly raiment, or sandals, or other adornments of the body? Certainly. The wise man will want to be ever with him who is better than himself. I sent away the women mainly in order that they might not misbehave in this way, for I have been told that a man should die in peace. He would like, as far as he can, to get away from the body and to turn to the soul. The lovers of knowledge are conscious that the soul was simply fastened and glued to the body—until philosophy received her, she could only view real existence through the bars of a prison, not in and through herself; she was wallowing in the mire of every sort of ignorance; and by reason of lust had become the principal accomplice in her own captivity. Precisely. PHAEDO: But, O my friend, if this is true, there is great reason to hope that, going whither I go, when I have come to the end of my journey, I shall attain that which has been the pursuit of my life. Very true. But I should like to explain my meaning more clearly, as I do not think that you as yet understand me. Impossible, replied Cebes. It began at 95e, with some prolonged criticism of various wrong theories about how to explain coming into and going out of existence. However, Phaedo managed to slip out to listen to Socrates, who eventually persuaded either Cebes or Alcibiades or Crito and their friends to ransom him so that he could be free and study philosophy. But this would be impossible unless our soul had been in some place before existing in the form of man; here then is another proof of the soul’s immortality. (Compare Milton, Comus:— Then three has no part in the even? Very good. Indeed, I do not. PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: Phaedo, who is the narrator of the dialogue to Echecrates of Phlius. Yes. I cannot get rid of the feeling of the many to which Cebes was referring—the feeling that when the man dies the soul will be dispersed, and that this may be the extinction of her. Why are they the happiest? Yes, he said. There was no answer to this question; but in a minute or two a movement was heard, and the attendants uncovered him; his eyes were set, and Crito closed his eyes and mouth. But do you not see that this is what you imply when you say that the soul existed before she took the form and body of man, and was made up of elements which as yet had no existence? Certainly, replied Simmias. Certainly not. Very likely. Cebes added: Your favorite doctrine, Socrates, that knowledge is simply recollection, if true, also necessarily implies a previous time in which we have learned that which we now recollect. But that after death the soul will continue to exist is not yet proven even to my own satisfaction. And shall we suppose nature to walk on one leg only? Certainly not! Search HathiTrust. On our arrival the jailer who answered the door, instead of admitting us, came out and told us to stay until he called us. edition of Stallbaum; the principal deviations are noted at the bottom of the page.          As loath to leave the body that it lov’d, Then may we not say, Simmias, that if, as we are always repeating, there is an absolute beauty, and goodness, and an absolute essence of all things; and if to this, which is now discovered to have existed in our former state, we refer all our sensations, and with this compare them, finding these ideas to be pre-existent and our inborn possession—then our souls must have had a prior existence, but if not, there would be no force in the argument? Socrates answered: I dare say, my friend, that you may be right, but I should like to know in what respect the argument is insufficient. My words, too, are only an echo; but there is no reason why I should not repeat what I have heard: and indeed, as I am going to another place, it is very meet for me to be thinking and talking of the nature of the pilgrimage which I am about to make. Then all but the philosophers are courageous only from fear, and because they are afraid; and yet that a man should be courageous from fear, and because he is a coward, is surely a strange thing. Phaedo was from a noble family in Elis, but when that city was defeated in 401 BC he was captured and forced into a house of prostitution. It cannot. I feel myself, (and I daresay that you have the same feeling), how hard or rather impossible is the attainment of any certainty about questions such as these in the present life. It is the ship in which, according to Athenian tradition, Theseus went to Crete when he took with him the fourteen youths, and was the saviour of them and of himself. And now, he said, let us begin again; and do not you answer my question in the words in which I ask it: let me have not the old safe answer of which I spoke at first, but another equally safe, of which the truth will be inferred by you from what has been just said. For, said he, there are many points still open to suspicion and attack, if any one were disposed to sift the matter thoroughly. However, this was the method which I adopted: I first assumed some principle which I judged to be the strongest, and then I affirmed as true whatever seemed to agree with this, whether relating to the cause or to anything else; and that which disagreed I regarded as untrue. And in all these cases, the recollection may be derived from things either like or unlike? Nationality: Ancient Greece Ex. Incredulous, I am not, said Simmias; but I want to have this doctrine of recollection brought to my own recollection, and, from what Cebes has said, I am beginning to recollect and be convinced; but I should still like to hear what you were going to say. or is the idea of equality the same as of inequality? Certainly, he said. Such appears to be the case. The Phaedo's final argument ends at 106e-107a with the conclusion ‘a soul is something immortal and indestructible, and our souls really will exist in Hades’. And if this be true, he would be very absurd, as I was saying, if he were afraid of death. As I was saying, the ship was crowned on the day before the trial, and this was the reason why Socrates lay in prison and was not put to death until long after he was condemned. Now, said Socrates, I will analyze one of the two pairs of opposites which I have mentioned to you, and also its intermediate processes, and you shall analyze the other to me. I am convinced, Socrates, said Cebes, and have nothing more to object; but if my friend Simmias, or any one else, has any further objection to make, he had better speak out, and not keep silence, since I do not know to what other season he can defer the discussion, if there is anything which he wants to say or to have said. That will do as well, he said. Because they may be expected to pass into some gentle and social kind which is like their own, such as bees or wasps or ants, or back again into the form of man, and just and moderate men may be supposed to spring from them. An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Yes. Oxford, 1975. No. And then we may proceed further to enquire whether that which suffers dispersion is or is not of the nature of soul—our hopes and fears as to our own souls will turn upon the answers to these questions. And still less is this our world to be compared with the other. for they are not in us when we are born—that is admitted. But what followed? PHAEDO: Socrates said: Yes, Crito, and they of whom you speak are right in so acting, for they think that they will be gainers by the delay; but I am right in not following their example, for I do not think that I should gain anything by drinking the poison a little later; I should only be ridiculous in my own eyes for sparing and saving a life which is already forfeit. Yes, all men, he said—that is true; and what is more, gods, if I am not mistaken, as well as men. The double has another opposite, and is not strictly opposed to the odd, but nevertheless rejects the odd altogether. Purchase a copy of this text (not necessarily the same edition) from This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License . Of these and other colours the earth is made up, and they are more in number and fairer than the eye of man has ever seen; the very hollows (of which I was speaking) filled with air and water have a colour of their own, and are seen like light gleaming amid the diversity of the other colours, so that the whole presents a single and continuous appearance of variety in unity. I will do my best, replied Socrates. Then the soul, as has been acknowledged, will never receive the opposite of what she brings. And does not the nature of every harmony depend upon the manner in which the elements are harmonized? There I feel with you—by heaven I do, Phaedo, and when you were speaking, I was beginning to ask myself the same question: What argument can I ever trust again? Do you agree? If you put a question to a person in a right way, he will give a true answer of himself, but how could he do this unless there were knowledge and right reason already in him? But that makes no difference; whenever from seeing one thing you conceived another, whether like or unlike, there must surely have been an act of recollection? Certainly not, answered Simmias. And, as I was saying at first, there would be a ridiculous contradiction in men studying to live as nearly as they can in a state of death, and yet repining when it comes upon them. PHAEDO: I cannot decide at the moment. Book Excerpt. Phaedo. In like manner you would be afraid to say that ten exceeded eight by, and by reason of, two; but would say by, and by reason of, number; or you would say that two cubits exceed one cubit not by a half, but by magnitude?-for there is the same liability to error in all these cases. Now if it be true that the living come from the dead, then our souls must exist in the other world, for if not, how could they have been born again? Plato – Phaedo (Full Text) | Genius PHAEDO: It is the ship in which, according to Athenian tradition, Theseus went to Crete when he And what is it? Yes, there were; Simmias the Theban, and Cebes, and Phaedondes; Euclid and Terpison, who came from Megara. But still you allow that Simmias does not really exceed Socrates, as the words may seem to imply, because he is Simmias, but by reason of the size which he has; just as Simmias does not exceed Socrates because he is Simmias, any more than because Socrates is Socrates, but because he has smallness when compared with the greatness of Simmias? And the true philosophers, and they only, are ever seeking to release the soul. Certainly— Then, if all souls are equally by their nature souls, all souls of all living creatures will be equally good? I should very much like to hear, he replied. He proceeded: And did you deny the force of the whole preceding argument, or of a part only? Very true, he said. PHAEDO: But you do not observe that there is a difference in the two cases. said Simmias. This version of Plato's Phaedo contains the unabridged text in pdf format.