ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Practicing to Die? Let's Talk Philosophy

Updated on May 26, 2016
Patrick Patrick profile image

Patrick Patrick just recently started posting articles on Hubpages.

Socrates: Phaedo

Socrates in Prison
Socrates in Prison | Source

Practicing to Die

Socrates can be described as having been a Dualist. He was therefore of the belief that the body and soul were separate from each other. This is an important view given that Socrates believed that the physical world is just but the shadow of reality, and to obtain true knowledge, the soul had to be freed from the body, which imprisons it.

According to Socrates, true philosophers spend their lives preparing for death and for dying. He agrees with Simmias that true philosophers strive to distance themselves from bodily pleasures (sex, fancy, cloths, foods etc.) as possible. In his opinion, this is due to the fact that philosophers are largely concerned about their souls, and its well being. Although he does not believe in suicide, Socrates points out that a true philosopher want to free their souls from their bodies as much as possible. For this reason, he is convinced that engaging in philosophy is to practice dying, and in doing so, have the being freed from the body.

Socrates uttered these words when he was about to drink the poison and die. For such philosophers as Anaxarchus and Socrates, there was a strong belief that the body and soul were separate, and that following death, the soul would leave the body and go on to a better afterlife. Since death was the only means through which true philosophers could free the soul as much as possible from associations with the body, Socrates states that to engage in philosophy was practicing to die.

On the other hand, Socrates was of the opinion that the senses tend to be imprecise, and can therefore deceive an individual or a philosopher. In order to get the best kind of wisdom therefore (one that comes from reason alone) it was necessary to be as distanced from all the distraction of the body as possible.

It was his belief that the truth is sought by the reasoning capacity of the soul and that the body hindered this process. He says that: "thought is best when the mind [soul] is gathered into herself and none of these things trouble her—neither sounds nor sights nor pain nor any pleasure—when she has as little as possible to do with the body, and has no bodily sense or feeling."

Socrates had spent most of his life without trying to seek the pleasures of wealth, treasure, mansions or sexual pleasure. Although he had children; he lived like one without a home. This was in his quest for understanding and truth. He felt that his true nature was to be a soul that is separate from the body that can die. To a philosopher who had strived to make such a separation for the sake of truth, death was welcomed.

•Why did they kill him you may ask? Socrates that it.. Well, he was being a smart-ass, and they didn’t take too kindly of his kind back in the day.. He was a threat, and they didn’t want him to: •“Take their job”, haha, get it? Uhhh, never mind..

Video representation

Practicing to Die

I would compare Socrates to Descartes. Descartes, being a Dualist as well felt that it was important to doubt, and thus question everything in order to achieve true knowledge. This therefore led him to doubt his very existence,and ultimately stating that the only thing he was sure of was that his mind existed given that he could think. According to Socrates, the body, and relying on the senses prevents people from achieving true knowledge given that the physical world is just a shadow of true forms.Socrates believed that it was only the soul that was capable of learning of the true forms and thus obtaining true knowledge. For this reason, Socrates came to the conclusion that real philosophers, in search of true knowledge were essentially practicing to die, and thus free the soul to obtain true knowledge of the forms.

This can better be explained by learning of the Allegory of the cave in my other hub :) Do check it out

True Philosopher

So what do you think of true philosophers from Socrates' point of view? what do you suppose Socrates really meant? Does this support the idea of Dualism? Comment in the section below, let me know your thoughts, let's learn from each other..

Would love to hear a different point of view on this.


Research Paper

Need a paper on Philosophy or any other field? Get in touch with me, I will work for you as a Freelance Writer,

You are all welcome

Want to learn more?

Get in touch for more material. Also check out these sources;

Alican, Necip Fikri (2012). Rethinking Plato: A Cartesian Quest for the Real Plato. Amsterdam and New York: Editions Rodopi B.V.

Ross, William David (1951). Plato’s Theory of Ideas. Oxford: Clarendon Press

Fine, Gail (2003). Plato on Knowledge and Forms: Selected Essays. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Bostock, D. Plato’s Phaedo. Oxford, 1986.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)