Socrates - Was He Guilty of His Charges?

Published: 2021-09-15 04:55:07
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Category: Philosophy

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Was he guilty of his charges? Socrates then addresses those who voted to acquit him, to reconcile themselves to his fate. He remarks that the divine voice that often warns him against harmful actions has remained silent throughout the trial and throughout his own speech. From this he concludes that perhaps death is a blessing, since his sign would have opposed him unless his actions were to bring about a good result. After all, Socrates reasons, death is either annihilation--a complete and final sleep--or death is a transmigration, where his soul would live on somewhere else. If death is annihilation, it is to be looked forward to as we would look forward to a deep, restful sleep. On the other hand, if death is a transmigration to some sort of afterlife, that afterlife will be populated by all the great figures of the past, from Homer to Odysseus. Socrates remarks how delightful it would be to pass amongst these great figures, questioning them regarding their wisdom.
The conclusion Socrates reaches, then, is that the good man has nothing to fear either in this life or the next. He denies any grudge against his accusers, even though they seek his life, and asks his friends to look after his three sons and to make sure that they always put goodness above money or other earthly trappings. Socrates concludes with the famous phrase: "Well, now it is time to be off, I to die and you to live; but which of us has the happier prospect is unknown to anyone but God" (42a).

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