The Dying Errors of Socrates

Examines Socrates, the idealist and dualist, through Plato’s works, Meno and Phaedo.

Socrates, as portrayed by Plato, is significant in philosophical history as one of the greatest of the idealists and the dualists. He taught that the world is to be judged against external ideal ?forms?, which we access in order to judge and understand the world. This paper shows that, for him, the spirit was a sort of transcendent soul, which came from the ether beyond and returned, therefore, to a world where truth could be both seen and recognized in its purest form. This paper shows that, in the dialogues of Meno and Phaedo, Plato has Socrates propose these radical theories through a form of question and answer.
Of course, Socrates would not greet death with joy if he believed it to be an end to personal existence. On the contrary, he identifies the soul with any reality to be had in personal existence, and claims that the soul is not destroyed by death. His argument proceeds by saying that opposites cannot tolerate or encompass their opposites. When opposed they either flee or are destroyed. Thus elements flee their opposites. The soul, one must understand, is that which carries life in our bodies. So when death comes, it is perceived as the opposite of the soul. The soul cannot tolerate its opposite, and thus must flee from death. Therefore, since the soul flees death, it must be deathless and if it cannot die then it must be immortal and even indestructible.