The Definitions of “Philosophy” and “Philosopher” in Plato’s Phaedo

Document Type : Scientific-research


Ph.d graduated of Philosophy,Shahid Beheshti University


This article is an attempt to show that how the meanings of the words “philosophy” and “philosopher” change in Plato’s Phaedo in comparison with his early Socratic dialogues. The Phaedo is Plato’s interpretation of Socrates’ life, philosophy and death, in light of Orphic and Pythagorean eschatological doctrines. In this interpretation, Plato reveals his problem of epistemological pessimism and proposes its solution. He regards Socrates as the ideal philosopher, being aware of his own ignorance and the epistemic obstacles of this world, becomes capable to purify his soul from the human and corporeal concerns and make the soul ready for flying out of its bodily prison, so that the soul could gain pure knowledge in the supreme and divine realm of immateriality. Thus, Plato provides his own definitions of the words “philosophy” and “philosopher” in the Phaedo, according to which “philosophy” is the way of purification and salvation of the soul, and the “philosopher” is the one who is willingly training for dying in order to release his soul from confines of the mundane world in search of pure knowledge.    


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